Make a slipknot by folding working yarn in front of the tail end to form a circle then pass working yarn through circle from back to front to form a loop. Loop should slide freely. Hold hook like a pencil in RH and use middle finger to support hook underneath. Place slipknot on hook and draw up so it stays in place but is not tight.
Wrap working yarn round fingers of LH as shown. Hold yarn firmly but not too tightly to maintain even tension and a comfortable stitching position. If this feels awkward, wrap the yarn in a way that feels comfortable while allowing you to keep your work even.
Holding base of slipknot with LH, wrap main yarn round hook, taking it behind hook, bringing forwards over top of hook, then taking back under hook (a clockwise motion with LH). Hold yarn to back with just enough tension to keep it under hook but not be too tight.
Keeping working yarn under hook, draw hook through loop. One chain made. Repeat until required number of chain stitches has been made. Your pattern should indicate this, but remember to include the turning chain when counting (for instance, if you need 30 stitches plus one turning chain, make 31 chain in total).
For a straight, flat fabric using a double crochet (‘dc’) stitch, make a number of chain (‘ch’) stitches. Insert hook from front to back into second chain from hook. Ensure hook goes into bottom of chain so you can see two threads on hook in addition to original chain.
Wrap main yarn round hook (‘yrh’), taking it from back to front, bringing it forward over top of hook then taking back under hook (a clockwise motion with LH). Draw hook back through two loops of the chain to leave the original loop plus a new loop on the hook.
Yrh and draw back through two loops on hook, leaving a single loop on hook. One double crochet made. Insert hook into next chain and repeat steps 6 and 7 until a stitch has been made into each chain.
At end of row, turn work over from right to left. The row of stitches just completed is now in LH. Make one chain (the ‘turning chain’ or ‘tch’). The turning chain creates height at edge of work to take work from one row to the next. The taller the stitch, the more turning chain stitches are needed.
Work into first stitch, inserting hook under both loops on top of stitch. Repeat steps 6 and 7 into each pair of loops from previous row. (For some decorative stitches, the hook is only inserted under the front or back loop, but this will be indicated clearly in the pattern.)
At end of row, work a dc into the last stitch. As you worked into the first stitch, it’s not necessary to work into end turning chain. It helps to count stitches as you work them. (Don’t count turning chain at beginning as a stitch.)
For a gradual decrease, work to where decrease is to take place. Make stitch as normal until two loops on hook. Work into next stitch as normal until three loops remain. Yarn round hook and draw through all three loops.
If decreases take place at the end of the row, it’s best to work to the last three stitches, decrease as above, then work the last stitch as normal for a neater edge, unless your pattern states otherwise.
Thanks to Debbie for showing us how it done – you can see more from Debbie over on her website DT Craft & Design