Essential crochet techniques for your arsenal

Martingale's Knit and Crochet Friday

The Essential Book of Crochet TechniquesWhether you’re a seasoned crocheter or a newbie to the art, you know that the key to perfectly crafted projects is mastering essential crochet techniques—from the basics like making simple stitches and determining gauge, to doing increases, decreases, and joining crochet seams.

Nancie Wiseman, one of our most prolific and best-selling crochet authors, knows this, too. So she compiled essential crochet techniques into one simple reference guide, to help you create great garments and projects regardless of your level of expertise.

The Essential Book of Crochet Techniques is truly the only resource you’ll need to carry with you as you crochet. Now available in paperback, this perfectly-sized guide has crochet tutorials for making both easy and advanced stitches, buttonholes and loops, zippers, pockets, and more. Full of photos and helpful illustrations, the tips and tricks included will help you create with confidence—from the first stitch to the final blocking and storage of your finished piece.


Table of Contents from The Essential Book of Crochet Techniques

To celebrate the release of this best-selling guide in paperback, we’ve excerpted a crochet tutorial on woven seams from the book. Read on to see how easy and clear Nancie’s techniques are, and learn how to work invisible woven seams.


Woven Seams

Woven seams are worked with a yarn needle and yarn. These seams are virtually invisible and nonbulky.

Horizontal woven seam
Horizontal woven seam. Half of seam is pulled tight to show how completed seam will look.

Vertical woven seam
Vertical woven seam. Half of seam is pulled tight to show how completed seam will look.

    • Woven seams can be worked on vertical and horizontal seams.
    • They’re worked from the right side of the work, which allows you to see what is happening.
    • They work with all stitches.
    • They work well with all weights of yarn.
    • If the number of rows in each piece doesn’t match, it’s easy to “cheat” or adjust the alignment, if necessary, to make the rows line up.

To work horizontal seams (stitches to stitches):

With right sides facing up, pin the edges together with coilless safety pins, keeping the edges flat and matching the stitches from one piece to the other. Thread a blunt needle with about 20″ of yarn or use the tail if long enough. Secure the yarn at the beginning of a piece, leaving about a 6″ tail.

    • On the top piece, insert the needle into the first chain at the beginning of the row and out the next chain, and pull through.
    • On the bottom piece, *insert the needle into the corresponding chain on the opposite piece and out the next chain and pull through.*
    • Repeat from * to * until seam is completed. Pull the yarn gently to tighten the seam and bring the edges together. Fasten off. Weave in the ends and trim close to the work.

How to work a horiztonal seam in crochet

To work vertical seams (rows to rows):

With right sides facing up, pin the edges together with coilless safety pins, keeping the edges flat and matching rows from one piece to the other. Thread a blunt needle with about 20″ of yarn or use the tail if long enough. Secure the yarn at the beginning of a piece, leaving about a 6″ tail.

    • On the right piece, insert the needle from front to back and up to the front again under the first knot or post of the row, and pull through.
    • On the left piece, insert the needle from front to back and up to the front again under the first knot or post of the row, and pull through.
    • *On the right piece, insert the needle in the spot where you came out the previous time on this side, go under a knot or post and up to the front again, and pull through.*
    • Repeat from * to * working into corresponding rows on each side and making sure they match until the seam is completed. Pull the yarn gently to tighten the seam and bring the edges together. Fasten off. Weave in the ends and trim close to the work.

How to work a vertical seam in crochet


You can purchase the paperback version of The Essential Book of Crochet Techniques on ShopMartingale.com. It’s the perfect size for tossing in your yarn bag, so you never have to be without it. And don’t forget that when you buy the book on ShopMartingale.com, you get the eBook version for free!

What are your essential techniques for finishing projects? Tell us in the comments and you’ll be entered in the drawing to win a free eBook version of The Essential Book of Crochet Techniques. We’ll pick a winner on May 31 and notify you by email if you’ve won.

Comments are closed for this post.

Thanks to all who entered the drawing! The randomly chosen winner is Karen, who writes:

“It seems like all goes well for me until I get to the finishing part. I never quite know how to put two pieces together so they will look more like one crocheted piece instead of two. So, I usually try several methods until, after pulling out stitches over and over again, I find one that looks good. However, I seem to have to do this for every project so perhaps I shouldn’t have tried to answer this question or perhaps I should buy this book.”

Karen, we’ll email you about your free eBook. Congratulations!


16 Comments

  • My essential finishing technique is trying to weave in ends and embroider features – I’m not great at crochet yet, but my nieces love all kinds of stuffed toys 🙂

    —Jen on May 24, 2013
  • When it comes to crochet I am self taught and unfortunately there are many techniques I have not learned or don’t do well. This book looks like a terrific resource to improve my skills. I have added it to my wishlist, just in case I don’t get lucky.

    —Diane on May 24, 2013
  • It seems like all goes well for me until I get to the "finishing" part. I never quite know how to put two pieces together so they will look more like one crocheted piece instead of two. So, I usually try several methods until, after pulling out stitches over and over again, I find one that looks good. However, I seem to have to do this for every project so perhaps I shouldn’t have tried to answer this question or perhaps I should buy this book.

    —Karen L. on May 24, 2013
  • I use stitch markers to hold a seam together for sewing. That keeps the two sides lined up where stitch patterns must meet.

    —lynne on May 24, 2013
  • The weaving in of the tails causes me the most headache. I get it to look like a well finished piece and then find that a middle point is messed up. I would like to improve my skills and this book looks like something I would get good use out of for my projects.

    —Doris W on May 24, 2013
  • I always make sure the tail of the yarn is long enough so it can’t pull out when the fabric is stretched (regardless of direction), and weave it into the stitches, not just along the tops. I hide it as well as possible and make sure that it’s very hard to dislodge….after all….who wants their sweater to start unraveling while they’re wearing it?

    —Robin Cruce on May 24, 2013
  • I haven’t crocheted in a long time. The problem that I have the most difficulty with is connecting the ends and securing them so they don’t come out over time with use when making Granny Squares. I have crocheted them together with a single crochet, but but the ends seem to work their way loose so I have had to go back and re-weave them, sometimes securing them with needle and thread. When I make something for a gift I don’t want them to come apart!

    —Rosemary on May 24, 2013
  • My essential technique for finishing any project, is to start it! It seems sometimes I get very excited about something but cannot get focused enough to pull everything together to complete it in a timely fashion. I usually have several things going at a time, from crochet, to quilting, to weaving, to kumihimo, so at least boredom is not likely 😉

    —Ginger on May 24, 2013
  • My technique is to make trip to Hank and Purl, my local shop and know a friendly face there will rescue me. Love the knitting, do not love the finishing!

    —Kathy on May 24, 2013
  • Just getting to the finishing stage is a big accomplishment for me! Weaving in the ends, without it looking a mess, is an essential finishing technique for me, and I’d appreciate the help I know could be found in the book.

    —Pearl on May 24, 2013
  • My essential finishing technique is to deal with as many of the joins as I can while the pieces are in progress making finishing much quicker and cleaner, because then I don’t rush. This book looks like a very useful resource.

    Mistea on May 24, 2013
  • i ladder stitch my seams; it’s fast, easy and neat. will finish an open end with a reverse single crochet. ends are tucked into the last stitch and diagonally through several rows and circled back through the same stitches.

    ritainalaska on May 24, 2013
  • I also haven’t crocheted for a long time. But some month ago I started again with those lovely grannys. And now I can’t stop this work. I try to weave in the ends but I must learn a lot.

    —Petra on May 25, 2013
  • I like to embellish my projects so after I finished a project I search for a way to embellish it. These are my most important techniques: finishing and embellishing

    —Marthese on May 25, 2013
  • I like to weave in tails as I go, it seems like less work instead of doing them all at the end. I try to use interesting yarn on simple patterns to generate visual excitement.

    —Deb on May 25, 2013
  • OMGosh, just doing my best to have each stitch look like it should; and when I need to change to another stitch within the same project, that stitch is created as it should :}

    —Jackie R. on May 26, 2013

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