As the weather gets cooler, it’s human nature to want get ourselves cosy, to build a den to hibernate in and to protect ourselves from the elements when we are out in the open. There’s something delicious about feeling cosy that’s hard to explain. Maybe it’s a safety thing?
I’m not sure but I’m certainly thankful that crochet has a multitude of cosy stitches we can make to create that feeling at home or outside.
You can scroll down to the ‘5 cosy crochet stitches’ header to get right to the stitch patterns, or read on to get some understanding about what makes a crochet stitch cosy!
What makes a crochet stitch cosy?
For the word cosy, you could largely substitute the term ‘warm’, but there’s a bit more to it, because softness and comfort need to be considered too.
That said, let’s start by having a look at achieving warmth with crochet stitches. The key to this is to trap air within the fabric to provide insulation, and at the same time, to reduce the amount of open work to stop it escaping.
I’ve written a separate post of my favourite crochet stitches without holes which is also a good start, but this is only one step on the road to cosy. You need few or small holes to create warmth, but not all stitch patterns without holes are especially warm. It’s not quite a two way street!
The craft of crochet, by default, requires that you have 2 layers of yarn in each stitch (though there are ways around this). This means you are creating relatively thick fabric, so you’re already ahead compared to knitting! Thicker = warmer is a general rule.
To intentionally create warmer fabrics, you want to look at using stitches of different heights and those which lay on top of each other or overlap. These are great at creating gaps within the fabric to trap air. Think carefully placed post stitches and stitch combos which add texture.
So that’s how to approach the warmth aspect. What about comfort?
This comes from softness, drape, and fit. Softness is archived largely from your choice of fibres, which I will discuss in a moment. But first a word on drape and fit.
It’s all very well creating a super thick fabric, but if wrapping it round your neck is like trying to wear a scarf made of cardboard, you’re not going to get very far. So your stitch pattern should have some movement to it. You can read a lot more about how to achieve drape in this post.
I mention fit because if something is too tight or too loose then you are going to be constantly adjusting it. That is irritating, not cosy town! Other than asking you to bear it in mind, I’m not going to address fit in depth here because that’s a bit too much of a tangent! You can learn more about crocheting items to fit in this article.
What are the cosiest yarn fibres?
The fibre choice makes a huge contribution to warmth and softness of your crochet item.
Let’s talk softness first as this is largely achieved with yarn choice. It’s why we all love going to yarn shops to squish all the wool! To some extent, this is down to personal preference. Most acrylic yarns are very soft (especially in the baby ranges), and wools like merino and alpaca defy the old myth of wool being itchy.
The smoothness of a yarn, which contributes to how it feels against skin, can also be impacted by how it is spun. Yarn may be woolen spun, which has short fibres and lots of air (so is super warm but some people find it itchy), or Worsted spun which is smoother and generally more water resistant, but not as warm.
You can read more about woolen and worsted yarns in this post on yarn weights (because it effects that too!)
When you’re looking at warmth, you’ll also find that animal fibres such as wool tend to be warm but breathable, whereas synthetic fibres such as acrylic are warm and likely more water resistant, but not really breathable (this is why you end up sweating so much in that polyester sweater!)
As you can see, it’s all a balance!
Why you shouldn’t use cotton to crochet winter accessories
I can’t go on without mentioning cotton in the context of warmth. Whilst this, and other plant based fibres such as bamboo, can be super warm, soft and cosy in a blanket, I do not recommend them for cold weather outdoor accessories like hats scarves or gloves.
Cotton especially, is great at absorbing water. But it holds that water within the fibres. Great for sweat wicking in the summer, but if it’s below freezing outside, that water is going to turn to ice. And noone wants that in a winter warmer. Imagine your cotton gloves freezing and turning your poor hands into blocks of ice. No thank you!!!
Stitch pattern and comfort
Stitch pattern will also come into cosy when you think about how it feels on your skin. Something with too much texture may well cause irritation, so it’s important to consider that too. Let’s take post stitches as an example.
If you wore the waffle stitch with the right side next to your skin, say as a hat, then you may well end up with waffle imprints on your forehead! It’s a look for sure but probably not one for everyone. However, the wrong side of waffle stitch is actually relatively smooth, so worn that way you get the comfort you’re looking for!
Although waffle stitch is super cosy, and would have been a natural choice for this post, I have not selected it because I’ve already included it in my post about opaque stitch patterns. You can also find a full photo and video tutorial for the crochet waffle goodness here.
Okay. That’s the theory done with, let’s get into the stitches.
5 Cosy Crochet Stitches
The list below is A mixture of traditional stitch patterns and what I call stitch ‘frameworks’. By stitch frameworks, I mean that you can substitute any of the traditional crochet stitches into the pattern description. E.g. replace a double crochet with a single crochet.
In these cases, I have used specific examples, but indicated where these can be replaced. My goal is to give enough detail so that you can pick up your hook and yarn and go, but also give you the room to customise some of the stitches to fit what you want to achieve. I love to encourage experimentation!
Each stitch description uses the following format:
- A short description of the stitch and where you may find it in a pattern
- Skill level
- A list of the stitches used
- The stitch and row multiples
- Basic written instructions to make the stitch (and or a link to a more detailed tutorial if needed)
- An explanation of why the stitch made my cosy list!
Pattern notes for stitch instructions
Below are some notes to help with reading the written instructions.
- I use standard US Crochet Terms and Abbreviations for the following instructions
- Turning chains do not count as stitches unless specified
- Instructions after * asterisks should be repeated as indicated
- Instructions written in (round brackets) should be worked in the same stitch
1. Blanket stitch
I use this stitch pattern (with a small variation) in the Got your six cardi, which is one of my favourite garments for staying cosy. But here’s the truth. I only recently found out what the name of the stitch was!
I first came across this stitch pattern waaaay back when I was pretty new to crocheting and I made my favourite ever crochet hat from it (I never got over misplacing that hat!).
I’ve loved the stitch it ever since. You can see in the picture below that I made a twisted headband in the same stitch to match!
Skill Level: Easy
Stitches Used: Single crochet (sc), double crochet (dc) and chain (ch). Sk means skip
Stitch & Row Multiples: Uses a multiple of 3 sts with a starting chain of 3+3. The pattern uses a one row repeat so works with any number of rows
Blanket Stitch Instructions:
Make a chain of a multiple of 3
Set up row: Make 2dc in third ch from hook, *sk 2 ch, (1sc, 2dc) in next ch; rep form * until there are 3 ch remaining, sk 2 ch, 1sc in last ch, turn
Pattern Row: Ch2 (does not count as a st), 2dc in sc, *sk 2 dc, (1sc, 2dc) in next sc; rep from * until you have 2 sts left unworked, sk 1 dc, 1sc in last st, turn
Repeat the pattern row as desired.
In each row, you will work the multiple sts in the single crochet from the previous row. The last sc of the row is made in the top of the dc which begun the previous row.
It’s kind of difficult to see the squishy texture on the cardi picture so I recreated a swatch for this post!
Why blanket stitch is cosy
There are a couple of things that add to the cosy of this stitch pattern.
First, it uses stitches of differing heights next to each other. This pulls the stitches down and creates the almost bobble like effect.
If you loosen up your tension on this stitch, you will get a slightly different effect which is a little flatter and almost has a corner to corner vibe about it (only not on the diagonal!).
This leads to the second cosy factor, which is that the stitches are pulled onto an angle which causes a little overlap and closes some of the gaps between them. It’s all about trapping air and this pattern does a great job of that!
2. Back loop, front loop alternating crochet
Another confession. I’m not sure if this stitch pattern has a proper name. It may be another one like blanket stitch where I will find out what it’s called in 2 years time!
This is one of those stitch frameworks I mentioned earlier and I have used it with a range of stitches in several of my designers.
It can be worked in different stitches so is a really simple, versatile pattern to work. It creates a lovely squishy texture without being too much of a yarn eater.
Skill Level: Easy
Stitches Used: It can be worked in any of the basic crochet stitches. The example below uses double crochet (dc) and chain (ch) stitches. Blo refers to working in the back loop and flo refers to the front loop only.
Stitch & Row Multiples: You can use any stitch multiple for this stitch but my preference is to use an even number of stitches. This way I know that each round or row will start and finish the same way.
Back loop front loop stitch instructions
Make a chain of an even number of stitches plus 2;
Set up row: Starting in the 3rd ch from hook make 1dc in each st to end, turn
Pattern row: Ch2 (does not count as a stitch), starting in the first st, *1dc in blo, 1dc in flo of next st; rep from * to end, turn
Repeat the pattern row as required.
Each row will start in the back loop, alternate each stitch between front and back loops, and finish the row in the front loop (if you have an even number of stitches).
I also used a variation of this stitch pattern in the Heart of Yarn sweater, combining single and double crochet on alternative rows. I think it works pretty well!
Why is back loop front loop crochet cosy?
The alternation between working in the back and front loops creates kind of micro layers within the fabric to trap that air. It does so without adding bulk to the fabric because you’re just working into one loop, so you still get good movement.
Each back loop stitch is made on top of a front loop stitch. This is what creates the texture and the gentle ribbed effect.
3. Spider Stitch
I first used this stitch in my Everyday Hugs cardigan. This was all about creating something that felt like a hug so is right up there on the cosy spectrum!
There’s a theme developing about my ignorance of stitch names in this post because I just referred to it as a ‘single crochet v stitch’, until I learned it was called spider stitch! (I think my name was more descriptive tbh!)
Note that you can find a full photo and video tutorial for the Spider Stitch here, or read the written instructions below.
Skill Level: Easy
Stitches used: Chain (ch) and single crochet (sc). ch-sp refers tot he chain space and sk means skip.
Stitch Multiple: Spider stitch is worked with a multiple of 3+2 stitches on the foundation chain
Spider stitch instructions
Set up Row: Make a ch of 3+2
Set up Row: Make (1sc, ch1, 1sc) in the 3rd ch from hook, *sk 2 ch, (1sc, ch1, 1sc) in the next ch; rep from * until you have 2 ch left unworked, skip 1 st, 1sc in last st, turn
Pattern Row: Ch2, sk first and second sc, (1sc, ch1, 1sc) in the first ch1-sp, *sk 2 sc, (1sc, ch1, 1sc) in the next ch1-sp; rep from * to last ch1-sp, sk 1 sc, 1sc into ch2, turn
Repeat pattern row as required.
When working into the ch2 at the end of the row, I work my sc over the chain rather than working into it. I find this easier and it creates a nice finish on the edges.
Here’s a close up of the spider stitch which I used in the cropped version of the Everyday hugs cardi and to demonstrate the stitch in the tutorial. (In this picture it’s on an 90 degree angle as this is a sleeve image!)
Why is spider stitch cosy?
This pattern squishes multiple stitches into one space (the chain one space), but uses small enough stitches that it doesn’t leave lots of gaps. At the same time, it retains a nice drape to it. AND it’s not too much of a yarn eater like some cosy stitches can be!
4. Crossed Stitches (or forked cluster stitches)
Here’s a stitch that seems to have multiple names.
I first learned about the principle of this stitch in a fabulous stitch directory from the 70s which I found in a charity shop. That directory that called it little crosses and worked it in single crochet, whereas more recent directories use the term crossed stitches and have similar stitch patterns called forked clusters.
This one is another framework stitch which has a bunch of variations on a theme. It can be work with single, half double and double crochet as desired. You could go even taller if you like, but I think it would start to get a bit gappy to meet our cosy criteria!
For this post, and max cosy, I’m going to talk about the version I used in the Practicowl, which is a free pattern somewhere between a cowl and a caplet as you see below. In this one I used ‘crossed half double crochet‘ stitches to create the pattern.
It’s not as complicated as it sounds!
Check out that texture!
Note that the free practicowl pattern has a more detailed description of the crossed half double crochet stitch. In this description, I use the half double crochet 2 together (hdc2tog) stitch as a most will be familiar with this as a basic decrease stitch. The result is the same.
Skill Level: Adventurous beginners
Stitches Used: Half double crochet (hdc) and half double crochet 2 together (hdc2tog) worked overlapping.
Stitch & Row Multiples: Worked with any number of stitches in any number of rows.
Crossed Stitch Instructions
Make a chain of any number of stitches + 2;
Foundation row: Starting in third ch from hook make an hdc2tog, *starting in the same stitch you just worked the second part of the hdc2tog in, hdc2tog; rep from * to the end of the row, 1hdc in the final stitch (where you worked the second part of the last hdc2tog) , turn
Pattern Row: Ch2 (does not count as a stitch), hdc2tog over first 2 stitches, *starting in the same stitch you just worked the second part of the hdc2tog in, hdc2tog; rep from * to the end of the row, 1hdc in the final stitch (where you worked the second part of the last hdc2tog), turn
Repeat pattern row as desired
I would add a tip for this pattern to keep a close eye on your stitch count as it’s easy to loose a stitch here or there!
Why crossed stitch is cosy
These stitches overlap each other which reduces space between them, and creates those air pockets. The stitches themselves are pretty thick. You will find that this pattern retains quite a lot of drape between the rows and can kind of concertina making it easy to layer on itself, for example in a cowl.
If you work this with taller stitches then you will find that the holes between the stitches tend to get larger.
5. Star stitch
Last but not least, the beautiful star stitch!!
To me this is the pinnacle of cosy crochet stitches (possibly with the exception of the Jasmine stitch which is like star stitch EXTRA!)
This is a therapeutic-to-work crochet stitch which creates a pretty star like pattern and a super thick fabric.
Unlike the other stitches I have chosen here, star stitch has a definitive wrong side (WS) and right side (RS).
Skill Level: Adventurous beginner – intermediate
Stitches Used: Single crochet 5 together (sc5tog), half double crochet (hdc) and chains (ch)
Stitch & Row Multiples: Star stitch is worked over an even number of stitches, with a 2+3 multiple used for the starting chain. It uses a 2 row pattern repeat; a ‘star row’ and the half double crochet row.
Star Stitch Instructions:
You can find a full written, video and photo tutorial for star stitch here. Below I will do my best to explain it with brevity. I say this in the tutorial, but it’s a lot harder to explain than it is to actually make. Let‘s see how I do with keeping it brief!
Make a chain of a multiple of 2+3
Foundation Row: Starting in the third ch from hook, sc5tog, ch1 (referred to as the eye of the star), *make another sc5tog, working into the chain you just made, the ‘leg’ of the last part of the previous stitch (that’s the last yarn over of the previous sc5tog), the last chain you worked the previous stitch into and the next two chains, ch1; repeat from * across the row until you have one chain left unworked, to finish the row, sc4tog working into the eye, the leg, the last ch worked into in the previous st and the last ch of the row, turn
Row 1 (WS): Ch2 (does not count as st), 1hdc in top of last st (this will be where you pulled through in the sc4tog), 2hdc in each ch1 (eye) across to the end, 1hdc in the top of the last st (the top of the starting ch), turn
Row 2 – Star Row (RS): Ch3, does not count as st, starting in the second ch from hook, sc5tog in each of the 2 chains and next 3 sts on the previous row, ch1, *sc5tog working into the eye, the leg, the last st the previous st was worked into, and each of the next 2 sts, ch1; rep from * across until you have one st left unworked, sc4tog working into the eye, the leg, the last st the previous st worked into and the last st of the row, turn
Repeat Rows 1 and 2 for the pattern, finishing on a Row 1 (hdc) repeat.
Why is Star Stitch cosy?
Star stitch has something in common with the crossed stitches because it is worked into overlapping stitches which creates minimal holes.
What adds to the cosy here (imo), is that you are working with lots of ‘yarn over pull up a loop’ repeats from the sc5tog. These create freer (for want of a better word), layered strands which means more space between more strands and more air pockets.
It’s a super thick fabric, so is a bit stiffer than most of the other fabrics described. Going up a hook size or two will help add some drape but should keep the cosy layers.
Below you can see star stitch in action (though it’s ALWAYS hard to photograph bright pinks and reds) in my Christmas Gift hat pattern which is brand new for this festive season.
I love the cosy festive vibes in this picture so seemed like a sensible place to end!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this longer-than-intended- post and are feeling ready to get your cosy on!
If you have a favourite cosy stitch or experience with any of the variations in this post, I would love to hear about them, so do drop a comment below!