I teach crochet classes, and I believe that the very best first-time crochet project is a coffee cozy. It is small, quick, and tubular. Tubular crochet is excellent for beginners because it allows for repetitive practice of one stitch, thus allowing mastery of that one stitch.
We have our coffee cozy for sale in our Etsy shop, but we wanted to give you step-by-step instructions on how to learn to crochet by making a coffee cozy. Of course, these skills can be applied to any of our tubular crochet patterns, and the coffee cozy size can be adjusted to be a wristband, a headband, or whatever your creative mind wishes it to be!
Materials: Hook size (I-9) 5.5 mm, medium worsted weight cotton yarn
Step one: Hook hold and cast on.
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 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.
Click on any picture to get a closer view.
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Note: 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 make it an extension of your body!
Step Two: Chaining
Note: 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.
Chains are made in two steps: yarn over hook (yoh), then draw yoh through loop.
Practice making chains until you are comfortable with the process. Once you feel comfortable making chains and casting on, let’s get to the fun part – creating your coffee cozy. I know, your brain feels full right now, but you just have one stitch and a few techniques to learn!
Step three: Chain (ch) 25 (or number of chains to fit your cup)
Step four: Connect your chain with a slip stitch (sl st)
Step five: Single crochet (sc) in chain (ch)
Note: A chain has three different loops. We will be working in the top loop that is the loosest and most easy to work under. Once stitches are worked in the chain, the other two loops appear to be twisted together at the bottom of the chain.
Click on the picture above to get a closer look. Or, better yet, observe your own chain and notice the way it loops. The front of the chain looks like a series of sideways V’s. The back has a ridge. The top loop of the sideways V is where we work one stitch before we move to the next top loop and work another stitch.
Observe where you pulled up the last loop when you connected your chain. As you can see in the picture above, you will insert your hook in the chain loop right beneath the loop you just pulled through. Turn the chain so it is horizontal and the sideways V’s are facing you.
To create the next stitch, repeat steps 1-7 in the next chain space.
Row 1 is complete once a sc is worked in each chain around the circle.
Step six: single crochet (sc) in first sc made
Note: In crochet, the top of each stitch has two loops that look like a V. Unless otherwise directed, always work under both loops of stitches in previous row.
Step seven: sc in each sc
Single crochet steps:
1. Insert hook under both loops of next stitch.
2. Yarn over hook (yoh).
3. Draw yoh through stitch.
5. Draw yoh through both loops on hook.
6. One loop remains; one sc complete.
Note: From this point on (until we finish off) you will continue to work a single crochet (sc) in each stitch and around each row.
If you need a picture tutorial for these steps, repeat the instructions for step five: single crochet in chain.
When your cozy reaches 9 rows of sc (or as the pattern is written: 2.5 X 4″) move onto step eight.
Use the tail left from your cast on to help keep track of rows – each time you come around to it means you finished a row.
Step eight: finish with a slip stitch row
Work a slip stitch in each stitch around the row following steps 1 – 4.
Step nine: Finish off and tie
If you want to read all about why I tie the loose ends of yarn instead of weaving them, you can visit the Finish off and tie tutorial. But if you are ready to finish your cozy, continue scrolling. You are almost done!
Turn your project from inside-out to inside-in, slip it on your coffee cup, and you are ready to go!
Yarn: Hobby Lobby’s I Love this Cotton
Yarn weight: 4 Medium Worsted
Color: 400 Monkey Brown
Hook: Size (I-9) 5.5 mm
Gauge: 6 sts and 7 rows = 2” in sc
Completed dimensions (Cozy lying flat): 2.5” tall, 4” wide
Skill level: 1 Beginner (first-time crocheter)
Necessary Skills: Basic stitches
Abbreviations: chain (ch), single crochet (sc), each (ea), slip stitch (sl st)
Ch 25 (or # needed to obtain gauge).
Join ch (sl st in 1st ch made).
Row 1: Sc in ea ch loop (25 total).
Row 2: Sc in 1st sc made and in ea sc around (25 total).
Rows 3 – 9: Sc in ea sc around.
Row 10 (optional): Loosely sl st in ea sc (25 sl st total).
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