How To Master The Slip Stitch Crochet By Crafting The Perfect Stitch

Crochet, an age-old art form, boasts a myriad of stitches that crafters use to create intricate designs, patterns, and textures. At the heart of this vast repertoire lies the slip stitch, often underappreciated but incredibly versatile.

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Slip Stitch Crochet

For many, the slip stitch is a subtle connector, a bridge between rounds, or a discreet way to finish a piece.

 However, its potential goes beyond these foundational roles. When used as the primary stitch in a project, the slip stitch weaves a dense, firm fabric ideal for items requiring a blend of flexibility and sturdiness.

 Its adaptability allows crafters to manipulate its appearance by working into the front, back, or both loops of a stitch. Furthermore, with techniques like Bosnian crochet putting it center stage, the slip stitch emerges as a basic tool in the crochet arsenal and as a star in its own right.

Dive in, and let’s explore the nuanced world of slip-stitch crochet!

What Is Slip Stitch Crochet?

The slip stitch (often abbreviated as “sl st” in crochet patterns) is one of the fundamental stitches in crochet. It’s typically used to join work, move yarn across a group of stitches without adding height, or to finish off a project.

Here’s a brief description of what a slip stitch in crochet is and how it’s made:

Slip Stitch in Crochet

  • Purpose: The slip stitch is mainly used for moving yarn across stitches or for joining work, such as when creating a circular shape like a ring. It’s a very flat stitch and doesn’t add any noticeable height, making it ideal for these purposes.

What Are The Variations In Slip Stitch Crochet?

Slip stitch crochet, while foundational in most crochet practices, can be expanded upon to create various techniques and textures. Here are some variations and techniques associated with slip-stitch crochet:

Back Loop Only (BLO) Slip Stitch

  • Instead of inserting the hook through both loops of a stitch, you insert it only through the back loop. This creates a ridge on the fabric and can add an interesting texture.

Front Loop Only (FLO) Slip Stitch

  • It’s similar to the BLO slip stitch, but you only work into the front loop. This also results in a textured ridge but on the opposite side.

Slip Stitch Ribbing

  • Using a combination of BLO and FLO slip stitches, you can create a ribbed effect, which is great for cuffs, brims of hats, and more.

Slip Stitch Surface Crochet

  • You can create surface designs on top of finished crochet (or even knit) projects using the slip stitch. This technique is done by holding the yarn behind your work and pulling it through to the front to create lines, patterns, or other designs.

Bosnian Crochet (or Pjoning)

  • This technique primarily uses the slip stitch in combination with a unique hook hold and yarn position. It creates a dense and warm fabric. It’s an ancient technique and creates a distinctive, knit-like appearance.

Slip Stitch Join

  • This is used to join granny squares or other motifs together. You can seamlessly join your work by placing the pieces side by side and slip stitching through corresponding stitches.

Slip Stitch Edging

  • Used as a decorative border or to give a neat finish to projects. It creates a smooth, almost braided look along the edge of the work.

Slip Stitch Increases and Decreases

  • While less common due to the nature of the stitch, it’s possible to do increases (making more than one slip stitch in a single stitch) or decreases (joining two or more stitches together with a slip stitch) to shape the fabric.

Stretchy Slip Stitch Chain

  • Instead of a regular chain, some patterns may start with a series of slip stitches because it offers more stretch, which can be especially useful for items like hat brims.

Faux Knit Slip Stitch

  • Using slip stitches in a particular manner, you can create a fabric that looks very much like knitting. This is often called “cro-knitting” or “knooking” in some circles.

RELATED: How To Crochet A Chain Stitch With Our Handy Step-By-Step Guide

What Are The Basic Abbreviations For The Slip Crochet Stitch?

In crochet patterns, abbreviations are widely used to simplify and condense instructions. For the slip stitch and related terms in crochet, here are the basic abbreviations:

Sl st – Slip Stitch: This is the most common abbreviation you’ll encounter for the slip stitch.

Ch – Chain: Often used in conjunction with slip stitches, especially when starting a project or when a pattern requires you to move a certain distance across your work without adding height.

St(s) – Stitch(es): General abbreviation referring to stitches, which could include slip stitches or others.

BLO – Back Loop Only: This refers to working the slip stitch (or other stitches) into only the back loop of the base stitch.

FLO – Front Loop Only: Conversely, this is when you work the slip stitch into just the front loop.

What Are Tools And Materials Required For Slip Stitch Crochet?

For slip-stitch crochet, as with most types of crochet, you’ll need a combination of essential tools and materials. Here’s a list to get you started:

Crochet Hook

  • These come in various sizes, often labeled with letters or numbers. The size of the hook you need will often depend on the yarn weight you’re using.


  • A vast array of yarns is available, varying in weight, fiber content, and color. The choice of yarn can affect your finished project’s drape, look, and feel.


  • A sharp pair of scissors will ensure you can cut your yarn cleanly.
  • Yarn Needle or Tapestry Needle
  • This is used to weave in ends when you’ve finished your crochet project. It has a blunt end, which prevents it from splitting the yarn.

Stitch Markers

  • These are optional but can be incredibly helpful. They’re used to mark specific stitches or places in your work, which can be especially useful when working in rounds or when tracking where to join with a slip stitch.

Pattern (if using one)

  • This will provide instructions on how to create a specific item, including how and where to use the slip stitch.

Measuring Tape

  • Useful for checking gauges and ensuring that your work is the desired size, especially important for wearable items like hats or clothing.

Stitch Counter or Row Counter

  • This is another optional tool but can be very handy if your project requires keeping track of numerous rows or rounds.

Crochet Hook Organizer or Case

  • This isn’t necessary specifically for the slip stitch, but it’s beneficial to keep your crochet hooks, stitch markers, and other small tools organized.
Slip Stitch Crochet

How To Choose The Right Fabric For Slip Stitch Crochet?

Slip stitch crochet, as with other forms of crochet, doesn’t typically involve fabric. Instead, it uses yarn to create fabric-like structures. However, if you’re combining crochet with fabric or if you’re referring to the yarn as “fabric,” there are some considerations to keep in mind:

Yarn Weight

  • Lace or Thread Weight: Thin and delicate, ideal for doilies, fine garments, or intricate designs.
  • Sport or Baby Weight: Good for lightweight blankets, garments, and soft baby items.
  • Worsted Weight: Versatile and common, used in a vast array of projects, including blankets, hats, scarves, and sweaters.
  • Bulky or Chunky Weight: Great for warm scarves, hats, blankets, and projects you want to work up quickly.

Fiber Content

  • Cotton: Breathable and washable. Ideal for dishcloths, summer garments, and bags.
  • Wool: Warm and elastic. Great for winter garments, socks, and hats.
  • Acrylic: Versatile, affordable, and comes in a wide range of colors. Suitable for blankets, garments, toys, and more.
  • Bamboo: Soft and with a slight sheen, making it suitable for drapey garments and summer wear.
  • Silk: Luxurious and smooth, often used in delicate garments.
  • Blends: Yarns often come in blends of these fibers, combining the benefits of each.

Texture and Ply

  • Some yarns are smooth, while others are more textured. Depending on the project, one might be preferred over the other.
  • The number of plies can also influence the stitch definition and the overall look of the finished project.

Color and Dye Technique

  • Yarns can come in solid colors, variegated, gradient, or self-striping varieties. Depending on the effect you’re aiming for, choose accordingly.


  • If you’re creating items like dishcloths or baby garments, you’ll want a yarn that’s machine washable and durable.

Intended Project

  • Consider the end product. A delicate lace shawl would require a very different yarn than a sturdy potholder.

Personal Preference

  • Always consider the tactile experience. Some people love the feel of natural fibers, while others might have sensitivities or allergies to consider.


  • There’s a wide range of yarn prices, from budget-friendly acrylics to high-end luxury fibers. Choose a yarn that fits your project needs and your budget.

RELATED: How To Craft Basics Learn The Single Crochet Stitch Today

Step-By-Step Instructions To Make A Slip Stitch

Skill Level

  • Beginner


Yarn of your choice

Crochet hook suitable for your yarn weight. (Refer to the yarn label for a recommended size or see notes below.)


  • The slip stitch (sl st) is one of the simplest stitches in crochet and is often used for joining work, moving yarn across stitches without adding height, or finishing off a project.
  • The tension shouldn’t be too tight or too loose; it should allow for ease of inserting the hook in subsequent rows or rounds.
  • Remember, the hook size can be adjusted based on the project’s requirements and your personal tension. If you’re finding it challenging to insert your hook into a slip stitch, you may be working it too tightly.


  • Starting Loop: Begin with a loop on your crochet hook. This loop is typically one you’ve created after making a chain, but it could also be from a previous row or round of stitches.
  • Insert Your Hook: Identify the stitch or space where you wish to make your slip stitch. Insert your hook into that stitch or space.
  • Yarn Over: With the hook in the correct stitch or space, yarn over the hook. This means you will catch the yarn (which is coming from the yarn ball) with the hook.
  • Pull Through: Draw the yarn through the stitch and then continue pulling it through the loop already on your hook.
  • Completed Slip Stitch: You should now have one loop left on your hook, and you’ve successfully made a slip stitch!
  • Continuation: If your pattern calls for more slip stitches, repeat steps 2-5 as many times as needed.
Slip Stitch Crochet

How To Pick The Right Hook Size For Slip Stitch Crochet?

Choosing the right hook size for slip-stitch crochet is essential to achieving your project’s correct tension, drape, and appearance. Here’s how you can pick the appropriate hook size:

Refer to the Yarn Label

  • Most yarn skeins come with a label that recommends a hook size. This is a good starting point, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the yarn or if you’re a beginner.

Consider the Project

  • If you’re working on a project that requires a dense fabric, like a potholder, consider using a smaller hook than recommended. Conversely, you could opt for a larger hook for a more open, lacy effect.

Slip Stitch Specifics

  • Slip stitch crochet tends to create a dense fabric due to its nature. If your work is too tight and lacks flexibility, move up a hook size to achieve a more flexible fabric. If it’s too loose, move down a size.

Swatch and Gauge

  • Always make a swatch before starting your project. This involves crocheting a small square (often 10×10 cm or 4×4 inches) using the stitch you intend to use for your project. This will give you a feel for how the yarn and hook work together and whether you’re meeting the gauge specified in the pattern (if you’re using one). If your swatch is larger than the specified gauge, try a smaller hook; if it’s smaller, try a larger hook.

Personal Tension

  • Everyone crochets with a slightly different tension. Some crocheters naturally work tighter stitches, while others have a looser hand. Knowing your own crochet style will help you adjust hook sizes accordingly.

Hook Material

  • Crochet hooks can be made from various materials like aluminum, bamboo, plastic, wood, and more. Different materials can affect your tension and the glide of the yarn. It’s worth trying different types to find which you prefer, especially if you find your stitches are too tight or too loose.


  • Comfort is crucial, especially for larger projects or if you crochet for extended periods. Some hooks have ergonomic handles, which can be a relief for the hands. If a hook feels uncomfortable, it may inadvertently affect your tension.

How To Count The Number Of Stitches In Slip Stitch Crochet

Counting stitches in crochet, including slip stitches, is a vital skill to ensure that your project stays consistent in size and shape. Counting slip stitches is relatively straightforward:

Visual Identification

  • Each slip stitch in your work will appear as a small “V” shape on the top. These “V” s are made up of two strands of yarn – the front and back loop.

Count the “V” s

  • Start at the beginning of the row or round, and count each “V” shape from one end to the other. Each “V” is one slip stitch.

Turning Chains

  • Depending on your pattern, if you’ve turned your work to start a new row, there might be a turning chain. Depending on the pattern’s instructions, this turning chain might or might not count as a stitch.
    Be sure to clarify based on the pattern you’re working with. In most slip-stitch patterns, turning chains are not counted as a stitch because they don’t add height as they would in taller stitches (e.g., double crochet).

Markers Can Help

  • If you find it challenging to keep track, especially when working in rounds, placing a stitch marker in the first stitch of each row or round can be beneficial. This provides a clear starting point and can help you ensure that you’re not adding or losing stitches as you go.

Consistent Tension

  • Maintaining a consistent tension helps in making each stitch clear and recognizable. If your tension is too tight, the slip stitches might be too close together and harder to count.


  • As with many things in crochet, the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Over time, counting stitches will become almost second nature. 

RELATED: A Step-By-Step Guide To Master The Half Double Stitch Easily At Home

Key Takeaways

Mastering the slip stitch in crochet is a journey that transforms novices into skilled artisans. By crafting the perfect stitch, you not only create beautiful projects but also develop a profound understanding of this versatile technique.

The meticulous attention to detail, coupled with the expert tips provided, ensures your journey is both educational and rewarding.

As you apply these newfound skills to your creations, the satisfaction of producing flawless slip stitch crochet pieces becomes a testament to your mastery.

Embrace the artistry, refine your technique, and embark on a creative adventure where each stitch tells a story of precision and passion.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Why Does My Slip Stitch Crochet Fabric Curl?

If your slip-stitch fabric curls, it’s often due to tight tension. To prevent this, try using a larger hook or focus on relaxing your tension as you work. Blocking the finished piece can also help reduce curling.

Can I Use Slip Stitches To Create A Whole Project, Or Is It Just For Joining?

Absolutely! While slip stitches are commonly used for joining, you can create entire projects with them. This technique produces a dense fabric, perfect for coasters, bags, or sturdy wearables.

How Do I Increase Or Decrease With Slip Stitch Crochet?

Make two or more slip stitches in the same stitch or space to increase. To decrease, insert your hook into one stitch, pull up a loop, then insert your hook into the next stitch, and pull the yarn through all loops on the hook.

Why Do My Slip Stitches Seem Tighter Than Other Stitches?

The nature of the slip stitch means it sits tighter and flatter than taller stitches. Consider using a larger hook or adjusting your tension if it’s too tight to work with.

Can I Mix Slip Stitches With Other Types Of Stitches In A Project?

Yes, slip stitches can be combined with other stitches to create varied textures and designs. They can act as transitional stitches, decorative elements, or even to move your working yarn to a different position without cutting it.

How Do I Make My Slip Stitch Edges Neater?

To achieve neater edges, ensure you’re working the slip stitches consistently, maintaining even tension, and turning your work the same way each time. Working into the back loop only can provide a cleaner finish if using slip stitches as a border.

Is Slip Stitch Crochet Stretchy?

While the fabric produced by slip stitch crochet is denser than that of taller stitches, it can still have some stretch, especially when worked in the back loop only. The level of stretchiness also depends on yarn choice and overall tension.

Sarah Reed