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Crochet Curly Cue Sampler – How to Choose the Best Curl

by | Crochet, Tutorials

As you may or may not have noticed, I’ve been on a bit of a blog break lately.  Mostly because I traveled overseas with LM, and came back with a bad case of the jet lags. After that, it’s just taken me a while to get going again, but hopefully, I’ll find my groove in time for spring! Because yeah, I was hanging out on the hammock this afternoon, instead of being cooped inside a house watching it snow outside. Sunny California right?

This is a quickie post. I’ve gotten a few comment and questions about the crochet curly cues that make up my crochet unicorn’s tail, and to be honest, I had a bit of a hard time figuring out exactly how I wanted the tail to look. I didn’t really want super stubby curls but I didn’t want long stringy ones either. I realized what I needed was a curly cue sampler that I could reference next time I wanted a specific length and shape. So here it is!

Crochet Curly Cue reference sampler |

I started out all of them by crocheting 23 chains. 23 you say? (Yup, I’m a sucker for prime numbers. I also like the number 47.) Then, you can choose to crochet 2, 3 or 4 stitches into each chain across the row before fastening off and completing the curly cue.

curly cue sampler

As you can see in the photos above and below, increasing the number of stitches in each chain tightens the curl. The type of stitch (single, half double, double) defines the curl’s overall width.

Here’s 3 curls in the following order: 2 single crochet in each chain across, 2 hdc in each chain across, 2 dc in each chain across. See how the curls are fairly loose, but the width of the curl is wider?

Crochet Curly Cue reference sampler |

This set below is: 3 sc in each ch across, 3 hdc in each ch across and 3 dc in each ch across. The curlie cues are tighter than the ones above.

Crochet Curly Cue reference sampler |

And following the same pattern, below is: 4 sc in each ch across, 4 hdc in each ch across, and 4 dc in each chain across.  I found these to be a lot of fun – lots of tight curls!

Crochet Curly Cue reference sampler |

I honestly don’t remember how long my 23 chains were, but the final curly cues are all in the 4 to 5 inch range, depending on how scrunched up you want them to be. For the unicorn tail, I think I used a combination of “3 hdc in each ch” and “4 sc in each ch”, starting with between 20 and 30 chains. I also ‘mussed’ up the curl a bit to give it a roly poly fat look, but that’s up to you.

I hope you find this reference helpful the next time you want to crochet up some curly cues, like for my Friendly Jellyfish!


  1. Cheryl

    How’d you know I was looking for this…Thanks!!

  2. susan nash

    You always post the best tips, this is one I’ll be sharing on my blog site, like I do many of your ideas – thx!

  3. Linda

    This is such a big help. I also like crocheting these curlies (after realizing how much easier it is than knitting them!!). Now, this is a reference that I must save. THANKS for doing the work and sharing!

  4. Deborah

    This is so funny! I was fooling around with some yarn a couple weeks ago and made a curly cue! The thing is that I don’t remember how I did it! Lol it’s so cute though and Ive been meaning to try to frog it to see what I did, but I haven’t had a chance to do so. All I can remember is that I started with one chain lol I’ve enjoyed reading about your curly cues though! Thank you so much for sharing!

  5. Jenny

    Wow, they look truly awesome, I tried to do the same, but it seems to be too hard for me, so I need more practice.

  6. ChiWei

    So glad I can help! 🙂

  7. ChiWei

    You’re welcome!

  8. ChiWei

    Aww, thank you!

  9. Sherri

    Thanks you so much for the unicorn pattern, I am in love!! My first stuffy and I have to say it was so well written and easy to follow. I just have one comment on the curly cues and that is to make sure to note NOT to go into the back bump. I always work my chains thru the back bump for a neater edge BUT they don’t curl either!! Ha Ha Lesson learned! Again, thank you!!

  10. ChiWei

    Oooh, I never thought of that! I may have to try that on my own, but thank you for sharing!

  11. Loving Crochet Hands

    What an excellent guide two thumbs up thank you so much!

  12. Loving Crochet Hands

    Did you use the same hook size for all of these and if so what hook size did you use? Thank you in advance.

  13. Heidi Yates

    You’re a genius! Thank you

  14. Patricia Seaton

    Thank you so much for this post – it is very helpful!

  15. ChiWei

    Yes, I used the same hook size. I think I used H hook, which is 5 mm.

  16. Viv

    I have been making a curly cue with 3 hdc in each chain stitch. However, because you are “stuffing” so many stitches into each chain, the chain tightens as you go along. I find it a real struggle to get the hook into the next chain. Consequently the curly cue has taken ages to do. How do you combat this please?

  17. ChiWei

    Hi Viv, I didn’t find my chains tightening, but if it’s happening to you, you can always make your chains looser and see if that helps.

  18. KimE

    Hi, if you are sure to go under 2 strands of the chain when you make your stitches…this stops the pull on the rest of the chain.

  19. Viv

    Yes I tried that and didn’t help much. Then I did the chain loosely with a 4.00mm hook and changed to a 3.50mm hook, when going back to do the curly cue. This helped more, but still became tight.

  20. Viv

    Yes I was doing that and it still pulled tight. I wonder if someone could post a closeup picture or photo so that I can see exactly how it is done. TIA.

  21. Marlise Harlow

    I am trying to make a simple strand curl. I crochet a chain, then slip stitch into each chain, but it is not curling. I have tried sl st only in the back loop and in both loops but it still won’t curl.

    Do you know how to get it to curl with this technique? What am I missing?

    Thank you,


  22. Megan

    Thanks for showing the differences and the commentary, much appreciated!!

  23. KawaiiDrawer18

    How did you do the curly tentacles of the jellyfish in your jellyfish tutorial? Thanks!

  24. Vehicle Collection Forest Of Dean

    A fascinating discussoon is definitely worth comment.

    I do think tthat you should publish more on this topic, it may not be a taboo subject but generally
    folks don’t discuss these subjects. To the next! Cheers!!

  25. Jo

    Thank you for examples…. especially the single crotchet as they are perfect for baby beanies I’m making to donate to hospitals….they are really cute and interesting for the children…again, thank you lots❣️

  26. Kathleen M

    My eldest daughter wants a Davy Jones beard from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies…thank you so much. I’ll make the beard to be removable from her pony tail hat I knitted. Her husband has a popcorn beard for his beanie.

  27. Aathi

    Thank you ❤️
    That was helpful

  28. Jen

    Thank you so much for this. I am excited to get started on some projects. ♥️

  29. Danni

    Super useful comparison and explanation – thank you!

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