What Is a Slip Stitch?
The crochet slip stitch is one of the basic crochet stitches. It is a short stitch which adds a tiny, almost negligible amount of height to the row or round in which it is worked.
A slip stitch is similar to a chain stitch. The main difference: before you crochet a slip stitch, you’ll insert your hook into the fabric. After that, the motion is pretty much the same, except that you’ll be pulling the yarn through the fabric as well as through your active loop. The steps are as follows:
- Insert your crochet hook into the spot where you want to work your slip stitch. If you’re starting a brand new fabric, you could work your starting chain and then crochet into the 2nd chain from your hook.
- Grab your yarn or thread with the crochet hook, and pull it through both the work and your active loop.
- One slip stitch is complete.
10 Ways to Use Slip Stitch in Your Crochet Projects
Slip stitch is a multi-purpose stitch. It’s quite the workhorse! There are bunches of different ways to use this versatile stitch in your crochet projects. Let’s take a look at 10 of them:
1. Creating Rings
When you want to crochet in rounds, you’ll first have to create a ring. To do so, you’ll usually crochet a starting chain and then join it with a slip stitch to form a ring.
2. Joining Rounds
Slip stitches are often used for joining things. If you’re instructed by a pattern to “slip stitch to join the end of the round to the beginning,” what you want to do is this:
- Work to the end of the round, following your pattern instructions.
- Find an appropriate spot at the beginning of the round to do your join. If you are working a round of single crochet stitch, you will probably want to work your slip stitch into the first single crochet stitch you made in the round. If you are working a round of double crochet stitch, you will probably want to work your slip stitch into the third chain stitch in the round. If your pattern says otherwise, do what your pattern suggests and disregard this.
- Insert your hook into the appropriate spot, grab your yarn and pull it all the way through the piece plus your active loop. This will create the join so that you don’t have a gap between the first stitch and the last stitch in the round.
3. Joining Granny Squares, Garment Pieces and More
You can approach the task of joining granny squares in a variety of ways. Slip stitch is one of the easiest and fastest possible joins. It’s a no-frills approach that’s really easy to master. Basically, you just hold the two pieces with the right sides together, and you work slip stitches through both pieces to join them. That’s it! But if you want to see a photo tutorial with additional insights and details, you can check out these slip stitch joining instructions at About.com Crochet.
4. Getting From One Spot to Another in a Granny Square or Other Crochet Project
Sometimes when you’re working a granny square or other project, you end your round in one spot but you want to start your next round in a different spot — perhaps a corner space or other chain space. When that happens, you can work a slip stitch, or several slip stitches, to get to the spot you want to work from.
5. “Anchoring” Groups of Chains to Crochet a Lace Trellis Design
Let’s say you want to crochet a lacy trellis fabric. One possible approach: crochet your starting chain. For your first row, you could build groupings of chain stitches and anchor them to the starting chain with slip stitches. For the second row, you might continue crocheting groupings of chain stitches and then anchoring those to the first row using more slip stitches.
6. Contrasting Design Elements
Slip stitches are an important component of the visual design in many different crochet stitch patterns. For example, when crocheting shell stitches, slip stitches are the short design elements that balance out the taller stitches. The slip stitches help to create the visual contrast that makes the shell stitches interesting to look at.
You can work slip stitch all around the edges of just about any piece of crochet. If you crocheted a square or other shape with messy edges, a slip stitch edging is perfect for visually cleaning those up to create the illusion of clean, tidy edges.
Let’s say you worked squares, rectangles or strips of single crochet, double crochet or just about any other crochet stitch. If you join your squares or pieces using whip stitch, the joined sides can sometimes look messy and weird. Pieces like these look much neater and cleaner if you crochet slip stitch all the way around each piece first. Then you can use the slip stitches as guidelines for where to place your whip stitches when you join the pieces.
8. Surface Crochet Details
Want to monogram a crocheted blanket? Add an additional color to a motif or flower? Outline a shape on the surface of your crocheted fabric? You can use surface crochet slip stitches to accomplish any of these goals.
If you want more information about this technique, check out this free tutorial for surface crochet slip stitch. It’s posted online at the About.com crochet website.
9. Creating Entire Fabrics — Also Known as Pjoning and Bosnian Crochet
You can use slip stitch to create sophisticated fabrics unlike any others. While slip stitch fabrics are pleasantly textured, they don’t have the same “loopy”, bumpy look about them that fabrics made from taller stitches like double crochet have.
You can try this technique by just picking up a hook and yarn and experimenting with working slip stitches into a foundation chain. It helps if you use a hook that’s much bigger than the hook you’d usually use with your chosen yarn. If you’d like more info about this technique, check out this article on Bosnian crochet at the About.com crochet website.
10. Joining a New Yarn With Slip Stitch
There are many different ways to join new yarn when you’re working a multicolored crochet project. One possibility is joining your new yarn with a slip stitch.
Now you’re updated about how to crochet a slip stitch, and you’ve also learned about 10 different ways to use slip stitches in your crochet projects. Want to practice your slip stitch? If so, check out the following patterns:
Free Patterns for Practicing Your Crochet Slip Stitch
Learn More Crochet Stitches
Want to learn how to do some other crochet stitches? Check out these free crochet stitch tutorials and instructions: