There is a scene from a movie or television show, where someone wishes their life was a musical, but I don’t remember exactly where the scene is from. In musicals, people suddenly break out in song and dance. I wish for my life to be like a musical ALL THE TIME, so, I try my best to fill it with song and dance. In my life I don’t have choreographed dance scenes, which is a shame, but I do break out into song. Occasionally there is someone around to join in song with me, but mostly I am just singing by myself and to myself. While I crochet I sing to myself, a lot.
The songs I sing tend to reflect the part of the project that I am at, or the person that I am making a project for. When I start any project, I sing Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools.” It is not hard to understand why I would sing this, every project’s foundation is some kind of chain.
Chaining is a necessary, but not particularly fun, part of a crochet project; Aretha makes the experience better. As I explain how to create a traditional chain, and as you make chains in the future, I hope Aretha makes the experience more joyful for you.
I started my crochet journey with Vanna’s Choice Yarns. It is a good yarn to start with, not that I knew this at the time. Vanna’s Choice Yarn is a medium size yarn. Medium yarns are the most common size of yarn, the size is very easy to work with and the yarn can make a variety of projects. When you buy most yarn, you can find the yarn size on the label. You will also find other important information on the label, like the recommended hook size. For this explanation I will use the recommended hook size, a J/10, 6.00MM hook, I will use a Boye Hook.
To begin all projects, you must start with a slip knot. To begin a slip knot, you make a pretzel with your yarn. How do you do this? Begin my making a circle with your yarn. The loose end of your yarn should be on the right-hand side of the circle, the yarn connected to the ball of yarn on the left. The loose end of your yarn should be between 4 and 6 inches long.
Next, take the loose end of the yarn and create the pretzel, like I showed in A, B, Crochet: Learning to Crochet is like Learning to Write.
The loose end of the yarn will create the pretzel fold on the right of the pretzel. The right side pretzel fold is this part of the yarn that becomes the slip knot. You will need to feed the yarn through the circle/pretzel enough to create a loop, but not so far that you feed the loose end through. This loop is where you will place your crochet hook.
To tighten the loop on the hook you will need to take the loose end of your yarn and move it from the right to the left and pull both the loose yarn and the yarn connected to the ball of yarn. Pull the slip knot tight enough for the stitch to stay on your hook, but it needs to remain loose enough to be able to work a chain into.
A good way to gauge that your slip knot is loose enough is that you can pinch the bottom of the slip knot between your thumb and a finger. You will need to keep the bottom of the slip knot pinched to be able to create your first chain. As a right-handed crocheter I hold my hook in my right hand and wrap my yarn around my left hand.
To create a chain, you will need to “yarn-over” and then “pull-up a loop”. To yarn-over, this means that you move your crochet hook under the yarn and grab the yarn with the hook. Then you will need to pull the yarn on the loop through the stitch on the hook. You will repeat this process of creating a chain, yarn-over, pull-up, for as many times as you need chains. Traditionally, as you create chains, you do not count the slip knot as a chain. However, the pattern you are using may tell you to count the slip knot as a chain if it does make sure to count it.
As I have explained previously, I suggest that you practice making chains over and over again until your chains are pretty much perfect. This means that your chains are all the same size, they can be tight or loose, just so long as they are consistent. Now, go “Chain, Chain, Chain” away!
Are you a fan of Aretha? What is your favorite Aretha song? Do you like to sing to yourself? Do you walk around thinking about choreographed dance numbers that would fit into moments of your life? Are you learning to make chains? Do you have some advice that I didn’t include? Let’s talk!