Crochet Basics: Slip Knot & Foundation Chain

Holly Neufeld Crochet BasicsHolly Neufeld Crochet BasicsHave you been wanting to learn how to crochet? It’s such a great hobby, especially for the fall and winter months. We introduced this series with a post on getting started and reading patterns, and in this post, I will demonstrate two fundamental steps: a slip knot and a foundation chain (or chain stitch).  These steps are needed to begin all crochet projects. A slip knot is how to secure the yarn on your hook to begin any stitch. 



To begin, take your yarn and wrap it around your index and middle fingers twice, crossing it over to make an “X”. Take the first loop, lift it up and grab the second loop, and pull it through the first one. Pull gently to make the knot, leaving a loop. Insert your hook into the loop and pull on the shorter strand of yarn to secure it on your hook. You’ve made a slip knot!



Holly Neufeld Crochet BasicsTo make a chain stitch, hook your yarn over your left-hand ring finger, and with your right-hand middle finger and thumb holding the loop on the hook, wrap the yarn over the hook end (yarn over/yo) and pull it through the loop of yarn on the hook.  That’s your first chain stitch (ch st). Yarn over again and pull it through the loop of yarn on the hook. That’s 2 ch st. If a pattern says to “ch 12”, you would do this 12 times. You can count each stitch in the chain easily. Now you’ve made a foundation chain! 

Holly Neufeld Crochet BasicsHere’s a fun tip: use a jar to hold your ball of yarn in place while you’re crocheting! I like to wind my skeins of yarn into balls before I start a project, and the jar keeps it from rolling away. You can also use bowls and other dishes that are specifically made for this purpose. Just choose something bigger than your ball of yarn and it will be able to roll around freely as you work.

Use a jar to keep ball of yarn in place while crocheting!Use a jar to keep ball of yarn in place while crocheting!Keep practicing these simple steps, and then you’ll be ready to learn some stitches! – Holly

Credits // Author: Holly Neufeld, Photography: Sarah Rhodes, Video and Music: Jeremy Larson.

  • I love crochet and I love learning more about it. So I’m already looking forward to your more advanced posts! Would be really cool if you’d make a crochet rug DIY 🙂

    x Eveline from

  • You made that so simple, I will be trying that this week!
    Thank you!

  • that all sounds good! Not sure we have Knit Picks here in Europe, but I will check it out. I’m sure I’ll find something awesome either way. yay! thanks!

  • I’ve been crocheting for years and I love it. Hope you will have more posts and ideas in the future!

  • Hi Sarah, yes I did, and yep they’re granny squares! I will be sharing the pattern in this series, but if you know how to make granny squares, then you can make your own pattern for it! 🙂 -Holly

  • Hi Joy, I usually get inspired by yarn first, and think of a pattern to use it for, later. But it’s probably smart to find the pattern you would like to use, and buy the yarn according to the suggestions on the pattern. A baby blanket with medium weight yarn would be great! Something washable, ideally. Knit Picks has a great super wash merino in worsted weight that would be perfect for a baby blanket. 🙂

  • Hi Melissa, I will be covering how to make the magic loop in an upcoming post in this series. Stay tuned! 🙂

  • Hi Laura, the pattern for the throw will be coming up in this series. Stay tuned! Xo

  • love love love that you’re doing a crochet series! i have a super long bus commute and crocheting is a great way to make that time feel productive. i’ve used the abm app to edit quite a few photos of my projects, i’d love to share them with you! what hashtag should i use? it would be so cool to have a crochet-specific abm hashtag so i can get inspired by all your awesome readers 🙂

  • I think you need one of these… 😉

    Jésabelle B.

  • Crocheting is very dear to my heart! When I was younger I used it as a fundraiser to raise money for a church/orphanage in Uganda! Seeing these tutorials is making me want to start again!


  • I just made the comment about the afghan. They’re black and white granny squares. Brilliant. Answered my own question.

  • Can we talk about the beautiful afghan you’re sitting on? Did you make it? Can you share the pattern or tell me where I could purchase the pattern? Please please please! I need a new crochet project and that is it!

  • Yes! I can’t wait to come back to look at this tutorial later this weekend. I have been dying to learn how to crochet 😉


  • My mom taught me to crochet when I was about 13 but I have long forgotten the skill! This definitely brought me back, maybe I’ll pick it up again this winter! You always need a scarf 😉
    -Emily x |

  • I like your videos, and of course crochet, but I need to tell you I’m in love with your hair colour!!! 😀

  • I used to crochet ! Can’t remember why I stopped

  • Maybe one day when I have a moment to breathe and I’m not sleeping, this will make the list. I think crochet-ed items are gorgeous! And can I have that leather jacket please? Love it!
    The Accidental Mama

  • My grandma used to teach mesimple crocheting…! Best winter nights ever!

  • Hi Holly, I can’t wait to learn to crochet, especially since autumn is now on its way! Did you also crochet those lovely poufs/ottomans pictured? And if so, will there be a tutorial/e-course for these?

  • hi Holly, before I buy anything, should I have a specific pattern in mind? Thinking of a baby blanket. If that’s cool, then would a medium yarn work? I’ve never crocheted before. thanks for the advise!

  • Love the bright colors of the whole.. the seams to light a little…

    Love from Germany and the -fatcatconnection-
    and after hard work, everyone needs a little snack


  • I’m not gonna lie, when I saw how you started the slipknot I thought to myself “That’s how you start the fish tail rainbow loom!” lol

  • Can you explain a magic ring? I’m an avid crocheter and have been for years, but this is one thing that continues to stump me!

  • Ooohhhh, I would love the pattern for the white and black throw with the plus signs. 😉 How do I make one of those?

  • I really want to learn how to crochet – I’m excited to follow this series and learn some of the basics 🙂 thank you for sharing.

  • Okay, I’ve gotten this part down now. Thank you for the tips. This way was much easier than my previous method!

  • I have no clue how to do any of this… but if I did I’d totally be using neon yarn, too! Xo, Sarah

  • One of the things I regret is not learning how to crochet. I had one grandmother who knitted and one who crocheted and I never learned either. I have all the tools and tons of beautiful things they made especially the amazing crocheted doilies with the teeny tiny stitches…such a craft. I’m definitely going to give this a whirl!

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