Crochet stitches: the basics
Chain stitch (ch)
Crochet nearly always starts with a series of chain stitches. These stitches form the basis of the work, called a foundation chain. Here's how to get started...
Make a loop
To start to crochet you need to create a loop on the hook. Form the yarn into a loop, positioning the ball end of the yarn behind the loop (fig 1).
Holding the hook like a pencil, insert it through the centre of the loop and catch the yarn strand behind the loop with a crochet hook (fig 2).
Draw the yarn through the loop to create a loop around the hook (fig 3).
Pull the tail end of the yarn in the opposite direction to tighten the new loop around the hook (fig 4)
Make a foundation chain
To cast on in crochet you will need to make a foundation chain. Catch the tail end of the yarn between your thumb and forefinger and hold it firmly (fig 5).
Catch the ball end of the yarn with the hook, by passing the hook over and under the yarn in a twisting motion as shown by the arrow (fig 6).
Draw the yarn now wrapped around the hook through the loop on the hook to make a chain. Hold the end of the chain with your other hand to create sufficient tension until the chain reaches your required length. (fig 6b)
Working basic stitches in rows
When you turn your crochet work at the end of a row, in order to start the next row you will need to add a specific number of chain stitches, called turning chains, to bring the work into the right position to create stitches for the next row. The list below gives the number of turning chains required for the various basic crochet stitches:
• Slip stitch – 1ch • Double crochet – 1ch • Treble – 3ch
Slip stitch is the easiest stitch and is usually used as an edging or joining stitch. To work a slip stitch on a foundation chain, insert the hook into the second chain from the hook, catch the yarn with the hook and draw it through the chain and the loop on the hook to complete the stitch (fig 7).
When your work is complete, cut the thread about 7cm from the work. Pass the loose end through the one remaining loop on the hook and pull tightly. Darn the loose ends into the wrong side of the work using a blunt ended needle.