How to Crochet – a Beginners Guide

Janne Kleivset
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If you want to learn how to crochet, this beginners guide is perfect for you.

Through this beginners guide to crochet I’m going to teach you all the necessary skills you need to learn as a crochet beginner.

With 14 carefully thought through bite sized steps, you will learn how to advance and finish your first crochet project in no time. Crocheting scarves, blankets, hats, headbands and even crochet garments won’t be impossible after learning how to crochet.

Dive into each of the steps one by one, and you’ll not be overwhelmed by everything you need to learn to know how to crochet.

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What Is Crochet?

Crochet is a yarn craft using yarn and a crochet hook to make fabrics out of yarn.

With crochet patterns you can create all kinds of finished pieces like: Scarves, blankets, hats, headbands, garments and so much more.

Materials Needed To Learn How To Crochet

When you are going to learn how to crochet there are a few tools and materials you will need.

The most important is to have a crochet hook and some yarn, however as you advance you may also need additional supplies.

Crochet Hook & Yarn

To learn how to crochet you can use any crochet hook size and yarn.

It doesn’t matter if you use cotton yarn, wool yarn or acrylic yarn and you don’t need many skeins of yarn. Just some leftover yarn is enough.

If it is you first project, I suggest trying size:

The exact yarn weight and crochet hook size doesn’t matter, but the experience for a beginner improves if you have a crochet hook and yarn that match fairly well.

Many beginners like to use medium-weight yarns.

If you have just one hook and yarn, use what you have!

Related: Learn more about choosing crochet hooks & yarn weights here.

Additional Tools and Supplies You Need To Crochet

In addition the crochet hook and yarn, these are common tools and supplies you will need as you advance:

What You Will Learn In The Beginners Guide To Crochet

To make learning how to crochet as easy as possible I have split this beginners guide into 14 quick steps with detailed step-by-step instructions. You don’t have to do all of them on the same day, and you can easily jump pack into where you left off at a later date.

The 14 steps to learn how to crochet are:

  1. Make a Slip Knot
  2. How To Hold The Crochet Hook & Place The Yarn It
  3. Learn How To Hold The Yarn & The Yarn Over
  4. Learning The Chain Stitch
  5. Counting Your Crochet Chains
  6. Learning The Single Crochet Stitch (& other Basic Crochet Stitches)
  7. Turning Your Crochet Project
  8. How To Start A Row In Crochet
  9. How To Crochet In Rows
  10. How To Crochet In Rounds
  11. Increase Crochet Stitches
  12. Decrease Crochet Stitches
  13. Weave In Ends
  14. Block Crochet Projects

Most of the steps have crochet tutorials with even more details than you can find on this page. In that way you can dive into each topic in detail & explore it until you feel comfortable with the topic.

Let’s dive into the steps of learning how to crochet!

1. Make a Slip Knot

The crochet slip knot is the first step to learning how to crochet. I have split it into 6 steps, so you can easily see the steps to take to create a slip knot in crochet.

  1. Hold the yarn in your hands between your thumb and index finger.
  2. Cross the yarn to make a loop.
  3. Place the loop in your palm.
  4. Cross the long yarn tail in front.
  5. Draw the long yarn tail through the first loop you made.
  6. Pull the long yarn tail and tighten.

For even more details see: How To Make A Slip Knot In Crocheting.

how to make a slip knot in crochet six steps Pin

2. How To Hold The Crochet Hook & Place The Yarn It

How To Hold The Crochet Hook

An important first step in crochet is learn how to hold the crochet hook. First which hand to hold the crochet hook and then try the different crochet hook grips.

What Hand To Hold Your Crochet Hook

In general it is recommended to hold the crochet hook in your dominant hand. That will be the left hand if you are left handed and the right hand if you are right handed.

You may find that most crochet pattern tutorials and instructions are shown with the crochet hook in the right hand. If you are a left handed crocheter, know that the mirrored image is what you will have to do.

Crochet Hook Grips

Like with holding pencils and pens, there are different ways to hold a crochet hook. The most common ways is the:

  • Pencil Grip: This way to hold a crochet hook is like holding a pencil. The most common way is to pinch the hook between your thumb and indec finger. The crochet hook handle is above the palm of your hand.
  • Knife Grip: With the knife grip you hold it as you would hold a knife. The crochet hook handle is below the palm of your hand.

There are also other ways to hold the crochet hook. You may see in the photos that I have an alternative way to do the pencil grip, there I don’t pinch the crochet hook with the tip of the index finger, but let the crochet hook rest on it.

As a crochet beginner I recommend that you try different grips & you’ll find what’s easiest for you with some practice.

How to Crochet - a Beginners Guide Pin

How To Place The Yarn On The Crochet Hook

Now you have your loop ready & you just have to place it on the hook. You are soon ready to start crocheting! Just finish this 3-step picture guide.

  1. Hold the crochet hook in your dominant hand.
  2. Place the slip knot onto your crochet hook, with the long yarn tail in the non-dominant hand.
  3. Pull the long yarn tail and tighten the loop on the crochet hook.

To learn more details see: How To Slip Knot in Crochet

how to place a slip knot on a crochet hook 3 steps Pin

3. Learn How To Hold The Yarn & The Yarn Over

How To Hold The Yarn

There are no right or wrong when it comes to how to hold the yarn when crocheting, but there are a few ways that are typical and you may find helpful.

  1. Hold the working yarn between the middle finger and index finger.
  2. Hold the working yarn between the middle finger and index finger, then let it go behind the middle finger and ring finger, then back to the front of the pinkie. That way you can adjust the tension of the yarn between the two smallest fingers as you crochet.
  3. Hold the working yarn between the middle finger and index finger, then let it go behind the middle finger and ring finger, then back to the front of the little finger and around it. Holding it around the little finger may be a even better way for some crocheters to adjust tension.

As you can see, each of these methods are more advanced than the next. Exactly how you hold the yarn isn’t important and you will find a way that works for you with experience.

What Is A Crochet Yarn Over?

The next step is to learn what a yarn over in crochet is.

It is the simple step of holding the yarn between the middle fingers and moving the long yarn tail behind, back and over the crochet hook to add another loop on the crochet hook.

It is used in all kinds of crochet stitches, including the crochet chain that you will learn first.

Learn more about crochet yarn overs.

How to Crochet - a Beginners Guide Pin

4. Learn The Chain Stitch

The chain stitch is the most basic stitch you need to learn. This is necessary to start most crochet projects. The chain is often abbreviated to ch in crochet patterns.

A row of chains (ch); more than one chain, will often be described as a “chain row” or “foundation row”.

To crochet a chain:

  1. Place the yarn on the crochet hook.
  2. Yarn over.
  3. Pull yarn through the loop.
  4. Repeat step 2 to crochet more chains.
how to crochet the chain in 4 steps Pin

5. Counting Your Chains

To learn how to crochet projects you have to learn how to count your crochet chains. The photo shows how to count your chains.

To learn more see: How to Chain Stitch Crochet

how to count your crochet chains Pin

6. Learn The Single Crochet Stitch (sc)

To most common crochet stitch is the Single Crochet stitch.

To learn to crochet it all you have to do is follow the 6 steps in the photo below. Repeat once to crochet one single crochet stitch.

  1. Insert crochet hook in next stitch or indicated stitch.
  2. Yarn over.
  3. Pull up a loop.
  4. Yarn over.
  5. Pull through all loops on hook.
  6. Your single crochet is finished.

For more details see: How To Crochet The Single Crochet Stitch

how to crochet the single crochet in six steps Pin

Related: Read more about US & UK crochet terms here.

More Common Crochet Stitches

There are 4 more common crochet stitches, often also known as the basic crochet stitches or beginner crochet stitches.

The stitches named single, half double, double and treble are incrementally taller than each other. While the slip stitch is more of a connecting stitch, similar to the chain stitch, but you insert your crochet hook into a stitch or chain space.

After learning the single crochet stitch, these are the next stitches most crocheters learn. If you don’t feel you’re ready to learn more stitches, skip to step 7 of this tutorial and go back to these later.

How To Half Double Crochet Stitch (hdc)

The half double crochet stitch require just 1 extra step compared to the single crochet. The yarn over at the beginning.

Learn the steps below or view a detailed step by step Half Double crochet tutorial.

Half Double Crochet Stitch in 5 Steps

  1. Yarn over
  2. Insert hook into next stitch (or space specified in pattern)
  3. Pull up a loop
  4. Yarn over
  5. Pull through all loops on hook
  6. Repeat steps 1 to 5 to make more half double crochet stitches

How To Double Crochet Stitch (dc)

The double crochet stitch require just couple of extra steps compared to the single crochet.

Learn the steps below or view a detailed step by step Double crochet tutorial.

Double Crochet Stitch in 7 Steps

  1. Yarn over: Yarn over the hook from back to front.
  2. Insert hook: Insert crochet hook in next stitch.
  3. Draw up a loop: Draw up a loop from next stitch.You have now 3 loops on hook.
  4. Yarn over: Yarn over the hook from back to front.
  5. Pull through 2 loops on hook: Pull yarn through 2 loops on hook.You now have 2 loops left on hook.
  6. Yarn over: Yarn over the hook from back to front.
  7. Pull through all loops on hook: Pull yarn through all loops on hook.

How To Treble Crochet Stitch (tr)

The treble crochet stitch require just 1 yarn over compared to the double crochet.

Learn the steps below or view a detailed step by step Treble crochet tutorial.

Treble Crochet Stitch in 9 Steps

  1. Yarn over
  2. Yarn over
  3. Pull up a loop
  4. Yarn over
  5. Pull through 2 loops on hook
  6. Yarn over
  7. Pull through 2 loops on hook
  8. Yarn over
  9. Pull through all loops on hook

Repeat step 1-9 to crochet another treble crochet stitch.

How To Slip Stitch (sl st)

The slip stitch is quite similar to the chain stitch you learned at the top of this how to learn to crochet tutorial.

The only difference is that you insert the crochet hook into a stitch first, before you yarn over and pull through both the stitch and the loop on the crochet hook.

Find a detailed step by step tutorial for the Crochet Slip Stitch.

7. Turning Your Crochet Project

After learning the most common crochet stitches, the next step is to learn how to turn your crochet project to be able to crochet multiple rows to create height in your crochet project.

It’s quite easy, but is also where you may get confused in the beginning.

After you have turned your crochet work, you will go back and crochet a new stitch into the stitches you just crocheted; the previous rows stitches.

Here’s how you turn your crochet project:

  1. After finishing 1 row of single crochet, you are ready to turn your crochet project, notice how the crochet hook are on the same place on both photo and you shouldn’t move it.
  2. Flip the crochet project forward to the left and just in a easy move you have turned your crochet project and are ready for the next row.

This is a skill you need to crochet project in rows (more on that further down). When crocheting in rounds (more on that further down as well), in most cases you will not turn your work, but you may also be instructed to turn on some crochet projects.

How to Crochet - a Beginners Guide Pin

8. How To Start A Row In Crochet

To start rows or rounds in crochet you will come across needing to know how to crochet a turning chain.

When you are starting a row or round in crochet you will in most crochet patterns do one or more chains as the first stitch (in place of).

The number of chains is often given in the crochet pattern.

To make the turn look the best you will use the number of chains that fits the height of the crochet stitch you are using.

Common number of turning chains for the basic crochet stitches:

chain 1 to start the next row Pin

9. Crochet In Rows

The next step after turning your crochet project is to learn how to crochet in rows.

When crocheting in rows you are working into the stitches from the previous row, then turning your project again as you learned in a previous step, crochet your turning chain and then working back into the stitches you made.

You will continue to do that until you have finished the number of rows given or until the crochet project has the size needed.

Crocheting in rows are one of the common ways a crochet project is constructed.

work single crochet stitches across the row Pin

10. Crochet In Rounds

In addition to crocheting in rows, you can also crochet in rounds. By crocheting in rounds the possibilities of what you can crochet without sewing (whip stitching) crochet projects together opens.

By crocheting in rounds you can crochet round flat items like a round rug, tube shaped items like crochet hats and bigger projects like crochet garments.

To crochet in rounds you have to:

  1. Make foundation chains (or foundation stitches) and crochet into each stitch.
  2. Slip stitch into first chain (or foundation stitch made).
  3. Crochet your turning chains.
  4. Crochet into each of the foundation chains until you come back to the turning chains you made.
  5. Slip stitch into the turning chains to close the round.
  6. Then start on step 3 again and repeat until your crochet project is the desired size and you have crocheted enough rounds.

11. Increase Crochet Stitches

When advancing you will run into crochet projects where you will increase stitches. By increasing stitches your crochet projects can be shaped into a various different shapes.

To increase croceth stitches, all you have to do:

  • Work more than 1 crochet stitch into the same stitch.
  • The more stitches you work into the same stitch, the more stitches you will increase.
  • When working back on the row or round the next time, you will have more stitches to crochet into.

You can also increase by crocheting multiple stitches into chain spaces, like you can learn when learning to crochet granny squares.

12. Decrease Crochet Stitches

There are many ways to decrease the number of stitches in crochet. The most common is to work the next stitches together.

You can crochet 2 stitches together to reduce the number of stitches by 1, or multiple stitches together to reduce the number of stitches even more.

The more stitches you crochet together, the more drastically the shape of the crochet piece changes.

You may also come across invisible crochet decreases, that makes the decreases less visible.

Here’s step-by-step video and photo tutorials how to decrease using basic crochet stitches:

  1. How to Single Crochet Decrease (4 Ways!)
  2. How to Half Double Crochet Decrease (4 Ways!)
  3. How to Double Crochet Decrease (4 Ways!)
  4. How to Treble Crochet Decrease (4 Ways!)

13. Fasten Off, Join Yarn & Weave In Ends

While you crochet you may end up finishing your skein of yarn and need to join another skein. Then after you finish crocheting there are two skills you need, how to fasten off and how to weave in ends.

Let me teach you!

How To Join Yarn In Crochet

When you finish one skein of yarn and need to start working with the second skein of yarn there are multiple ways you can do that.

  • Join yarn with the last yarn over of a stitch
  • The Magic Knot
  • The Russian Join
  • The Felted Join

To learn more details see the How To Join Yarn tutorial.

How To Fasten Off In Crochet

When you finish a crochet project you will have to fasten off and cut the yarn. This is to finish off the crochet project and make sure your crochet project don’t frog (unravel).

To fasten off:

  1. Cut the yarn leaving about 4-6 inches of yarn tail.
  2. Yarn over and pull the yarn tail fully through the loop on the crochet hook.
  3. Take the crochet project complete off the crochet hook and pull the yarn tail to tighten.

You have now fasten off and are ready to weave in ends to finish off your crochet project.

How to Crochet - a Beginners Guide Pin

How To Weave In Ends In Crochet

After finishing crochet projects you will have yarn ends you need to weave in. It’s best to weave them in using a yarn needle, and you should not cut them without weaving them in.

To weave in yarn ends you need to:

  1. Thread a yarn end onto the needle.
  2. Make sure the yarn end is on the back of your crochet project, if not, move it to the wrong side.
  3. With the needle, go through the crochet stitches carefully. Try doing it in way where you can’t see where you weaved in the yarn tails. If it shows a little, it’s ok, since it after all is on the wrong side of your finished piece.
  4. Weave the yarn ends in in all 4 directions, sideways, up, sideways in the opposite direction and downwards. By doing that, you reduce the chance of the yarn tails unraveling fully.
  5. After going in different directions, cut the yarn tail close to the finished crochet piece.

There’s another way of weaving in ends that may save you some time, that you can use on bigger crochet projects: How To Save Hours Weaving In Ends.

After weaving in ends you have one optional final step to finish your crochet project!

14. Block Crochet Projects

When you finish crocheting all kinds of crochet projects, some may require that you block them.

Blocking crochet projects is simply a way to shape them before you start using them. In that way the finished crochet piece looks better.

As an example, a crocheted square will have even cleaner edges after it is blocked.

There are many ways to block crochet projects, but an easy way is:

  1. Grab a blocking mat.
  2. Place the crochet piece onto the blocking mat.
  3. Pin the piece to blocking mat in the shape you want.
  4. Spray the crocheted piece with lukewarm/room temperature water.
  5. Let it lay pinned down until it’s completely dry.
  6. Remove the pins and your crochet project is ready to use.

Some prefer to wet the crochet piece completely instead of spraying it with water. Try the different methods yourself and you’ll find your favorite.

Learn more about blocking crochet projects.

How to Crochet - a Beginners Guide Pin

Washing Crochet Projects

If you need to wash crochet projects after you have used them, you may also find you need to reshape them to make them look as good as possible.

Wash them carefully and read the yarn label for washing instructions.

Then lay the newly washed crochet project on a towel, and shape it. Let it lay flat to dry.

You Have Finished The Beginners Guide To Crochet – What Now?

After you have learned how to crochet, there are multiple ways to keep increasing your crochet skill level. Below you can find many ways to explore the world of crochet.

Learn How To Read A Crochet Pattern

The next logical step is to learn how to read a crochet pattern.

Reading crochet patterns can be challenging when you’re a complete beginner, however it doesn’t require a lot to become a confident.

Crochet patterns include a lot of crochet abbreviations, but by learning a few of the most common ones you will quickly recognize stitches.

Find a full tutorial on how to read crochet patterns.

Beginner Crochet Patterns

An obvious way to continue to learn how to crochet is to try a beginner crochet pattern.

Beginner skill level crochet patterns generally include beginner crochet stitches only. They also don’t require lots of complex shaping.

Try beginner crochet patterns.

How to Crochet - a Beginners Guide Pin

Learn About Crochet Tension and Gauge

When crocheting you will come across the terms tension an gauge. This refers back to how much area one crochet stitch takes up. How tall and how wide it is.

If you are going to crochet something wearable, like a crochet hat or garment, the crochet gauge given in the crochet pattern needs to match or be quite similar to yours.

Before you start crocheting a big project, it is recommended that you test the gauge. To test the gauge you have to:

  1. Find the gauge given in the crochet pattern.
  2. Crochet a square that are a little bigger than 10 cm / 4 inches with the stitch given.
  3. Measure to see if you fit the same amount of rows and stitches within your square as the given gauge.

Learn more about why a gauge swatch is important & try our hand gauge calculator.

Explore More Beginner Crochet Stitches

You can also learn more of the beginner crochet stitches. In addition to the single crochet stitch, half double crochet stitch, double crochet stitch and treble crochet stitch, there are taller beginner stitches you can learn.

These are:

These are worked the same way as the other stitches, but require one extra yarn over each.

Foundation Crochet Stitches

To start crochet stitches you have learned how to crochet a foundation chain with chain stitches.

However there are a set of crochet stitches called foundation crochet stitches. These are used to start crochet projects where you crochet the chains and the first row of stitches at the same time.

This results in a more stretchy foundation than if you crochet regular chains.

These are the most common foundation crochet stitches:

Learning how to crochet foundation stitches is a great way to expand your crochet knowledge.

How to Crochet - a Beginners Guide Pin

Learn Alternative Ways To Crochet Basic Stitches

The common way to crochet all the basic crochet stitches is to work into either the whole stitch or into a chain space.

However as you start to expand your crochet knowledge after you learn how to crochet, you may come across alternative ways to crochet basic crochet stitches.

Two of the most common is:

These are both great ways to add more texture to your crochet projects and creating a completely new look without advancing too much.

Explore Easy Crochet Stitch Patterns

If you feel ready, you can now learn how to crochet easy crochet stitch patterns.

Crochet stitch patterns are a combination of the basic crochet stitches put in a system to create textures, lace and patterns.

There are many easy stitch patterns to try, that are easy enough for beginners to learn. Common for these are the fact that they don’t have to many rows to repeat and are an easy combination to remember.

Try Easy Crochet Stitch Patterns.

Try New Crochet Techniques

Next on the list to expand your crochet knowledge is to try different crochet techniques. In this list you can find detailed step by step tutorials to many fun and amazing crochet techniques:

Easy Crochet Patterns

By now you may feel ready to try easy skill level crochet patterns.

These crochet patterns require more shaping and details than the beginner patterns.

With easy crochet patterns you have more crochet patterns available & your confidence will grow as you finish more and more of them.

Next Steps

After going through all the different tips & tricks above you have for sure learned how to crochet.

Grab your crochet hook, and find a free crochet pattern to enjoy!

Happy Crocheting!

Janne Kleivset

Janne Kleivset

Founder, Crochet Pattern Designer & Owner of Joy of Motion Crochet.

Janne has helped millions of crocheters find their next crochet project with more than 250 free crochet patterns and 110 crochet tutorials on her blog.

With more than two decades of crochet experience, and crochet designing since 2011, she's been featured on multiple prominent sites such as Lion Brand Yarn, in crochet magazines and the OML "Make" book.

Learn more about Janne.


Sheets included: Hook sizes, Yarn weights, Crochet Hook for Yarn Weight, US vs UK Terms, Crochet Chart Symbols

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