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This started with a typical runner's excuse: it's pouring outside, I hate running on treadmills, and I can make up for the extra miles tomorrow if it's sunny. Cooped inside next to a pile of homework, I turned to an alternative source of distraction: a ball of bulky weight yarn.

I began with some experimentation, as I had the yarn but not the needles suitable for it. I initially tried using smaller-than-adequate needles (so for crochet, I used a size G needle for something that needed at least a K) with frustrating results, so I looked around for objects to fashion into a hook (clay, paper wrapped around wire, clothes hangers, etc.). Eventually, I wondered if I could use my FINGER as a hook in a way similar to finger knitting. My hand reached for my laptop until my mind caught up and cried "Wait!"

Wouldn't it be fun to figure out how to finger crochet by myself?

Challenge accepted.

NOTE: I made this tutorial assuming that people reading this don't know anything about crocheting, so don't worry if crocheting is new to you! All you'll need is a finger or two and some yarn (plus a healthy desire to increase finger dexterity); no experience required.

Step 1: Materials

  • hands (I'm right-handed so this tutorial may be a bit more complicated for lefties. You can try looking at the tutorial pictures in a mirror? Not sure if that will help, but it's what I could think of--sorry!)
  • yarn (see next step for more information...)

Step 2: Yarn Selection

Yarn weight scale image source: http://iml.jou.ufl.edu/projects/s13/kelly-m/images...

I happened to have "super bulky yarn" (number 6 on the scale above) on hand, but I realize that others might not. I went to a local yarn shop to test out other weights in terms of suitability for finger crochet (there's a reason why using big hooks with thin yarn isn't a good idea...) by doing a few practice stitches.

Three strands of "medium yarn" (weight 4) worked perfectly for finger crochet, whereas only two strands looked a bit odd and too loose. Four to five strands of "light yarn" (weight 3) also was fine. I say four to five because four wasn't bad, but five wasn't either; it depends on if you wanted a looser weave (four) or a more full/fluffy look (five).

"Bulky yarn" (weight 5) was too thin for my tastes, but perhaps that look works for you. Using two strands of bulky yarn looked a lot better.

"Super bulky yarn" (weight 6) looked perfect to me, though my friend (second opinions matter!) considered my practice stitches still too loose. This weight was what I had on hand though, and I didn't want to spend any extra money on different yarn, so I'll leave it at "size 6 looks fine."

"Jumbo yarn" (weight 7) looked the best; one strand was sufficient. Just note that using this will make your overall work relatively stiff, since your loops will be full (due to the yarn's thickness) rather than loose.

I don't suggest using weights smaller than 3 (even 3 is a bit pushing it) because then you'll be using quite a few strands of yarn (for weight 3, it was 5-6 strands...). Then when you're looping your string and pulling loops through your work, all the strands will become confusing and tangled and.. let's just say that I don't recommend it.

Step 3: A Quick Overview, Plus Tips

I made a quick doily to experiment with finger crochet since it's a good beginner's project; I learned everything I know by following doily patterns, in fact. I only used slip, chain, single, double, and triple stitches here so nothing too fancy, as you'll see.

Honestly, if you already know how to crochet with a needle, using a finger is a simple application of that knowledge. I made this tutorial geared toward an inexperienced audience, and for experienced people who are having trouble figuring out the utility of a hookless hook (i.e. a finger) to crochet. So if you are in possession of crocheting experience, I actually encourage you to figure out how to finger crochet on your own before turning to this tutorial--in my experience, it was quite fun and rewarding once I had it down.

TIPS AND TRICKS BEFORE WE BEGIN:

  • all loops of yarn around your fingertip should be coiled in the CLOCKWISE DIRECTION when looking down your fingertip
  • make sure you don't tighten your stitches once they're done; you want them to retain the same diameter of your finger
  • keep the loops loose around your finger
  • you'll eventually find what works best for you, but I mainly used my left thumb and index fingers to stabilize loops before pulling yarn through them


Step 4: A Magic Circle

We begin with a "magic circle." A magic circle is a simple technique for starting doilies and similar circular patterns. Essentially, you have an inner loop that you use to begin stitching, but you can tighten the loop once your first round of stitches is complete.

NOTE: ALL COILING FOR LOOPS AROUND YOUR FINGERTIP SHOULD BE DONE IN THE CLOCKWISE DIRECTION (LOOKING DOWN YOUR FINGERTIP).

Follow the notes in the pictures above for step-by-step instructions. (For the ensuing steps also, see the pictures for instructions, as it's easier to see pictorial progression rather than simply reading my notes).

Step 5: First Round: Single Stitches

Here you'll be creating a round of six stitches around your magic circle.

NOTE: ALL COILING FOR LOOPS AROUND YOUR FINGERTIP SHOULD BE DONE IN THE CLOCKWISE DIRECTION (LOOKING DOWN YOUR FINGERTIP).

Follow the notes in the pictures above for step-by-step instructions.

Step 6: Closing a Round: Slip Stitch

To close each round of stitching, I did a slip stitch from the last stitch to the top of the first stitch.

NOTE: ALL COILING FOR LOOPS AROUND YOUR FINGERTIP SHOULD BE DONE IN THE CLOCKWISE DIRECTION (LOOKING DOWN YOUR FINGERTIP).

Follow the notes in the pictures above for step-by-step instructions.

Step 7: Second Round: Double Stitches

The new stitch in play is called a double stitch or double crochet. It's longer than the single stitch since it requires two loops (as you'll see..).

NOTE: ALL COILING FOR LOOPS AROUND YOUR FINGERTIP SHOULD BE DONE IN THE CLOCKWISE DIRECTION (LOOKING DOWN YOUR FINGERTIP).

Follow the notes in the pictures above for step-by-step instructions.

Step 8: Finishing Round: Slip Stitch

Do another slip stitch to close up your round of six double stitches.

NOTE: ALL COILING FOR LOOPS AROUND YOUR FINGERTIP SHOULD BE DONE IN THE CLOCKWISE DIRECTION (LOOKING DOWN YOUR FINGERTIP).

Follow the notes in the pictures above for step-by-step instructions.

Step 9: Third and Fourth Round: More Single Stitches

The third round is just more single stitches from before, with a slip stitch to close the round. Reference previous steps if you need to refresh how to make those stitches. There should be thirty total single stitches.

The fourth round is the exact same as the third: simply single stitch at the top of each single stitch from the third round before closing off with a single stitch. You should end up with thirty total stitches again.

Sorry about the dimmer images!

NOTE: ALL COILING FOR LOOPS AROUND YOUR FINGERTIP SHOULD BE DONE IN THE CLOCKWISE DIRECTION (LOOKING DOWN YOUR FINGERTIP).

Follow the notes in the pictures above for step-by-step instructions.

Step 10: Fifth Round: Double Stitches

Aand we're back to more double stitches. Chain stitch up three times before doing double stitches all the way around the circle, inserting your finger through the tops of each single stitch. Again, you should end up with thirty total.

NOTE: ALL COILING FOR LOOPS AROUND YOUR FINGERTIP SHOULD BE DONE IN THE CLOCKWISE DIRECTION (LOOKING DOWN YOUR FINGERTIP).

Follow the notes in the pictures above for step-by-step instructions.

Step 11: Sixth Round: More Double Stitches

The next round consists of double stitches done 2 single stitches away from each other at the base and with 6 chain stitches in between. You should have 12 double stitches total.

NOTE: ALL COILING FOR LOOPS AROUND YOUR FINGERTIP SHOULD BE DONE IN THE CLOCKWISE DIRECTION (LOOKING DOWN YOUR FINGERTIP).

Follow the notes in the pictures above for step-by-step instructions.

Step 12: Seventh and Eighth Rounds: Single and Double Stitches

For the seventh round, single stitch around the entire doily, doing 9 single stitches between each double stitch (similar to round 3). Then the next round eight will consist of double stitches, one per single stitch on the seventh round (EXCEPT skip the two single stitches at each double stitch intersection from the second round; see pictures for details). Close off each round with slip stitches.

NOTE: ALL COILING FOR LOOPS AROUND YOUR FINGERTIP SHOULD BE DONE IN THE CLOCKWISE DIRECTION (LOOKING DOWN YOUR FINGERTIP).

Follow the notes in the pictures above for step-by-step instructions.

Step 13: Ninth Round: Triple Stitch

The ninth round will use triple stitches, so check the above pictures for how to handle those. This round puts one triple stitch for every six double stitches from the previous round, and between the triple stitches are 6 chain stitches.

NOTE: ALL COILING FOR LOOPS AROUND YOUR FINGERTIP SHOULD BE DONE IN THE CLOCKWISE DIRECTION (LOOKING DOWN YOUR FINGERTIP).

Follow the notes in the pictures above for step-by-step instructions.

Step 14: Final Round: Mixing Chain, Single, Double, Triple Stitches

For the tenth round, we'll be making a pretty border by doing chain, single, double, triple stitches in each of the twelve windows (from previous round of triple stitching) that you should have. In each of these twelve loops, make: 3 single stitches, 3 double stitches, 1 triple stitch, 2 chain stitches, 1 triple stitch, 3 double stitches, 3 single stitches. Like always, close off the round with a slip stitch before cutting the end, leaving a short tail that you can use a needle to weave into your work.

NOTE: ALL COILING FOR LOOPS AROUND YOUR FINGERTIP SHOULD BE DONE IN THE CLOCKWISE DIRECTION (LOOKING DOWN YOUR FINGERTIP).

Follow the notes in the pictures above for step-by-step instructions.

If you've followed all steps until now, you should end up with a gigantic doily! Not much functionality from this, but you could use rug yarn and make those chunky doily rugs that were the rage for some time, or... (see next step...)..

Step 15: Applications

I realize that making doilies isn't the most practical way of using new-found finger crochet skills, so I suggest using your "new hook" on conventional patterns found in crochet guides. However, you may have to compensate for the huge size of your stitches compared to most yarn (most crochet books assume that your yarn weight is 3-4, 5 max), which is why loose, lacy designs are best (i.e. make scarves instead of vests). Fewer rows and stitches will be needed if you use bulky yarn and fingers compared to medium yarn and hooks. If you're not in the mood to think about the pattern, search specifically for patterns calling for super bulky yarn or hooks ~size K and up.

I have an idea for a possible next project (not a scarf, mind you, but not something too difficult either), but that's still in the works; I'll update this page once that project is complete (stay tuned!).

Anyhow, enjoy!

<p>You keep saying counter-clockwise... but I see that as clockwise. Like a bolt, you would be looking at the open end of your finger and rotating a nut to tighten it in a clockwise direction. My point is, saying counter-clockwise isn't sufficient to remove ambiguity. :)</p>
<p>Good catch; thanks for the suggestion! I've fixed those instances. </p>
<p>This is great..</p>
<p>Thank you for your kind words. :)</p>
<p>I should have done this with the hat I crocheted my sister a few weeks ago. Although I was using worsted weight yarn, I could have used two strands (and saved a lot of time). Also, nice pictures, and your attitude of &quot;I bet I could figure this out by myself&quot; is great. Sometimes the Internet can take a long time to tell you nothing. :)</p>
<p>It's never too late to make another hat, perhaps for yourself. ;) Sometimes forums get you somewhere, but I find it more satisfying to learn on my own. You get the huge learning curve via mistakes, but it's fun! </p>
<p>Beautifully done! Great instructable!!</p>
<p>Thank you for your kind comment! </p>

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Bio: In which I turn the thoughts from my head into objects in my hands
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