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Knitting & Crochet Tips and Techniques

  • Learn to Chain Stitch

    The chain is the basic unit for all crochet stitches. Repeated chain stitches form the foundations chain, which looks like a series of Vs. All crochet work is started from this foundation chain.

    For practice, use a Boye G aluminum crochet hook and knitting worsted weight yarn.

    1. Grasp crochet hook in right hand between thumb and middle finger, with index finger resting near tip of hook. Or if you prefer, hold hook like a pencil (see figure 1).

    image of holding crochet hook like one would hold a pencil

    2. To begin, make a slop loop (knot) several inches from yarn end.

    image of slop loop knot

    3. Place on crochet hook and pull up.

    image of slop loop knot pulled taught against crochet hook

    4. With palm of left hand facing up, place yarn from skein over and around little finger, over 4th and middle fingers, and under and over index finger. Hold slop loop and yarn between thumb and middle fingers.

    image of hand position for crocheting

    For chain stitch: Bring yarn over hook and draw through loop, making first chain stitch. Continue making chain stitches, moving index finger as you work to control tension and yarn movement. Move thumb and fingers of left hand up the chain (keep fingers close to hook) as you work. Practice until you reach an evenness of tension, rhythm, and stitch appearance (see figures 5 & 6).

    image of yarn within crochet hook
    image of position of hand, yarn, and crochet needle to make chain stitch

    For foundation chain: Chain the required length or number of stitches. When counting number of chain stitches, never include the loop on your hook (it's part of next stitch).

    image of numbering stitches on foundation chain

  • Learn to Single Crochet

    This is the shortest of the basic crochet pattern stitches. Crochet should be worked firmly, evenly, and with medium tension. For practice, use a Boye G aluminum crochet hook and knitting worsted weight yarn.

    To begin, make a foundation chain of 12 stitches. Skip first chain stitch and insert hook into 2nd stitch. Hook should go under top two loops, under the V of each stitch.

    image of hook inserted into 2nd stitch

    For single crochet: Yarn over hook and draw loop through stitch, 2 loops now on hook.

    image of hook drawn through stitch, creating 2 loops of yarn

    Yarn over hook and draw loop through both loops on hook, 1 loop remains on hook. One single crochet is make.

    image of hook pulling yarn through 2 loops

    Work one single crochet in each stitch across row, making sure foundation chain is kept flat and Vs are facing you. At end of foundation chain, complete single crochet stitch and chain one (this counts as 1st single crochet of next row and gives necessary row height for proper gauge.

    image of row of crochet in each stitch of foundation chain across row

    Turn work. Insert hook into second stitch of previous row. Hook should go under top two loops of each stitch. Work one single crochet in each stitch across row.

    For practice, repeat last row. To fasten off stitches at end of row, make a chain stitch. Pull tight, cut yarn end, leaving short tail.

    image of turning work

  • Learn to Slip Stitch

    The slip stitch is the most versatile crochet stitch. It is used to join work, fasten off stitches, reinforce an edge, or carry yarn to a different working position. Also, it adds very little height. For practice, use a Boye G aluminum crochet hook and knitting worsted weight yarn.

    To begin, make a foundation chain of 12 stitches (try to work loosely). Skip first chain stitch and insert hook into 2nd stitch. Hook goes through top loop of each chain, in the middle of the V.

    image of hook inserted into 2nd stitch

    For slip stitch: Yarn over hook and draw loop through the chain stitch and the loop on hook, leaving one new loop on hook (see figure 2 & 3).

    image of pulling yarn through chain stitch and loop on hook

    Repeat slip stitches across row. At end of foundation chain, make one chain stitch and turn work.


    Insert hook into second stitch of previous row. Hook should go under top two loops (under the V) of each stitch. Work slop stitches across row.

    For practice, repeat last row. To fasten off stitches at end of row, make a chain stitch. Pull tight, cut yarn end, leaving short tail.


  • Helpful Information on Crocheting


    Instructions will indicate what type of yarn to use. Always purchase all yarn for a project at one time. Check each label for the same yarn content and dye lot number (a different shade can be disastrous). The types of yarn are classified by weight (not number of ply) as follows:


    Baby or fingering weight yarn

    Lightest weight and fine.


    Sport weight yarn

    Light weight-about twice the thickness of baby or fingering weight yarn; many fashion yarns are in this category.


    Worsted weight yarn

    Medium weight-about twice the thickness of sport weight yarn; most commonly used yarn and widely available.


    Bulky weight yarn or rug yarn

    Heavy weight-about twice the size of worsted weight yarn.


    Memorize these crochet abbreviations, plus the following symbols and terms, as you will be using them in all pattern instructions for crocheting.

    begbegin(ning) rnd(s)round(s)
    ch(s)chain(s) scsingle crochet(s)
    dcdouble crochet skskip
    decdecrease(-ing) slslip(s)
    hdchalf double crochet(s) sl st(s)slip stitch(es)
    incincrease (-ing) sp(s)space(s)
    lp(s)loop(s) skstitch(es)
    pattpattern togtogether
    remremaining trtriple crochet(s)
    reprepeat(ing) yoyarn over




    After working the instructions following the asterisk once, repeat these same instructions the specified number of times.


    () parentheses

    Work the instructions in the parentheses the exact number of times specified.



    Work even or work straight

    Continue working without either increasing or decreasing.



    A pattern stitch is based on a specific number (multiple) of stitches that are needed to complete one pattern unit.

    Metric Equivalents

    Comparison of ounces (oz.) and grams (gm.)(slightly rounded off)

    oz.1/211 1/21 3/422 1/233 1/24
    gm.14284250 577185100113

    Comparison of inches (in.) and centimeters (cm.) (slightly rounded off)


    Metric Equivalents for Boye® Hooks

    Regular Crochet Hooks


    Steel Crochet Hooks


  • Learn to Check Gauge

    Gauge is a most important lesson, for if you do not attain the number of stitches and rows per inch as specified at the beginning of the pattern, your crochet project will not be the correct size. Imagine how disappointing it will be if the garment you are making turns out to be too large or too small, not to mention the many precious hours of work, plus cost of materials, that are wasted! Being off gauge even a half a stitch per inch can make a difference of several inches on the finished piece. Be sure to follow gauge exactly.

    To check gauge:

    Crochet a sample swatch using the specified hook and yarn. Work the number of stitches and rows to measure a 4" square. Place swatch on a flat surface being certain not to stretch it as you measure 2" in both directions, marking positions with pins. Count the number of stitches and rows. If your gauge doesn't correspond to the one given, change hook size and work another swatch. If you have more stitches per inch than specified, try a larger size hook. Continue testing until you achieve the specified gauge.

    Use whatever size hook will give you the correct gauge regardless of the size specified in the pattern!

    These Two Swatches Are Exactly The Same Size! Or are they? These two swatches were made by two different crocheters. They used the same yarn, the same size hook and the same number of stitches. Note the difference in size! If they each made a sweater following the same pattern and using the hook indicated in that pattern the sweaters would be very different sizes.

    image of two crocheted swatches

    No two crocheters work alike. The pattern writer does not crochet exactly as you do! The only way to guarantee the fit is to check your gauge. Remember: Use whatever size hook will give you the correct gauge regardless of the size specified in the pattern!

  • Finishing Techniques for Needlework

    Although finishing takes time and is tedious to do, it is most important if a professional-looking crochet project is to be achieved.

    Weaving in Ends

    Thread yarn end of finished piece into a yarn needle and weave through stitches along a side edge or along a row of crochet for several inches on wrong side until hidden and secure.

    image of yarn threaded through yarn needle


    Not all crochet pieces need blocking. You will find with experience that wool yarns may need more steaming and shaping than man-made yarns. Some man-made fibers may require no blocking at all. A light steaming of the seams may be all that is needed. Always check the yarn label for specific instructions for laundering or blocking before proceeding. Do not block ribbing or raised pattern stitches.

    To block, place each crocheted piece down on a padded surface with wrong side facing up or correct sides together if identical pieces are being blocked together. Use Boye® rust-proof T-pins if needed to hold edges in place. Cover with a damp cloth and press lightly with steam or dry iron at moderate setting. The weight of the iron should never rest on the material. Remove cloth, allowing pieces to dry thoroughly before removing.

    Joining Pieces

    There are several basic methods to use when joining seams. Whichever method you decide to use, always sew with matching yarn and keep edges even, matching rows and stitches, colors and pattern stitches.

    image of how to weave seams of crochet piecesTo weave seams together, use a Boye® yarn needle threaded with a length of yarn. Hold edges side by side with right side of each piece facing up. Pass threaded needle through first stitch of left edge and then through first stitch of right edge. Pass needle through next stitch on left edge and then through next stitch on right edge. Alternate weaving from edge to edge in this manner, carefully matching rows and stitches until completed. Keep seam slightly loose and elastic for best results. This method is most commonly used since it produces a flat, almost invisible seam.

    To make a back stitch seam, thread yarn length into a Boye® yarn needle. Pin pieces with right sides together and sew with small, loose back stitches (see illustration 3). The seam should have the same stretchability as the crocheted piece itself.

    image of back stitch

    To make a slip stitch seam, use a Boye® crochet hook the same size as used in the project. Pin edges together and loosely slip stitch seams together.

    image of slip stitch used to join pieces of crocheted fabric


    Cut strands of yarn the length specified in pattern instructions. Hold number of strands specified for one knot of fringe together and fold in half. Use a Boye® crochet hook and pull folded end through edge to be fringed from right to wrong side (see illustration 5). Draw loose ends through folded end (see illustration 6). Pull knot up securely. Continue making knots in this manner until edge(s) is completely fringed, then trim ends evenly.

    image of fringe image of fringe in crochet hook


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