I found that one of the harder parts about getting started with crochet was working out how to create the knot to cast on. You can’t make any other stitches or progress with this yarn craft until you learn how to do this. It took me some time before I got the hang of this. So I’m sharing the exact process that I like for making this starter knot with lots of photos so you can easily follow along.
I’ve provided lots of photos and text to help you work through this specific method which makes it seem as though it is a long process. It is extremely fast to tie this knot once you master it. I had a job slowing it down enough to get clear shots for the photographs because in real-time it takes seconds to do. Some crafters may use different techniques. However, this is the one that I happen to like best and am happy to recommend. Don’t let beginning this yarn craft get you down before you even start. You can master the slip knot.
1: Starting to Make a Slip Knot
I am demonstrating this technique with my left hand because I crochet right-handed. You can use the same method if you're left-handed at crochet but you'll have to work out how to mirror the method for your right hand.
Hold out your left hand as demonstrated in the photo and loosely drape the end of the yarn over your fingers so it falls down at the front. Have the ball of yarn sitting somewhere behind the back of your hand.
2: Positioning Your Hand
Place your thumb over the end of the yarn to secure it down then twist your hand so that it is laying flat with the palm face down.
Position your ring finger and the little finger next to it over the top of the yarn strand. You are able to do this just by moving these fingers in place over the top and not by using your other hand. When you have the positioning as shown in the photo above then you are ready for the next step.
3: Crossing the Yarn Strands
Lift your hand from having your palm facing down to your palm facing towards you. Working now with the yarn strand that is attached to the main ball, pull it up slightly with your hand and tuck it under your thumb. The strand should cross over the other yarn strand in an X shape as shown in the photo.
4: Getting the Strands in Place
Move your hand again so that your palm is facing down. Lift up your ring finger and the little finger next to it so they move up and over the yarn again to secure it in place.
You should now see a rough X shape made with the crossed strands of yarn over your fingers. The X is much more visible from the side view and not the top. Pull the strands to make the X shape more visible if you need to.
5: Placing the Hook Under the Yarn
Now pick up your crochet hook with your right hand. You want to use the same hook that you will be using for your yarn project. If you are just practicing casting on, choose a hook size that is quite wide. A 4.00 mm (G/6) hook or larger is ideal for you to work with. Push the hook under the top of the X shape as shown and make sure you put it only under the first strand but over the second one as shown.
6: Making a Loop
Now make sure that the hook point is facing down so the groove can catch hold of the yarn. Use the hook to latch on to the second strand and gently pull it underneath the first one. This photo shows the loop that starts to form when you do this.
7: Sliding the Loop onto the Hook
Once you’ve got this little loop forming, slide it down the main shaft of the hook and lift the hook up into the vertical position as shown.
8: The Complete Loop
Once the yarn is over on the shaft of the hook, you can gently slip all the yarn off your fingers and you have a circular loop formed. Keep it placed around the hook.
9: Pulling the Slip Knot
Now take hold of both pieces of the yarn with your left hand. You need to hold both the yarn end and the strand that is still attached to the ball. Gently pull them both down at the same time. You should start to see the loop tighten in to the beginning of a knot.
10: Tightening the Knot
Keep pulling on these strands and you will see a knot start to form around a little loop as shown. At this point you want to just pull on the yarn that’s attached to the main ball. This action will send the knotted part right up around the shaft of the crochet hook.
11: Completed Knot Ready to Start Crochet
Make the knot firm and secure around the hook shaft. It should slide if you move it but should not easily just slip off. If you pull on it too tightly, you can start to pull the yarn strands out of shape so it just needs to fit snugly. Your completed slip knot should look like the photo above.
Technique Demonstrated with a Video
This Method is Fast and Easy with Practice
Once you have your slip knot tied properly, you can start making chain stitches which are the foundation to most crochet projects. That is the next thing that you should look to learn if you are starting this craft.
Crocheting is quick, fun and easy when you know how. I wish I’d realized this much sooner. Keep on practicing this method for tying your starting knot until you can do it without thinking. When your hands know where to move automatically, you will be making it in seconds.
Image Credit: all images on this page belong to the author of this article, Marie Williams Johnstone