How to Crochet

Slipknot and chain (How to Crochet pt 1)

Welcome to my first How to Crochet tutorial!  I plan in the long-term to present these both in text and video form to give new learners options to work with, but I thought we could work our way through the basics in text before we move on to video. If anything here in unclear, if you get stuck, PLEASE leave me a comment both so that I can help you move past whatever bit is troubling you, and so I can improve the tutorial itself.

Our first mission (should you choose to accept it) will be to make a simple dishcloth in single crochet. For this project, you will need to know slipknot and chain (today’s lesson), how to make a foundation row and crocheting in single crochet (next Monday’s lesson), and how to finish off a piece (lesson 3).

And with that, this week’s lesson:

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At this very early stage of crochet, all you will require is a crochet hook (any size will do) and some yarn. Later, when we’ve moved onto more complicated work, yarn weight and hook size (which together make up the gauge, more on that in future) will be very important indeed, but for now any hook and yarn you can get your hands on is great. I’m using a 5.00mm hook and a medium weight cotton/hemp yarn blend, if you’d like a sense of what you’re looking at.

Our first step is to make a slipknot to loop over your hook. Make a simple loop near the end of your yarn like so:


and then pull one end of it underneath the loop:


Which end you pull up under the loop will dictate which end of the yarn can slip. It doesn’t much matter for the purposes of making a chain, but when we get to making magic circles, you’ll want to be certain to pull up the end piece, because you’ll need the end piece to be the part that “slips.”

Next pick up the middle piece from the center of the circle in your fingers, and lift that middle piece off the table and through the center of the circle, like so:


And tighten the ‘circle’ part using the two end strands, leaving you with a perfect slipknot:



TA DA!  Well done!


Next we start our chain. Tighten your slipknot around your hook, as in the photo below



Next pick up the hook and the tail-end of the yarn in your dominant hand (I’m right-handed) and the ball-end or skein-end of the yarn with your non-dominant hand.



Holding the hook and the tail of the yarn securely, loop the yarn over the top of the hook:



Hook the yarn and pull it through the loop that’s on the shaft of the crochet hook. This will leave you with one chain on the tail-end of the yarn piece, a new loop on your hook, and a fresh stretch of yarn still in your non-dominant hand.


From here on out, it’s simply a matter of repeating those last few steps.

Loop over:


Pull through:


Again leaving a new chain on the tail end of the yarn and a single loop on the shaft of the crochet hook.  Repeat until you have the desired number of chains.


Congratulations!  You’ve learned to make a slipknot and a chain, the foundation of most of the crochet you’ll ever do. I’d suggest practicing this a few times before moving on to lesson 2; in my experience, new crocheters tend to make the chains much tighter than they need to, and it might help to be aware of this as you practice. Ultimately as you crochet more and more, you’ll develop a sense of how tight or loose a chain needs to be. If you find the chain is persistently too loose or too tight in your first few projects, I wouldn’t fret. You’ll find it will improve in time as your body gets used to going through the motions.

That’s all for lesson one!  Again, please reach out if you need help, if something’s unclear, or if you’re a more experienced crocheter who feels there’s an easier or better way to do any of this than I’ve presented. I’m always happy to help, and I’m always looking to improve the tutorials so that they’re as simple, clear, and user-friendly as possible.

Stay warm, be safe, and take good care!

Much love,







7 thoughts on “Slipknot and chain (How to Crochet pt 1)”

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