Tips and Advice For a New Crocheter

When I first started to learn how to crochet, I will admit I was completely clueless. I didn’t have any relatives to help me learn, so it was was up to me to teach myself. The process was a bit frustrating at times, and I wasn’t as aware of all of resources that I am aware of today. I know there are many of you out there that are still new to this craft or even just beginning it, so I polled groups of some of my fellow crocheters and made a list of the best tips they had! I hope that these tips help you to begin and/or to continue your love for crochet. ❤

Resources:

THE INTERNET IS YOUR FRIEND!!

  • Youtube-you can find a video for almost anything on here
  • Moogly– Moogly has a lot of free patterns and tutorials for you to try out!
  • New Stitch A Day– This site has videos and written instructions to learn new stitches in both crochet and knitting
  • Ravelry.com– You can find patterns galore here, free and paid. It is also free to have an account.
  • Google– Search anything you have a question on. Most of the time a video will be in the top of the search
  • Crochet Stitch books- you can find these online or at craft stores such as Micheals and Joanns. This is the one I have: 20150911_152332-1
  • Join crochet groups on Facebook- You can meet fellow crafters this way. It is a great way to communicate and learn together. The best thing about this is that there will always be a person there to help you out if you come across something you are unfamiliar with, so don’t be shy. We are all here to help each other ❤

Hooks:

When you begin to learn to crochet you need to find hooks that work well for you. Different people prefer different kinds of hooks. There are 2 types of hooks, inline and tapered. Boye hooks and Clover Amour hooks are tapered and Susan Bates Hooks are inline. Once you find the type of hook that works for you, make sure to have at least 2 in each size. Hooks go missing all the time, whether it is your couch eating them, your child running away with them, or you sticking them somewhere and forgetting. It is always good to have a backup if something like this happens and you are mid project.

**Do not spend a fortune on hooks until you find which type works best for you**

Hook Collage

There are also different ways to hold your hook. There is no right or wrong way. Find whichever way is most comfortable for you and be consistent with the way you hold it to keep your tension the same if you step away from the project. 

KnifePencilGrip

Your First Project:

Start with something smaller with easy stitches that repeat. By the end of it you’ll have a great feel for tension and stitch height.

Some great first projects are: Granny squares, Simple Scarves, Simple Hats, and Dishclothes (super quick to make and you can learn a vast variety of stitches)

-Yarns to avoid for your first projects

  • Yarn dark in color such as black or navy. This makes the stitches hard to see, even the best crocheters have difficulties with these colors if they do not have good lighting.
  • Red Heart Unforgettable. This yarn is extremely hard to “frog” or undo if you mess up. It’s not worth the hassle when you are first starting to learn.
  • Variegated or multicolored yarn. This also makes the stitches hard to see at time. Trust me, this is the yarn I went with. My square turned into a triangle. haha
  • Thick/thin yarn
  • Specialty Yarns (Fur, Pom Pom, etc)
  • Bulky yarn
  • The last 3 on the list take some time to get used to and should be saved for use until one is comfortable with stitch and tension

-Yarn to use when you first start out

  • Use a nice solid color that makes it easy to see your stitches.
  • Yarn that is either worsted weight (4) or DK (3)

Gauge:

This is one topic in particular that a lot of crocheters when they start out do not understand. They think that it is a waste of time. Trust me, it is not! Gauge helps you make sure that your stitches and rows measure the same as the designers, so make a habit of checking it. If you don’t check your gauge before starting a project, there is a chance that your item will not look like the one pictured in the pattern or even worse, won’t fit correctly. For garment items gauge is very important! If your gauge doesn’t match at first, don’t worry. All crocheters crochet differently, so a change of hook or fiber might be necessary.

Here are some great links from Pattern Paradise, From Grammys Heart and Kt and the Squid to help show you how to correctly make your gauge swatch and how to measure it:

http://pattern-paradise.com/2015/09/09/tutorial-crochet-gauge-does-size-matter/

http://fromgrammysheart.com/gauge/-This blog post also mentions 2 other posts on gauge by KT and the Squid. They are linked below as well.

http://ktandthesquid.com/2015/07/22/5-tips-on-gauge-kt-and-the-squid/

http://ktandthesquid.com/2013/12/06/how-to-gauge/

How to Read Yarn Labels:

Find out how to determine the weight of your yarn, the yardage, the fiber content, and more with this link from Yarn Obsession!

http://yarn.yarnobsession.com/how-to-read-yarn-labels/

Dye Lots:

Even though 2 skeins of the same color of the same brand look the same, they may be slightly off. This is because most yarn is dyed in batches. Almost all skeins have little numbers on their wrappers to identify what their dye lots are. Be sure to match these up when you buy multiples of colors for a project so you don’t have an off color throughout your project.

Here is a great articles by From Grammy’s Heart about dye lots, why they are important, and how to identify them so you can make sure you have skeins that are the same exact color.

http://fromgrammysheart.com/dye-lots-are-they-really-that-important/

Blocking:

Not all projects need blocking, but when you block items that do, it really gives it the finishing touch and makes your work look more crisp and professional.

Here’s a link to help you learn more about blocking.

Although it says to have a block to pin on, a lot of crocheters simply use a towel to pin their items onto. Also, inexpensive foam tiles work well, such as children’s play mats, workout mats, camping ground mats, etc.

https://www.anniescatalog.com/crochet/content.html?content_id=628&type_id=S

Stitch Abbreviations:

Most crochet patterns will have a list for you to refer to at the beginning of their pattern for all of the stitch abbreviations that they use. However, if they do not, Craft Yarn Council has a list of all of the main ones that are used! http://www.craftyarncouncil.com/crochet.html

Reading patterns:

People learn differently, so do not fret if you don’t understand how to read a pattern. I for instance learn best with a written pattern. Others learn better with charts or even videos. For people who are more visual learners, these are great! Others way to help you with patterns is to print the pattern out. With a hard copy of it, you can easily highlight or mark the rows that need repeated or check off rows as you complete them. You can also use post-it notes in the same way if you do not want to write on your copy of the pattern. Or insert your pattern in a clear plastic sleeve, such as a report cover, and use a dry erase marker to mark on your pattern. When finished simply take a damp paper towel, erase the marker, and your pattern is as good as new.

Here is a link from the Craft Yarn Council to help you learn how to better read written pattern:

http://www.craftyarncouncil.com/tip_crochet.html

Here’s a link from the Craft Yarn Council to learn to identify the symbols on pattern charts:

http://www.craftyarncouncil.com/chart_crochet.html

Pattern Copyright:

Some crocheters, especially news ones sometimes don’t understand the importance of copyright. Like any other written piece by someone a pattern is protected by copyright, which makes it illegal to share in any way-this means no making videos of how to complete the pattern, no copying parts of the pattern and sharing in other places, no claiming any or all of the pattern as your own, etc. Please respect the designers of these patterns, and be thankful that they are there to create these wonderful patterns for us. Although some patterns are free, others are not and should stay that way. Pattern sales help designers pay bills or put food on the table. Please don’t take this away from them. ❤

This chart by bluebottletree.com explains copyright really well. If you’d like to learn more about it, please click on the picture and head to her site!

Copyright-Infographic1

Stitch Counting:

Counting your stitches is so important! Crochet is all about math, so if you lose or gain stitches where you aren’t supposed to, the pattern might not work out correctly or look how you want it to. Most patterns have the stitch count for the rows or rounds at the end of the directions for each row/round to keep you on track.

Weaving in ends:

This is another step in the crochet process that a lot of new crocheters do not know about or if they do, they don’t always know how to do it correctly or in the best way to keep their projects from coming apart in the long run.

The Crochet Crowd has an awesome video on how to weave your ends in so no tails will pop on and your project will remain intact.

http://thecrochetcrowdblog.com/2014/01/07/the-biggest-and-most-impactful-lesson-of-2013-for-crochet-finishing-technique/

Joining in of New Colors:

Avoid the knots and add new colors this way. You won’t regret it in a second!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BF6OkNL5rY4

Making Mistakes is OK!!!

Give yourself permission to make mistakes. Crochet is about muscle memory. You have to teach your hands and fingers what to do. Every time you make a mistake and have to redo it, you haven’t lost anything because you’ve gotten more practice in for your fingers and hands.  Mistakes happen and they are no big deal. Do not let your mistakes stop you from wanting to learn and to try new things. Remember, we learn from our mistakes, so don’t give up! Even seasoned crocheters make mistakes and have to frog or tear out. It’s part of the craft!

Be Kind to Yourself!

Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your crochet skills. Learning anything takes time, so have patience with yourself. Do not beat yourself up if you make a mistake or if you can’t understand something at first. It is perfectly alright to take a step back from what you are working on and go do something else for awhile if you get frustrated. Crocheting is supposed to be fun and relaxing!

It’s Only Yarn. (Although you may develop a slight addiction to it 😉 ) Have Fun and Enjoy Yourself ❤

XOXO

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