Learn to Crochet With This Free Tutorial

We have created a visual step by step guide to help you learn about the basics of crochet. Whether you’re new to stitching and would like to learn how to crochet or if you’re a knitter looking to diversify your skills today we’ll teach you how to get started crocheting!How to Crochet by Alpaca Direct

Make A Slip Knot

Before we begin we’ll need to start with a slip knot. Hold a loop of yarn in your right hand, with the yarns crossed. Pick up the strand that is still attached to the ball. This is underneath the cut end of the yarn and is called the tail. How to crochet by Alpaca DirectPinch the strand of yarn that’s still attached to your ball of yarn and pull through the loop on your right hand, holding the ends in your left hand. 
How to crochet by Alpaca DirectPlace this loop on your crochet hook, you’ve created a slip knot! Pull the ends of the yarn to tighten the knot on your crochet hook. Now we’re ready to crochet. 
How to crochet by Alpaca Direct

Chain Stitch

Step 1: Bring the yarn over your crochet hook, making sure that the yarn is coming from behind the hook and towards you over the hook.

How to crochet by Alpaca Direct

Step 2: Pull this loop through the stitch on your hook. You’ve chained one stitch! How to crochet by Alpaca Direct

Continue to chain stitch until you have enough stitches for your pattern, or you’re happy with the width of your crochet piece.
How to crochet by Alpaca Direct

 

Single Crochet: First Row

Step 1: Skip the first stitch down from your hook, and insert your crochet hook into the second stitch from the hook, inserting through the center of the stitch. How to crochet by Alpaca Direct

Step 2: Bring the yarn over the hook, making sure that the yarn is coming from behind the hook and towards you.

How to crochet by Alpaca Direct

Step 3: Pull this loop through your chain stitch, you’ll now have two stitches on your crochet hook. How to crochet by Alpaca Direct

Step 4: Bring the yarn over the crochet hook again, then pull the loop through both stitches on your hook. How to crochet by Alpaca Direct

Step 5: You’ll be left with one stitch on your hook, you’ve just completed your first single crochet stitch! Insert your hook into the next stitch, and repeat from Step 2 until you’ve worked a row of single crochet into all of your chain stitches.

How to crochet by Alpaca Direct

Single Crochet: Next Row

This is what your piece should look like after completing your first single crochet row.
How to crochet by Alpaca Direct

Step 1: Turn your work, and chain 1 stitch by bringing the yarn over the hook, then pulling it through the stitch on your hook. This will give height to the edge of your work so that you’ll have straight edges and clean corners.
How to crochet by Alpaca Direct

Step 2: Insert your hook into the first stitch of the first single crochet row, going through the center so that you’ll have two strands over your hook. Single crochet as before, going back to Steps 2-5 of the Single Crochet First Row. How to crochet by Alpaca DirectAll consecutive rows are started like the this, and the single crochet is the same throughout. It’s important to remember that on the first row you skip the first chain stitch, and then on consecutive rows you chain 1 stitch at the beginning of each row.

To finish cut your yarn, and pull the stitch on your hook up until the cut end of the yarn comes out the other end of your work. How to crochet by Alpaca DirectDon’t forget… when learning a new skill it will take some practice. Soon you’ll be crocheting like a pro!  Have you tried crochet? We’d love to hear your thoughts on learning to crochet.

My sister in law, Elizabeth wearing her Sisters Cowl

Do you crochet? We do!

Knitting. It’s the new yoga. It’s hip. It’s trending. You can knit on your arm or fingers. Celebrities knit. We hear more about knitting today than any other craft.

What’s happened to crochet?

Plenty! Crochet is full of innovation, creativity, and beauty. I sometimes feel crochet is the craft people “admit” to doing.  I hear customers in our store say, “I don’t knit, I only crochet.”, almost as if crochet is something less than knitting.

But it’s not less, it’s just different.

I did a quick search on youtube- the word knitting returned 717,000 videos. The word crochet returned 1,670,00 videos. I believe that people like to crochet!

Crochet was the first needle craft I learned. I grew up surrounded by thread crochet pieces that my grandmothers and great-grandmothers had made and I was impressed. At age 17, I went to my local yarn store and took a beginning crochet class. That began a fiber adventure that has lead me to knitting, spinning, tatting, and now even working in a yarn shop.  I still enjoy crochet. It’s my personal favorite way to use a lace weight yarn.

If crochet has been overlooked by the major pattern and yarn companies, it has not been overlooked by independent designers. There are patterns all over the internet, both free and purchased that are beautiful and wearable.

I know that crochet has a bad wrap sheet- I remember the days of toilet tissue covers and Christmas candles crocheted to fit over aluminum cans. It was ugly.

But today you can find a huge variety of patterns and styles that are stunning. One of my favorite designers is Tara Murray. Her patterns are a delight.  I made these cuties out of Cascade 220.

Galilee Booties, designed by Tara Murray, crochet by me!

Galilee Booties, designed by Tara Murray, crocheted by me!

 

The crocodile stitch is really hot right now and a fabulous design element. My favorite design that incorporates this stitch is Crocodile Stitch Booties, from Ravelry. I saw a pair of these given an outstanding award at our county fair in August.

Exquisite booties by Bonita Patterns.

Exquisite booties by Bonita Patterns.

 

Maria, one of our staff members, made this project  in Cascade Ultra Pima  early this summer:

Angel Wing Pinafore, designed by Maxine Gonser, crocheted by Maria

Angel Wing Pinafore, designed by Maxine Gonser, crocheted by Maria

She was busy the rest of the summer, filling  requests to make more!

 

Crocheted Mobius Cowl from Churchmouse Patterns, crocheted by Tina

Crocheted Mobius Cowl from Churchmouse Patterns, crocheted by Tina

Another staff member, Tina, made this beautiful cowl from Cascade Kid Seta and taught it as a class here in the store.

So, do you crochet?  We do!

We haven’t forgotten crochet here at Alpaca Direct. We carry a variety of crochet hooks, both beautiful and practical. You’ll find crochet patterns on our website, and a passion for crochet in our staff members! If Alpaca Direct is your local yarn store, look for a Begin to Crochet Class in January 2015 followed by other crochet classes in the late winter and spring.

Here’s my contribution to the crochet pattern community. I hope you enjoy it!

My sister in law, Elizabeth wearing her Sisters Cowl

My sister in law, Elizabeth, wearing her Sisters Cowl

My sister sent me photo of a scarf she admired, asking if I could make something similar. This pattern is the result. When my sister-in-law saw the finished scarf, she asked for one too! So it’s the “Sisters” scarf, because I’ve been blessed with a wonderful sister and sister-in -law!

Enjoy your Free Pattern!

Sisters Cowl, by Kjirstine Prickett

Materials:

2 skeins Berroco Ultra Alpaca or approximately 430 yds worsted weight yarn

US J Hook

3- 1-¼” buttons

Gauge is not terribly important to this project. You should adjust the hook and yarn to produce a fabric that you like. I wanted it slightly drapey, but still wanted to maintain a certain amount of structure.

Finished dimensions:

Approximately 8” x 60”

Abbreviations:

Ch- chain

Dc- double crochet- wrap yarn around hook once

Trc- triple crochet- wrap yarn around hook twice

 

Chain 203

Row 1: Dc in 4th chain from the hook, dc in each chain across. Ch 3, turn

Row 2: Trc in 2nd dc, trc in each dc across, dc in top of turning chain, ch 2, turn

Row 3: Dc in 2nd trc, dc in each trc across, dc in top of turning chain, ch 2, turn

Row 4-5: Dc in 2nd dc, dc in each dc across, dc in top of turning chain, chain 2 turn

Row 6: Dc in 2nd dc, dc in each dc across, dc in top of turning chain, chain 3 turn

Row 7: As row 2

Row 8: As row 3

Row 9-10: As rows 4-5

Row 11:As row 6

Row 12: As row 2

Row 13: Dc in 2nd trc, dc in each trc across, dc in top of turning chain. Finish off.

 

Block gently, stitch buttons on one end to correspond with Triple crochet rows, which are used as buttonholes.

Happy Crocheting!

 

 

AD Sock KAL Wrap-Up & Winner

We’ve had such a wonderful time hosting our first ever knit-a-long, the Alpaca Direct Sockalong! We’ve seen so many beautiful projects, and you can see them here on the Alpaca Direct Pinterest board or in the KAL thread in our Ravelry group.

win sock blockers from Alpaca DirectCongratulations to Gail M, who wrote “I’m new to sock knitting. In fact, I just finished my first pair! So I would love to win a pair!” We’ll be in touch to arrange delivery of your prize. 

 

 

 

ADSockAlong Staff Sock Wrap Up

We’ve been knitting for nearly a month now and have made great progress! I think we’ve all learned something that motivates us to knit another pair of socks and try a new pattern or technique. There’s always something to learn!

Kelley, Owner of Alpaca Direct

Kelley, Owner of Alpaca Direct

Socks completed with a picot bind off.

Socks completed with a picot bind off.

 

Kelley finished her socks and has worn them already!

Courtney, Order Fulfillment & Store

Courtney, Order Fulfillment & Store

Courtney finished her socks!!!!

Courtney finished her socks!!!!

 

Courtney finished her socks and is ready to start a new pair.

Tina, Store Manager

Tina, Store Manager

Tina has made it to the leg!

Tina has made it to the leg!

Tina checks in this week:

“Finally knitting the leg(s)! I’m so pleased with the fit of the sock and especially the heel. However, note to self, on my next sock KAL, don’t decide on a 10-row lace repeat and expect to get them done in a month……LOL. My new mantra……KISS……keep it super simple! Or knit for someone with very tiny feet.”

Melissa, Social Media

Melissa, Social Media

Progress on sock #2

Progress on sock #2

 

Melissa says:

 I’m almost to the second heel where I get another shot at practicing short rows!  I can’t wait to have two finished socks!”

Kjirstine, Customer Service Manager

Kjirstine, Customer Service Manager

Second sock is coming along!

Second sock is coming along!

 

Kjirstine reports:

“This pattern came out great. This is the right sock, with the cable on the right side of the foot. The first sock had the cable on the left. I usually knit socks top-down with a heel flap, which is reinforced with slipped stitches. I’m wondering if the short row heel is as durable?”

Hope you are having good success with your socks, we’d love to see your progress on our Ravelry thread or on our Facebook page.

Hey- Socks are halfway there!

We’ve been knitting along on our socks for three weeks now and we’ve already had some pairs finished!

Courtney, Order Fulfillment & Store

Courtney, Order Fulfillment & Store

Courtney is done! Speed Knitter!!

 

 

 

 

Tina, Store Manager

Tina, Store Manager

Both heels just finished!

Both heels just finished!

Tina’s update is: “Two heels just barely done through the short row phase. Will set up socks for knitting in the round next. I used the Fish Lips Kiss heel pattern as I find I have better success with the heel shaping. Used lifelines at beginning of heels……didn’t need them this time:) “

Melissa, Social Media

Melissa, Social Media

Ready to bind off!

Ready to bind off!

Melissa: “I’m ready  to cast off my first ever sock! Anyone have any tips on the cast off? I’m a pretty tight knitter so I think I’ll use a stretchy one to get the most comfortable fit.”

Kjirstine, Customer Service Manager

Kjirstine, Customer Service Manager

One Sock Done!

One Sock Done!

Kjirstine says: “I just cast off sock #1 last night, using Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off. It fits and looks great! Ready to cast on sock #2. I think the short row toe will come much easier the second time around!”

Kelley, Owner of Alpaca Direct

Kelley, Owner of Alpaca Direct

Socks completed with a picot bind off.

Socks completed with a picot bind off.

 

Kelley: “Finished my socks and will wear them to the fair!”

AD Sockalong Giveaway!

We’re nearing the end of the Sockalong, and we think it’s about time to host a giveaway here on the Alpaca Direct blog! This giveaway is open for everyone, whether or not you’re participating in the Sockalong.

You can still join the Sockalong in the Alpaca Direct Ravelry Group.

You can also catch up with all our previous blog posts:

July 23: Sock Knit-A-Long
July 30: Ready to Start Our First Knit-A-Long!
July 31: Working the Toe
August 6: Sock Progress Report
August 14: Adding Patterns to Your Socks

Blockers (1)

 

Giveaway

Enter for your chance to win Sock Blockers! These are used for blocking your socks after you’ve finished knitting them to help even out the stitches, shape the socks, and make sure they are nice and clean before their first wearing.

To enter leave a comment on this post telling us about your sock knitting experiences. Haven’t knit socks yet? Tell us what’s holding you back! Want to know more about knitting socks, and have a question for us? Is there a sock related topic you think we should do a tutorial on?

We’ll choose one lucky winner on Sunday, August 31. Good luck!

Note: You must be a US resident to enter.

AD Sockalong: Adding Patterns to Your Socks!

We’ve really enjoyed seeing everyone’s progress on their socks so far. We can’t believe it, but some people have already finished both socks! It’s not too late to join us–you can participate in the Alpaca Direct Ravelry Group. We’re knitting the Universal Toe-Up Sock Pattern Formula by Amy Swenson.

Today’s post is about adding a stitch pattern to your socks. We love basic sock recipes like this one because they give the knitter room to be creative. Rib patterns are great for socks because they provide lots of stretch. Besides your classic rib patterns we have three other ribbing patterns in today’s blog post.

You’ll work your stitch pattern on the top of the foot (which means just half of your stitches), and then after turning the heel the pattern can be worked on the leg (all of the stitches). When adding patterns it’s important to make sure that the number of stitches on your sock is compatible with the number of stitches required for your pattern. For example, if you’re working a k2, p2, ribbing you’d want a number that’s divisible by 4 .

Example:
Total number of stitches: 64, 64/4=16 –perfect!
Total Number of stitches: 70, 70/4=17.5–this isn’t going to work, as you’d end with either 4 knits or 4 purls. At this point you have you can increase two more stitches, work a k1, p1 rib that would work with any even number of stitches, or find another stitch pattern that’s compatible with the number of stitches for your sock.

Alpaca Direct stitch patterns for socks

 

For sock knitting we’ve written the directions for all of the patterns to be knit in the round. Broken Rib (Even number of stitches)
Round 1: *K1, p1*
Round 2: Knit

Cable Rib (Multiples of 4) This isn’t a real cable, but a mock cable that doesn’t require a cable needle.
Rounds 1-3: *P2, k2*
Round 4: *P2, k2tog but leave on the needle; then insert right-hand needle between the 2 stitches just knit together and knit the 1st stitch again; then slip both stitches from the needle together*

Waving Rib (Multiples of 6)
Rounds 1-4: *K4, p2*
Rounds 5-8: *K1, p2, k3*

We’d love to see your sock progress! Share photos in the Alpaca Direct Ravelry group, or leave us a comment on this post!

Sock Knit Along- Humming Right Along

We are all humming right along!

Courtney, Order Fulfillment & Store

Courtney, Order Fulfillment & Store

Courtney finished her socks!!!!

Courtney finished her socks!!!!

 

Courtney has already finished her pair of socks! She loves the fact that they are sized to fit her feet precisely and is planning to make another pair that incorporates a pattern design.

Tina, Store Manager

Tina, Store Manager

FOT4A62

 

Tina’s report for this week:

Had a slight mishap in my dragonfly pattern…..darn those yarn overs. Ended up carefully taking out 5 stitches down 4 rows, figured out the mistake and laddered up each stitch correctly with a crochet hook. Success! Can’t even tell which stitches I was working with. Around and around I go toward the heel…..”

Melissa, Social Media

Melissa, Social Media

Melisssa is changing to two circulars after working her first sock on DPNs.

Melissa is changing to two circulars after working her first sock on DPNs.

This is Melissa’s first pair of socks and she’s learning many new techniques.

“I completed one sock using 4 dpns and it was a royal pain. So…I bought 2 circular needles and some thicker yarn and started over working 2 socks on two circular needles . I got through the toes easily enough and now am working in the round, I am being careful to knit on/off the same needles, I am finding that as I go, one set of needles is facing the opposite direction on every other half…”

Any advice for her?

Kjirstine, Customer Service Manager

Kjirstine, Customer Service Manager

Worked the heel as written, now on to the cuff!

Worked the heel as written, now on to the cuff!

Kjirstine writes:

“This is my first attempt at a short row heel and I am pleased with how it came out. It was easy to do and fits nicely. I wasn’t sure how long to knit my cuff, but Tina suggested that it should be approximately as long as my foot. Sounds good to me! Anyone have a different “Rule of Cuff” that you use?”

We are having a lot of fun knitting these together and watching each other’s unique progress. Until next week!!

Sock Progress report

We’ve been knitting along on our socks for a week now. We have slow starters and speedy knitters. We have socks!!

Tina, Store Manager

Tina, Store Manager

Lacey Dragonfly

Lacey Dragonfly

 

Tina chose to work a pattern on her sock, and it is the lovely, lacy, Dragonfly Socks. Here’s her report:

Chose the Dragonfly Socks from Cavyshops.com. Pattern was written as top down, so inverted dragonfly pattern to work as toe up. Have about 1-1/2 to 2” before beginning heel. Here is where tiny feet would be a plus!”

Courtney, Order Fulfillment & Store

Courtney, Order Fulfillment & Store

Sock number two

Sock number two

 

Courtney is already on her second sock! This is what she’s shared with us.

When moving from short rows of toe and heel I needed to pick up stitches to avoid getting a hole. I just knit the picked up stitch together with another on the next row.”

 

Kjirstine, Customer Service Manager

Kjirstine, Customer Service Manager

Added a little cable!

Added a little cable!

 

Kjirstine is ready to start the heel.

“This is when having big feet is a disadvantage. I finally finished the 8.25″ for my foot and I am ready for the heel. I am incorporating the pattern Socks on a PlaneWhite socks seemed too boring, so a little cable twist gives me more to think about.”

 

Melissa, Social Media

Melissa, Social Media

Ready to cast on

Ready to cast on

 

Melissa is enjoying some time away with her family, but she plans to start soon.

She says “ I’m on vacation and then casting on.   Since I”m working worsted I think I”ll finish no problem during the KAL.”

Kelley, Owner of Alpaca Direct

Kelley, Owner of Alpaca Direct

Which heel to choose?

Which heel to choose?

 

Kelley is also ready to do her heel! Her update is:

 I am ready to turn my heels. I am not sure if I will do the short row heel or pick another heel from a different pattern. I decided to do a pattern on the top of my socks. It is a broken rib pattern which has a 2 stitch repeat + 1. Row 1 – knit across row. Row 2 – P1 K1, P1 across row.”

Hope you are knitting along with us and we’d love to see your progress on our Ravelry Thread or find us on Facebook and Pinterest.

spinzillaphotobomb

Spinzilla 2014

spinzilla banner

 

October will be here before you know it! We’re excited to be participating in the second annual Spinzilla week. Last year all the spinners combined to spin 1,373,175.06 yards of yarn. Our Alpaca Direct team spun more than 17,000 yards! All in one week!!!

Sign ups for participation start August 4, 2014  at 10 am Eastern time and continue until September 22, 2014. You can sign up here: Spinzilla registration

There is a $10 registration fee, paid to The National Needle Arts Association Spinning and Weaving Group. This fee is donated to the Needle Arts Mentoring Program (NAMP) which was founded in 2000 as a fiber arts program for at-risk students.

During the event, there will be prize drawings, specials offers and lots of fun. Find our team forums on the Spinzilla Ravlery page or you can find us also on the Friends of Alpaca Direct Spinzilla team thread. Please consider joining us for “A Monster of A Spinning Week”!! Spinzilla 2014!