Like knitting, crochet involves pulling loops through other loops in order to turn string into a two-dimensional fabric (or a three-dimensional garment). Instead of using two knitting needles, however, one uses a single crochet hook, producing a thicker fabric (using approximately 1/3 more yarn) at a faster pace.
- Select your hook and yarn. Generally, the thicker the hook, the thicker the yarn will need to be. Hook sizes are measured in millimetres or fractions of an inch. Choose a solid color for the yarn so that as you're learning, you can see how the stitches are made--patterned yarn would make this more difficult. If you have an easy pattern on hand, use the hook size and yarn recommended in the pattern, even if you're not going to crochet that particular pattern just yet.
- Hold the crochet hook in a way that feels comfortable for you. While there is no right way to hold a crochet hook, there are two basic styles which can be reversed, depending on which is your dominant hand.
- Crochet a chain. Every crochet project begins with a chain stitch, usually abbreviated as ch in instruction pamphlets. Form a slip knot around the hook, wrap yarn around the hook, and pull it through the loop in the knot. Now the yarn that you pulled through is wrapped around the hook, and you can pull another loop through that. Practice this for about 10 to 15 minutes a day until you are able to hold the yarn so that it's not too loose or too tight.
- Master the basic stitches. The way you handle the hook will depend on whether you crochet right handed or left handed.
- Slip stitch (sl st) - Pull a new loop through the loop that's already on the hook, as well as through the chain stitch. This stitch is used to join work, bind off stitches, reinforce edges or carry yarn to a different working position without adding extra height.
- Single crochet (sc) - Draw a new loop through the chain stitch (but not through the loop that is already on the hook). You should now have two loops on the hook. Pull a new loop of yarn through both, remaining with a single loop. Repeat.
- Double crochet (dc) - Produces a looser fabric than single crochet.
- Make a test swatch. As you're learning, your tension may vary. Before you begin a pattern, make a test swatch as instructed.
- Try different projects.