Crochet Afghan Stitch Instructions

Eight crocheted squares along with a crochet hook.
The Bees/Flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0
  • 01 of 11

    Crochet Afghan Stitch Examples

    Four examples of afghan stitches.
    Photo Collage and Patterns © Amy Solovay

    Afghan stitch is an easy crochet stitch made using the Tunisian crochet technique. Afghan stitch goes by a variety of different names; some people also call it "Tunisian simple stitch." You might encounter other names for it as well.

    Afghan stitch is suitable for crocheting many different types of projects, including clothing, accessories, home decor, pet items, toys, and more.

    Afghan Hooks

    There are several different types of crochet hooks you can use for working afghan stitch. One of the most popular is a long, smooth hook, measuring at least10 inches. Typically, there is no thumb grip area on an afghan crochet hook. This type of hook is similar to a straight knitting needle because it has the same sort of a stopper at the end.

    You could also use a circular crochet hook, a double-ended crochet hook, or a hook with a flexible extension at the end.

    Afghan Stitch Project Examples

    There are several different examples of easy crochet projects you can make using the afghan stitch. Once you're finished with this tutorial, you'll be ready to crochet any of these projects, plus many others.

    Top left: Crochet an easy kitchen gift set in variegated earth-tone colors. The set includes pot holders and a dishcloth, both of which are worked in afghan stitch. The dishcloth also has an edging of single crochet stitch.

    Top right: This is a close-up picture of the crochet stitches.

    Lower left: If you've never worked afghan stitch before, this easy afghan stitch pot holder is a great first project to try.

    Lower right: This is a close-up picture of the crochet stitches for the pot holder.

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  • 02 of 11

    Crochet the Tunisian Crochet Base Row

    Nine steps of the afghan stitch, which begins with a slip knot, followed by a starting chain.
    Photos © Michael Solovay

    If you aren't already comfortable with holding your Tunisian crochet hook, you might want to practice.

    Begin Crocheting the Tunisian Crochet Base Row

    If you already know how to crochet, this stitch starts off with the same beginning you're used to; you start out by making a slip knot and then you work a chain stitch.

    Grab a skein of kitchen cotton yarn and a size J Tunisian crochet hook. Chain 30 stitches, and then when you're finished you can use your finished swatch to create an afghan stitch pot holder like the one pictured.

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  • 03 of 11

    Work Into the Front or the Back of the Starting Chain

    Steps 10 through 12 of the afghan stitch crochet tutorial
    Photos © Michael Solovay

    These photos show the front and back sides of the starting chain. By looking at both sides of the chain, you can see that you have a choice whether to work into the front or the back. In the beginning, it can be a little awkward to work into the back of the chain.

    When you work into the back of the chain, it will leave two loops free so that you can easily finish the project; you might want to add an edging, whip stitch through those loops, or use the loops for some other type of finishing technique.

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  • 04 of 11

    Begin Crocheting the Forward Pass

    Steps 13 through 16 that shows crocheting the forward pass.
    Photos © Michael Solovay

    Draw up a loop in the next chain stitch (the second chain from your hook) by completing the following sequence, and insert your hook into the stitch. Wrap the yarn over your hook, grabbing it with the hook, and pull it up through the chain stitch.

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  • 05 of 11

    Continue to Crochet the Forward Pass

    Steps 17 through 20 of crocheting the forward pass.
    Photos © Michael Solovay

    Next, you're going to repeat the same exact steps again in the next chain stitch.

    You're going to repeat this sequence all the way across your starting chain, pulling up a loop in every chain stitch until you reach the end of it.

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  • 06 of 11

    Number the Rows in Tunisian Crochet

    Steps 21 through 29 in the afghan stitch tutorial including completing the forward pass.
    Photos © Michael Solovay

    When you've pulled up a loop in each chain stitch, you've completed the "forward," also known as the "forward pass."

    There are some crocheters who would say you've completed row 1, while others would say that you've only completed the first part of row 1. When working, keep in mind that it's not a good idea to stop in the middle of a row when you work this stitch. If you want to stop working, it's best to complete both the forward and the return passes before you put the work down. Fixing messed up work is easy with this technique, but in some cases, it does involve ripping back a bit further than you might be used to with non-Tunisian crochet.

    Next comes the "return," otherwise known as the "return pass." To start off the return pass, you'll crochet one chain stitch.

    If you already know how to crochet, you're used to crocheting a turning chain in between rows. Remember that this chain stitch is not a turning chain. You aren't going to turn your work over; you're going to keep crocheting with the same side of the work facing you.

    Next, you're going to start consolidating groups of two stitches at a time, as follows: wrap your yarn over your hook and then pull it through the next two loops on your hook. Repeat, wrapping the yarn around your hook again and pulling it through two more loops.

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  • 07 of 11

    Complete Rows of the Afghan Stitch

    Steps 30 through 34 of the afghan stitch.
    Photos © Michael Solovay

    Continue this process until you've worked back across the entire row. At the end, you'll be left with a single loop remaining on your hook.

    Now it's time to start the next row.

    You can think of the first stitch in your next row as being completed already. With non-Tunisian crochet, you ordinarily wouldn't count your active loop as a stitch. Here, you have to count it as the first stitch in your next row.

    Next, locate the vertical bar that is directly under your crochet hook. You don't want to work into that. You want to work into the first vertical bar you see immediately next to it. If you're right-handed, that would typically be immediately to the left side of it; if you're left-handed, you'd most likely look for it on the right side depending on how you hold your work.

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  • 08 of 11

    Wrap the Yarn Over the Hook

    Steps 35 through 43 of the afghan stitch.
    Photos © Michael Solovay

    After you insert your hook into the vertical bar, you'll want to wrap your yarn over the crochet hook and pull it through the vertical bar.

    Keep repeating this sequence of steps all the way to the end of the row.

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  • 09 of 11

    Repeat the Stitches

    Steps 44 through 53 of the afghan stitch.
    Photos © Michael Solovay

    If you look carefully at the end of the row, you'll see that there is a vertical bar there too.

    Once you reach the end, you'll repeat the same return pass demonstrated earlier. First you chain 1, then you consolidate groups of two loops until you only have one loop remaining on your crochet hook. Some crocheters refer to this as "working the loops off by twos," or simply "working the loops off."

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  • 10 of 11

    Complete the Return Pass.

    Steps 54 through 57 of the afghan stitch.
    Photos © Michael Solovay

    Complete the return pass. You should have a nice even row when it's completed.

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  • 11 of 11

    Finish Your Afghan Stitch

    Step 58 shows a few rows of completed afghan stitch.
    Photo © Michael Solovay

    Here's a final photo showing the swatch after a few more rows have been completed. Notice how the fabric is curling up a bit. This curling is perfectly normal with afghan stitch; that's just one of the characteristics of this type of fabric.

    You can find clever ways of counteracting the curl with this type of stitch. In some cases, joining two pieces together back-to-back will do the trick. In other cases, adding a substantial edging is enough to counteract the curl. The edging doesn't have to be fancy; it can even be a wide band of plain single crochet.

    If you want more practice with this type of stitch, try other types of patterns.