Crochet 101: Slip Knot and Chain

How to make a crochet chainI'm getting ready to teach an introduction to crochet class next month. In preparation, I have been creating a step-by-step lesson for my students.

If you have always wanted to learn how to crochet, but feel intimidated about taking a lesson, over the next couple weeks I'll be sharing some very basic techniques so you can learn and practice in the privacy of your own home. At the end of the week, I'll even share a pattern for a washcloth so you can keep practice your new found skills and create something you can actually use around the house.

I like using cotton yarn with beginners because it's inexpensive, smooth and doesn't stretch as much as other fibers. That makes it easier for beginners to work with.


  • Lily Sugar 'N Cream Yarn
  • H8 (5 mm) crochet hook


How to Make a Slip Knot -  Before you even pick up your hook, you need to make a slip knot to get things started.

Make a loop with the yarn, as shown, leaving about a 6-8 inch tail. (For photo purposes, I left a shorter tail.)

Put your thumb and index finger through the loop.

Pinch the strand on the skein side.

Pull the strand through the loop.

Pull on the tail to tighten the knot.

There are a variety of ways to guide the yarn with your left hand. I usually thread it over and under my fingers so that it ends up going over my left index finger. You may need to experiment to see how it is most comfortable for you to hold the yarn.

Insert your crochet hook into the loop.

Gently pull the yarn on the skein side to tighten the loop.

You want the loop to be secure around the hook, but there's no need to strangle the hook ;)

How to Crochet a Chain

To form a chain, bring the yarn over your hook.

Tip: A common abbreviation in crochet patterns is yo (yarn over). It means to bring the yarn over your hook from the back to the front, just like you are doing right now.

Pull your hook from left to right so you catch the yarn in the hook.

Carefully pull the yarn through the your first loop.

Hooray! You made your first ch (that's the abbreviation for chain).

Now let's try another.

Bring the yarn over your hook. slide the hook from left to right, catching the yarn in the hook.

Carefully pull the yarn through the loop.

As you practice making chains, first, repeat the steps until you are comfortable with the motion. After you can chain (without looking at the pictures or reading the directions) start to notice the tension of your yarn. The goal is for all your chains to be the same size and not too loose or too tight.

Crocheting is a lot like riding a bike. You may feel a little wobbly and uneven at first, but once you get the hang of it, it's a life long skill that's always there to bring you joy and help you relax.

How to make slip not and crochet chain

In my next post we'll add some dimension to your project and I'll teach you how to single crochet.

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The Chilly Dog: Crochet 101: Slip Knot and Chain
Crochet 101: Slip Knot and Chain
Learn how to crochet, starting with a lesson about making a slip knot and chain.
The Chilly Dog
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