Mastering the Stitch: Yarn Over vs. Yarn Under in Crochet


In crochet, you work with yarn by making loops. You basically pick or loop the yarn with your crochet hook. For a beginner crocheter, even the basic stitches and techniques might seem overwhelming. But fear not! You just need to learn to work on the yarn loops and the rest will follow. Two fundamental techniques – yarn over (YO) and yarn under (YU) – form the foundation of almost every basic crochet stitch therefore every possible creation and project. Understanding these simple maneuvers and their differences unlocks possibilities. To assist you with the concepts of yarn over and yarn under, in this blog, we’ll walk you through the steps, explore their applications and helping you choose the right technique for your project.

Whether you work with single-ended crochet hooks or choose to explore the Tunisian craft with the unique Tunisian crochet hooks, both techniques of yarn over and yarn under 

Yarn Over (YO): The Classic Approach

The yarn over, abbreviated as YO in both US and UK patterns is the most common way to create a loop on your crochet hook. It's the foundation for crochet stitches, including chain, single crochet (SC), double crochet (DC), and triple crochet (TR) in US crochet patterns that go by other names in UK crochet patterns. To know more, you can refer to our beginner’s guide to crochet yarn over.

Here's how to yarn over:

Step 1. Hold your yarn in the correct position with the working yarn coming from your ball, hold it in your non-dominant hand. Typically, this yarn is looped around your thumb and first finger.

Step 2. Gently insert your crochet hook under the top two loops on your hook. This is where your previous stitch was created.

Step 3. With your non-dominant hand, guide the working yarn over the top of the hook, from back to front. Imagine wrapping the yarn around your thumb.

Step 4. Now, with your dominant hand holding the hook, pull the working yarn through the two loops that were already on your hook. You've successfully created a new loop on your hook.

Applications of Yarn Over:

Single Crochet (SC) in US patterns/ Double Crochet (DC) in UK patterns: This basic stitch forms the foundation for countless projects. Yarn over is used to create the loop that becomes the base of the next SC.

Double Crochet (DC) in US patterns/ Treble Crochet in UK patterns: This stitch creates a taller fabric compared to SC. Yarn over is used twice – once to create the first loop and again to create the second loop before pulling through all loops at once.

Triple Crochet (TC): This stitch is even taller than DC. Yarn over is used three times to create the necessary loops before pulling through all at once.

Granny Squares and Motif Work: Yarn over is essential for creating the basic corner unit in crocheting granny squares and many other motif-based crochet projects.

Yarn Under (YU): The Alternative Approach

Yarn under (YU) might seem like the opposite of yarn over, but it's a distinct technique with its own applications. While less common, it creates a tighter and denser stitch compared to yarn over.

Here's how to yarn under:

Step 1. Hold your yarn in position similar to yarn over, hold the working yarn in your non-dominant hand.

Step 2. Insert your crochet hook under the top two loops on your hook, just like yarn over.

Step 3. With your non-dominant hand, hold the working yarn under the hook, ensuring it's positioned between the hook and your thumb.

Step 4. Now, pull the working yarn through the two loops that were already on your hook. You've successfully created a new loop using yarn under.

Applications of Yarn Under: 

  • Single Crochet (SC) for Amigurumi: While yarn over is more common, yarn under can be used for SC to create a denser fabric. This is particularly helpful for crocheting amigurumi (stuffed crochet toys) or projects requiring a firmer structure.
  • Tunisian Crochet Stitches: This technique involves inserting the hook multiple times into the same loop, creating a unique fabric. Yarn under is often preferred for even basic Tunisian crochet stitches.
  • Textured Stitches: Certain textured or decorative crochet stitches might specifically call for yarn under to achieve the desired effect.

A Quick-Glance At the Comparison between Yarn over and Yarn Under:


Yarn Over (YO)

Yarn Under (YU)


Wrap yarn under hook, then pull through

Slide yarn over hook, then pull through

Stitch Height



Fabric Density



Fabric Drape

More structured

Smoother drape

Common Applications

Blankets, scarves, amigurumi, bags, baskets

Garments (hats, beanies), shawls, wraps, textured stitches

How to Choosing the Right Technique


Now that you understand both yarn over and yarn under, how do you decide which one to use? While the basic point you must consider is what your project wants- It's All About the Project but there’s more to think over. Here are some key factors to consider:

Pattern Instructions: Does the pattern call for a specific technique? Always follow the pattern instructions for consistent results. 

Desired Fabric: Do you want a looser, drapier fabric? Use yarn over. Do you need a denser, firmer fabric? Consider yarn under.

Stitch Type: Basic Tunisian crochet stitches, inherently call for yarn under.

Personal Preference: Ultimately, when you have the choice you can work according to your comfort level.

Now, that you are clear with the concepts of yarn over and yarn under, put them to use in your projects. The only thing to keep in mind is that not to work both techniques in a same stitch. And, it’s always recommended to utilize only one technique for a particular project unless mentioned in a pattern. Think of a dishcloth or a scarf where you’ve both yarn over and yarn under techniques. The crocheted fabric will look messy. Yarn will scrunched at some places while there will be excess flowing over at others.

For comfortable crocheting sessions, the key is high-quality tools that work for you. The Lantern Moon collection has ebony wood crochet hooks that have a smooth feel in the hands of the maker. With a silk-like finish yarn flows through the hooks making stitch formation smooth and easy, the lightweight handle fits in the palm without causing fatigue. Explore individual sizes of single-ended and Tunisian crochet hooks. For crochet enthusiasts, there are two options- the Radiance Set of single-ended crochet hooks and the Bequest Set of interchangeable Tunisian crochet hooks.

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