I have a confession to make. I was YEARS into my life as a crocheter before I realized there was a “right” way to crochet, and I wasn’t doing it! That’s right, I had no clue that there was a difference (and even a little debate) between the yarn over vs. yarn under methods.
In my defense, I was a self-taught crocheter before everyone went on YouTube to learn everything (which is amazing, I just didn’t do it). When I wanted to learn how to crochet, I checked out a fat stack of books from the library and got to work, following the instructions and pictures…or so I thought. What I actually did was teach myself to yarn under, and I taught myself so well that my muscle memory solidly ingrained it.
When I eventually found out I was crocheting “wrong”, I was mortified. There I was, a couple of years into designing and selling crochet patterns, and I was a fraud! Okay, not really, but that’s how I felt. So, I learned the difference between yarning over vs. yarning under, and I can help you understand it too. Spoiler alert: I still yarn under most of the time!
What’s the Difference, Anyway?
First things first: Let’s make sure we actually understand the difference between a yarn over vs. a yarn under, because it can be a little tricky to spot at first.
When you yarn over, you hook the yarn with the working yarn wrapped over the hook (see 1st photo). See how the yarn wraps over the hook, coming from the right side of the hook towards the left?
But when you yarn under, you hook the yarn with the working yarn under the hook, so that you’re “grabbing” the yarn as it comes from the left side of the hook (see 2nd photo).
Now, some people will tell you that the yarn under is more difficult to make or feels unnatural. I obviously can’t speak to this because it feels perfectly natural to me! The way I taught myself was a combination of yarning under then yarning over. To do this, I insert my hook, yarn under, pull through, then yarn over to complete the stitch. This is what feels most natural to me.
I’ve never had any issues with tension or pain using this method. However, for some crocheters, yarning under causes more strain or wrist pain. This is definitely not the case for everyone and you know yourself best.
Which Method Should You Use?
As much as I wish I could tell you it doesn’t matter whether you yarn over or yarn under, there are differences you should understand to help you decide which method to use. Take a look at this chart:
|Yarn Over (YO)||Yarn Under (YU)|
|Stitches are taller||Stitches are shorter|
|Uses slightly more yarn||Uses slightly less yarn|
|Leaves more gaps (important in amigurumi)||Leaves fewer gaps (important in amigurumi)|
|Slightly looser||Slightly tighter|
|Slants more (important in tapestry crochet)||Slants less (important in tapestry crochet)|
|Stitches look traditional||Stitches have an “x” shape|
These differences are the most pronounced in single crochet. So, when you’re deciding to yarn over vs. yarn under, you have to base it on your project. If you are working up something in single crochet where gauge is important, you’re going to want to match the designer’s stitches (the shorter stitches of yarning under can become a problem when matching gauge). When making garments, where drape is more of a factor, you should crochet by yarning over as well.
However, if you’re making amigurumi or a tapestry crochet project, I highly recommend yarning under! Since I make so much amigurumi, I continue to use my yu/yo method most of the time. I adjust to yo/yo when I need to, though it takes much more concentration for me. That muscle memory is strong!
Take a look at these two amigurumi spheres. The left was made using yarn over and the right was made using yarn under. Can you see the v-shaped stitches vs. the x-shaped stitches?
More Information on Yarn Over vs. Yarn Under
It can be hard to see the difference between yarning over and yarning under, so I recommend watching videos to help yourself understand both techniques. Try watching this video by Nicki’s Homemade Crafts. She goes slowly enough to really show the differences and it’s worth the watch.
I hope this was helpful for you and that you feel a little more knowledgeable about your crochet techniques. Let me know in the comment which technique you prefer!
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All rights reserved. Designed and written by Jennifer Percival. This pattern is property of Crochet to Play. The written pattern and images are for personal use only. Please do not redistribute, transfer, or sell the pattern or images, in part or in whole. Thank you.