Slip Stitch Crochet

When I first heard about slip stitch crochet, I thought, Why in the world would anyone want to do that? That would take forever! I confess I've since discovered the allure of crocheting something entirely in this smallest of crochet stitches. Yes, it can be more time consuming, but the result is so lightweight and stretchy, it almost looks more like knitting than crocheting. I've seen an abundance of crochet hat patterns appearing lately that exploit this stretchiness by using slip stitch crochet.

But how does one do slip stitch crochet? Back in Crochet 101, we were taught that slip stitches were a necessary evil whose only purpose was for shaping and joining. They don't even count as stitches! But in slip stitch crochet, they do count as stitches.

Take a look at this row of slip stitches. You'll note that each slip stitch has a front and a back loop, just like any other crochet stitch.

Sl St 3

When you crochet a fabric entirely in slip stitches, just as you would for any other stitch, you work into the front loop, the back loop, or both loops depending on the desired look. See how easy it is?

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let us start with our beginning chain and walk through the entire process.

Start with a beginning chain of any number, plus 1.

Row 1. Slip stitch in the back hump of the second chain from the hook and each remaining chain across.

Sl St 1

Sl St 2

For subsequent rows, you have 3 options: Front Loops Only, Back Loops Only, or Both Loops.

With all three options, take care to turn the work clockwise when starting the next row. This will prevent an unsightly twisting of the yarn at the ends of the rows.

Many people who have been doing slip stitch crochet longer than we have say that you do not need a turning chain in slip stitch crochet, but we prefer to do a single chain before turning. Not only does this make it easier to work the first slip stitch in the next row, we feel the edges look just as neat when doing so. Simply decide your personal preference: 1 turning chain or none.

With all the variation, be sure to keep your slip stitches loose. If you're a tight crocheter, you will set yourself up for frustration if you make your slip stitches too tight, as you won't be able to insert your hook into them in subsequent rows.

Variation 1: Front Loops Only
Slip stitch in the front loop only of each slip stitch across.

Sl St 5

Sl St FLO 1
Every row is slip stitched in front loops only.

Variation 2: Back Loops Only
Slip stitch in the back loop only of each slip stitch across.

Sl St 4

Sl St BLO 1

Note: Back loops only is our favorite variation. Look at how stretchy it is!

Sl St BLO 2

Variation 3: Both Loops
Slip stitch in both loops of each slip stitch across.

Sl St 6

Sl St Both Loops 1

Now there are other variations of the slip stitch that involve inverting the stitch, but that's a post for another day! In the meantime, this should be enough to get you started experimenting with this new technique.