I've been a crochet fan for years. Back before I started making soaps and designing fragrances, I was looking for something new to learn, and I came across knitting videos. My hands shake, so knitting didn't work out very well. But it led me to crochet.
I love the variety of stitches and patterns possible once you learn the basics. So that's what I am going to show you today.
To get started, you need at least one partial skein of yarn and a crochet hook. I'd suggest a worsted weight yarn and at least a size G hook. Both are easy to find and inexpensive. Most any craft store or even the craft section at Walmart will have them.
The first thing you will need to do is prepare your yarn. You can roll your yarn into balls either by hand or using a machine, but I've found it easiest to simply find the strand leading from the center since most skeins are center pull skeins. Some get tangled toward the end of the skein, and I'll hand roll those. However, tangling isn't a big issue most of the time, and almost never before you reach the point where only 1/4 of the skein is left. Using the center pull just saves time and headache.
We're going to start by making a slip knot. You need to make a loop in your yarn. Lay the loop over the strand of yarn. Then you grasp the strand and pull it up through the loop. The resulting loop can be enlarged by pulling on one strand and tightened by pulling the other.
Put your loop onto your hook and tighten it loosely around the hook. Then grasp your yarn as shown below.
The pictures didn't turn out the best, so if you can't see, the yarn leading from my skein is threaded up through my palm and then loops around the backside of my index finger. I'm just barely holding the yarn leading to the skin to my palm with my ring and pinky fingers, and I'm holding the slip knot I made between my middle finger and thumb.
Now I'm going to show you how to chain.
Use the middle finger and thumb of your left hand to hold the knot you made before, and just barely touch your ring finger to the yarn strand. You do not have to hold it tight at all. Just barely graze it.
Take your hook under and around your working yarn, that bit between your hook and index finger. Hook your yarn and pull it through the loop.
It might help to rotate your hook to where the hook itself points downward toward the knot. This can help prevent the yarn from pulling free of the hook, especially when you're getting started.
Now you have one chain stitch! Keep your hold on the knot with your middle finger and thumb, and repeat the last step again.
You can move your middle finger and thumb hold up the chain as needed. Keep repeating the last step until you have the number of chain stitches you require.
For the purposes of this tutorial, I will be making a wash cloth, so I'm going to chain 35.
Now you're ready to try a single crochet stitch, which is the simplest stitch after chaining.
Start by finding the first stitch on your foundation chain.
Insert your hook into the foundation chain as shown below.
Yarn over, or hook your yarn, and pull it through the loop. You should now have two loops on your hook.
Yarn over again and pull it through both loops.
You've made your first single crochet stitch! Repeat this process until you've made a single stitch in each loop of your foundation chain.
Above is an image of what the last stitch in your foundation chain should look like. Work one final single crochet stitch in the opening pointed out by the arrow. When you're done, your work should look like the second picture.
Don't worry if your first row curls a little as you go. This is fairly normal and will straighten out as you add length to your work. Just smooth it out with your fingers as you work the next row, so you don't skip a stitch or work two stitches in one.
Now let's learn how to turn our work and make a new row. Start by chaining one. This will give you enough room to turn your work and provide the height of your first stitch.
Find the first stitch of the new row.
Insert your hook into the first stitch and make a single crochet stitch.
Then just keep going until you reach the end of the row and repeat this process until you've reached the desired length of your project. As an example, I'm making a wash cloth, so I will crochet 25 rows of single stitch crochet to create a square cloth.
Once you've made the last stitch, pull your hook up to make a fair sized loop. Then cut the yarn and pull the rest of the yarn up until it is clear of the stitches.
Thread the end of your yarn through a tapestry needle and weave the ends in to secure. Avoid knotting the yarn since this will make a hard spot within your work. Repeat this step with the tail at the starting end of your project.
And you're done!
Simply wash your new wash cloth and allow it to dry. That should soften up any stiff yarn and nix any remaining propensity for curling at the edges since it will make the stitches relax a bit. Acrylic yarn shouldn't bleed or felt when washed in the washing machine or dried on regular cycles. Cotton yarn should work well for that too, but it might bleed if you used a vivid color. More delicate yarns will need to be hand washed and dried flat to avoid felting, stretching, and shrinking.
These are just the first two most basic stitches involved in crochet and a very simple project. There's much more to learn if you'd like. If you enjoyed this tutorial, found it helpful, and would like to see more on this topic, comment below and let me know.