New hobbies can get expensive. You need the equipment, the lessons and sometimes the membership fees. But if you are looking for a new hobby that isn’t going to break the bank but is going to satisfy your creative mind then crochet is for you! Using only a hook and a ball of yarn, you can come up with something fantastic that will wow all your friends and family.
What’s best is that it only costs a few dollars to get started! Here, we will talk about some of the basic stitches that you can use at the beginning of your crochet journey and tell you what you need to get started. We’ve even added in a few beginner crochet patterns for you! So let’s get started.
What Is Crochet?
Simply put, crochet is the art of stitching yarn using a hook into one solid piece of fabric or embellishment. Depending on your skill level you can create anything from a scarf to a stuffed animal, from a blanket to a bouquet of artificial flowers.
Crochet is flexible and versatile and a hobby that you can take anywhere with you. All you need to do is pop your yarn and hook in your bag and you’re good to go anywhere.
The variations between what you can create and what type of yarn you use will always mean that you are never short of a project (also known as WIP’s in the crochet and knitting world; Work in Progress). With balls of yarn costing a few dollars and simply hooks costing even less, it really Is an affordable hobby.
What Will You Need?
As we’ve already mentioned, you are going to need a hook and some yarn. Deciding what to make first is key to knowing what weight yarn to use and what size hook. Most yarn balls come with hook recommendations on the side but for a beginner, the best hook size, to begin with, is an H (which is a 5mm in UK terms) and your yarn weight should be 8 plies (or DK Double Knit in UK terms). You can build up on your hook collection and yarn stash as you develop but these two items are the essentials that you will need to begin with.
Hook Sizes and Yarn Weights Explained
There are different hook sizes depending on the type of project you are working on. Some hooks are so small that they can work up the most intricate lace detail (they go all the way down to a 0.6mm in size which is a US 14) to the chunkiest of blankets (they go all the way up to a T size which is 30mm).
The weight of the yarn you use will have an effect on the hook size but overall the premise is that the chunkier the project, the bigger the hook.
Yarn weight is another factor when planning your project. Too light and your project will come out doll-sized, too heavy and your project will look odd. Different weights are used for different needs and generally, you will find the recommended weight yarn on any pattern that you use.
Some yarn suppliers also print patterns onto the labels of their yarn so that you can know what to make with it. Generally, the most popular weight yarn for jumpers and blankets etc is a Light Worsted or 8 plies but it does boil down to the pattern and your preference.
A Quick Note About US vs UK Terms
Before we get to different crochet stitches, we just need to cover a quick note about the US vs UK crochet terms. A lot of people publish free crochet patterns (and paid ones) online and these fantastic crochet designers span across the globe.
It is important before you begin your project to check which terms the designer is using, UK or US as they differ. Double crochet in US terms is triple crochet in the UK so if you get those two mixed up then you will end up with a sweater that is 2 sizes too big!
Designers usually inform you of which terms they are using before you download the pattern but it is definitely worth double-checking. All of our stitches below refer to US terms.
Different Crochet Stitches: Simple Stitches
1. Crochet Chain Stitch
Chain stitch (or chain pattern terms) is usually your starting off-row or starting chain/foundation chain. It is the first stitch you will need to learn. Start with a slip knot and put your hook through it.
Grab your yarn with the end of the hook and pull it through the slip knot to create a new loop. Repeat this process for the number of foundation chains you require for your project.
2. Single Crochet
The single crochet stitch (sc in pattern terms) is a tight stitch that works up the yarn into what looks like a fabric style material. After your ch, insert your hook into the first loop from the hook, wrap your yarn around the hook and pull it through the loop (you should now have two loops on your hook).
Wrap around again and pull your yarn through both loops. Repeat across the foundation chain until you get to the end.
Tutorial: The Spruce Crafts
3. Double Crochet
The double crochet stitch (dc in pattern terms) is a looser stitch but it works up much more quickly. It works in a similar context to the sc but instead, you FIRST wrap yarn around your hook and then insert it into the loop that is next on your chain.
Wrap around again and pull through two loops (you should still have two loops on your hook), wrap-around again and pull through the remaining loops. Repeat until you have finished the row.
Tutorial: The Spruce Crafts
4. Half Double Crochet
Half double crochet (hdc in pattern terms) still works up quickly but is less time consuming than the dc.
You still begin by wrapping yarn around your hook before inserting it into the loop and then pulling it through to create 3 loops on your hook, then yarn over again and pull the yarn through all three loops. Repeat until you have finished the row.
Tutorial: The Spruce Crafts
Once you get the hang of these different crochet stitches you will be able to progress on to more difficult elements of crochet such as increasing a stitch (where you put two stitches into one loop) and decreasing a stitch (where you loop through two stitches at once and then perform your stitch).
Following a pattern is really helpful in this respect because it will usually tell you how many stitches you have in each row. By keeping count of your stitches you will know that you are on the right track.
Simple Crochet Makes
Here are a few basic patterns for you to get started on your very first crochet creation!
Scarves are very straightforward and simple to make and you can use any weight yarn and hook you have to hand. However, if you are looking for inspiration then a nice Worsted Weight yarn with an L sized hook will give a great chunky look.
Begin by creating your foundation chain of 30. Turn. Miss 2 loops (this is to keep your work nice and straight) and start your double crochet stitch into the third loop. Dc 28 across the row. At the end of the row chain 2 again (remember this is to keep your work straight) and dc 28 across again.
Repeat this until you have the desired length. In the end, you can leave a long tail and, using a darning needle, sew it into your project so that it doesn’t unravel. Here is the pattern for this scarf.
- Row 1- ch30 (30)
- Row 2 – skip 2, dc28, ch2 (30)
- Row 3 – dc28, ch2 (30)
- Repeat row 3 until the desired length, finish off.
2. Baby Blanket
A baby blanket can be created in a similar way to a scarf, it’s simply a square rather than a rectangle. For this pattern, you could shake it up a bit by changing the color of the yarn you use for each row (be sure to use the same weight of yarn though) or a different stitch for each row.
If creating a baby blanket, you might want to use a smaller hook and lighter wool (such as a Light Worsted with an H hook) but it is up to you.
Here’s a pattern suggestion:
- Row 1 – ch 100 (100)
- Row 2 – skip 2, hdc 98, ch2 (100)
- *Row 3-5 – hdc 98, ch 2(100)
- Row 6-8 – Using a new color, hdc98, ch 2 (100)
- *Repeat until the desired length, finish off
Hopefully, these patterns and instructions are simple enough that you can get started on crocheting today. You will have a new scarf and baby blanket in no time and will be learning a new skill at the same time.
For more detailed instructions on how to achieve these stitches, search online for some great video tutorials.
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