The crochet stitches in this guide are the basis for almost every crochet technique, no matter how fancy. You will soon learn them by heart, and you won’t need to refer to instructions. They’re all similar—it’s just a matter of how many yarn overs you do and how many times you pull the yarn through the loops.
The first thing you need to have is a foundation chain. If you don’t know how to make one, check out the Quick Guide, Crochet 101: Slip Knots and Foundation Chains.
Begin by working into the loops of a particular chain of the foundation chain, depending on the stitch. This is to accommodate the differing heights of the various kinds of crochet stitches. Always follow the pattern directions; they’ll tell you where to start your work on the foundation chain.
Whether you’re working into the foundation chain to begin or into actual stitches as you will after the first foundation row, all the stitches you are about to learn are worked exactly the same way.
Single crochet (pattern abbreviation: sc) is the most basic of all the crochet stitches. It’s a short stitch that makes a dense fabric. Be sure the front side of the chain is facing you.
Yarn over again and pull through both loops on your hook. You now have 1 loop left on your hook and have just made your first single crochet!
Half double crochet (pattern abbreviation: hdc) is slightly taller than a single crochet. To accommodate the taller stitch, you’ll now work your first stitch into the 3rd chain. This stitch is the first of the basic stitches that requires a yarn over before you insert the hook. Again, be sure the front side of the foundation chain is facing you.
Double crochet (pattern abbreviation: dc) is another basic stitch. As with a half double crochet stitch, you start with a yarn over before you insert the hook. Because a double crochet has one more yarn over than a half double crochet, it’s taller and creates a somewhat open fabric. Because it’s taller, this time you’ll work your first stitch into the 4th chain from the hook.
Triple crochet (pattern abbreviation: trc), the last of the basic stitches, is the tallest and creates an open fabric. This stitch starts with 2 yarn overs before you insert the hook. Working this stitch is similar to working double crochet; you just need to work one more yarn over. As the tallest stitch, you’ll now work into the 5th chain from the hook.
A slip stitch (pattern abbreviation: sl st) doesn’t add stitches or height to your piece. It’s used mainly for joining (such as a ring or seams) and moving across existing stitches without adding stitches or height to them. It’s also an ideal stitch to use as a finishing touch because it makes a nice, firm edge.
You already know how to do a chain stitch, so you know how to make a slip stitch, too. The only difference is that with a slip stitch, you insert your hook into a foundation chain or stitch.
To make a slip stitch, insert your hook, front to back, under the 2 top loops of a chain or stitch. Yarn over, and in one motion, pull through the chain or stitch and the loop on your hook. One loop remains on the hook.
Now that you know how to do all of the basic crochet stitches, you can make just about anything! Have fun, and happy crocheting!
From The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting and Crocheting Illustrated, Third Edition, by Barbara Breiter and Gail Diven