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Sunday, August 02, 2009

Learning Crochet Stitches


Whether you're learning to crochet or more advanced, everything crocheted starts with a slip knot. Form a circle with the yarn, leaving a tail. Place the skein end of the yarn behind the circle and pull up a loop through the front. Tighten it, somewhat, by pulling the tail. Place the loop over your hook and tighten the loop by pulling the skein end of the yarn. You should still be able to slide the loop off the hook easily.

Learning to crochet basically involves six main stitches:

Chain stitch - ch
Slip stitch - sl
Single crochet - sc
Half-double crochet - hdc
Double crochet - dc
Treble (or triple) crochet - tc

Crochet patterns are based on various combinations of these six stitches. But before you get started, you'll need to know how to hold the yarn and the hook properly.

The most common way to hold a crochet hook is like a knife or a pen in your dominant hand. Your other hand will guide your yarn to help you maintain the proper tension while your stitching. Consistent tension is key to having stitches that are the same size and shape. Most crocheters wrap the yarn around their index finger, while others will use more than one finger to anchor the yarn. Try it either way is most comfortable for you. You will figure out which method of holding the yarn works best for you.

Basic Crochet Stitches

Chain stitch. The chain stitch is the foundation for any project. It is used to form the base of the first row of a pattern.
To get started, tie a slip knot. Leave a loop just big enough to pass the head of your crochet hook through easily.
Insert the hook into the loop, then wrap your yarn once over the hook and pull it through the loop. This is your first chain stitch. Congratulations! Repeat this process until you have the desired number of chain stitches for your project. Make sure you can see daylight through each chain or you may not be able to ge the hook through the next row.

Now that you know how to make a chain stitch, there is no reason you can't learn the other crochet stitches. Crochet stitches are all formed the same way - yarn over hook and pull through loops. When you begin the next row of stitches it is usually best to pass your hook through the V-shaped side of the chain stitch unless otherwise directed in the pattern.

Slip stitch. The slip stitch is used to connect two pieces of crocheted work together or to form a circle (for crocheting in the round or making a granny square).
To make a slip stitch, insert your crochet hook into the first stitch at the opposite end of your chain or row. Pull yarn over the hook, then pull the hook back through the stitch along with the yarn loop. Now, the two ends are connected. This stitch is also used to form a finished edge around your project.

Single crochet. To form this stitch, insert your hook into the stitch next to it. Yarn over the hook once and pull it through the stitch. Yarn over the hook again and pull through both loops. Your first single crochet stitch is done. See how easy this is!!!!

Half-double crochet. To make a half-double crochet, yarn over the hook and insert it into the next stitch. Then, yarn over the hook again and pull it through the stitch. You now have 3 loops on your hook. Yarn over the hook and pull through all 3 loops on the hook. A half-double crochet makes a dense fabric. I like to use it for scarves and mittens.

Double crochet. For the double crochet stitch, yarn over the hook and insert hook into the next stitch. Once the hook is through the stitch, yarn over again and pull through the stitch. There are now 3 loops on your hook. Yarn over the hook and pull it through the first two loops on the hook. This leaves 2 loops on your hook. Yarn over the hook and pull through the two remaining loops on the hook. Voila, a double crochet stitch.

Treble or triple crochet. The treble or triple crochet stitch is the tallest stitch of these basic stitches. Using this stitch for afghans will make your work quick and easy. To make a treble or triple crochet stitch, yarn over the hook twice before inserting the hook into the next stitch. Then yarn over the hook again and pull through the stitch. This will leave 4 loops on the hook. Yarn over the hook and pull through the first two loops on the hook, repeat until you only have one loop left on the hook. You've made a treble or triple crochet stitch.


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