crochet: the basics
|HOLDING THE HOOK|
|There are two ways to hold the hook - choose one that is the most comfortable for you.|
|Pencil Grip:||Knife Grip:|
|Remember to hold the hook gently - do not grip tightly, as this can cause discomfort if crocheting for a long time.|
|1. Leave a 'tail' of approximately 10cm/4in from the end of the yarn. Make a loop by wrapping the yarn around your fingers once.|
|2. Insert the tip of your hook through the loop, and behind the tail (with the hook facing down).|
|3. Catch the tail of the yarn with your hook, and partially pull up through the large loop, forming a loop around the hook. Do not pull the tail all the way through!|
|4. Keep this loop on your hook, and drop the large loop from your fingers. This new loop creates the slip knot.|
|5. Pull gently on the tail to tighten the knot around the hook.|
|HOLDING THE YARN|
|The yarn is (usually) held in the opposite hand to the hand holding the hook. If you hold the yarn in the same hand, you can still work the stitches, but it may be slower or more difficult. It is worth practising the following holds in the non-hook hand. There are a number of ways to hold the yarn - it is important to create an even tension, so try to stick with one hold throughout a project. Here are two examples:|
|HOLD ONE: WRAPOVER HOLD|
|1. Starting at the tail end, place the yarn between your little finger and ring finger.|
|2. Bring the working end of the yarn down the back of your hand, under your little finger, over the front of your hand and through to the back of your hand between your middle and ring fingers.|
|3. Carry the working end of the yarn up the back of your hand, and over your index finger to the front.|
|HOLD TWO: SIMPLE HOLD|
|Weave the yarn between your fingers, starting with the yarn in front of your little finger, behind your ring finger, infront of your middle finger, behind your index finger and over to the front.|
With both hand holds above, the little fingers control tension. To allow the yarn to flow smoothly, separate your fingers slightly. To reduce the flow, bring fingers together.
We also need to 'tension the tail'. This allows us to hold the fabric steady enough to pull stitches through. There are two ways to tension the tail - although we can only use Method One for the Simple Hold above.
MIDDLE FINGER HOLD
INDEX FINGER HOLD
|Raise the index finger, lifting the yarn.
Pinch the knot between middle finger and thumb.
|Raise the middle finger, lifting the yarn.
Pinch the knot between index finger and thumb.
The chain (abbreviated to ch) is the starting point for many crochet projects. Make a slip stitch, place it on the hook and work as follows:
|1. With the working yarn behind the hook, rotate the hook so it is facing away from you.|
|2. Rotate the hook clockwise, catching the yarn around the hook. Stop when the hook is facing downwards.|
|3. Remembering to tension the knot/fabric as above, gently draw the yarn through the loop on the hook.|
|Repeat steps 1-3 to create the required number of chains, repositioning your middle/index finger and thumb up the chain as you work to keep the tension even. Make sure you take each chain made up to the thicker part of the hook before working the next stitch to they are not too tight to work into on the next row.|
|HOW TO COUNT CHAINS|
|The front of each chain looks like a row of 'V's. Each 'V' is a chain loop. We count each V to work out the number of chains. Do not count the slip knot or the loop on the hook.|
|The reverse of each chain has a row of 'bumps' that sit behind the v's, and run vertically up the chain. While you can count the 'bumps' to work out the number of chains, it can be easier to count from the front.|
|Next Steps: Keep practising and making chains - it is ideal for getting used to holding the hook, the yarn, controlling tension and much more. Make lots - wear them as bracelets, necklaces, hairbands, belts, shoelaces, give them to your friends - keep on going until you are really fed up of them, then make a few more.
When you feel ready to graduate to working stitches, why not look at our Basic Stitches section in Tutorials.
Congratulations, and we'll see you there.