Sunday, November 10, 2013

Beginner: Single Crochet - Take One, Two, Three


My mom taught me to crochet when I was ten years old, and it's been a lifelong passion. So, I found it funny (in a strange sort of way) a few years ago when I discovered that I had been doing the simplest stitch "wrong" all these many years!

Now, I wasn't really doing anything so terrible, but what I was doing was making the final look of my crocheted pieces something they weren't intended to be. You may be doing this, too!

So, today I want to focus on the single crochet stitch. First, let me say that the final look of your piece is entirely your choice, so if you've been doing the same thing I did, it probably doesn't matter. Most of my crocheted items are afghans - where only the right side of the piece is going to show most of the time. Now, my husband has trouble with this. He says the "wrong" side, a.k.a. the back side, is prettier than the front. I'm always telling him to turn the afghan over on the bed. Fact is, if I had been doing the stitch the standard way all these years, it might not make any difference at all.

Here's what I mean. Let's compare three different treatments for the single crochet.

Take 1
This single crochet sampler uses the "correct" method. When I work on the next stitch, I put my hook through both loops of the single crochet stitch. This is the stitch most patterns are talking about when they call for a single crochet.

Take 2
This single crochet stitch features placement of the hook through the front loop of the stitch only. Now, this is what I've been doing for years in error. While the stitch works up just fine, every other row has a noticeable ridge line running through the work. The line is made from the back loop that wasn't used when working each row. 

Take 3
Now for my final method. This method uses the back loop of the single crochet only. When this is done, the finished piece appears to have hills and valleys in the rows.

This has a very different look and feel from either of the other two methods, and it will significantly change the gauge (height) of your work. For example, 12 crocheted rows using this method is about the same height as 10 rows in sample 1 (yellow) above.

Now that you've seen how the work looks using these three variations, here's a short video on how I achieved each look. You may watch on YouTube if you prefer.

If you're a beginning crocheter, I hope you find this video helpful. Perhaps it will start you on the right path to many lovely handmade pieces in the years ahead.

Thanks for joining me today, and please come back soon. May God's blessings be plentiful!


  1. Oh, this makes me miss crocheting! My favorite afghan pattern used back loop double crochet. Great demonstration to show multiple looks from the same stitch.

  2. Hi Karen, thanks for visiting & leaving me such a sweet comment. Popped over to see you, and found this wonderful tutorial. I tried to learn to crochet years ago (had a former Home Ec teacher as a neighbor). I could do up to a double crochet as long as she was 'watching me'. First time I'd try on my own, I'd mess up, have to undo. Needless to say, I was better with copics, so that's what I do. I gave away all my yarn. What you showed was very informative and looks like you have this stitch business under control! Hope things are going well for you. Happy Thanksgiving too. Hugs