How to crochet for beginners

Martingale's Knit & Crochet Friday

Crochet projects

Clockwise from top left: From Crocheted Softies by Stacey Trock; from Amigurumi Toy Box by Ana Paula Rimoli; from Amigurumi on the Go by Ana Paula Rimoli; from Crochet a Zoo by Megan Kreiner (April 2013)

As a knitter, I sure have been curious about this sister fiber craft called crochet. I especially love the animal softies and those adorable creatures known as amigurumi—some of the amigurumi I’d love to make are pictured at left. I wondered, are other knitters as keen to learn how to crochet as I am? I posed this question to a few knitting friends and discovered that the answer is YES! And we had a hunch that perhaps you, our Stitch This! readers, feel the same.

That’s why, today, we have a "how to crochet for beginners" tutorial. Whether you’ve never worked with yarn at all or you’re a knitter who wants to cross over to the crochet world, we can help you get started.

A to Z of Crochet and All About Crochet
A to Z of Crochet, All About Crochet

In preparation for this post, I picked up copies of two of our most popular crochet-reference titles, A to Z of Crochet and All about Crochet, and took them home along with my first set of crochet hooks. I spent a fun afternoon learning and practicing the basics of crochet, and I’m excited to share this tutorial with you. We hope you’re inspired to pick up your hook and give it a go! Read on for an excerpt from A to Z of Crochet that will help you get started.


Holding the Yarn and Hook

There are several different ways to hold both the hook and the yarn. Experiment and choose the way that feels most comfortable for you and gives you the best results.

Right-handed hook holds

Hook hold 1: Hold the hook in the same manner as you would a pencil, keeping the tips of your thumb and index finger in the middle of the flat section.

how to hold a crochet hook 1

Hook hold 2: Hold the hook in the same manner as you would hold a knife, gripping the flat section with the tips of your thumb and middle finger.

how to hold a crochet hook 2

Hook hold 3: Hold the hook in the same manner as you would a violin bow. Keep the tips of your thumb and index finger in the middle of the flat section.

how to hold a crochet hook 3

Right-handed yarn holds

Yarn-Hold 1

1. Weave the yarn from the ball through the fingers of your left hand as shown, making sure the end of the yarn is at the top. Make a slipknot.

Right-handed yarn hold 1

2. While holding the hook with your right hand, hold the slipknot with your left thumb and middle finger.

Right-handed yarn hold 2

Yarn-Hold 2

1. Take the end of the yarn across your left palm and over your index finger, across your second and third fingers, and then around your little finger. Make a slipknot.

Right-handed yarn hold 3

2. While holding the hook with your right hand, hold the slipknot with your left thumb and middle finger.

Right-handed yarn hold 4

How to make a slipknot

The first loop of any piece of crochet is made with a slipknot. It is not counted as a stitch.

1. Loop the tail end of the yarn in a clockwise direction to form a circle.

How to make a slipknot 1

2. Pick up this loop with one hand and take the tail end of the yarn, from the back to the front, through the circle to form a second loop.

How to make a slipknot 2

3.  Take your hook through the second loop.

how to make a slipknot 3

4. Hold both ends of the yarn with your left hand and pull the hook upward to tighten the knot.

How to make a slipknot 4

5. Tighten the loop around your hook by pulling on the tail end of the yarn.

How to make a slipknot 5

How to make a chain stitch (ch)

Working a string of chain stitches, also called the foundation chain, is the equivalent of casting on in knitting.

1. Take the yarn from the ball, from back to front, over the hook.

How to crochet a chain stitch 1

2. Catch this section of yarn in the barb of the hook.

How to crochet a chain stitch 2

3. Draw the hook backward to pull the yarn through the slipknot.

How to crochet a chain stitch 3

4. A new loop forms on the hook and the previous loop drops below it.

How to crochet a chain stitch 4

5.  Repeat steps 1–4 to form a second chain stitch.

How to crochet a chain stitch 5

6. Continue working chain stitches in the same manner until you have enough to cover the desired width of your piece.

How to crochet a chain stitch 6


Now that you’ve mastered your hook, slipknot, and foundation chain, you’re ready to move on! You can find step-by-step instructions for these techniques and all the others you’ll need in A to Z of Crochet. In All About Crochet you’ll find helpful tips and techniques, a few beginner patterns, and a glossary of stitches to help you complete and embellish any project. And this week both books are on sale for 40% off at ShopMartingale.com.

If you need a little visual help, you can check out how-to videos by Stacey Trock, author of Crocheted Softies, in which she demonstrates some basic techniques of crochet and softie making. All of her videos are available on her site, FreshStitches.com. Also see her video below about how to tell which stitch to go into to start your second round:


Starting a second round of crochet


Are you a knitter who wants to learn to crochet? Or are you a crocheter who wants to learn to knit? Tell us in the comments!


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