Crochet 101: Starting and Slip Knots

Hi, friends!  One of the things you might not know about this Artsy Mama is that I learned to crochet at a very young age.  One day when I was visiting my grandparents, my grandmother got out her hooks and yarn and showed me the basics.  I was immediately “hooked.” {pun definitely intended}  At first, all I knew how to do was chain, so I would chain entire skeins of yarn to practice.  Then, I learned more kinds of stitches and by the time I was in middle school, I was crocheting full size afghans for the 4-H Fair.

Up to this point, I haven’t ever put any crochet projects on the blog, because I know there are already a lot of fabulous blogs out there dedicated to that particular niche, and they have patterns for things that are way more involved than anything I’ve ever attempted.  But I recently heard from the peanut gallery {aka Facebook} that many of you are interested in a little Crochet 101 Series, because let’s face it, if you don’t know the basic stitches and how to get started, you can’t follow any of the cool patterns out there!  So, here I am to show you the basics in the hopes that you can get your feet wet in this fun hobby too!

Over the next few posts, I’m going to walk you through the supplies, starting your yarn, chain stitching, single crocheting, and more!  Then, on Monday, I’m going to give you a simple project to put all your new skills together!  Are you ready?  Let’s go!

First things first…what do you need?

1. Yarn: any kind will do.  I would recommend practicing with a standard yarn like Red Heart.  You can buy skeins of yarn at Walmart or at any craft store.  Don’t go for anything fluffy or fuzzy or textured right now, just get something basic and simple.

2. A crochet hook: You can find hooks wherever you buy your yarn.  Hooks will be labeled either by number, letter, or both.  They vary in size from very small {B/1}, which you would use with very fine string to make doilies or ornaments, to very large {S}.  The hook in the photo above is an I/9, which is a great size to start with just for practice.

{Ignore the pretty button in the photo…it’s for the project I’ll be showing you on Monday!}

Ok, I have yarn and a hook, now what?
Our first step is to make a slip knot to get our project started, but first we have to know how to properly hold our supplies.  Take a look:

Left {or non-dominant} hand: Your non-dominant hand holds the yarn.  With the skein of yarn to your left, find the end and thread it over your pinky finger, under your ring and middle fingers, and over your index finger.  Let it come down between your thumb and index finger, as shown.

Right {or dominant} hand: This hand holds the hook.  The photo shows you how my Mom-Mom taught me to grip it.  I place my thumb on the flat part and wrap my other fingers around, resting my index finger on the neck of the hook.

There are alternate ways to hold the hook, apparently, since my mother does it completely differently.  She holds her hook like this instead:

I suppose you can do whichever strikes your fancy…BUT, in the photos and instructions, you’ll always find me doing what you see in the first photo {aka the right way}. 😉  Sorry, Mom!
No matter what project you’re working on, you’re going to start in the same way, with a slip knot.

STEP 1: Holding your yarn as shown above, make a loop close to the end.  Hold securely with your thumb.


STEP 2: Insert hook into loop.  Wrap yarn around hook from the right, as shown.


STEP 3: Pull yarn back toward yourself through the loop.


Pull tightly and this will create your knot!  Your hook will have one loop around it.

For those of you who are audio/visual learners, here’s a video tutorial!  Excuse me sounding dorky…you asked for it!


Ok, there you have it, the very beginning basics!  Go get you some yarn and a hook, and come back tomorrow to learn how to chain stitch!
Hugs & Glitter,


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  1. You are awesome!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you a million times over for doing this!!! It is like you read my mind! I think about starting a new craft technique and here you are, reading my mind and spelling it all out 🙂 🙂

  2. This may get me to hunt down the hooks and yarn I bought years ago to try and teach myself….maybe you’ll have more lunch teaching me than I did last time. Thanks Amy!

  3. Amy,

    I am SO excited to see you are doing this series. My grandmother taught me to crochet too, but unfortunately I didn’t keep up with it and have forgotten a lot of the basics even. I am going to be traveling for a few days, so I will probably start late, but I an thrilled to pieces you are doing this and can’t wait for each installment. It brought my beautiful grandmother to mind and made my heart happy, thank you!

  4. I’ve pin this so that I can get a hook and come back and follow along Amy. Not sure if my old eyes are capable but, I am sure going to give it a try!

  5. Amy, I am SO HAPPY that you are doing this!!! I too learned to crochet at a very early age (I think I was 6, and also from my grandmother!) Unfortunately, because of youth, I haven’t crocheted for YEARS but have been wanting to get back into it! I remember most of the stitches, but not their names/abbrev., and I’ve never remember the slip knot begining. So I’m looking forward to relearning!!!

  6. You make it look so easy and simple. Thanks for the step by step instructions. I pinned it for later when I have extra time to try it. Thanks so much for the tutorial!!

    1. Hmm…that’s a toughie Jeannine! I’m sure there are some good lefty tutorials out there; have you tried searching specifically for that?

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  8. Hello!! I LOVE Your SITE!! I started my Crochet Board on Pinterest with your Crochet Basic Tutorials. I
    made sure that you get credit for your work by linking each Pin back to your Site. ALWAYS!! I also advise
    my Pinners to FOLLOW YOUR SITE. ITS GREAT!! Great Photos and very clear Instructions! From reading
    I’m so CONFUSED!! From my reading I thought I knew the difference between them, now I’m not so sure!
    Is a Slip Knot and a Slip Stitch the same thing?? I thought a Slip Knot is the first “so called stitch” along with chain stitches that starts your pattern foundation. Right? A Slip Stitch is smaller than a Single Crochet and is used inside a pattern. Right? Or Wrong?? Please tell me the difference! And can a Slip Knot
    be used inside of a pattern as a stitch?? I read on another site that they are the SAME THING?? Please clear this up for me. Thank you so much for your time, Janet White Tidwell, jwt 3/13/17

    1. You’re absolutely correct! The slip knot is the first thing you do to your yarn to start the chain foundation. A slip stitch is done inside of an existing stitch.

      1. Than you! Thank you! I’m so glad you cleared that up! I’m trying to refresh my memory about
        Crochet. And your site is the BEST! Thank you, jwt

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