Stitches - the must-know crochet basics

If you’ve ever spent a hefty amount of time looking at crochet patterns and projects, you might have noticed that the possibilities are virtually endless. One of the coolest things about crochet is a large number of stitches you can use to add variety and texture or to make your projects more visually interesting. It also might be a little overwhelming if you’re more of a crochet beginner.

*Side note! If you’re an absolute beginner, or even a kind-of beginner, I strongly suggest you consider checking out The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide by Happily Hooked! It’s FILLED with glorious bits of information, so you’ll understand everything about the ins and outs of crochet.

We’re talking every first steps of what you need to even get started, how to choose what yarn to use, what’s on a yarn label, basic stitches (which we’ll get more into here), reading patterns, and so on. Even if you already know how to crochet, it might be a nice refresher!

Ok, now back on topic!

While it might seem impossible to learn all the crochet stitches you come across in various patterns, I want to let you in on a little secret. MOST of them use the basic ones you already know. Or if you don’t already know them, the basics you’re going to learn and become comfortable with first. Isn't that great news! That means after some understanding and practice of these essentials, you’ll be able to explore and try out some of the more exciting ones as well!

So, without further ado, let’s get to the basics!

So many crochet stitches

The stitches you absolutely NEED to know!

As I revealed in my little not-so-secret-anymore, there’s a small handful of stitches that you’ll absolutely need to know. These are the “beginner stitches,” if you will. We’ll run through them all first so you can familiarize yourself with them, take time to practice them and become comfortable with them, and then move on to the next. You’ll begin to notice that they all build on each other, so once you’ve got the first one down, the next ones should be pretty easy peasy! It’s just an extra step or two!

Since reading a pattern is SUCH an important skill to know, I’ll add the standard abbreviation as well so you can start learning those. For example, the abbreviation for the chain stitch is (ch).

A NOTE ABOUT STITCH NAMES: When we describe these stitches, we’re using US terminology. Some stitches have different names for UK terminology. But don’t worry, the techniques are the same! It’s just the names that are different.

Slip Knot

Almost every crochet project you’ll ever work on starts with a slip knot. The slip knot is made in the yarn, leaving extra yarn (a “tail” on the end). You’ll take your hook and insert it into the center of the slip knot — it’ll be a loop while it’s still loose. When you pull the tail, it tightens around your hook and then you’re ready to start! This video shows you how to make a slip knot.

The slip knot is the beginning to almost every project. Soon, you'll be making slip knots in your sleep! 

Chain Stitch (ch)

The chain stitch is the most basic. While it’s not used in every pattern, it’s likely to be an important part of most patterns you come across. It’s absolutely essential! You might use it at the very beginning of your project to create loops you’ll work your first stitches into. Or, you’ll need it when you begin a new row — it’s used to bring your hook up to the height of the stitches you’ll be making. (Sometimes, it’s even used within more detailed stitch patterns to create more interesting designs too!)

Watch this as many times as you need to so you can get the chain stitch (ch) down before moving on. Don’t forget, you can slow the video down if you need to see the steps done in slow motion!

Slip Stitch (sl st)

The slip stitch is super similar to the chain stitch you’ve already got down, and this one is very versatile. It’s often used to join the beginning of a row with the end before moving up to the next row if you’re working in the round. It’s also used as a way to finish your work or “seal off” a row when you’re completely done with your project.

Make sure you practice the slip stitch (sl st) before you get into the fun stuff! It’s non-negotiable! It’s the smallest stitch but it plays a big role in your project. Remember, it works like a regular stitch but it’s also one of the most common ways to join other stitches.

Ring

Being able to make a ring is super handy for projects worked in the round! It’s made by chaining stitches and then joining the ends of the chain together (that’s why you’ll need that slip stitch!) to form a circle, or ring!

Slip stitch to close crochet ring

Single Crochet (sc)

The single crochet (sc) is a basic foundation crochet stitch. You’re likely to come across it a LOT. It’s a strong little stitch used in all kinds of patterns for a variety of purposes. The rest build on the single crochet, so practice, practice, practice!!!

Sc: insert your hook in a stitch, yarn over (yo) the hook, and pull a loop through the stitch so it remains on the hook, then yarn over and pull through both loops on your hook. Watch this video to see how to make a single crochet stitch, step by step.

Half Double Crochet (hdc)

Adding one extra step to the single crochet leaves you with the half double crochet (hdc). This stitch and the two that follow all build on that very important single crochet.

Hdc: With a loop on your hook, yarn over (yo), insert your hook in a stitch, yarn over (yo) and pull up a loop, and then yarn over (yo) and pull through all three loops on your hook. This video will show you the steps to make a half double crochet stitch.

Double Crochet (dc)

The double crochet (dc) is twice as tall as a single crochet — makes sense, doesn’t it? It’s often used as the base in textured or decorative stitches since the taller stitch allows for different hook placements. You’re going to see this stitch a LOT so, again, make sure you practice it until you’ve got it down!

Dc: With a loop on your hook, yarn over (yo), insert your hook in a stitch, yarn over (yo) and pull up a loop, yarn over (yo) and pull through two loops, then yarn over (yo) and pull through the remaining two loops on your hook.

In other words, you yarn over and pull through two loops twice for double crochet. Watch this video to learn the steps to create a double crochet stitch.

Triple Crochet (tr)

You might see this one referred to as treble crochet in UK terms, just an FYI! The triple crochet (tc) starts with more beginning yarnovers than the others, so it’s even taller!

Tr: With a loop on your hook, yarn over (yo) twice, insert your hook in a stitch, yarn over (yo), and pull up a loop. You'll have four loops on your hook now. Yarn over (yo) and pull through two loops, yarn over (yo) and pull through two loops, and then yarn over (yo) and pull through the remaining two loops on your hook.

In other words, you yarn over and pull through two loops three times for triple/treble crochet. This video will show you how to create a triple crochet stitch.

Post Stitch (FPdc) or (BPdc)

Post stitches are used to create a textured, raised look. When combined, they can create cable-like designs or a woven effect (such as when doing a “basket weave” effect). They are created by pulling the yarn around the actual post of the stitch instead of the loops at the top during the initial yarn over (yo) step.

Front post double crochet (FPdc): yarn over (yo), insert your hook around a stitch on the row below, going from front to back to front between the posts, yarn over (yo) and pull a loop back between the posts, so it wraps behind the post of the stitch and back out the front of your work. You now have three loops on your hook, just like a regular dc, but the yarn is wrapped around the body/post of the stitch below. Yarn over and pull through two loops twice to finish the stitch. This video will show you exactly how to insert your hook to create a front post double crochet!

Back post double crochet (BPdc): this stitch is similar, but you yarn over (yo), then insert your hook from back to front to back around a stitch on the row below, yarn over (yo) and pull a loop back between the stitches. You complete the rest of the stitch in the same way. Watch this video to see how to create a back post double crochet!

And now, for something fancier!

All of that time spent practicing those basics and becoming REALLY good at them is about to pay off!

Once you can do those with your eyes closed (ok, not literally, but you know what I mean!), you’ll be able to explore, experiment, and play with a whole new world of stitches. These fun ones add texture, variety, dimension, and visual interest to your projects. Plus, they keep things exciting, and maybe a bit challenging for YOU (in a good way) while you’re working!

Now, there are a TON out there. And I’d be lying to you if I said I knew them all. My dear friend who has been crocheting for over 40 years said she’s still learning new and fun techniques all the time! Take a moment to think about that: You’re never going to get bored with crochet because you always can learn more! I’m only going to list a handful here for you, otherwise, we’d be here all day. But take some time to explore these and discover which ones you love the most!

Puff (puff)

Looking for a fun, easy, decorative stitch to start off with? Then the puff is calling your name! You make a puff by yarning over and pulling up a loop over and over in the same stitch, and then yarning over and pulling through all of the loops at once. It’s not as complicated as it sounds, promise! This technique creates the cutest little puffed texture that stands out and adds some awesome texture to your work!

Popcorn (pop or pc)

A bit similar to the puff, the popcorn is also an easy and fun one. It also consists of several double crochets in the same stitch. This time, you complete five double crochets (dc), then remove the hook from the current loop and insert it into the first double crochet, then pull the dropped loop through the stitch. The popcorn can add a lot of warmth and thickness to projects like hats, or it makes a fun border!

Picot Stitch (picot) and Granule Stitch

Picots are cute little stitches that add a round shape to an edging or otherwise “boring” space (okay, it’s not actually boring, maybe just lacking a bit of pizzazz). You often use these in thread crochet.

To create a picot, chain three from the stitch where you want to add the picot, insert your hook in the third chain from the hook, yarn over (yo), and draw the yarn through the stitch and the loop on the hook.

Taking it a step further, you create the Granule Stitch when you alternate the picot stitch with a single crochet. You can make the picots stack in single columns as you work up your rows, or you can alternate them to create a cool, almost “checkerboard” effect with the little picots.

Shell Stitch (shell)

The shell stitch is another that is formed by grouping or clustering many together to create a “single” stitch. To make the shell stitch, crochet four double crochets in one stitch on the row below. And that’s it! Even though it’s so simple, it creates such a recognizable effect that it earned its own name. Rather than always writing 4 dc in a pattern, the pattern would call for one shell stitch. You’ll find many examples of shorthand designing like this in crochet.

V-Stitch (v-stitch)

The V-stitch is another example of a pretty simple series that earned its own name. The effect is pretty cool, but it’s super easy to do! You make it by putting a double crochet, then a chain, then a double crochet, all in the same stitch on the row below. It forms a nice inverted V shape, hence the name. Again, if written out even with abbreviations, it would be, (dc, ch 1, dc). Shorthanded, it is just (v-stitch).

 

Why stop there? Here are a few more!

Before I just start talking about MORE stitches, did you know Happily Hooked has its very own YouTube channel? Think of it as our free gift to all of our crochet-loving friends out in the world. It’s a library full of short tutorials, helpful hints, and even some product reviews! You’re more than welcome to go explore it on your own at any time, but here are a few fun ones I think you should keep on your radar (you know, once you’ve got the basics down)!

Happily Hooked YouTube channel

Chevron Stitch

The chevron stitch uses the single crochet stitch to create a fun zig-zag type pattern! It makes for a fun blanket or scarf!

Remember, you can slow the video down so you can follow along as Sam works you through the chevron stitch!

Crocodile Stitch

This one uses double crochets in a way you’ve never seen before! Well, maybe you have. But if you’re looking for a cool, unique, show-stopper that looks like crocodile or dragon scales, look no further!

This video will show you exactly how to use double crochets in a new way to create a cool, scaly effect!

Take your crochet to the next level!

As I stated before, there are SO many stitches floating around in the crochet world, that it’s nearly impossible to know them all! But at Happily Hooked, we think we know a pretty good amount of them. Better yet, we wanted to create the perfect opportunity for those looking to master some of those awesome stitches. That’s why when we created our incredible course, we called it “Stitch Mastery.”

What makes Stitch Mastery so incredible? We know people learn in different ways, and for you visual learners out there, having a clear, easy-to-understand video is essential for your learning! We created high-quality videos so you can follow along with every step. Here’s a little screenshot, so you can see it for yourself!

Stitch Mastery Screenshot

Amazingly crystal clear, right?

And for those of you who prefer things written out, we include that as well! You can even print them out if you’d like.

So how many stitches do you get to learn with this course? There are 26 fun and exciting stitches BUT there’s also 7 bonuses! Woo hoo!

Here’s what just a couple of our lovely members have to say about it! (It was hard to pick from over 7,000 members!)

“As a (very) long-time crocheter, I was hesitant about these courses. However, I'm so impressed with this first week alone. The video is leaps and bounds above standard youtube tutorials… All in all, if you're thinking you may not need these, maybe think again — could be a good exercise for any level ❤️” ~Wendy S.

“I’m so thankful for the Stitch Mastery Program … I have learned a lot. I’m such a visual learner and this has been so helpful! 😍😍 This was my first time changing the color of the yarn 🧶 in a project. It was a very nice challenge! Anyone else enjoying the Stitch Mastery Program as much as I am??” ~Trisha M.

You could endlessly search the internet for tutorials that end up being not so great. Or you can grab the Stitch Mastery course as a free bonus when you sign up for the Happily Hooked annual membership! Each tutorial within this premium course comes with 2 patterns specially created to give you the chance to practice what you’ve learned. And lefties, we’ve got you covered as well! You can learn more about Stitch Mastery, our membership, and all the other goodies by clicking here!

And that’s a wrap!

Crochet really is the perfect hobby for everyone! Once you’ve got the basics down, you’ll be able to create almost anything. And after you’re feeling a little more confident in what you know, you can start to spice things up a bit by learning some of these new and exciting stitches! We hope you’re feeling inspired to start knocking out those stitches!

Loving what you learned but looking for more? Join OVER 20,000 happy subscribers with your very own Happily Hooked membership!