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Mastering the Basics: Learn How to Crochet Part 1

How to Crochet the Foundation Chain

Hey there! I’ve been putting my heart and soul into this post for what feels like ages. I was aiming to share it in May, obviously, things didn’t quite go as planned. But hey, it’s all good now and I’m so excited to share it with you! If you’ve been keeping up with my previous posts, you should have your kit ready to roll. If not, no worries – just go back, catch up, and get your kit prepped with your crochet hooks and other accessories!

Below, you’ll find some quick start guides for making your basic foundation chain. I’ve also included a link to my full-length video “Getting Started Crocheting” where you can work alongside me and pick up some extra tips and tricks. You’ll find that link at the end of this post.

So, let’s dive in and get started!

Slip Knot

The majority of your projects will start with a simple slip knot. Even for your amigurumi projects, you can start with a slip knot instead of a Magic Circle. If you already know how to make a slip knot, feel free to skip ahead. If not, follow the steps below to learn how I make my slip knot. If you’d like to watch the full video with more details, tips, and tricks, check it out here: Slip Knot.

Start with the working tail hanging over the top of your fingers. Leave a 6-8 inch length to weave the ends in at the end of the project to prevent unraveling.

Move the tail end towards the tip of your fingers. Then, use your thumb to pinch the yarn between either your index finger or middle finger and move the bottom two fingers out of the way.

Next, take the working end of the yarn loop it around the backside of your fingers, and pull up over the yarn pinched between your fingers. Mover your thumb out of the way to create an X with the yarn. Hold the X in place with your thumb.

Hold the X in place with your thumb and index finger and slip your middle finger out of the loop. Pull the back working piece of yarn through the loop to create a pretzel shape. Continue pulling that yarn through and up.

Then, grab that loop with your fingers, release the knot held with your thumb and index finger, pinch the tail end, and pull tight. This will secure the slip knot. Pull on the working end to make the loop smaller.

Now we’re ready to start our foundation chain!

Remember, there are many ways to create a slip knot, so use the method that works best for you! Crocheting is a unique journey for everyone, and just because someone does it one way does not mean it’s the only way!

Tension Hand

The uniformity of your stitches is controlled mostly by your tension hand; the hand not holding your hook. How you hold the working yarn to control the tension is whatever feels comfortable for you and the yarn you are working with. The tension wrap that works best for a worsted weight yarn, may not work well with a blanket weight or faux fur yarn. This is how I wrap my tension hand for worsted-weight yarn.

Start with your slip knot on your crochet hook.

Scoop up the working yarn with your pinky and wrap it once around your pinky.

You’ll have one loop of yarn wrapped around your pinky.

With your crochet hook, pull the yarn up so it lays across the palm side of your ring finger and middle finger. Then, slip it over the knuckle side of your index finger.

Wrap the yarn once around your index finger.

Looking at the top of your index finger, you’ll have 2 strands of yarn across the top.

Grab the base of your slip knot with your thumb and middle finger, now you’re ready to crochet!

Wrapping your tension hand doesn’t have a single correct method. When working with different yarns and projects, you might need to use an alternative method. Don’t be discouraged if this technique doesn’t work for you. The way I began wrapping my tension hand when I first learned to crochet is not the same as what I do now. S feel free to experiment with different wrap styles and even see how different tension rings feel! Check out the full-length video for extra details, tips, and tricks: Tension Hand.

Foundation Chain

Start with your crochet hook in the loop of the slip knot and your tension hand holding the base of the slip knot.

Turn the index finger of your tension hand toward you and wrap the yarn around your crochet hook (this is called yarn over).

Then, twist the crochet hook down and slide it towards the base of your slip knot. This will lock that yarn into the groove of your crochet hook as you pull through the slip knot.

Next, you’re going to pull your crochet hook through your slip knot loop. As you pull through, twist your crochet so the groove faces up and gently pull up.

You’ve created your first stitch! Now it’s time to make another one.

Move your thumb and index finger up to pinch the base of the first stitch (don’t worry you can let go, the yarn is not going anywhere!).

Now, turn your tension hand towards you to wrap the yarn around the crochet hook (yarn over) and twist the crochet hook down to lock in the yarn.

Pull through your loop as you twist your crochet hook up.

Gently pull up and you’re creating your foundation chain!

As you’re adding stitches to your foundation chain, you will move your thumb and middle finger up as your chain increases.

To master this technique, simply repeat the yarn over, twist, and pull through, twist until it flows smoothly. If you make a mistake, don’t worry! Just pull on the working tail to undo your stitches and start afresh with the same yarn. If you want to crochet a foundation chain with me, feel free to check out the full-length video: Foundation Chain.

I want to give you some time to practice creating a slip knot, wrapping your tension hand, and smoothing out that foundation chain. You can follow along with me in my Getting Started Crocheting video. I’ll cover lots of details, tips, tricks, and talk about some things that aren’t included in the quick start guides above. It’s going to be fun, so I hope you’ll join me!

If you’re feeling discouraged, just remember that no one starts as an expert! Crocheting is a unique journey for each individual, and there’s no one right way to do anything. Take your time to find what works best for you and keep practicing! If you have any questions, feel free to ask! I’m here to help and happy to do so!

I just want to give a heads-up, the next post will be out soon and will cover counting stitches, turning your work, counting rows, and weaving in your ends. So practice, practice, practice to be ready for the next steps! See you soon!

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Unleash Your Crochet Potential: Popular Accessories for Awe-Inspiring Creations

Crocheting is not just about yarn and hooks; it’s an art form that requires a handful of essential accessories to elevate your crafting experience. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced crocheter, having the right tools can make all the difference in your projects. From stitch markers to yarn bags, let’s dive into the must-have crochet accessories that will help you stitch your way to beautiful creations with confidence, efficiency, and joy.

The images below all link to sites where you can purchase the items. I am in no way affiliated with any of them, I do not benefit from any clicks or purchases. I’m just trying to give ideas of where you can purchase these items and show my fellow makers some love!

Basic Staples

Stitch Markers

Stitch markers are the unsung heroes of crochet, helping you keep your place in complex patterns or mark important stitches for future reference. Stitch markers can be used in larger projects to mark every 5, 10, or 20 stitches, so if you drop a stitch somewhere, you don’t have to go all the way back to the beginning to count.

They come in various shapes, sizes, and colors, making them not only functional but also a fun way to personalize your crochet kit. My favorite and probably most inexpensive stitch marker is a small scrap piece of yarn in a contrasting color.

Scissors

Small scissors are another indispensable tool. A good pair of sharp, compact scissors can make yarn cutting precise and effortless, ensuring your work remains neat and tidy. 

If you travel a lot, currently, TSA allows us crafters to take small scissors under the length of 4 inches on the plane. Check the link often as those regulations may change. Also, if you’re traveling internationally check that country’s regulations so they don’t get confiscated!

Darning Needles

Darning needles, with their blunt tips, are perfect for weaving in ends, sewing pieces together, and adding those finishing touches that make your project look professional and polished.

I keep a small case in my kit with a variety of sizes to weave in those pesky ends. I do recommend using all metal needles. I’ve broken too many plastic needles over the years!

Guage Guides

Gauge guides are a handy tool that helps you maintain consistency and accuracy throughout your work. Keeping track of your stitch size is essential for achieving the perfect outcome in your project. By following the specified gauge in your pattern and utilizing these guides, you can be confident in your final product.

Keeping Things Neat and Tidy

Kit Stash

As you begin to gather your crochet supplies, it’s important to have a system in place for keeping everything organized. One great way to get started is by using a simple pencil bag to store your basic crochet essentials. This will help keep your hooks, scissors, and other tools in one place and prevent them from getting lost or damaged. 

As your collection of supplies grows, you may want to upgrade to a crochet hook book/roll for keeping your hooks sorted and easy to find. Alternatively, a desktop organizer can keep all of your supplies within reach and provide a dedicated space for your crochet projects. 

Holders and Winders

Yarn holders and winders are designed to streamline the crafting process and keep yarns tangle-free. These clever devices not only facilitate a smoother workflow but also protect the integrity of your yarn, ensuring it remains clean and well-maintained. A yarn holder effectively secures your yarn in place, allowing for an uninterrupted flow as you work, while a yarn winder transforms skeins or hanks into neat, compact balls. This duo is a game-changer for craft enthusiasts, promising efficiency and organization in every project. 

Bowls and Bags

Yarn bowls and yarn bags are fantastic for keeping your yarn clean, organized, and tangle-free while you work. Yarn bowls often feature a spiral cutout, allowing the yarn to unravel smoothly as you crochet, while yarn bags offer portability and storage for those who love to crochet on the go. 

Crochet Marathon Tools

Put a Ring On It

Tension rings are a lesser-known accessory that can significantly improve your crocheting experience, especially if you struggle with maintaining consistent tension. By guiding the yarn through the ring worn on your finger, you can achieve even stitches for a more professional-looking finish. 

I also found a really neat row counting ring while researching for this post. Might need to add that to my kit!

A Hug for Your Hands

Arthritis gloves have emerged as a game-changer for crafting enthusiasts, offering a blend of comfort, support, and functionality that significantly enhances the crocheting experience. These gloves provide gentle compression to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation, enabling longer periods of crocheting without discomfort. Their breathable fabric prevents overheating and sweating, making them suitable for extended wear during marathon crocheting sessions. Additionally, the snug fit supports the joints in the hands and fingers, reducing the strain that comes from repetitive motions. 

I have both of the gloves pictured above (one pair was eaten by my couch, but I was able to rescue them at a later date). I love them when I’m crocheting dolls in particular.


Incorporating certain crochet accessories into your toolkit can enhance your crafting journey and make it more enjoyable and productive. These tools are designed to support your creativity, whether it’s achieving the perfect tension, keeping your yarn untangled, or adding the final touches to your projects. This list is not exhaustive, but it includes some of the items that have proven useful to me. Once you specialize in a particular niche of crochet, such as amigurumi or garment making, you’ll find a whole world of accessories specific to that niche. However, these items are great for any beginner kit to start their journey with, along with a few extra fun items. Remember, the right accessories can be just as important as the yarn and hook you choose, so consider exploring these options to make your crochet experience as rewarding as possible. Happy crocheting!

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The Beautiful World of Crochet Hooks

Mastering The Basics of Crochet Series

When it comes to crocheting, choosing the right type of crochet hook can make a significant difference in your crafting experience. As a beginner, it might be a bit overwhelming staring at the wall of hooks in Michael’s, JoAnn’s Fabric, or Hobby Lobby. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with buying an inexpensive hook, but let’s make sure you know what you’re getting. In this post, we’ll cover all the basics of Crochet Hooks and dabble a little in some fancy hook options. 

Sizes

When you dive into the world of crochet hooks, one essential element to understand is the crochet hook size. This crucial aspect can make a significant difference in the outcome of your project. 

In the United States, crochet hook sizes are categorized using a letter and/or number system, ranging from B-1 (2.25mm) to Q (15.75mm). Each letter represents a specific size, with smaller letters indicating finer hooks and larger letters denoting bigger hooks.

On the other hand, the metric system offers a more precise measurement of crochet hook sizes. This system provides the diameter of the crochet hook in millimeters, allowing for a more accurate selection based on your project’s requirements. For instance, a 2.25mm hook is ideal for delicate lacework, while a 6.5mm hook is perfect for chunky blankets or scarves.

If you read last month’s post about Reading Yarn Labels, you’ll remember that the skein of yarn you choose will have a recommended hook size. However, that doesn’t mean that is the only size hook you can use with that yarn. If you’re working from a pattern, the designer might recommend a different hook size to achieve a specific effect; such as drape, stretch, or tension change. Always start by testing your gauge to ensure you’ve got the right hook for the job!

When looking at your standard hook, you’ll find the size either in the middle or at the bottom of the hook.

Materials

Crochet hooks are made from three main types of material: metal, plastic, and wood. Each material has unique characteristics that can influence the way you work on your crochet projects.

Metal crochet hooks are durable and provide a smooth surface for yarn to glide over, making them a popular choice among many crocheters. Their sturdy construction ensures that they can withstand frequent use without bending or breaking, making them a reliable option for those who crochet often.

Plastic crochet hooks are lightweight and come in various bright colors, making them visually appealing to many crafters. Plastic hooks are great for beginners because they tend to have less slip than metal or wood, making it harder to drop stitches. While they may not be as durable as metal hooks, they are comfortable to hold and can be a great choice for those with hand fatigue or arthritis.

Wood crochet hooks offer a warm and natural feel, which some crocheters prefer over metal or plastic. They can be gentle on the hands and provide a good grip, making them a suitable option for those who like to take their time with their crochet projects.

Fancy Hooks

When we first start crocheting, we usually pick up a set of inexpensive metal hooks, but there’s a big beautiful world of fancy crochet hooks out there to fit everyone’s style and needs! I’ll tell you about a few common options below, but definitely explore and find what not only feels comfortable in your hand but also matches your style!

Ergonomic 

If you’re crocheting for several hours and especially if you’re holding your hook like you do a steak knife, I highly recommend crochet hooks with ergonomic handles. 

Crochet hooks with ergonomic handles offer a range of benefits for both beginners and seasoned crafters alike. The ergonomic design of these hooks is specifically crafted to reduce hand strain and fatigue during extended crocheting sessions. The comfortable grip provided by the ergonomic handle allows for a more relaxed hand position, making it easier to crochet for longer periods without discomfort.

Additionally, the ergonomic handles promote better control and precision while crocheting. This can result in more even stitches and neater projects overall. The improved grip can also help prevent slipping or dropping of the hook, especially when working with slippery yarns or intricate patterns. Overall, using crochet hooks with ergonomic handles can enhance your crocheting experience by making it more comfortable, efficient, and enjoyable.

Furthermore, these hooks are often designed with materials that are gentle on the hands, such as soft rubber or silicone. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals with arthritis or other hand conditions, as the ergonomic handles provide added support and cushioning. Investing in crochet hooks with ergonomic handles is not only a practical choice for your crafting endeavors but also a thoughtful consideration for the well-being of your hands in the long run.

Lighted

Lighted crochet hooks are a game-changer for anyone who enjoys crocheting, especially in low-light conditions or when working with dark yarn. These innovative hooks come with built-in LED lights that illuminate the crochet hook’s tip, making it easier to see your stitches. This added visibility can help reduce eye strain and fatigue, allowing you to crochet for longer periods comfortably. Additionally, the lighted hooks are perfect for crocheting on the go, such as during evening commutes or while camping, where lighting may be limited.

Another benefit of lighted crochet hooks is their versatility. Whether you’re a beginner learning basic stitches or an experienced crocheter working on intricate patterns, the illuminated tip helps you maintain accuracy and precision in your work. The lighted hooks can also be a great tool for crocheters with visual impairments or anyone who struggles with seeing fine details up close. With the aid of the LED light, you can confidently create beautiful crochet projects with ease.

In addition to their functionality, lighted crochet hooks are often designed with ergonomic handles for added comfort during long crocheting sessions. The combination of a well-lit workspace and a comfortable grip can enhance your crocheting experience and make it more enjoyable. Overall, investing in a set of lighted crochet hooks can not only improve your crocheting efficiency but also bring a touch of convenience and joy to your crafting journey.

Interchangeable: One Handle, Multiple Sizes

Interchangeable crochet hooks offer a range of benefits for crochet enthusiasts. One of the main advantages is versatility. With interchangeable crochet hooks, you can easily switch out hook sizes and types depending on the project you’re working on. This flexibility allows you to tackle a variety of yarn weights and stitch patterns without needing to invest in multiple individual hooks.

Another benefit is convenience. Instead of carrying around a whole set of crochet hooks, you can simply bring along a compact case with interchangeable hook tips and cords. This makes it easier to crochet on the go or when traveling, as everything you need is neatly stored in one place.

Interchangeable crochet hooks can also be cost-effective in the long run. While the initial investment may be higher than buying individual hooks, over time, you’ll save money by not having to purchase multiple hooks separately. Additionally, these hooks are often made from high-quality materials, ensuring durability and longevity for years of crocheting enjoyment.

The type of crochet hook you choose ultimately depends on your preference and the project you are working on. Experimenting with different hooks can help you find the perfect crochet hook that suits your style and comfort. Explore the beautiful world of crochet hooks; search Etsy, Amazon Handmade, or Instagram to support other crafters!