Saturday, February 25, 2012

How to Crochet 1: The Slip Knot (Tutorial)

Yarn: Lily Sugar'n Cream Yellow  Fabric: Michael Miller Ta-Dot Stone

I started crocheting as an adult, just eight years ago, and when I was trying to learn I just could not keep a straight face! I keep laughing at the awkwardness of my movements, the irregularity of my stitches and the lopsidedness of the hats I was trying to make! A fourteen year old was trying to teach me and I think she was trying not to laugh herself.  It was fun and frustrating and I think it was also really good for my brain. How often do we try to learn something new? Seems we do a lot of that as children and then we stick to what we know. Don’t miss out! Give crochet a try and be patient with it if you feel frustrated. In time you will relax, your hands will develop muscle memory and make the repetitive movements without you thinking about it, and your stitches will become even and predictable.

When you are starting out it’s best to plan on doing a lot of practice. Pick a medium weight yarn (cat 4 or "worsted weight") and medium sized hook (an “H” “I” or “J”) to play with.

The ideal way to learn this craft is to sit down with someone who can teach you. (I just taught my friend, Leon, a couple weeks ago and it was so fun! He is already working on an afghan!) The next best way to learn is to study videos, photos and illustrations and try to imitate what you are seeing. There are some amazing video tutorials out there and it seems most crochet books and magazines include a good how-to section. I will illustrate the core techniques here, but you should also check out some other sources--you never know which explanation will make it click for you.

First up is the "slip knot." You have to make one before you can do anything else! The slip knot secures your yarn to your hook to begin work. It also keeps the work you’re about to do from unraveling, which is important.

Click to view my photo and video(!) tutorial to learn how to make one.

There are a number of ways of fashioning the slip knot, it’s the same for knitting and crochet, and you will find the method that works best for you. Here's the way I do it:

I like to make a loop with the yarn in my right hand by lifting it with two fingers...

...grabbing the yarn below...

...and twisting my fingers clockwise so the ends cross to form and "x" with a loop at the top.

Then with the loop around my index finger and thumb, I use those two digits to reach under the loop and pinch the end of the yarn on top of the "x" (the yarn closest to your body)...

...and pull it through the loop forming something like a noose.

You will place your crochet hook in the loop, or knot, you’ve formed and then pull the ends to tighten.

Wish someone could show you in person? Try this video (video has no sound). Here I actually twist the yarn with my bottom hand--so the top hand doesn't move--so the action is reversed from above. The important thing to remember is that you are making a knot, so when you reach through your loop to grab a strand of yarn to pull through, make sure you are grabbing the one that will make the knot by wrapping around the other strand. Practice a few times and it will make sense to you!

You will form a slip knot over your hook to begin anything in crochet, and you will also use it when attaching a new skein of yarn in the middle of a project. So If you've got it, congratulations! You're on your way. Next up is the all-important "chain stitch."

How-to tutorials, patterns, giveaways, reviews and interviews to make certain you are smitten.

Click on the "HOH in Crochet" label or button to view all the content in this series.
Here's a quick list of all the "How to Crochet" posts:

How to Crochet 1: The Slip Knot
How to Crochet 2: Holding the Yarn
How to Crochet 3: The Chain Stitch
How to Crochet 4: The Single Crochet
How to Crochet 5: Seaming Your Work
How to Crochet 6: The Double Crochet
How to Crochet 7: Weaving in the Ends  
How to Crochet 8: The Half Double Crochet
How to Crochet 9: The Triple Crochet
How to Crochet 10: Working in the Round
How to Crochet 11: Understanding Gauge


Stef said...

Hooray! I've been wanting to start crochet for so many years, but it's hard to know where to start. This post is quite timely - I'll need to pick up some supplies, but count me in! Thank you!

Dollwood Farms said...

Oh Goody! I am so excited to learn with you!!! I am going to Joanns tomorrow to get me some supplies!!!

Kim@Snug Harbor said...

And we're off!! I really like the stitches you used above using the red yarn - under the words HEAD OVER HEELS IN CROCHET. Pretty. Thanks for taking the time to do this series - its gonna be a big hit!

margo@fitzysews said...

Yea! I've been patiently waiting for the first tutorial. I'll be the slip knot queen no time! This is going to be a great series!

CARU said...

Hey, what amazing, I know crochet, but since I live in Canada, all patterns are in English and I know Spanish crochet. That will be great, and no one teach me, so there is a lot of thing I do wrong, like finish the crochet. Thank you a lot!!!

Dagmar said...

I just started to crochet last year..what a joy it is to crwatE a gift with your own two hands..such a lov,ey pasttime. Thanks for showing us some new hints!
sweet hugs to continue to inspire me!

Jessica at Me Sew Crazy said...

I am so excited you are starting this Series, I have been batting around the idea of learning for a while now...this is perfect! Thank you!

AZ said...

Oh my ....... I have the very same crochet needle color,size,brad (all of it!) AND Yellow yarn & am currently working on a baby hat for a family member !!

me said...

I can't wait until you teach us about the different stitches. My trouble is I don't know how to read patterns very well because I'm not sure what the initials stand for and when and how to incorporate the new stitch or turns or whatever.

Anonymous said...

I wish the slip knot tutorial would show the loose end and the ball end of the yarn. Does it matter?

Anneliese said...

@Anonymous: Thanks for the feedback. For crochet it doesn't matter which end (loose or ball end) you grab to pull through and "slip knot". In knitting it is helpful to have the "tail" of the yarn toward the back of your needle when you slide the slipknot on the needle to knit so that you don't accidentally work with the tail...

Bari Jo said...

This is such a great series you have started! Thank you for the time it takes to post these and share the pictures and videos! I learned something new - never knew how to do the slip knot like that - I love it! I am really looking forward to getting better at my crochet with your series! I've already learned so much this year from you and have enjoyed my journey through your patterns!!!!!

Anonymous said...

thank you so much for this series - I have been trying to find a clear system that I can use with 12 to 14 year olds at school and this has been the most effective!

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