Yarn art has increased in popularity over the years. With celebrities like Harry Styles wearing crochet sweaters and famous department stores like Target selling crocheted tote bags, it’s no wonder the number of people learning the craft has increased. 

Whether you’re a crochet expert or just learning, Happily Hooked is here to help you perfect the craft. For beginners, this is our go-to guide on how to crochet. By the end of this post, you should be able to crochet a small swatch that will help you get ready to crochet blankets, scarves, purses, and more!

In this post, you will learn:

  • The tools you need / crochet supplies
  • A step-by-step guide to crocheting
  • How to continue progressing as a crocheter

What Do I Need to Crochet? 

Crochet is a wonderful craft to take up because it’s relatively inexpensive. You can get started simply with a low-cost crochet hook, a pair of scissors, and a ball of yarn. You may also find it helpful to have a stitch marker to help you identify the end of your rows. 

As you progress, you may choose to get more hooks, better yarn, and other accessories (such as tapestry needles, embroidery scissors, a tape measure, and yarn bags). There are several unique crochet hooks, scissors, and other accessories, so your material can be as individual as you!

You use different size crochet hooks for various projects. You’ll know what hook to use based on the pattern notes or yarn type; however, since we’re starting with a simple swatch, you don’t need to worry about your hook size. In the beginning, you may find it more accessible to learn how to use the hook and hold your yarn. For this lesson, we’ll be using a 6mm hook (US Size J-10).

Yarn comes in many different types. It can vary in weight (such as thin or chunky yarn), material (wool, acrylic, or cotton yarn), texture, and more. You may find it easiest to start with the more standard acrylic, medium-worsted-weight yarn.

How Do I Hold a Crochet Hook?

Now that you’ve got your hook, you’ll need to know how to hold it. Find a comfortable grip for you, as you’ll spend a lot of time holding your hook.

Some of the more common hook grips include: 

  • Pencil Grip: With this grip, you’ll hold your hook between your thumb and forefinger, with the hook resting on your middle finger — like you hold a pencil. 
  • Knife Grip: With this grip, you’ll hold your hook the same way you would have a knife, with the hook in your hand and your forefinger extended on the hook. 

Whether you’re left- or right-handed, these common grips are comfortable and offer a lot of control when holding your crochet hook. If you find another grip that works for you, that’s fine, too! There is no right or wrong way to hold your crochet hook — comfort is most important.

How Do I Hold My Yarn?

You can hold your yarn in a lot of ways. The lesson is to hold the yarn so it can flow through your fingers. You’ll hold the yarn with your non-hook-holding hand (non-dominant hand). For many, it’s most comfortable to wrap the yarn under the ring finger, middle finger, and pointer finger. With this hold, you can use your pointer finger to control the placement of the yarn while the rest of your hand controls the tension of the yarn.

What is tension? 

Tension is the grip you have on your yarn. Looser tension means looser stitches; tighter tension means tighter stitches. Finding a good middle ground for your tension is important so you can efficiently work your stitches. It’s going to take some time to find the right tension, and, in the beginning, you may pull too tightly or leave the yarn too loose. But, with some practice, you’ll find that maintaining your tension should become relatively second nature. 

Now that you know how to hold your hook and yarn let’s start crocheting! Here are the five steps you need to crochet!

Step 1: Make a slip knot.

To begin, you need to start with a slip knot. This is generally the way you’ll start every single project. To make a slip knot:

  • Wrap the end of the yarn around your pointer finger, creating a loop
  • Reach through the loop and grab the end of the yarn
  • Pull through (but not all the way) and tighten

This will create a small loop with a knot on the bottom. You can use the end of the yarn (the tail) to pull the loop tighter once it’s on your hook. If you’re a visual learner, here’s a great video from our YouTube channel on how to create a slip knot.

Step 2: Create your foundation chain

The second step in creating your swatch will be creating your foundation chain. This will be the chain that you build your stitches off. To start, we’ll chain 33. Let’s get started!

To create your chain:

  1. Insert your hook into your slip knot and pull the tail so the knot is tight against the hook
  2. Get a good grip on your yarn in your non-hook-holding hand. When you first begin, it often helps to hold the tail of the yarn between your thumb and middle finger to have better control of the yarn.
  3. Move your hook upward so the slip knot gets closer to the handle of your hook, then place your hook under the yarn.
  4. Turn your hook, so the yarn fits nicely in the groove of your hook (this process is called “yarning over”)
  5. With your yarn still in place, pull your hook down and through your slip knot (this is often noted as “pulling up a loop”)

You’ll repeat this process 31 more times to get 32 chain stitches. You may want to redo this process a few more times until you get more comfortable holding your yarn and hook. Remember, the tighter your tension, the more difficult it will be to work your next row of stitches. 

You may find it helpful to put a stitch marker in the 32nd stitch so you can easily identify the end of your row in the following steps. This helps ensure you don’t accidentally miss or add any stitches to your project, which would result in a wonky look.

Step 3: Crochet Row 1

Now that you have your foundation chain, you can start your first row! To create your swatch, you will use the single crochet stitch. This is often abbreviated as “sc” and is one of the more common — and simpler — stitches. 

To prepare your row, you first need to insert your hook into the second chain from our hook. To do this, skip the chain stitch that’s right next to your hook and insert the hook into the chain of the second stitch. It really is as easy as it sounds! 

From there, you’ll begin your single crochet. With your hook inside your second chain stitch from the crochet hook. You’ll see two loops on your hook. To single crochet your first row, you’ll need to:

  1. Complete the same yarning-over process as you used to create your chains. 
  2. With your hook under the yarn, turn your hook so the yarn fits in the groove of the hook and pull down and through the chain. 
  3. You should now see two loops on your hook again.
  4. Yarn over and pull your yarn under both loops on your hook. This completes your first single crochet! 

You will repeat this process 31 more times for a total of 32 stitches. If you are using a stitch marker, you’ll remove it as you complete your 32nd single crochet. Once the 32nd single crochet is complete, you can place the stitch marker in your new stitch. Then, chain one (yarn over and pull up a loop) and turn your work. This prepares you for your next row.

Step 4: Rows 2 – 32

For Rows 2 – 32, you will essentially follow the same process as you did in Step 2 — single crocheting along your row. With one chain and your work turned, you’re ready to start Row 2. You’ll notice, though, that instead of seeing chains on your work, you’re going to see small V-like shapes. This is the top of the single crochets you made in your last row. When you work through these stitches, you’ll insert your hook under and through the whole V. 

To start your first single crochet of Row 2, you’ll repeat the same single crochet process you did in Step 3:

  1. Insert your hook under the top of your first single crochet stitch from the row below (the V), yarn over, and pull up a loop. You’ll have two loops on your hook — one is the one you just created, and the second is from the chain you made at the end of Row 1. 
  2. Yarn over, pull through both loops. This will complete the first single crochet of your second row. 

Again, continue this process 31 times until you’ve reached the end of your row. If you are using a stitch marker, don’t forget to take it out when you create your last single crochet and place it back again once complete. Lastly, yarn over and create a chain, then turn your work.

It can be easy to add or remove stitches when crocheting by miscounting, so we always suggest you count your stitches before moving on to ensure you have the correct number of stitches. Adding or removing stitches can result in your project not having the correct shape (which, in this case, is a square). This is where the stitch marker can come in very handy — it can help you better visualize the end of your row!

If you’re a visual person, here’s a quick video from the Happily Hooked YouTube channel on how to crochet a row. 

Step 5: Finish Off Your Swatch

Once you have completed all 32 rows, you are ready to finish off your swatch! With a loop still on your hook, you’ll create one last chain. Cut your working yarn, leaving about 3 to 4 inches of yarn. Pull your working yarn through the chain on your hook until you’ve completely pulled the yarn through the hook. This will eliminate the chain but secure your work, so it does not unravel. 

If you’d like, you can take a tapestry needle and weave your working yarn in and out of the yarn of your swatch. This will further secure your project and hide the yarn. Cut off any excess yarn. 

Now take a step back and congratulate yourself on completing your first crocheted project! 

Look What You Did!

Your very first yarn swatch may not be completely square, and you may notice some gaps in your stitches. This is okay! You will see this less and less the more you practice. This is likely the result of not having maintained your tension throughout your project, which is normal and completely expected as you get used to holding your yarn.

Remember, the single crochet is just one of many crochet stitches you can use to create beautiful yarn art! We encourage you to keep practicing and learn something new with each project. In time, you’ll find your skills taking off! For more crochet lessons for beginners, to find crochet patterns, and for more yarny information, visit www.happilyhooked.com to find a variety of projects, guides, and how-tos! 

Check out our crochet patterns for beginners page by clicking here –https://www.happilyhooked.com/crochet/patterns/beginners/


Nikki Robertson is a writer and avid crocheter. She has been writing for the last 15 years and crocheting for 5. She enjoys crocheting amigurumi, blankets, and bookmarkers. She enjoys reading and spending time with her son and two cats when she is not writing or crocheting.

Writer and member – Nikki Robertson