Knitwear designer Karelle Levy teaches beginners how to start a crochet chain from the slipknot to the chain stitch, in order to make crochet shoe laces!
The crochet chain is the most basic and essential of stitches to learn when starting out in crochet. The slipknot is often the first, and chain the second instruction in a pattern. Chains create foundations from which entire projects are crocheted. They are also used to fill in spaces to finish off rows and rounds when other stitches are too bulky. It is a great stitch to practice in order to get comfortable holding the hook and maintaining consistent tension.
CROCHET CHAIN STEP-BY-STEP
- Wrap the yarn around your hand, crossing it over your open palm.
- Insert the hook under the first strand and over the second strand, and pull the second under the first to create a loop. When you see the loop is on your hook, you can remove your hand from the magic circle you’ve now created!
- In order to create a slipknot, continue to tighten the circle around your hook.
- Hold the slipknot between your thumb and middle finger, with the yarn resting over your index finger and into the grip of your hand.
- With the opposite hand, insert the hook under the strand, then over the strand, and pull the strand through the loop on the hook. Bam – there’s your first chain!
Repeat step 5 for as many chains as your pattern designates, or as your heart desires. Make sure to move your thumb and middle finger up the chain as you make more stitches, creating tension to secure the yarn on the hook.
TIPS TO KEEP IN MIND:
- When counting chains, do not include the slipknot or the loop on the hook.
- If your chain is too tight to work new stitches into, try crocheting the chain with a slightly larger hook, then switch to the hook you’ll use for the rest of the project.
- Holding the hook like a pencil or like a knife are the two most commonly used grips in crochet. Feel free to be unique and invent your own grip if it works for you!
Aside from being the foundation of many other stitches, there are also some projects you can make just using the chain stitch on its own. For instance, headbands with one or several chains tied together, bracelets, rings, keychains, shoelaces, and the most versatile is mesh, which can be used to construct entire garments like vests, scarves, cowls, and hats.
To take it a step further, learn to yarn over and the single crochet will be a cinch. When working into the foundation chain, you can even use alternative ways to insert the hook and get different looking stitches. Working into the back loop leaves the most clean finished edge.
Bear in mind that practice is key to learning any new skill. Yes, it comes easier to some than others, but with patience and persistence, crocheting can become your favorite and most productive new hobby or business. Remember you can watch the instructional video at half-speed to really see what’s happening, and follow along with yarn and hook in hand! Share your experience with the chain stitch in the comments section.