How to Finger Crochet (No Hook Needed)
Finger crochet is a terrific form of crochet that many people seem hesitant to try. Don't be afraid — it's exactly the same as your regular crochet work except that you replace your crochet hook with your finger. This guide explains why you might want to try it out, how to do it, what tips you should know as you get the hang of it and finally some patterns for practice.
When To Finger Crochet
There are many different times when you might want to finger crochet instead of crocheting with a hook. Here are some of the top examples.
When you are working with a soft bulky yarn
Finger crochet is ideal for working with really bulky yarn or even roving. Chunky "knits" are in right now, especially in home decor, so it's definitely worth trying the trend. You may find that it's easier and more comfortable to manipulate really large yarn with your fingers instead of with a hook!
In this guide, we've used a lightweight but Jumbo (Weight 7) yarn. Of course, you don't have to choose a soft yarn for finger crochet. Crochet artist Orly Genger uses her fingers to crochet rope for her huge installations. But it's definitely easier on the skin if you work with a yarn that's nice to the touch!
When you are teaching small children how to crochet
Children can learn how to crochet in their first couple of years in school. In fact, it's really good for them to practice those fine motor skills through learning the craft. However, since those skills are still being built, it's not very easy for them to manipulate crochet hooks. That's why finger crochet is perfect for little kids! The tactile sensations enhance the benefits of learning to crochet with their fingers. If you're teaching crochet to kids under the age of 7 or 8, teach them finger crochet.
When rebuilding fine motor skills
Little kids aren't the only ones who have to work on their fine motor skills, of course. Accidents and injuries often occur that require adults to rebuild their fine motor skills. Crochet can be great for that and finger crochet is a good choice when doing physical therapy for the fingers, wrists and hands.
When crochet hooks aren't allowed
There are some settings where crochet could be really beneficial for people but crochet hooks aren't allowed because of safety reasons. Psychiatric wards and prisons, including those for juveniles, sometimes restrict materials to the extent that crochet hooks aren't allowed. As long as yarn is allowed, you can still share crochet in these settings by showing clients there how to finger crochet.
When you don't have a crochet hook on hand but do have yarn
Sometimes you have yarn with you but for one reason or another you don't have a crochet hook. For example, maybe you're on an airplane when you suddenly realize that you forgot to pack your hooks with you. You can take your yarn out of your bag and use your fingers to crochet something beautiful.
You don't have to have a reason to finger crochet. You can also do it just for fun, to try something new and to expand your abilities in the craft. Now let's look at how to do it!
How To Finger Crochet
These are the instructions for right-handed finger crochet. In this example we will crochet a row of double crochet stitches.
Step 1: Slip Knot
Create your double crochet slip knot just like you always do.
Step 2: Slide Onto Your Finger
Typically, you would now insert the crochet hook into the slip knot and pull it tight. However, you are using your finger as a hook, so instead you will insert your pointer finger into the slip knot. Point your nail towards the working yarn (left), just like you would the head of your crochet hook. Instead of pulling the slip knot tightly up to the bottom of your finger, you want to leave enough of a gap so that you could fit your thumb into the loop below your finger. That's because you're going to be doing precisely that in just a moment.
Step 3: Start The Chain
Now it's time to make your foundation chain. You do this by bringing your right thumb through the loop on your finger, gripping the working yarn and pulling it through the loop. Release your thumb and you'll have a new loop on your finger. This is the beginning of your chain.
Step 4: Complete Your Chain
Repeat step three as many times as necessary to get the length of crochet chain that your project requires. In this example, you'll see a 12 chains.
Step 5: First Double Crochet
When you're ready to begin your first row, you'll do just like with any regular crochet project except that your finger is there in place of the hook. In this case, we are going to do a row of double crochet stitches, so you will yarn over your right pointer finger once, insert the finger into the third chain from that finger (the right side of the work), yarn over again, pull through the loop, yarn over, pull through the two loops on your finger, yarn over again and pull through the final two loops. In other words, you're doing a standard double crochet stitch. Here is a look at those steps:
Step 6: Complete the Row
You'll repeat the double crochets across the row in the same manner.
Step 7: Turning Chain
Chain three with your fingers to create your turning chain. Remove your finger. Turn your work. Re-insert your finger into the loop, pointing the nail towards the left. You are ready to begin your next row.
Continue to crochet as normal. That's it — you're crocheting with your fingers!
Finger Crochet Tips
Here are some tips and variations to consider for finger crochet:
Finger crochet doesn't work as well with fine yarns. It's certainly possible and you can play with it if you'd like but it's mostly meant for bulkier yarns.
Finger crochet works great for big projects that use multi-stranded yarn. For example, hold four or five strands of worsted weight yarn together and finger crochet them quickly into a blanket.
Your loops don't have to be the width of your "hook" finger and your thumb. That's just a basic guide. You can actually make them a lot larger depending on what yarn you're working with and what effect you'd like. Check out this video from Mikey that shows him using his whole hand to create large loops.
Remember that your finger isn't that long. Finger crochet doesn't work as well for very tall stitches, such as the triple treble, where you have to yarn over multiple times because there isn't enough room on your finger to hold all of those loops. Likewise, it doesn't work for techniques like Tunisian crochet where you have to hold many loops on the hook.
Finger crochet works best for continuous projects such as blankets and scarves rather than motif-based projects. That's because joining is a bit tough with just your fingers. It's definitely do-able; you'll see in the Finger Crochet Cowl pattern below that slip stitches are done with the fingers to join the two ends of the cowl. However, it's easiest if you limit the amount of joining required for this technique.
Fun fact: Many sources on the history of crochet say that finger crochet was the first type of crochet ever done and tools were only added later!