Learn to Crochet – slip knot and crochet chain

Here is the first in a series of posts that will take you through the process of learning how to crochet.

So why am I doing this?  since closing the physical shop and not really having a space where I can set up and do course, I thought that I would like to share the tutorials that I have made over the years of designing courses for my shop, I will say that while learning using the internet is great, and something that I do on a regular basis – there is always a new way of doing something, or a new technique to be learned – I have taught well over 100 people to crochet over the last 4 years, and many have struggled with the basics until they have someone beside them, so that they can ask for help as they are learning.  I hope that I can do this through my videos, but really the very best way to learn is with a patient teacher!

The other thing to mention before you start is that you will make mistakes.  If you are a knitter, you may be a bit frustrated that crochet doesn’t come easily.

You will loose stitches, make tight stitches, find difficulty counting, have wiggly edges, different size stitches, and many other problems, but just like when you start to learn any skill, you just need to keep practising, until it becomes automatic. Think of when you started to drive, at first there was soooo many things to think about, gears, mirrors, steering, brakes, accelerator, but if you have been driving for a while, you don’t think about any of these things, just where you have to go!

To start you will need a hook and some yarn. when I am teaching I generally use an Acrylic Double Knit yarn (DK) and a 5mm hook. This is larger than you might expect, but I have found that there are very few people when starting off that have loose tension, most have a very tight tension. so a bigger hook helps.

The parts of the hook are as follows,

So to start to crochet, you will need a slip knot. this has to slip in a certain way, so that the working end slips through the knot.  see the video below.


Insert your hook, into the slip knot.  There are two strands of yarn, one is short, the other attached to your ball of yarn – this is the working end.  the loop on your hook is the working loop.

You will then need to decide how to hold the hook and the yarn. It is worth trying a few different ways until you are comfortable.

There are two main ways to hold the hook, like a pencil, or like a knife, you can see pictures in this post and below with yarn

Right handed pencil hold

pencil hold left hand - RH  pencil hold both hands - RH

Right handed knife hold

knife hold left hand - RH  knife hold both hands - RH

Left handed pencil hold

pencil hold left hand - LH  pencil hold both hands - LH

Left handed knife hold

knife hold left hand - LH  knife hold both hands - LH

When holding the yarn the most important thing is to have a space where the hook can grab the yarn.  There are loads of different ways to do this.  The most important is that you hold your yarn in the opposite hand to your hook

The pictures above, show a few different ways, the video shows my most comfortable position, once you are ready, you have to bring the hook in front of the yarn, move it to the back (without rotating the hook) so that the so that the yarn ‘catches’ under the hook.  then pull this through the loop that is on the hook.  Well done! you have made your first chain!

You need to repeat this motion, bringing the hook in front of the yarn, round to the back, hook and through the working loop.  After you have made a two or three chains, move your grip up close to the working loop, this will help to keep all the chains the same size (we call this keeping tension even)

This is the very first thing to get right, so keep making chains until you are comfortable using the hook and the yarn.  You might want to put it down, and pick up again, so that you can be sure about the way that you are working.  once you have made about a metre length, stop and relax!   When you start you might be quite tense so sit back , rotate your shoulders and make a cup of coffee or tea!

To finish the chain pull up the working loop, and snip the loop – trust me this will work!  pull out the working end, then pull the other end, this will tighten the last loop and make sure that it won’t undo.

At this point it is good to repeat from the beginning, making more chains.  In the past we have used these as shoelaces, spectacle cords, necklaces even scarves!

I hope that you are now able to make lots of chains, starting with the slip knot, chaining for a bit then fastening off, I would looove to see piccys of your work!

If you do have any problems learning how to crochet a chain, and you are not sure what to do, please do feel free to leave a comment with a picture if you can, and I will do my very best to help.

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