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Basic Crochet Information

Basic information is often overlooked and considered common knowledge in the crochet world. For the novice crocheter, this can be confusing and frustrating. Questions like:
  • What is the right way to hold my hook?
  • What's the difference between steel hooks and aluminum?
  • How do I join, end off, secure the ends and so much more!

You'll find an array of basics on our "crochet information" pages ranging from basic information that every crocheter should know to advanced stitch definitions. Learn how to read instructions, understand some basic crochet symbols and interpret how to do advanced crochet stitches.

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Basic Information

Crochet Basics:
  • The loop on the hook is never counted as part of the number of chains required in the pattern.
  • Always insert hook into stitch from front to back, unless otherwise indicated.
  • Always insert hook under top two loops on chain or stitch, unless stated to crochet in front or back loop only.
  • There should be just one loop left on the hook at completion of a stitch.

Turning Chains:

At beginning of rows, a certain number of chains are required to bring work up to the level of the stitch that is to be made. The number of chains depends on the height of the stitch and usually replaces the first stitch of each new row. When instructions include a chaining turn at the end of a round or beginning of a new round, turn work right to left to avoid twisting the chain unless you're left handed, then you'd turn work from left to right. Below is a guide for the number of chains required to equal the stitch height:
  • Single crochet: ch 1 to turn, insert hook in 1st st of new row.
  • Half double crochet: ch 2 to turn, insert hook in 2nd st of new row.
  • Double crochet: ch 3 to turn, insert hook in 2nd st of new row.
  • Triple crochet: ch 4 to turn, insert hook in 2nd st of new row.

Turning Chain Variations:

Aren't all rules meant to be broken - it usually all comes down to personal preference so be creative and do what looks "right" to you!
  • Single crochet: when working single crochet rnds, you'll find the beginning of each new rnd will continue adjusting to the right (left for left-handers). To create a more straight seam, join with a sl st, then pull up a lp, approx. 1/4" high and single crochet in joining.
  • Half double crochet: ch 1, then hdc in first st.
  • Double crochet: when working in rows, sometimes a ch 2 is desirable for a tighter appearance.

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Basic Instructions

  • * = Work instructions following an * (asterisk) as many times as indicated, in addition to the first time.
  • ( ) and/or [ ] = Work enclosed instructions as many times as specified by the number immediately following.
  • ( ) and/or [ ] = Work enclosed instructions in the space indicated.
  • ( ) and/or [ ] = Work enclosed instructions in the stitch specified.
  • ( ) and/or [ ] = Instructions enclosed contain an explanation of the stitch to be worked.

If ( ) are enclosed within [ ], complete instructions within ( ) before completing instructions within [ ].

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Changing Colors

When working a color change in a middle of a project, leave the last two loops on hook of the preceding color for any stitch, take new thread and loop it over the hook, leaving an end which will be long enough to weave in on the wrong side. Draw new thread through remaining two loops to complete the last stitch. Pull old thread gently to the side of the work to tighten the join before weaving in. Continue with pattern instructions.

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Holding the Hook

There are two basic ways to hold your hook.
  • Knife Hold:

  • This method involves holding your hook as if you were going to butter a piece of bread.
  • Pencil Hold

  • This method involves holding your hook as you would hold a pencil to write a letter.

There is no right or wrong way to hold your hook as long as you're comfortable. Studies have confirmed the knife hold helps alleviate carpel tunnel syndrome.

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Left-Handed Crochet

Try a number of these helpful books
  • "I Taught Myself to Crochet" by Boye-Wrights Needle company
  • "How to Crochet" by the TNNA
  • "The Craft Yarn Council's Teacher handbook"
  • "The Donna Kooler's Encyclopedia of Crochet" which has a wonderful left-hand section.

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Crochet 911

If you need further help, try this site; Crochet 911.

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