The single crochet stitch (abbreviated sc) is an essential skill for every beginner to master.
Learn how to single crochet in rows and rounds with this step-by-step tutorial. I've got you covered with lots of clear photos and a video tutorial that shows the SC stitch worked slowly.
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- What is SC in Crocheting?
- How to Single Crochet (US Terms)
- Step-By-Step Single Crochet Tutorial
- How to Single Crochet in Rows
- Slow Video Tutorial For Beginners
- More About the Single Crochet Stitch
- When to Use Single Crochet in Projects
- How to Single Crochet in the Round
- Increases And Decreases
- How to Count SC Stitches and Rows
- Common Mistakes and How to Fix Them
- Variations on SC
- Tips for Success
- The Best Crochet Supplies for SC
- Patterns Using Single Crochet
- More Crochet Stitch Tutorials
- Invitation to our Facebook group
What is SC in Crocheting?
In crocheting, SC stands for “single crochet.”
Below, I’ll show you how to make a single crochet stitch, how to use SC to make circles, and how to troubleshoot if your single crochet stitches look weird.
If you already know how to make a single crochet stitch, click to jump to the info you need:
- Common SC mistakes and how to fix them
- Easiest variations on single crochet that look unique
- How to increase and decrease
- The best beginner patterns to practice single crochet stitches
Grab your crochet hook, and let's go!
How to Single Crochet (US Terms)
Single crochet is the most basic stitch to learn. Here’s how to make a single crochet stitch:
- Insert hook into the next stitch. Yarn over and pull up a loop. (2 loops on hook.)
- Yarn over and pull through two loops on the hook. (1 loop remains.)
Here are step-by-step photos demonstrating how to create one single crochet stitch.
Step-By-Step Single Crochet Tutorial
Now let's make a single crochet swatch so I can show you:
- how to single crochet into chain stitches
- how to turn single crochet at the end of a row
- how to single crochet in rows
- how to fasten off single crochet
To get started, you'll want to have a worsted weight or chunky weight yarn in a light color. Check the yarn label to see what crochet hook size is suggested to pair with the yarn. These beginner supplies are all you need to start practicing.
How to Single Crochet in Rows
Working in rows means crocheting back and forth to create a flat piece of fabric. Follow these detailed instructions to make a single crochet square.
Making a Foundation Chain
Begin by making a slip knot on your hook. Then, create a foundation chain of any length. In this tutorial, I'm demonstrating with eight chain stitches (ch). The length of your foundation chain will determine the width of your crochet piece.
Here's how to start the first row of single crochet:
1. Insert your hook into the second chain from the hook (not counting the loop on your hook). The one skipped chain is the turning chain in Row 1.
2. Yarn over again and pull up a loop. At this point, you should have two loops on your hook.
3. Yarn over and pull through the two loops on the hook. You should now have a single loop on your hook.
Your first single crochet stitch is complete!
Finishing the First Row
Repeat the instructions above in each chain stitch until the end of the row. Count your stitches. The row should include 7 single crochets. (7 sc stitches + the turning chain, which does not count as a stitch.)
Pro Tip: After you've practiced single crocheting into a chain a few times, try working into the back loop of your chain stitch for a cleaner-looking edge.
- Turn your chain over so the wrong side (the one with the bumps) is visible.
- Insert your hook under the middle bump (the lump in the middle of the V-shape between the bottom of the chain stitch).
Turning Your Project
At the end of Row 1, it's time to turn your project to begin the second row of single crochet. Keep the hook in the loop and flip your work over, as if turning the page of a book. The "wrong side" is now facing you.
Note: Because single crochet fabric is reversible, the wrong side of several rows looks no different than the "right side." This is simply a distinction made in some crochet patterns to help the reader follow the instructions more easily.
This is how you'll work the next row of single crochet and each additional row of SC stitches.
1. Make the turning chain: Chain 1 stitch to bring the yarn up to the height of the upcoming row.
2. Insert your hook under both loops of the first stitch. Create one single crochet stitch.
3. Proceed like this in each stitch of the row.
4. At the end of the row, you'll reach the turning chain from the previous row. Since this doesn’t count as a stitch, you shouldn’t crochet into it.
Accidentally, working an extra stitch at the end of each row is a common mistake. As a beginner, it can be helpful to count your stitches at the end of each row to make sure you have the same number consistently.
At this point, you should again have seven stitches.
To Continue in Rows
To continue making single crochet rows, turn your work again and repeat the "Row 2" instructions above for each new row of single crochet.
When your swatch is the height you'd like, it's time to fasten off.
- Complete the last stitch of the row and cut your yarn, leaving a 10" tail.
- Lift your hook up so that the yarn tail is pulled through the final stitch.
- Weave in your ends and block your crocheting if you'd like.
Slow Video Tutorial For Beginners
If you’d prefer to watch how to make a single crochet stitch, check out this slow motion video tutorial.
More About the Single Crochet Stitch
Single crochet is considered a “closed” crochet stitch, which means that the fabric it creates doesn’t have many spaces or gaps in it. This makes single crochet ideal for projects that you don’t want to see through, such as pillows, sun hats, and stuffed animals.
Here are some stitch patterns that use single crochet:
The single crochet stitch is typically abbreviated SC (or sc) in crochet patterns.
In this tutorial, we're using US terms. UK terms don’t actually include a “single crochet,” which seems funny to American crocheters like me. If a pattern says it uses UK terms, the stitch you're learning here is called a Double Crochet (dc).
To Summarize: In US terms, a stitch with one yarn over is called a single crochet. In UK terms, the same stitch with one yarn over is called a double crochet.
In crochet diagrams, the single crochet stitch is represented by a “plus” sign or an “x” shape. This symbol is used in visual patterns to show where a SC stitch should be made.
Single crochet stitches are fairly square, meaning they take up the same space horizontally and vertically. They are half the height of double crochet stitches (dc) and slightly shorter than half-double crochet stitches (hdc).
Because single crochets are more compact than other stitches, the fabric tends to drape less than half-double, double, or treble crochet (tr).
Single crochet stitches are slower to make progress with than other stitches. Because they are shorter in height, each row of stitches takes up less space. This means it takes more rows of SC to build up the same amount of fabric height.
Also, SC is often used to create tight fabric, like in the case of this bucket hat pattern, which can be slightly slower and more taxing on your hands and wrists. (Still totally worth it for an awesome hat, in my opinion!)
One chain stitch is used as the turning chain (tch) at the beginning of a row of single crochet. This means that as you start each row of SC, you’ll make one chain to raise the yarn up to the height of the upcoming row.
How to Know if the Turning Chain Counts as a Single Crochet
The turning chain does not count as the first single crochet stitch in the row. This means that you should work your first “real” single crochet stitch into the first stitch of the row below.
When to Use Single Crochet in Projects
Since single crochet creates a dense, more rigid fabric, it’s ideal for various types of projects that need to hold their shape, such as baskets and rancher hats.
Single crochet is also used in amigurumi patterns, often with a smaller-than-typical hook to avoid small holes in the fabric.
How to Single Crochet in the Round
- Joined rounds
- Continuous spiral rounds
When creating single crochet joined rounds, the first stitch of the round is connected to the last stitch of the round with a slip stitch (slst). This creates a slightly visible seam but also ensures that the last round doesn't have a visible step up.
I suggest this technique when crocheting baskets, coasters, or doilies.
Here's how to single crochet in joined rounds:
1. Begin the round with a chain.
2. Stitch around the round as usual.
3. Single crochet in the last stitch.
4. Slip stitch into the top of the first SC from the beginning of the round.
Note: Joined rounds of single crochet are often worked with the right side facing throughout. Sometimes, a pattern will tell you to turn your work at the end of each round. Doing so creates a reversible fabric that looks the same on both sides.
Spiral rounds of single crochet are worked continuously without joining with a slip stitch. This creates a smooth, seamless look without any visible joining.
The downside is that the final edge has a “step.” (I often cover this by slip stitching two to three times at the very end so that the height of the round tapers off.)
I recommend working in a spiral for amigurumi projects or Christmas stockings where the final edge will be hidden or seamed.
To work in continuous/spiral rounds:
When you get to the end of a round, continue onto the first stitch of the next round without slip stitching.
When working like this, I strongly advise placing a stitch marker in the beginning of the round and moving it up to the first stitch of each round as you work. Otherwise, it's impossible to tell where one round ends and another begins!
Increases And Decreases
Increasing and decreasing techniques are often used in crochet projects that require shaping, such as hats, garments, and toys.
Increasing is also how you crochet a circle, which is the basis for most basket and coaster patterns.
How to Do a Single Crochet Increase
In crochet patterns, you may see single crochet increases abbreviated as "sc inc." I usually say "2 sc in next stitch" in the patterns I write, which means the same thing.
To make a SC increase, you simply work two single crochet stitches into a single stitch. It's also possible to work more than one extra stitch as part of an increase. Some stitch patterns include three or four single crochets in the same stitch, such as in zig zag patterns.
How to Do a Single Crochet Decrease
Decreasing in single crochet means that you're eliminating one (or more) stitch(es). Single crochet decreases are often abbreviated as “sc2tog,” which means "single crochet two together."
Your pattern will specify if a certain type of "SC dec" is required.
This is the most common way to decrease in single crochet.
Here's how to do a sc2tog:
1. Insert your hook into the first stitch. Yarn over, pull up a loop. (2 loops on hook.)
2. Then, insert your hook into the next stitch. Yarn over, and pull up a loop. (3 loops on hook.)
3. Finally, yarn over and pull through all three loops on your hook. You've just combined two stitches into one, thereby decreasing your stitch count by one.
Here's photo showing how to do a single crochet decrease:
An alternative way to eliminate one stitch is called an invisible decrease. This method is especially handy when making amigurumi as it's less likely to create a little bulge in the spot where it's worked.
Here's how to do an invisible single crochet decrease:
1. Insert your hook into the front loop of the first stitch. (2 loops on hook.)
2. Insert your hook into the front loop of the second stitch. (3 loops on hook.)
3. Yarn over, pull through two loops. (2 loops on hook.)
2. Yarn over and pull through both loops. Invisible decrease is complete! (1 loop on hook.)
How to Make a Single Crochet Circle
Once you know how to increase and SC in the round, you can learn how to make a single crochet circle.
To create a flat circle, you want to increase the number of stitches and each round evenly. For SC, the universal rule is to begin with 6-8 single crochets in the first round. Then increase by the same number of stitches each round.
For example, here are basic instructions for making a circle using single crochet and the spiral method.
Foundation: Begin with a magic ring (aka magic circle or loop).
Round 1: 6 single crochet in magic ring. Place a stitch marker in last stitch of round. (6 sc)
Round 2: 2 single crochet in each stitch. Move stitch marker up to last stitch. Continue moving it to the end of each subsequent round. (12 sc)
Round 3: [2 single crochet in first stitch, 1 single crochet in next stitch] 6 times. (18 sc)
Round 4: [2 single crochet in first stitch, 1 single crochet in each of next 2 stitches] 6 times. (24 sc)
Round 5: [2 single crochet in first stitch, 1 single crochet in each of next 3 stitches] 6 times. (36 sc)
Do you notice what's happening here? Each round increases by the same number of stitches that you started with in the magic ring in Round 1. And in each round, the increases are farther apart.
How to Count SC Stitches and Rows
Rows of single crochet stitches are easy to distinguish. It’s best to count two rows at a time because, together, they create one more visible row.
Here's a photo illustrating how each set of two rows of single crochet looks like a horizontal line.
Common Mistakes and How to Fix Them
I've found that beginners run into the same common problems when learning how to single crochet.
Here's what to do if you find yourself in a pickle.
Why is My Stitch Count Wrong?
In single crochet, the most common reason a stitch count is wrong is because of how you’re starting or ending the row.
Remember: You only skip the turning chain stitch at the beginning of a row. If you forget to work into the first actual stitch, you'll end up with an edge that curves in and rows that get shorter and shorter.
Another common mistake happens at the end of each row. If you accidentally work into the previous row’s turning chain, you’ll end up adding an extra stitch. This can make your flat crocheted piece start to grow into a trapezoid shape.
Why Are My Edges Uneven?
If the edges of your single crochet rows are wavey or uneven, it's usually because you’ve accidentally eliminated or added stitches in the row. Counting your stitches after each row and following the suggestions above can help avoid this.
Variations on SC
Once you've gotten the hang of single crocheting, there are many variations you can use to spice up this basic stitch.
Front Loop/Back Loop
One of the easiest beginner variations on the standard SC stitch is to modify where you insert your hook for each stitch.
Single crocheting through the back loop only (scblo) of the stitches in the previous row creates a simple ribbed effect. This is one of my favorite ways to add ribbing to projects.
Single crochet through the front loop only (scflo) is similar to scblo, it’s just worked under the opposite loop. Scflo fabric has elongated stitches and visible horizontal lines, very similar to extended single crochet.
Extended Single Crochet Stitch
The extended single crochet (esc) stitch is a taller version of the standard SC stitch. It's a great beginner-friendly option when you need to increase the height and drape of single crochet. Extended single crochet is what we used in this yoke sweater pattern.
Here's how to do the extended single crochet stitch:
1. Insert your hook into the next stitch.
2. Yarn over and pull up a loop.
3. Yarn over and pull through one loop on the hook. (This is different from traditional single crochet.)
4. Yarn over and pull through both loops on the hook.
Tips for Success
As you practice the single crochet stitch, keep these tips in mind:
1. Keep your tension even: Maintaining consistent tension throughout your work ensures that your stitches are uniform in size. Avoid pulling the yarn too tightly or letting it become too loose. This is easier said than done at first, but becomes second nature with practice.
2. Count your stitches: It's easy to accidentally skip or add stitches, especially when you're just starting out. Counting your stitches after each row helps you stay on track.
3. Practice makes perfect: Like any new skill, mastering the single crochet stitch takes practice. Do not give up if your first squares look more like deformed triangles. (Mine did, too!)
The Best Crochet Supplies for SC
You can practice single crochet stitches with any scraps in your stash, but the type of yarn you choose will impact the texture and drape of the fabric. Similarly, using a smaller or larger hook will also influence how dense the stitches are.
Yarn + Hook Size
For a denser, more structured single crochet fabric that’s ideal for baskets, amigurumi, or hats with brims, try a 100% cotton yarn and a smaller-than-usual crochet hook. I like to use Lion Brand 24/7 Cotton in instances like this.
If you just want to practice and don’t know where to start, I suggest a worsted weight yarn and a size J/6.0 mm crochet hook.
Patterns Using Single Crochet
Now that you know how to single crochet, you're ready to tackle a project! Here are some of our free crochet patterns that use SC stitches.
- Mud Cloth Crochet Pillow Pattern -- Free Pattern!
- Quick Crochet Slipper Socks For Adults - Free Pattern
- Dollar Store Twine + Thrifted Belt Free Crochet Basket Pattern
- Mandala Ombre Pillows - Easy Free Crochet Pattern
- Chukka Crochet Slipper Boots Free Pattern
- How to Crochet Boots With Flip Flops - Free Pattern + Video
- Modern Women or Men's Crochet Slippers - Free Pattern
- Free Crochet Slippers Pattern for Women
More Crochet Stitch Tutorials
If you feel confident with the single crochet stitch, why not expand your repertoire?
See more fast crochet patterns→
That was so fun! Now what?
Invitation to our Facebook group
Come discuss your questions about how you do a single crochet stitch and lots of other projects and techniques in our Make & Do Crew Facebook group. Here thousands of helpful crocheters answer each others questions and share their stitches. Come join us!