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Learning to crochet is an incredibly fulfilling pastime. This age-old craft lets you create beautiful projects with your own special touch. You can decorate your home, add to your wardrobe, or donate to charities.

As with any creative enterprise, you’ll discover many techniques and hacks in your crocheting journey. With these tips and some practice, you’ll learn what works best for you. In a short time, you’ll amaze yourself and others with your handmade, practical creations.

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Gear up for success

The crochet world is replete with types and sizes of hooks, and styles and colors of yarn, not to mention countless accessories. To get started, though, you’ll only need a few things, which are easily found individually and in kits in craft departments or online:

  • A ball or skein of size 4 — worsted weight — yarn
  • An aluminium size H-9 (5.5mm) crochet hook
  • Scissors
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Newbie yarn tips

Acrylic yarn will glide easily on your hook, so it’s a good choice for beginners. With lighter colors, you’ll be able to see your stitches better and know where to insert your hook as you work. Check your yarn label for the suggested hook size; most size-4 yarns recommend H-9 hooks.

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Learning the lingo

Understanding crochet terms and abbreviations will make the process of learning less intimidating. You’ll find slight variations with older patterns and UK crocheters. Expect to see these expressions often:

  • ch(s) = chain(s)
  • dc = double crochet
  • hdc or half dc = half double crochet
  • pm = place marker
  • rep = repeat
  • sc = single crochet
  • sk - skip, as in skipping a stitch
  • st(s) - stitch(es)
  • yo = yarn over
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Holding your hook

Hold your crochet hook in your dominant hand like a pencil. Place your thumb and index finger at the indentation in the middle, the finger hold, and relax your hand as much as possible. You may want to slide your third finger towards the tip for greater control and comfort. Keep your hook turned slightly towards you, not facing straight upward or downward.

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The slip knot

Most crochet projects begin with a slip knot on the hook, so this step is essential to master. This method just uses your fingers. Pull about six inches of yarn from your skein or ball. Wrap the yarn twice around the index finger of your less dominant hand, leaving about five inches hanging.

Pull the back loop on your index finger over the front loop. Now, pull the new back loop over your finger, keeping the other loop on your finger. Insert your hook into the loop and tighten slightly, not too snugly.

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Foundation chain

A foundation chain of stitches usually forms the edge of a project. It resembles a braid and builds stitches from a piece of yarn. Practicing this chain will help you learn to keep your tension or gauge consistent. With the slip knot on your hook, loop your working yarn over the hook from the back to front. Hold the knot with your less dominant hand. Pull the hook through the hole of the slip knot. Make more stitches in the same manner, looping yarn over the hook and pulling the hook through the hole of the stitch on the hook.

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Single crochet

The single crochet stitch is the most basic of all crochet stitches. After completing your foundation chain, insert your hook through the first chain from the crochet hook (you'll be working back up the chain you just made). Yarn over by wrapping the working yarn over the hook while holding the hook in place.

Pull the hook through the first chain to get two loops on the hook. Yarn over; pull the hook through the two loops to complete your first single crochet. Repeat these steps with all the foundation stitches.

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Half double crochet

Another basic crochet stitch is the half double crochet. Create your foundation chain and yarn over. Insert the hook into the second chain from the hook. Yarn over and pull through the chain to get three loops on the hook. Yarn over once more. Now, pull through all three loops on the hook. You’ve completed your first half double crochet.

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Double crochet

The double crochet is the third basic stitch used in many patterns. Once you’ve finished forming your foundation chain to your desired length, yarn over and insert the hook into the second chain from the hook. Yarn over to get three loops.

Yarn over again to get four loops; pull the hook through two loops. Yarn over once more to get three loops; pull the hook through two loops. You have finished your first double crochet stitch (basically two hdcs on a single stitch).

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Yes, you can crochet

Young or not so young, left- or right-handed, you can cultivate the skill of crocheting. Craft stores offer classes, and you’ll find countless picture and video tutorials online. Take the time to practice stitches until you’re comfortable executing each one. Explore different styles of hooks and yarns.

Realize that mistakes are inevitable, even with long-time crocheters. You may have to frog or rip out your work, but it’s part of learning. Embrace the challenge, and enjoy your crocheting adventure.

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Disclaimer

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