Tutorials: Hook Holds, Cast on and Chain

Casting on and chaining are the very basic beginnings of any crochet project: simple or complex. To understand crochet, one must learn to chain because every stitch has this basic skill and concept at its root. Of course, without casting on, you can’t do anything! Casting on is slightly more challenging than chaining and while there are a few ways to do it, I will share my method with you.

If you need assistance with other stitches, please refer to our previous tutorials (see tab above).

If you need a closer look at a step, click on the photo and it will enlarge. Use the back button on your browser to return to the page.

coffee with yarn

Grab some yarn, a hook and your warm beverage of choice and let’s begin…

Hook holding methods:

There are two ways to hold a hook: pencil and knife. Pencil: hold the hook as you would a pencil. Knife: hold the hook as you would a knife. Pretty self-explanatory, right? I crochet with the knife hold. If you use this method, don’t pretend you are going to cut carrots. Either way you choose to hold the hook, hold it as gently as possible. Feel how it rolls in your hand and between your fingers. Think of it as an extension of your body.

Casting on:

casting on-01

1. Pull out a length of yarn and put the skein on the table between you and the hand holding the hook. Lay a length over the hook as shown in the picture above. The short length is called the tail. The length between you and the hook we will refer to as ‘yarn’. Place your forefinger on top of the yarn to secure (as shown above).

casting on-02

2. Using your free hand, move the tail under the hook and cross over yarn.
I pinch the tail and hold the yarn with my other fingers. Do what is comfortable for you.

casting on-03

3. Point the hook down between the tail and yarn. Lift hook under the yarn so it’s on the hook as shown in picture above. You have two loops on your hook.


4. Next, grab the loop on the left with the hook and draw it through the loop on the right.

I am pinching the loop on the right as I draw through the loop on the left. Daintily show the loop who’s the boss! Position your fingers in a way that is comfortable but lets you do what you want with the yarn and hook. Don’t be concerned about form or doing it the right way. You need to get used to the yarn and hook in your hand and really making it an extension of your body!

casting on-04

5. Pull on the yarn to tighten the loop on the hook- but not too tight. Notice how you can tighten by pulling the yarn and loosen by holding the tail and pulling up on the loop. It’s basically a slip knot! Take your hook out and pull on the tail and the yarn until the loop disappears – there shouldn’t be a knot. Try this process again (or your favorite way of casting on) and we will move on to chaining.



1. Begin by casting on. You have one loop on your hook (as shown above). Place finger on loop to hold. Wrap yarn over hook (Abbrev. yoh or YO) from back to front. (Or said another way: move yarn away from you, up, then toward you over the hook.)


2. You now have two loops on your hook.


3. Draw the loop on the left through the loop on the right. It is the same movement you practiced while casting on.


4. One chain made. When counting chains, never count the loop on your hook. Only count the ones hanging down. In this picture, there is only one chain made.

Making chains is basically two steps: yarn over hook (yoh), and draw loop through.
Now keep practicing making chains until you are comfortable with the process.


Click here to purchase coffee cozy pattern.

Next step in Tubular Crochet: Connect chain with slip stitch


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