A note about tension and project sizing:
Everyone creates tension in their work in a different way...none of them right or wrong, just different. The important thing is that you keep this in mind while you are practicing and in the future when you follow a pattern. There will be times when you see someone else's work and wonder why theirs looks different than yours...it's all about the tension, yarn type, and pattern interpretation. Here is an example of what I mean:
When you start using patterns (which some of you will probably be tempted to jump straight into after learning to chain), your tension, hook size, and yarn type will all affect the outcome of your project. Your pattern will tell you a recommended yarn type and hook size. It is then up to you to create a "gauge" or sample (per your pattern's instructions) to see if the yarn and hook you have chosen, along with your own unique tension that you have now become comfortable with, match the gauge of the pattern. For example, it may say that if you chain 12 and create 4 rows of single crochet, it should be X inches wide and X inches tall. If your sample does NOT equal that of the pattern gauge, you will need to adjust your hook, yarn, or tension to match the gauge which will enable your sizing to match that of the pattern. So, although it takes time and it's very tempting to skip making your gauge, it is VERY important to do so if you want your project sizing to be correct.
Now, let's move on and learn our first stitch. For the beginning crochet series that we are on right now, we are only going to be learning 4 basic stitches:
1. Single crochet
2. Double crochet
3. Treble crochet (sometimes called triple)
4. Half-double crochet
We will be using the US versions of these stitches but keep in mind that if you pick up a pattern that is written in the UK, you may be making the wrong stitch as their terminology is the same but may refer to different stitches. I found this little chart you can refer to if you do pick up a pattern written in the UK and need to convert it to the US version. We will also be learning some crochet terminology along the way so you can begin to learn to follow those patterns.
STEP 5 - Make a new foundation chain (ch)
Choose your hook and yarn, make your slip knot, and start by making a foundation chain. Let's chain 50. For me, using an I hook (my favorite), I will get a chain of about 12". We will be crocheting enough rows to make a square. If we do this with all of our 4 beginning stitches we can sew them together to make a couple of throw pillows when we are finished (or just rip them out and save our yarn for a different project).
We are almost ready to start our single crochet. First, since we are making a square we will want to keep our work uniform and on the right track so we will need to count our stitches as we crochet. Counting our stitches helps us make sure we haven't missed any or made 2 in the same stitch. In order to keep our 50 stitches (nice round number) and since we can't crochet in chain #50 (because it's on our hook), we are going to chain 1 more for a total of 51 chains. Now we are ready to go!
Step 6 - Single crochet (sc)
Before we begin, take a close look at your chain and the loop that is on your hook. The loop on your hook does not count as a stitch. The next loop is considered to be the first stitch from your hook. You will notice that this stitch has the loop on your hook running through the middle of it. You would not normally crochet in this stitch. Most patterns begin with crocheting in the 2nd stitch from the hook. Next, look at the stitches in the chain. You will notice that there are 3 pieces of yarn that make up each chain...one on the top and 2 on the bottom. You will be inserting your hook, front to back, under the top piece of yarn. Note: some instructions tell you to insert your hook under the top 2 pieces of yarn. This is perfectly fine and is totally your own preference. In this video, you will see her demonstrate the technique by inserting the hook under the top 2 pieces.
Okay...now it's time to do your first single crochet (sc). Insert your hook (front to back) in the second chain from your hook. Now hook the yarn and pull it back through the chain which makes a 2nd loop on your hook. Hook the yarn again and pull through both loops on your hook. CONGRATULATIONS! You just made your first SINGLE CROCHET!!!
Notes and terminology. How you hook that yarn to pull through does not matter...you can go under and pull it through or over and pull it through. It all ends up the same. I personally find it easier to insert my hook under the yarn to pull it through. No matter how you hook it, the terminology in patterns will be "yarn over" (yo).
Now, finish doing single crochets all the way down to the end of the row. You should have 50 single crochets when you are done.
NEW TECHNIQUE! Every time you finish a row, in order to make your work uniform and pretty and square for your new throw pillow, you will have to turn your work and raise it up to the level of the next row. For a single crochet (sc) you will chain 1 then turn. Now, look at your stitches again. They all now (and from now on) have 2 pieces of yarn on the top as part of the stitch. Starting again in the 2nd chain from the hook, you will insert your hook under both of these yarn pieces. Repeat the single crochet in each stitch across and you are on your way. Keep crocheting away until you have a square.
NOTE: If you were making this row in a pattern, it would look like this:
*Ch 1 to turn. Starting in 2nd ch from hook, sc across.*
Repeat from * until you have a square.
Happy hooking...see you next installment!