How to tie a slip knot

"Let's start at the very beginning..." Maria was a sensible girl if you ask me. I thoroughly agree that it is a very good place to start! But rather than Do, Re, Mi, in Crochet we generally begin with a slip knot. There are other ways to start when you are working special kinds of crochet but for your granny squares, doilies and blankets, a slip knot is what you will need to get started.

Some of you will have no problem mastering this while others (like myself once upon a time) will have a bit more difficulty and end up with a knot that doesn't slip, or a slip that won't knot! I have photographed every stage I go through when creating a slip knot and hopefully it should give you a fool proof guide to that most important crochet fundamental! This is my first Crochet School instruction so if anyone reads this and finds it is not helping I am looking for feedback please!

STEP 1: Use the right hook for your yarn
Before you start to crochet make sure you have the right yarn for your project and the right hook for that yarn. Don't do as I did and pick up any old yarn and hook combo, then wonder why your granny square looks like a holey lettuce leaf! All yarns have a label which gives needle size information. Just switch this for your crochet hook.

Hook Size Charts
Yarn Weight Charts

STEP 2: Make a loop at the end
Now you are ready to start crocheting. Have your hook ready but for now just make a loop in the end of the yarn like I have here.

If it helps to start with, place it down like I have so you can compare with the photo. Sometimes it all looks a bit different when you hold it up in the air. That comes with practice and you will soon be wondering what all the fuss was about!

STEP 3: Pull up through the loop
Next, take the top strand (connected to the ball) and pull a loop up from under your first loop.

STEP 4: Insert the hook in the centre loop
Pop your hook under the new loop and over the old loop as shown.

STEP 5: Pull short end to tighten knot
Pull the short end of the yarn to tighten the base of the knot. Keep hold of the hook as you do so and the main loop (it is referred to as the working loop in patterns) will stay quite loose.
STEP 6: Pull long end to tighten onto hook
Pull the long end (connected to the ball) of the yarn whilst continuing to hold the hook and it will tighten the working loop onto the hook. You are all set and ready to begin crocheting!

Practice this several times to get used to it. If you have done it right you should be able to slip the knot off the hook, pull the short end and the whole thing will come undone so you can do it again.

I hope that you have found this post useful. If you are a beginner crocheter and want to ask my advice about anything hooky related please comment or email me and I will do my best to help. Think of my as your crochet Agony-Aunt - The one with the blue rinse and the Werthers Originals in her handbag!

Please feel free to use my tutorials to help in any way with your crochet projects. I am happy for you to share them, just make sure to link back to my site by way of acknowledgement.

Hello Dolly!

I did it! I have just finished my live webchat about the My Crochet Doll book by Isabelle Kessedjian and I seem to have survived the experience! I was a bit nervous as I am sure you will be able to hear, and I can't believe how Northern my accent still sounds even after all these years of living in Devon!

If you have bought or are thinking of buying the book, this series of slides with commentary from myself and Ame at Stitch Craft Create may help answer a few questions you would have about the usability of the patterns. You may want to just watch it if you know me online for a giggle!

Here are some useful links  to help you with making your crochet doll or amigurumi:

My Instagram feed with some photos of my doll project as well as all sorts of bits and bobs.

#mycrochetdoll - loads of great photos with this tag on Instagram. If you tweet me with this hashtag and ask any questions you may have about making the doll I will see what I can do to help you!

Isabelle Kessedjian's Instagram feed is adorable and she has shared lots of images of the dolls.

Planet June has an amazing blog on which reside a great selection of really clear amigurumi tutorials and videos. She is a clever lady!

Stitch Craft Create is a great place for hooky supplies along with an ideas blog where there are lots of free tutorials and patterns for download.

Of course, if you want to message me here with any questions I will keep an eye out and try to help. I would stress that the book is really easy to follow and that you can make what looks like a really impressive project, using only one stitch and some careful counting. I really loved making mine!

Dotty Doily's Crochet Dolly

Now here is a project I really enjoyed working on the whole way through. I work at the publisher of this great title by Isabelle Kessedjian called My Crochet Doll.

I worked to drop in the translated text and prepare the book for printing as well as redesigning the cover for UK and US sales. Because of the hours I spent poring over the beautiful images of this gorgeous doll pattern and the amazing wardrobe of clothing options, I could not resist having a go and making one for myself.

Here she is! I really enjoyed making all the parts and sewing them together. The instructions were really simple and clear and there are lots of pictures in the front part of the book which show how the doll fits together. I had a slight calamity with the hair because I got so carried away giving her a thick mop of golden locks that I added too much yarn and the weight of it made her head sag down! I spent a lot of time unhooking random strands of hair to shed the ballast!

There are loads of outfit options in the book including various scenarios such as bedtime, outdoor wear, holiday wear and so on, dressing up clothes and accessories, and even some little companions for the doll. This video shows some of the cute little photos from the book to give you an idea.

I chose to use the basic wardrobe patterns to create my doll's clothes so that I could customise an outfit in the colours I liked. I may make some more later on but for now she has Trousers, boots, a jumper and even some knickers! I also made a few bits of my own design to accessorise her. There is no limit to using just the items from the book as long as you make things to fit the doll so I made a tiny beanie hat and then just because I could I made a weanie little cowl using this marvellous pattern from the lovely Annaboo's House blog.

I used Stylecraft Special DK yarn for the doll all the items and a 3mm hook rather than the standard size for that yarn which made the stitches a little tighter. The book suggests Bergere de France yarn but I love the feel and the range of colours in the Stylecraft range. Almost all of the patterns use just one stitch (double crochet UK / single crochet US) worked in an increase and a decrease to shape the pieces. It is a true masterpiece of amigurumi!

My crochet doll was finished around Christmas and yet she remains, chilling out in my craft room and generally looking cool and coordinating with things. I have a lot of very tiny girl relatives who are a little too young for me to bear handing her over to just yet so I am keeping her although I am finding it a bit weird keeping dolls at my age! Maybe when one of the small girls gets a bit bigger and less hamfisted I will part with her, or if I have a little girl of my own I would make an heirloom of her.

If you are thinking of buying the book or have it but want to find out more before getting started on your doll, I will be taking part in a live Google Hangout session next Weds (30th April). You will be able to view the video on this page during and after the event but if you subscribe to the session here you will be able to ask questions during the discussion and I will do my best along with the help of my colleague Ame from Stitch Craft Create to answer them!