Learn the different techniques for beginning work – regardless if you’re working in the round or in rows. Become familiar with basic terms vital to your success in working any pattern. Study Paralegal Principles Online. The George Washington University can help you reach beyond your ambition!
Getting Started – Working in the Round
The starting chain:
(To form a circle)
Begin with a number of chain stitches specified in pattern instructions, anywhere from 4 to 8 is average depending on the project. Join the chain by slip stitching in the first chain (furthest from your hook) to form a circle.
(To form the foundation and provide the first stitch in the round)
Begin with a number of chain stitches that represents the base and the first stitch in the pattern instructions, such as ch 4, (11 dc) in the 4th chain from hook. The first chain will actually be the base or foundation while the other 3 chains will provide the first dc in the round. Join with a slip st to the 4th chain of beg ch 4.
The starting loop:
To form a circle without the use of chain stitches: Form a circle (slip knot) much like you would for beginning to crochet. Insert hook in normal position, but instead of tightening the loop, ch 1, and start single crocheting around the loop. You may need to pull the tail to tighten and draw the loop smaller as you work. Join with a slip st in first sc and pull the tail to tighten the loop. See illustration below.
Getting Started – Working by Row
The foundation chain:
(To form a base upon which to build your work)
For single crochet:
Chain the required number given in pattern instructions, plus ch 1; sc in 2nd ch from hook to represent first sc.
For half double crochet:
Chain the required number given in pattern instructions, plus ch 2; hdc in 3rd ch from hook (the ch 2 represents the first hdc), Or you may wish to ch 1, hdc in 2nd ch from hook (using the ch 1 as a means to bring the height of your work up to the level needed to begin stitching).
For Double Crochet:
Chain the required number given in pattern instructions, plus ch 3; dc in 4th ch from hook (the first ch 3 represents the first dc).
(To form a foundation chain to increase work at the beginning of a new row)
Ch the number of stitches needed plus the number for turning your work. For instance if you need to make an increase of 3 dc, chain 5, turn work; dc in 4th chain from hook and in next ch. The first 3 chain skipped will be your first dc for the new row.
(To form a foundation chain to increase work at the end of a row – for the next row)
Continue with the stitch used in pattern instructions. For each increase made, insert hook in base of last stitch made, pull up a loop, yo, draw through one loop on hook to make the foundation chain, work the stitch as you would normally.
Basic Crochet Terms
- Approximately / Approx:
Usually referred to in the form of measurements or gauge; ie. Measures approx. 3 1/4″ in diameter. It’s not an exact measurement.
- Beginning / Beg:
Refers to the beginning of indicated round/row, or foundation chain. Or indicates a beginning stitch or sequence of stitches.
- Between / Bet:
Refers to placing the next stitch or series of stitches “between” stitches rather than working in the next stitch, or as specified by pattern instructions.
- Continue / Cont:
To continue with the pattern instructions as indicated, usually referring to a pattern repeat to create a specific design within the piece.
- Gauge / Gauge:
Refers to obtaining the correct measurements for a specific pattern by measuring a small section of the piece. Usually a test swatch is made up to test the gauge before starting. If the sample swatch is larger or smaller than the recommended gauge, change hook or yarn/thread sizes to obtain the correct measurements. The gauge is measured by rows and/or stitches. For example a pattern may state the gauge as: 6 dc = 1″ / 3 rows = 1″. Measuring 6 dc across on your test swatch should equal 1″ and 3 rows in height should measure 1″.
- Group(s) / Grp(s):
Usually refers to a group of stitches worked closely together, ie. skip next group of 3 dc, dc in first dc of next group.
- Loop(s) / Lp(s):
Refers to the thread/yarn on the hook, ie. loop(s) on hook. Also can refer to the front or back loop of a certain stitch.
- Mesh / M:
Refers to filet crochet in which a mesh background is created by working double crochets with ch 2 spaces between each, then pictures are formed by filling in the spaces with double crochet.
- Post / Post:
Refers to the “bar” of the stitch rather than the top of the stitch where the hook is usually inserted.
- Previous / Prev:
Refers to the previous stitch or round/row as indicated by pattern instructions.
- Repeat / Rep:
Usually refers to repeating the instructions inside the asterisks or parenthesis as many times as indicated by pattern instructions. May also refer to repeating the design created using the pattern instructions.
- Right Side / RS:
Means to have the right side of work facing up. For items worked in rows, determining the right side is usually specified in pattern instructions, or the last row worked.
- Round(s) / Rnd(s):
Crochet is basically worked in rounds or rows. To work in rounds, slip stitch into the beg. chain or stitch to join the round before starting the next round. Working in rounds doesn’t constitute a circle. Most squares for afghans are worked in rounds.
- Row(s) / R(s):
To work in rows, after completing the previous row, chain required number to equal stitch height for the next row, then turn work back, working in the opposite direction for the next row. The turning chain usually constitutes the first stitch for the next row.
- Skip / Sk:
To literally skip next stitch or space as indicated by pattern instructions.
- Space(s) / Sp(s):
Space(s) are formed by working a certain number of chains between other stitches. When a pattern states to crochet in the next space, work the stitch indicated in pattern instructions in the next space.
- Together / Tog:
Work two stitches together in same stitch or space as specified by pattern instructions. May also refer to holding two strands of yarn/thread together while working.
- Turning chain / Tch:
The chain stitch(es) specified in pattern instructions for turning work back in the opposite direction for beginning the next row.
- Wrong side / WS:
Means to have the wrong side of work facing up. For items worked in rows, determining the wrong side is usually specified in pattern instructions, or the next to last row worked is the wrong side.