Nearly every single crochet pattern that you will ever try to follow will include the phrase "draw up a loop" so it is important that you learn what this means and how to do it early on in your crochet journey. If you don't see this instruction in a crochet pattern, it is because the designer assumed that you already had enough knowledge about how to work the stitches to infer that this is a step in the process.
Crochet is all about drawing up loops
In fact, this reminds me of a favorite crochet quote from yarnbombing artist Olek who says in the introduction to herself on her website:
"A loop after a loop. Hour after hour my madness becomes crochet."
Crochet IS drawing up loop after loop. What you do before and after drawing up the loops changes the look of the pattern. In certain instances, you might draw your loop up differently than normal to achieve a different stitch (for example, in broomstick lace crochet and Solomon's Knot crochet). Regardless, you are still drawing up loops, over and over again.
What does it mean to draw up a loop in crochet?
So, if you are going to spend much of your crochet life drawing up loops, it is important for you to master this basic skill right from the get go when first learning how to crochet. Let's first discuss what "drawing up a loop" even means. It means that you are wrapping your working yarn around your crochet hook and drawing it through the crochet work to create a loop on your hook. That's it. It's simple - you are literally "drawing up a loop", through the work - a loop that you have created from yarn.
Instructions for drawing up a loop in crochet
Drawing up a loop in crochet involves just a few really simple steps:
- Insert your crochet hook into your next stitch (or space). Where you insert it depends on the stitch that you are trying to make and what your crochet pattern is asking of you but you always insert the hook somewhere into the work (even if the "work" is just a really short starting chain at first).
- Yarn over. This is what it is called in crochet when you bring your working yarn from the back over the hook. (The crochet abbreviation for this step is "yo".) You can yarn over before or after you insert the crochet hook into the stitch (or both); this depends on the stitch that you are making, which we will discuss further in a second. When drawing up a loop in crochet, you must insert your hook then yarn over.
- Pull through. Pull your crochet hook through your work, bringing the yarn from your "yarn over" with you.
That's it. By following those three steps, you have drawn up a loop.
Examples of when to draw up a loop in crochet
If you take a look at the basic stitches in crochet, you will see that they each include the step of drawing up a loop. Here are some examples:
- Single crochet. You insert your hook into the next stitch, yarn over and draw up a loop. Repeat across for a row of single crochet.
- Double crochet. You yarn over, insert your hook into the next stitch, yarn over again, draw up a loop. Once you draw up this loop, you have three loops on your hook. You'll yarn over again, pull through the first two loops on the hook. By doing this, you've essentially drawn up another loop so there are still two loops left on your hook. Yarn over again and draw through both loops on hook. There will be one loop on your hook; the loop that you just drew up!
How tall to draw up your loop
The standard rule of thumb for drawing up a loop on your hook is that you will bring it just tall enough to sit comfortably on your crochet hook. You can tighten it as you go if it feels too loose. You want all of the loops to be the same height as one another.
However, as mentioned previously, there are some loops that you will draw up taller because that is what is called for in the directions for the stitch. One example is in broomstick lace crochet, where you usually draw your loop up anywhere between 1/2" and 2" tall (varying based on the pattern instructions). To do this, you follow all of the same steps as always when drawing up a loop in crochet, but when you "pull through", you elevate your hook above the work (tugging gently upwards while holding the work in place) to bring the height of the loop up taller.
Drawing up multiple loops
Finally, it is important to know that many stitches and techniques in crochet ask you to draw multiple loops up on your hook. For example, you will see this in crochet star stitch, which generally has you draw up six loops on the hook (although this can vary). The steps for each loop are the same, though; insert hook, yarn over and pull through.