Rhinestic's Knick Knacks

Friday, October 17, 2008

O' Crafty Day - #4 Crochet Basics 1

As of now, Crafty Tuesday is changed to O' Crafty Day!

Okay, today I'll be touching on part 1 of some crochet basics.
Below is a list of what I'll be going through:
- How to start crocheting?
- The single crochet stitch
- Bind-off

How to start crocheting?

The most basic things you need before you could even start would be yarn, an appropriately-sized hook and a tapestry needle. To know the size of the hook you should use, check the hook/needle size that's printed on the packaging of your yarn, just like the example below.

Once you have all the materials, the next step you need to know is to learn how to start off a crochet piece. For this Basics 1 lesson, you'll just be learning how to crochet simple rectangular pieces with the single crochet stitch.

To start off, you need to know how to do a slip knot. Found a video on youtube which is perfect for learning the slip knot.

In our case, you would be hanging the loop of the slip knot onto a crochet hook like this:

Next, you need to learn to hold the working end of your yarn in a position most comfortable and convenient for you. I hold it this way:

Holding the yarn this way, for me, allows the yarn to have a certain tension and yet not too tight. This allows the working yarn to be drawn from continuously from the ball of yarn. As for the hook itself, I hold it like a pencil.

To begin a rectangular crochet piece, you need to start with chain stitches. This will give the foundation base for your single crochet stitches. To do a chain stitch, you need to loop the working yarn around your crochet hook like so (also called yarn over.. follow the red arrow):

And you pull that through the loop that was created from the slip knot (follow that green arrow in the above picture..). This creates the 2nd chain. The loop that was created from the slip knot is counted as the 1st chain.

You create more chains in this manner till the length or width you want. For this tutorial, we'll do about 15 to 20 chains.

The single crochet stitch

You need to pinpoint where the 2nd last chain from the hook is:

You then insert your hook through this chain, and pull your working yarn through this chain.

You then do a loop of your working yarn around the hook (Yarn Over) like so

And you pull this through the 2 loops. You get a single crochet stitch.

You do the same thing for the next chain (orange arrow in the above picture). You'll get the 2nd single crochet stitch.

Do this for the rest of the chains and you'll get this:

Congratulations! You have completed a row of single crochet stitches! This will be the front side of your newly created fabric.

To continue with more rows, you do a chain stitch by yarning over and pulling it through the previous loop:

Flip your work like so (you're now at the back of your piece):

We now need to do a single crochet stitch on top of the first single crochet stitch in the 1st row as indicated by the green dotted circle above. You'll notice there's this "loop" at the top of this first single crochet stitch:

Turn your work slightly to look at the top. You'll notice 2 strands of yarn for that "loop".

They are called the front loop and the back loop. As the back of the piece is now facing you, the loop that's closer to you is the back loop, while the other is the front loop. You need to insert your hook through both the loops like so:

Do a yarn over, and pull through these front and back loops (follow the green arrow in the above picture). And you'll get this:

Do another yarn over, and pull this through the 2 loops on your crochet hook.

You get a single crochet stitch:

Continue like this across the rest of the 1st row of single crochet stitches.

Remember to always do a chain before you flip your piece to continue another row~

If you've gotten where I'm at so far, marvellous! You continue crocheting in the same fashion for as long as you want the fabric to be. You'll get something like this:

(Ignore that "cut" word. It'll be needed for the next section... hehe) I know, my example isn't very long! LOL... But hey, you're already getting the hang of crocheting and doing the single crochet stitch! Congrats!


But of course, your piece is not completed yet! You still have 1 loop on your crochet hook that needs to be finished off... (If you try taking out the hook, and pull the working yarn, some of your single crochet stitches will come undone! But this is what you need to do when you've encountered mistakes in your work.. I'll touch on this more on another day.. =P)

This process of finishing off the last loop is called binding-off. (Same term used in knitting) To do the bind-off, you first need to cut off the working yarn, leaving a good few inches like so:

You then try to grab this end of the yarn with your hook:

And pull it through the loop.

Pull the yarn taut (but not too hard! Your piece will go wonky...).

There you have it, a finished crocheted rectangular fabric!

If you can't manage to do the bind-off with your hook, you could always pull that last loop on your crochet hook a little wider, and you use your fingers to grab that loose end of the yarn through the loop, and pull it through. Works the same way. *wink*

I know you're wondering about those 2 yarn ends that are hanging out of the piece like nobody's business... You need to take your tapestry needle, thread each end and weave them into the piece carefully so that they are hidden. You don't have to weave the whole length. I usually weave to about 1 to 1.5 inches, and cut off the yarn. You could dot a little fabric glue to the ends to secure them to the fabric at this point.

Next week, I'll be demonstrating how you could make some very simple and yet very chic items out of what you've learnt from this tutorial! Here's a sneak peek:

That's a scarf, not a hat... See that the girl is wearing one?

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