How to Make the Crochet Slip Knot & Chain Stitch

Crochet Slip Knot Chain Stitch   by Janice Jones     |Published 01-18-2021

So, You're ready to begin that first crochet project but don't know where to begin.  Relax. We've all been there before, but the good news is making a slip knot and chain stitch is not difficult.

Purple and pink yarn shown as a backdrop to this how to make a slip knot and chain stitch tutorialCrochet Slip Knot Chain Stitch Tutorial

Tutorial for Making a Crochet Slip Knot Chain Stitch

How to Make a Slip Knot

Before you can crochet, you need a starting stitch on your hook, and that is where the slip knot comes into play.

The first time I saw this explained, I was perplexed.  The picture diagrams showed hands and fingers wrapped in thread. The directions sounded more like mumbo jumbo than anything helpful. 

So hopefully, I can make the process sound a little more down to earth.  Have your hook ready, but you don't need the hook to make the knot.  You will need your ball of yarn.

Step One:  Slip Knot

If you are working with a skein of yarn, the first thing to do is find the end.  The end will be in the center of the skein, and sometimes you'll see the short end poking out, but not always.  Do resist the temptation to remove the label and find the other end, which will be easier to see.

Poke around the middle of one end of the skein until you find the end, and then pull out a length to get started. It's best to start with an end that's about six inches long.

Find the end of the yarn which is often hidden in the center of the skein.

Pull the end of the yarn from the inside center of the skein rather than the end on the outside.

Step Two:  Slip Knot

To make a slip knot, first, make a loop with the yarn.

Form a circle with the yarn.  You can do this by wrapping it around your thumb or finger or simply making a circle, as I have done with the yarn's end.

Step Three:  Slip Knot

The slip knot is made using a look and piece of yarn pulled through the center of the loop.

Pick up the end of the yarn connected to the skein and slip it through the center of the circle from back to front.  Hold the circle loop in one hand as you pull the two ends towards you to make the loop.

Step Four:  Slip Knot

The slip knot tightened on the crochet hook.

Place the circle loop on your hook and tighten slightly by pulling on the two yarn ends.  Pull until it feels snug on the hook but don't tighten it.

Now you are ready to make a chain of stitches.  For this, we will be making a straight chain of 13 stitches.  This is also called a foundation chain.  All projects start with a series of chain stitches.  This is equivalent to the "cast on" in knitting.

How to make the foundation chain stitch:  Chain: (ch=abbreviation)

You already have the first stitch on your hook (the slip knot you just made).  

Step One:  Chain Stitch

For right-handed crochet, hold the yarn in your left hand and the hook in your right hand.  At first, it is challenging to keep an even tension on the yarn, but you will find it comes easier as you practice.

This is the way I hold my yarn and hook. Wrapping the yarn around my finger helps to hold the yarn and provide an even tension.

Step Two:  Chain Stitch

Be sure you are working with the yarn supply from the skein and not the short tail. We'll worry about what to do with that tail later. Hold that first slip knot stitch with the thumb of your left hand.

Press the hook over and under the yarn, which will bring up a loop on your hook. This is called a yarn over (yo).  You can accomplish this by moving your hand to work the yarn or move your hook.  Once the thread is on your hook, pull that loop gently through that beginning stitch.  

Step Three:  Chain Stitch

Remember that I mentioned not to make that knot too tight?  If you did, you might need to wiggle the hook so you can pull that loop through.  You just made your first chain stitch.

Repeat the same process 12 more times.  Each time you make a chain stitch, adjust your hands, so your thumb is close to the hook and still holding all of your chain stitches.

Now Let's count chains

I know you were probably counting as you made each chain stitch, but it is always a good idea to go back and check.  In this part of the tutorial, I will show you how you can count each stitch.  It is also a good habit to get into, as you will be counting more intricate designs as you progress.

The front of the chain

The front side of a chain of crochet stitches

The front of the row of chains looks like a series of little v shapes.  Each V is a chain loop.  The first chain you made at the beginning is the slip knot.  Count each small v as one stitch.

The back of the chain

The reverse side of a chain of crochet stitches

The reverse side of the chain has a row of bumps created by the yarn.  These bumps are located behind the little "v" that you saw on the front side. They run in a vertical direction from the beginning up to where you left off on your hook.  

When counting your chain stitches, do not count the stitch that is on the hook.  If you are working on a very long chain, such as what you might do if you are making a long scarf, it is good to count a certain number of chains, say 10 or 20, and place a stitch marker.  Counting is easier if you need to count the stitch markers instead of every stitch.

Beginner's Tip:  Learning the Crochet Slip Knot Chain Stitch

When making a chain of stitches, be sure to move the stitch beyond the hook to the hook's thicker portion before starting the next one. 

If you work your stitches on the thinner part of the hook, they become too tight, and then you will struggle to place your hook into them on the next row.

The Turning Chain following the Crochet Slip Knot and Chain Stitch

Once you make the required number of chain stitches, the pattern will call for you to make a certain number of turning stitches.  This part gets into the next section, but I wanted to mention it here because it is an important concept.

When working a flat piece of crochet (as opposed to working a circle or in the round), the stitches worked at the end of the row are called turning chains.

Each crochet stitch has a suggested number of turning chains that will take the row to the required height.  I say "suggested" because if you find that your work is creating a loop at the end of the row or if the end appears too tight, you may need to adjust the number of stitches.

Number of Turning Chains Suggested for Basic Crochet Stitches

Patterns are written in the US or UK format.  Be sure you understand the design you are using and whether the terminology is US or UK.

Recommended Number of Turning Chains


Single Crochet:  1 chain

Half Double Crochet: 2 chains

Double Crochet: 3 chains

Treble Crochet: 4 chains


Double Crochet: 1 chain

Half Treble Crochet: 2 chains

Treble Crochet: 3 chains

Double Treble Crochet: 4 chains

The next steps

Once you have mastered the slip knot and chain stitch, the next step is to learn some of the more basic crochet stitches.  All of these stitches are worked similarly but differ in their size. As mentioned, crochet stitches' names are somewhat different, whether you are reading the UK or US pattern.

Here are some of the basic stitches we will cover, along with their abbreviations

Common Abbreviations for Basic Stitches


Single Crochet (sc) 


Double Crochet (dc)

Double Crochet (dc)

Treble Crochet (tr)

Half Double Crochet (hdc)

Treble or Triple (tr)

Half Treble Crochet (htr)

Double Treble Crochet (dtr)

Double Treble (dtr)

Triple Treble (ttr)

Triple Triple (trtr)

Quadruple Treble (quad tr)

Slip Stitch (ss)

Slip stitch (ss)

Crochet Slip Knot Chain Stitch:  Pin for Future Reference

How to make a chain stitch: Pin ImageChain Stitch: Pin for future reference

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