Monday, February 27, 2012

How to Crochet 2: Holding the Yarn (Tutorial)

Yarn: Lion Brand Vanna's Choice Dusty Blue  Fabric: Liberty of London Seymour Poplin Patrick Gordon

As I mentioned in the first post in this series, one of the things I think makes crochet easier than knitting, is that the work is done with one hook, instead of two needles. I'm maintaining that, however, in order to do the work with the hook one has to hold the yarn in the opposite hand. Makes sense, right? And the way in which that is done does make a difference.

A bit of skill in the holding of the yarn will actually make the stitches look better! This has to do with yarn tension, which will make your stitches tighter or looser. I still think crochet takes less coordination than knitting but when I first tried figuring out the way to hold the yarn--weave it through my fingers to be more precise--I felt nothing close to coordinated!

So my advice to you is to try out the "yarn holding" method I illustrate below and if you can get comfortable with it for crocheting you will be that much better off. That's why I'm sharing it now, before teaching any of the stitches. But if you can't get comfortable holding it the "right" way, don't sweat it. I crocheted a couple years before I settled on a way of holding the yarn. But I will say that once I committed to this hold my work went more smoothly! It's definitely worth a try.

Click to view the photo and video tutorial for holding your yard.

If you are right handed, you will be holding the “working yarn” (as opposed to the short tail opposite) in your left hand, letting it pass through your fingers smoothly as you use your right hand and hook to "yarn over" or "hook" the yarn and pull it through the loops to form your stitches. If you are left handed this will of course be opposite. What you can't see in the photos above is the way the yarn is wrapped around my fingers so that it glides smoothly. That is what the "hold" is all about. Here's how to do it:

Hold your crochet hook in your right hand with the slip knot in place. With you left pinky "hook" the working end of the yarn (not the short "tail" dangling from your slip knot, but the piece attached to your skein of yarn) so it wraps around your pinky. Your palm should be facing you.

Now rotate your hand to the right (clockwise) keeping a bit of tension on the yarn...

...until your palm is facing down (yarn is wrapped all the way around your pinky)...

...and insert your index finger under the yarn.

...Now rotate your hand back to the left (counter-clockwise)...

...and keeping your index finger raised to keep tension on the yarn, grasp the slip knot on the hook with your thumb and other fingers (sometimes I use all my other fingers and sometimes just my ring finger, pinky and thumb).

Now grip the crochet hook with your right thumb and index finger as you would hold a pencil.

Now you are all set, ready to crochet! Want to see it "live"? Try this video:

If you aren't sure about this, here are some illustrations for other ways to wrap the yarn. The exact way you hold the yarn isn’t as crucial as getting comfortable with the actions; you will eventually find the way that works best for you. Now that you've tried it you can experiment while actually creating stitches! Next up: the 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


Kim@Snug Harbor said...

So far I'm doing that all right!

Bari Jo said...

Hi! I noticed the red banner and scarf on the side bar - is that a pattern you have developed and will be selling? I love it and would love to try it. Scarves make wonderful gifts and have been a fun way to make something quick for Christmas. (I am thinking Christmas already - if I don't, I can't get things made in time!) :o)

Jane said...

Thank you so much for this! I started to crochet a couple of years ago but was doing it entirely differently, using my right hand to loop the yarn over the hook. It has taken some practice but I'm getting there with this technique, it's starting to feel natural and I can see it should be far less strain on my hands. Well explained! I look forward to the rest of the series. - Jane x

Anonymous said...

OMG if I want to learn to crochet I'd buy a book or a video.

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