The First Stitch
By: Monica Kelly
Crochet is a textile technique of creating knots with a hook and thread. Commonly mistaken for knitting, crochet has been a popular hobby for the past two centuries.
The earliest formal instances of crochet go all the way back to 19th century Europe. The first published pattern was published in a Dutch magazine called, "Penelope" in 1824.
Recently, there has been resurgence in the craft. Online retailers, such as Esty, have seen increases in crochet stores. Also, arts and crafts stores have added crochet classes to their instruction schedules.
Crochet popularity comes mainly from its simplicity. Most patterns start with a slip knot and a crochet chain.
A slip knot is made by folding the end of the thread over itself to make a circle, then pulling through the thread beneath it. A chain is simply grabbing string from your finger and pulling it through the previous loop.
The following video shows how to start a crochet chain:
The two main crochet stitches are the single crochet and the double crochet. A single crochet is made by pulling your hook through a chain, grabbing thread from your finger, pulling back through the chain (so that you have two loops), grabbing more thread from your finger, and pulling it through the loops.
The following video shows how to start a single crochet:
The double crochet starts by wrapping thread from your finger around the hook (If you are starting a line, remember to skip three stitches before starting your first crochet). You then pull your hook through the chain, grab more string from your finger, and pull back through the chain (You should have three loops). You then pull your hook through the first two loops, grab more string from your finger, and pull your hook through the last loop.
The following video shows how to start a double chain crochet:
One of the most popular stitches is the granny square. The pattern is made by a combination of double crochets and crochet chains. Granny squares gained popularity in the 1970s. They were made to make everything from clothes to blankets. It is usually one of the first designs taught to beginners.
The following video shows how to start a granny square:
Once you have these basic stitches down, you can go on to pattern techniques.