What Does Single Crochet Look Like?
Single crochet is one of the most basic and foundational techniques in crochet, typically creating a tight and dense fabric when worked. It’s often the first stitch taught to beginners due to its simplicity and versatility, which makes it a useful building block for a variety of projects. But what does single crochet actually look like?
To identify single crochet stitches, look for small “V” shapes facing you, with one leg of the “V” created by the yarn strand pulled through the previous row’s loop. The fabric created by this stitch offers excellent coverage and structure, ideal for items requiring durability, like dishcloths or bags.
Its appearance will vary depending on the way in which it is used. For example, it will look slightly different worked back and forth in rows compared to how it will looked when worked in the round. It will also look different when combined with other stitches or when used for joining. Read on below for examples of single crochet stitches used in various ways.
Ways to Use Single Crochet
Single crochet is a versatile stitch that can be used in various ways in many different types of crochet projects. Each way of using single crochet will have its own unique look and feel. Here are a few examples.
Single crochet stitch can be used to make blankets. As it’s a relatively dense stitch, the resulting blanket fabric will also feel dense and cosy. In order to achieve a reasonable drape, consider going up a hook size compared to what you might usually use.
You can simply work single crochet stitches back and forth in rows to create a simple blanket. You could change colors to create stripes or color blocks and add some interest.
However, single crochet can also be used in more creative ways, such with mosaic crochet, to create striking colorwork patterns as shown below.
Single crochet can also be used to make garments such as sweaters, creating a thick, cozy fabric that will keep out any draughts!
Crochet motifs can be joined in various ways, including using single crochet. The single crochet join is a quick and easy method which creates a slightly raised join.
Borders or Edging
Single crochet is a great stitch for borders or edging, especially for items like blankets and cushions. As single crochet is quite a dense stitch, one or more rounds of it can add a nice weight to the edge of your project.
Intarsia and Tapestry Crochet
Single crochet stitches can act like pixels for creating interesting and beautiful colorwork patterns and images. As mentioned above, they can be used in mosaic crochet. However, single crochet can also be used in other colorwork techniques like intarsia and tapestry crochet, with stunning results.
One further technique that involves single crochet stitches is amigurumi. Here, single crochet stitches are worked in the round to create fun, 3D cuddly toys. As single crochet is so dense, it is perfect for this purpose.
Single Crochet Basics
Yarn and Hook
Selecting the right yarn and crochet hook is always important. For learning how to do single crochet, choose a smooth, medium-weight yarn that is easy to work with, such as acrylic or cotton. For beginners, try a size H (5.0 mm) or I (5.5 mm) crochet hook, as these sizes comfortably accommodate most medium-weight yarns.
The foundation chain serves as the base of many single crochet projects worked in rows. To create a foundation chain, start with a slip knot and place it on the hook. Hold the yarn and hook the way that feels most comfortable to you, while maintaining a steady tension, then:
- Insert the hook into the slip knot loop.
- Whilst holding the working yarn in your other hand, retrieve that yarn with the hook: yarn over and pull it through the loop on the hook.
- Repeat step 2 until you reach the desired length of the chain.
Take care not to pull your chain stitches too tight as you will need to be able to crochet into them. Also, the length of the foundation chain will determine the width of the finished piece and if it is too tight, it will cause the resulting fabric to be pulled in, or narrower, along that edge.
Single Crochet Stitch
After crocheting your foundation chain, you will crochet back along it forming one single crochet stitch in each chain stitch, except for the last chain stitch you made.
To create a single crochet stitch:
- Insert the hook into the second chain from the hook*.
- Yarn over and pull the hook and yarn back through the chain. There will now be two loops on the hook.
- Yarn over again and pull through both loops on the hook. There will now be one loop on the hook.
* When making the following single crochet stitches, insert the hook into the next chain to make the next stitch.
Repeat steps 1-3 for each following chain stitch in the foundation chain.
Count your stitches at the end of each row to make sure that you have the correct number. You could place a stitch marker in the first and last stitches of each row to make sure that you don’t miss them.
In single crochet, a turning chain helps to maintain an even edge when working back and forth in rows. It also places the yarn in a better position to form the first stich of the next row. A turning chain is formed at the start of each new row.
To create a turning chain:
- Finish the row of single crochet stitches.
- Turn the work to begin a new row, with the completed row now on your non-dominant hand.
- Chain one stitch. This is called the turning chain.
- Start single crochet stitches in the last stitch of the previous row.
Remember not to skip the turning chain when doing single crochet since it helps in achieving an even edge.
Single Crochet Stitches in Rounds
For a single crochet round, like edging or other circular projects, you will join the round instead of turning. To join, slip stitch into the first single crochet stitch of the round, then chain one to begin the next round.
However, in some cases, like in amigurumi, the single crochet stitches are worked in a spiral with no joining at all. You can use stitch markers to keep track of the start of each new round.
As with rows, remember to count your stitches at the end of each round to ensure an even and correct number throughout the project.
Pattern Reading and Abbreviations
US and UK Terms
When reading crochet patterns, it’s essential to be familiar with both US and UK terminology. Each system uses different abbreviations, which can lead to confusion if not recognized.
“Single crochet”, for example, is a US term. There is no “single crochet” stitch in UK crochet terms. In UK crochet terms, a “single crochet” stitch is called a “double crochet” stitch.
Here’s a comparison of some common terms and their abbreviations:
|US Term||UK Term|
|Single crochet (sc)||Double crochet (dc)|
|Double crochet (dc)||Treble crochet (tr)|
|Half double crochet (hdc)||Half treble crochet (htr)|
|Treble crochet (tr)||Double treble crochet (dtr)|
It’s crucial to know which system the pattern follows prior to starting your project. Always read the pattern carefully to check this and make sure you are using the correct stitch.
Crochet Stitch Symbols
Crochet patterns sometimes use symbols provided in the form of charts which show graphically where each different type of stitch is to be made. Symbols represent different stitches or techniques in a visual format. A single crochet stitch is indicated with a cross.
Here are some common symbols:
- Single crochet (sc): +
- Half double crochet (hdc):
- Slip stitch (sl st): .
For a full list of all symbols, see this guide from the Craft Yarn Council.
Crochet Stitch Markers
Stitch markers can be used to mark various places in your work, such as the first and last stich of a row or round, as mentioned above. However, they can also be useful in other places.
Stitch markers usually take the form of clips or small loops.
Some common uses of stitch markers with single crochet include:
- Beginning of round (BOR): placed at the start of each round
- Increase (inc): indicates the addition of stitches
- Decrease (dec): shows where stitches are removed
Increasing and Decreasing with Single Crochet
When working with single crochet, knowing how to increase and decrease stitches effectively can help add shape and dimension to your crochet projects. This section covers two important techniques in single crochet: increasing and decreasing stitches.
Single Crochet Increase
To perform a single crochet increase, simply work the stated number of single crochet stitches (usually two or sometimes three) into the indicated stitch.
Follow these steps to create an increase with two single crochet stitches in one stitch:
- Insert your hook in the indicated stitch.
- Yarn over and pull up a loop.
- Yarn over and pull through both loops on your hook.
- Repeat steps 1-3 in the same stitch.
By working two single crochet stitches in one stitch, you increase the stitch count by one.
Single Crochet Decrease
On the other hand, a single crochet decrease (sc2tog) merges two stitches together, reducing the stitch count by one. To execute a single crochet decrease, follow these instructions:
- Insert your hook in the first stitch.
- Yarn over and pull up a loop (2 loops on hook).
- Insert your hook in the next stitch.
- Yarn over and pull up a loop (3 loops on hook).
- Yarn over and pull through all three loops on your hook.
By completing these steps, you have successfully decreased by one stitch.
Comparing Single Crochet with Double and Half-Double Crochet
Single crochet, as one of the basic crochet stitches, creates a tight, dense fabric compared to the double and half-double crochet stitches.
Double crochet, also known as dc, is taller than single crochet and results in more space between the rows. In contrast, single crochet produces a firmer and more compact crocheted fabric. To create a double crochet stitch:
- Yarn over
- Insert your hook into the stitch
- Pull up a loop
- Yarn over
- Pull through two loops
- Yarn over
- Pull through remaining two loops
Half-double crochet, or hdc, lies between single and double crochet in terms of height and density. It combines the techniques of both stitches, resulting in a crocheted fabric that is less dense than single crochet yet more compact than double crochet. Here’s how to make a half double crochet stitch:
- Yarn over
- Insert your hook into the stitch
- Pull up a loop
- Yarn over
- Pull through all three loops
Conclusion: What Does Single Crochet Look Like?
Single crochet, a fundamental and versatile stitch, ultimately displays a distinct yet simple look. Its exact appearance will depend on how it is used and with what yarn. For example, single crochet can be worked back and forth in rows, in the round, or in combination with other stitches. However, typically it can be identified by the presence of a series of small, tight “V” shapes. This basic structure results in a sturdy, yet flexible, fabric that is useful in a range of items from blankets to amigurumi. It is also useful for joining and borders.
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