Now that you know the chain stitch, it’s time to crochet something! Like I’ve said, a scarf is an excellent first project. Everything repeats itself until you have enough rows that you deem your scarf complete. For this project, we’re skipping over the single crochet stitch (abbreviated as ‘sc’ in patterns) and jumping right into the double crochet stitch (abbreviated as ‘dc’ in patterns). Here’s my reason for doing this—you want your first project to move quickly so you don’t get too discouraged halfway through, and never finishing the project. Double crochet moves very quickly, and isn’t any more difficult than single crochet.
Here’s a video to help you out.
What do I do first?
First, choose a yarn and a hook, and get a yarn needle. I’ve made a post with instructions for that. I will be using Caron Simply Soft yarn and a size H crochet hook. Size I would also work nicely for this project, if you prefer. I wouldn’t go any smaller than a size G though, because the thinner yarn and smaller hook you choose, the longer the project will take.
Next, you make a chain. Look back at my instructions if you need help. The length of your chain will be the width of your scarf—not the length. Crochet creates a fairly thick fabric, so don’t get too carried away. I have several wide scarves, and I want something different, so I’m going to go with 20 chain stitches. Whatever number you decide, chain three more. So, I will chain for 23 for my finished width of 20. DO NOT PULL YOUR CHAIN TOO TIGHT! If it’s too tight, you will have a very hard time getting the hook through the correct loops.
How do I start my double crochet?
Double crochet, like almost all crochet stitches, is worked from right to left. Holding the yarn the same way as for the chain stitch, wrap the yarn around the hook one time. This is called ‘yarn over’ and is abbreviated as ‘yo’ in patterns. Keeping that wrap of yarn around the hook, insert the hook into the fourth chain space from the hook. The reason you do this is, those three chain spaces that you skip become the first double crochet in your first row.
When you insert the hook, you can put it through the front loop, the back loop, or both. Each way will create a different look. Using the front loop is the most common, but as long as you are consistent the whole way across, whatever you choose to do is fine.
So, you’ve just done yarn over and inserted the hook into the fourth chain. Next, you catch the yarn on the hook, pull a loop through the chain, and slide it onto the hook. This is called ‘drawing up a loop.’ You should now have a total of three loops on the hook. Catch the yarn on the hook again and pull it through the first two loops on the hook, then catch the yarn and pull it through the last two loops on the hook. You should now be back to just one loop on the hook. Congratulations! You made your first double crochet! Now make another one in the very next chain stitch, and continue to the end of the chain.
How do I start a new row?
Remember how we skipped the first three stitches in our chain as we started the first row? They’re not there this time, so you have to make them. Chain 3 stitches, then flip the fabric from right to left and take a close look at your work. There will be one double crochet that seems to be attached to your chain. Skip that one, and make a double crochet in the very next stitch. Continue across.
For items like scarves, I like to insert my loop through the both the front and back loops. It’s difficult to do that for the first row, so that’s why I use only front loops until I get to my second row. Going through both the front and back loops makes a smoother fabric. If you want to put horizontal ribs in your scarf, go ahead and experiment with using front or back loops. When you get to the end of a row, chain 3, turn, and double crochet in the first stitch that is not attached to your turning chain. Keep this up until your scarf is the desired length.
Ok, I’m done. How do I tie off my crochet?
Your scarf is the length you want—you’re almost finished! When you get to the end of your last row, cut the yarn so that you leave a tail about 6 inches long. You can always trim it again later on if it’s not quite right. Pull the tail all the way through the last loop on the hook. Now pull on the tail until that last loop tightens securely around the yarn tail.
What do I do with the ends of yarn that are left hanging?
Weaving in the ends took me a while to master. My first few projects, I tied knots and just tried to hide the ends as best I could. Tying knots in your project isn’t really a good idea. Yarn has a certain amount of elasticity and stretchiness, and if you tie a knot you are constantly putting a strain on the yarn. Eventually, the yarn can break, causing your project to unravel.
Thread the loose end onto your yarn needle. Starting right next to where the end is, thread the needle and yarn through several stitches. Skipping a portion of the last stitch you threaded the yarn through, take the yarn and needle back through the same stitches. If you don’t skip a bit of that last stitch, there will be nothing to hold your yarn in place. Some instruction books tell you that once through and once back is enough, but I like to go back through those stitches one more time. Repeat this step for the tail at the beginning of the scarf. Weaving in the ends can be kind of tricky, so feel free to post a comment here or send me a message on twitter and I’ll try to help you out.
And there you have it! Your very first crochet project! Hopefully, you’ll have better luck with your first scarf than I had with my first—my cat bit through the yarn when I was halfway through and I had to learn quickly how to change colors/add a skein.
I’ll post some pictures and video for tying off and weaving in the ends when I get the project completed. It shouldn’t take too long, so be sure to check back!
In the meantime, Crochet Cabana is a really nice resource.
What color scarf did everyone make? The very first scarf I made was heather grey.