The Basic Crochet Stitches: an Overview

If you are trying to learn how to crochet, you’ll probably be very encouraged to hear that crochet stitches are not all so different that they each require a bunch of concentration and practice to learn. Far from it!

In fact, what I’m going to show you here is that most of the basic crochet stitches are similar in the way they are done, and they even follow a sort of pattern. Once you start to get comfortable with the pattern, actually practicing the different stitches should be considerably easier. Plus, it will also help you remember the names of the different stitches!

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How to crochet all the stitches-are you ready?

Before I dive in to that, let me make one note to hopefully cut down on some possible confusion. If you are brand new to crocheting and you don’t know any stitches at all(or maybe if you only know the chain stitch), then this post is not the best place for you to start.

Get a starting point first

Why is that, you wonder? Well, in order for you to recognize the patterns in how to crochet these stitches, it will really help for you to have a frame of reference starting out. I’m going to be walking you through yarn-overs, inserting the hook, and so on. If you don’t yet know what that means, then this might get a little overwhelming, and I don’t want you to feel overwhelmed, because then it’s easy to get discouraged.

What I suggest then, is for you to learn the chain stitch and then at least one of the basic stitches. double crochet or single crochet are going to be the best ones to start with. This will allow you to get familiar with the movements and terms of how to do one stitch. Feel free to learn more if you’d like, but then you can use this post as a guide to reference all the stitches.

If you already have one stitch that you know, using it as a reference may allow you to learn all the other stitches just from looking at this post. But, if you need any more specific directions, the links for each stitch will be right there with the relevant information below(plus, I’m going to link them all again towards the end).

List of Basic Crochet Stitches

First of all, let’s go through the list of what I mean by “basic stitches”. These stitches are listed here along with their abbreviations:

All of those stitches use the same skills, and the three in bold lettering are the most predictable and follow a certain “pattern” the most closely.

Similarities and Patterns

Now let’s move on to see the different techniques that these stitches(mostly) all use. You may already be able to spot the patterns in some of the stitches, but I’ll point that out specifically a little later.

Height/chains skipped

First off, let’s look at how high each stitch ends up being. This is actually different depending on what yarn you are using(if you are thinking in terms of inches). Instead, we look at stitches in terms of chains. For example, a triple crochet stitch is as tall as three chain stitches.

This also comes in to play right at the beginning of a piece of crochet, when we make our first foundation chain. To start the row of other stitches, we start by skipping a certain number of “chains” and inserting our hook in to the next chain after those. To use triple crochet as an example again, after making a foundation chain you would skip three chains, inserting the hook into the fourth while working that stitch.

Below, you’ll see an example of skipping stitches(I’m preparing to put the hook in the chain stitch that is right at my thumbs) and also chaining some stitches to start a new row.

So here is how that works for all the stitches(again, this number refers to the height of the stitch and also to what gets skipped when stating a row of those stitches):

  • Chain stitch and slip stitch: nothing(this doesn’t really apply)
  • Single crochet: one chain
  • Half double crochet: two chains
  • Double crochet: two chains
  • Triple crochet: three chains

Yarn Overs

Next, let’s talk about how many times each stitch has us “yarn over”. Please note, this is only how many times we yarn over before inserting our hook into our chain or wherever we are working. Doing a yarn over simply means wrapping our yarn over the hook as part of some crochet stitches.

How to crochet the treble crochet stitch
This is the beginning of a triple crochet stitch. I have yarned over twice.

Here’s how many times we yarn over before inserting the hook:

  • Chain and Slip stitch: none/doesn’t apply the same way.
  • Single crochet: none
  • Half Double crochet: once
  • Double crochet: once
  • Triple crochet: twice

After doing these yarn overs, all of these crochet stitches will require us to insert our hook in the right place, yarn over again, and draw another loop of yarn back through to the front of our work(the only exception is the chain stitch, where the hook doesn’t really need to be inserted because it will already be in the right place for another yarn over.)

After we’ve inserted the hook and drawn another loop of yarn through, the next phase of different crochet stitches is something I call “one loop on, two loops off”.

“One loop on, two loops off”

One loop on, two loops off is what I call the pattern that comes next with these crochet stitches. With most of these stitches, at this point we yarn over again (I know, this is a lot of yarn overs!). Then, we take our loop that we just made and use our crochet hook to draw it through/under two of the other loops on our hook. Hence, one on and two off.

Depending on the stitch, this may be repeated just once or multiple times. The more times you yarn over and then draw that loop under others, the taller the stitch will become. So, here is a breakdown of how many times we do this for different stitches:

  • Chain and slip stitch- none
  • Single crochet- once
  • Half double crochet- once, but, not quite the same. Half double crochet is a variation of the double crochet stitch, so it doesn’t exactly follow the pattern. Instead, at this point in this stitch, you yarn over and draw the loop through three loops at once, instead of two. After that, the stitch is done.
  • Double Crochet: twice
  • Triple Crochet: three times.

How to Remember

So now that you see how all of these stitches are done, you may be wondering how you are going to keep them all straight in your head. Of course, practicing them in different projects or just in swatches will gradually help you learn as you go. However, there is a little “shortcut”, if you will, that can help you out quite a bit.

You may have already noticed exactly what I’m about to point out. Basically, this is a framework for remembering the differences between single, double, and triple crochet stitches. Chain and slip stitch are more unique and will probably be pretty simple to remember with a little practice. The last stitch, half double crochet, will hopefully be natural to remember as the stitch that is just a modified double crochet stitch, which turns out a bit shorter.

So to easily remember single, double, and triple crochet, simply note that certain things are done once for single crochet, twice for double crochet, and three times for triple crochet.

Skipping Stitches

The first place you can remember this is skipping stitches or chaining stitches to start a new row. Traditionally, single crochet calls for skipping or chaining one stitch to start a row, double crochet calls for two, and triple crochet calls for three.

Working the Stitch

The second place you can use these numbers to remember is doing the “one loop on, one loops off pattern”. This may be the more helpful way to remember since it comes up with every single stitch. As we just learned, after we insert the hook and bring a loop of yarn to the front, we repeat the pattern of “one loop on, two loops off” one time for single crochet, twice for double crochet, and three times for triple crochet.

Hopefully those couple of places will help you remember the differences between these stitches.

Summary of Each Basic Crochet Stitch

Finally, I’d like to give you a quick written summary of each crochet stitch on it’s own. You can always refer to a post or video for a specific stitch, but this is here if you need a quick reference.

  • Chain Stitch: Start with a slip knot. Yarn over and draw yarn through(repeat over and over for as many chains as you need!)
  • Slip stitch: Insert the hook, yarn over and draw through
  • Single crochet: Insert the hook, yarn over and draw through, (yarn over and through two loops) just once
  • Half double crochet: yarn over, insert hook and draw through, yarn over and through three loops.
  • Double crochet: yarn over, insert hook and draw through, (yarn over and through two loops) 2x
  • Triple crochet: yarn over, insert hook and draw through, (yarn over and through two loops) 3x

Final Encouragement

Whew, that was a lot of information! It can still be potentially confusing but also very, very helpful. Again, if you are just starting out or if this overview is too much of a “big picture” right now, just picking one of these stitches(starting with knowing the chain), and practicing until you are comfortable is going to be the best use of your time. Eventually, the big picture will come together if you just keep practicing.

Don’t forget to pin this for later so you can use it while you practice. Also, if you would like to get more resources from me on a regular basis, make sure to sign up for my bonus list of 101 ideas and get on the list at the same time!

Keep the crafting delightful,


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