Beginner Crochet Tutorial: The Chain Stich

A friend of mine taught me how to knit last year, and it was highly addicting and fun for about a week, then I got pissed off from all my mistakes, packed it away and never touched it again.

I hear crocheting isĀ supposedĀ to be easier. I wanted to learn how and see if that is true. So here’s a quick tutorial on some of the basics that I’ve learned so far.

So lets start at the VERY beginning, how to find the right yarn and crochet hook.

Choosing Yarn

The yarn that you get will depend on the project that you are working on.

For example, if you are making a dishcloth, you should to use 100% cotton yarn (for its absorbancy and ease of wash). I usually get the most inexpensive cotton yarn I can find, since the only thing that matters to me when I am making the dishcloths is that it is 100% cotton and cheap! Some Walmart stores even sell this yarn on a really large spool.

2528pic12529sugarandcreamyarn scamj0

Of course, if you get a soft novelty cotton yarn, you will have really nice dishcloths – that will get stained (from spaghetti sauce), and faded (from constant washings). You may end up annoyed that you wasted used your nice yarn making it.

green yarn

If you have really nice, soft novelty yarn, I would recommend you use it for something that you will wear and want to last for a long time.

There is nothing like wearing a scarf made from some quality yarn!

But if you are a cheapie (like me!) I recommend you use a really soft acrylic yarn like Hobby Lobby’s “I Love this Yarn” brand or Caron’s Simply Soft Yarn.

I have NOT had a good experience with Red Heart’s Super Saver. It is tempting to buy because of the range of colors and the extremely low price. But, crocheting with scratchy yarn is not a good time. Besides, who will you give a scratchy sweater to?

caron yarn

Also, for a beginner, I would recommend you use a simple, plain yarn. Don’t get the kind that hides the stitches with fur or other embellishments, like the one below.

butterfly yarn

The amount of yarn you will need also depends on the project (duh). I know you know that, but I needed an intro for this paragraph. If you use a pattern, the creator will tell you about how much you need. If you are making it up as you go along, it is a bit tricky. For example, if I were making that scarf from the previous post I would probably buy 2 skeins of yarn. But if you want it really long and really thick – maybe you should buy 3 skeins. The beauty of that scarf is you can’t mess it up! And with the leftover yarn, there are some really nice stash buster patterns.

Choosing a Crochet Hook

Most yarns have the recommended crochet hook size on the label.

crochet hook size

  1. recommended crochet hook size
  2. recommended knitting needle size
  3. amount of yarn on skein
  4. type of yarn
  5. washing instructions

Unless you are looking for a particular effect (when making amigurumi toys, for example, I use a much smaller hook than the recommended size), or trying to get the correct gauge (more on THAT later), you can just use the recommended size.

Hooks also come in different materials: plastic, aluminum, bamboo, glass, silver, gold

Yes. There are some people who only use the best of the best. Not me. I just use the aluminum. I like how the yarn slides on it (and the price!).

Do you want to go yarn shopping with me? Yes? Well, come on then!

The Slip Stitch

Here’s a video showing you how to do the slip stitch. The slip stitch is a connecting stitch. It is typically used to connect items worked in rounds (think hats) as opposed to things worked in rows (think scarves).

Here is a video showing you how to connect each chain in your chain scarf.

The Chain Stitch

I saw this scarf, this scarf, and this scarf on Etsy and I thought they were super cute. (What? You don’t look on Etsy for some DIY inspiration, too?).

Anyway, what struck me about these scarves was the fact that they were nothing but a bunch of CHAINS! Yes. The super, simplest crochet stitch of them all… I don’t even know if it is considered a stitch. Generally, it is used as a foundation. Most all crochet projects start out with some chains. If you see it in a pattern it will be abbreviated to just ch. For example if you see ch 8, this means that you should make 8 chains. Here’s how to do it:

Easy, huh? I hope this helps you get started! Let me know if you have more questions!

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  • Anonymous
    January 5, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    Ok. I'm hooked. Pun intended. When are the rest of the posts coming? Or I'm going to find myself swimming in colorful chains! I'm off to Jo-Ann today!!!

  • Christine aka The Stampin' Ninja
    January 8, 2012 at 8:42 AM

    I could not have found your blog at a better time – I've wanted to learn to crochet (and knit) for YEARS! I am also a visual learner – this was the perfect post!!! I can't wait for the rest of the posts!

    May I ask, do crochet needles come in different sizes (yes, THIS is how green I am at this) & if so, is their a good "beginner size" to start with?

    You've got yourself a new follower!

    Christine aka The Stampin' Ninja

  • Ayana
    January 9, 2012 at 1:36 AM

    Hi Christine! That is an excellent question! Generally, the larger the hook, the easier it is to work with. But I recommend you look on the package of yarn you are using to see the recommended crochet hook size… But if you still do not know what I am talking about, just get a I/9 – 5.50MM hook. And some plain yarn. When I say plain, I mean yarn that does not have fur or other fancies. You want to be able to see the stitches. I *would* recommend Red Heart, because it is plain and inexpensive, but, honestly, I HATE the feel of it. If you have a Hobby Lobby near you, use their "I Love this Yarn" brand. I hope that helps!

  • Monique
    January 9, 2012 at 10:47 PM

    This has nothing to do with today's post but I found your blog Via- Pinterest and I think I just spent about 45 min going through your blog! lol I'm getting married soon and I still haven't mastered juggling work, and cooking dinners, and cleaning and spending alone time with hubby to be yet. I am going to try and put your tips to work! Starting with the freezer meals for slow cooker!So excited I found your blog I'm a follower now!

  • Lore
    January 24, 2012 at 5:28 AM

    I love your site and your great ideas but could you leave out the cursing?

    • Stephanie
      January 25, 2012 at 10:41 AM

      You are not the first to mention it and I am thinking about it. But I am having a hard time figuring out how to honor my readers and not offend the ones who care about cursing, and honor myself, someone who likes to curse. I do not curse at people, only to tell a funny story or to cope with emotions, so I think my cursing is fine, but I will think about it.

      • Meagan
        January 25, 2012 at 9:33 PM

        I find this humorous! I have just discovered your blog today, and have already spent far too much time here! Lol! I found your cursing very realistic. I am one of those parents that tries my best to eliminate any and all swear words when my children are within earshot I absolutely despise the F word and cringe when I hear or see it.

        That being said, I thought your blog gave a very “real” feel with your moderate use of swear words. You describing a hard task as “a bitch” is exactly how I would put it if I were talking to a girlfriend. I say, it’s your blog, be yourself. If someone is that bothered by your cursing, there are many other blogs like yours, they can find one that suits them entirely.

        In closing, I want to thank you for all of the work you put into this blog. It is extremely helpful in many aspects! Keep up the great work!

        • Stephanie
          January 26, 2012 at 1:14 AM

          I am glad you think its funny! That is usually always my intention when cursing in a post! Trying to be funny and real. Glad you like my blog and think my cursing is moderate!

          • Jan
            February 15, 2012 at 11:58 PM

            Stay true to yourself. Your writing is very “real.” It wouldn’t be you if you had to censor yourself. If I found anything offensive, I would simply use my ability to make choices and choose to forego your blog.

          • Stephanie
            February 16, 2012 at 1:48 PM

            Thank you, Jan!

  • Raquel
    February 11, 2012 at 9:14 PM

    Thank your for sharing this tutorial! It’s great to begin and i think i am going to try it.
    But i am new on it, so i don’t have any idea how to make a bunch of chains, i mean, i understand how to make each one, but what do i have to do when i finish the first one?
    As you can see, i don’t have any idea
    Thanks a lot,

    • Stephanie
      February 12, 2012 at 3:26 AM

      There is a follow up post coming soon!

      • Raquel
        February 14, 2012 at 10:57 AM


  • Lynn
    September 22, 2012 at 2:51 AM

    Hi, I love your blog it’s humorous, exciting!, full of information, I absolutely love the freezer slow cooker meals, can’t believe I never thought of it myself, obviously we have all done the cook a spare meal and freeze it, but can honestly say the raw to freezer to slow cooker is a brilliant idea, thank you very much for sharing. And yes I can crochet a chain I mean most people do it using fingers let alone a crochet hook lol but to make that long never ending chain into something to wear can’t wait for that one,
    You curse away if it gives you such great ideas go girl Sorry this comment is so long Just I love it Thankyou

    • Stephanie
      September 23, 2012 at 2:35 AM

      So glad you like my blog! Welcome!

  • Teresa
    February 26, 2013 at 5:27 AM

    I was wondering if you have any tricks on how to coordinate your hands when crocheting.I am having problems with that.I know how to knit and have no problem with it.

  • Robyn
    October 19, 2013 at 5:53 PM

    I LOVE this scarf! The tutorial is great, thanks! I am curious how you tie it off though?

  • kierra
    November 6, 2013 at 6:19 PM

    Hey, where can I find the rest of the tutorial?