5 Crochet Tips for Newbie Crocheters
So you want to learn to Crochet. Good for you! Crocheting is a great hobby that just takes a little patience to learn. This hub will teach you everything you need to know to get started making your very first crochet project.
Things You'll Need to get Started
Just like any hobby, you'll need to gather your equipment. To learn to crochet, you will need the following:
- Crochet Hook--Historically, crochet hooks were made from bone, ivory, and even procupine quill, but today, hooks are typically made from wood, plastic, casein or aluminum. They are made in many different sizes, with Size A being the smallest, then B, C,D, etc. Don't fret about which size hook to buy. All Patterns will tell you what size hook is needed to get the correct Gauge. As a beginner, it is a good Idea to stick with sizes F-I. Hooks larger ot smaller than this create stitches that are so loose or tight that it can be difficult for the beginner to work with.
- Scissors-A small pair of scissors that you can keep with your crochet items is best.
- Yarn-Yarn comes in various weights or thicknesses, and your pattern will specify which type of Yarn to use, and how many "skeins" of yarn are needed to complete a project. Be sure to check the weight of the skein you plan to buy, as skeins come in several different weights including 3.5 oz, 7 oz, and 16oz. A pattern that calls for two 7oz skeins of yarn would require four 3.5oz skeins or one 16oz skein.
- Yarn needle--A yarn needle is a large, usually plastic needle. It is most commonly used to sew pattern pieces together or to weave yarn ends.
- Spacers--Used when "working in the round," spacers are used to mark where a new round begins. You can use 1-2" scraps of yarn as a spacer, or plastic knitting spacers.
- A ruler--You will need a ruler to check your "gauge"
- A pattern--You can buy pattern books from you local craft store or online at Amazon, or you can buy patterns from sites like Etsy.com. You can even get patterns online for free, although usually these are not as good a quality as the ones for sale.
How to Read Crochet Patterns
Deciphering crochet patterns can seem a little overwhelming at first, but with some patience and a little know-how you will quickly be following patterns with the best of them.
Most "For sale" Patterns and Pattern books have a section explaining the abbreviations used in the pattern as well as written instructions for any unusual directions, but if your pattern doesn't have this list, I have included the most common beginner stitches so you can refrence this hub whenever you need!
Next, patterns will give you the gauge information for the project. "Gauge" refers to the number of stitches and rows that make up a given size area of the project. For example, your pattern states that 16 HDC and 12 rows=4" using a size G hook. You should make a practice swatch oof 12 rows of 16 HDC each and check the size of your swatch. If your swatch does not measure 4" by 4", your project will not turn out the correct size, and you remake the swatch using tighter or looser stitches, or use a different size hook until you get the correct measurements. Unless I am making clothing, I accept anything within 1/4" acceptable.
When you get the the instructions, don't try to read through them ahead of time. You will only confuse and overwhelm yourself. Pattern instructions always make much more sense if you crochet each row as you read the instructions.
Foundation ChainClick thumbnail to view full-size
Working in Rows
Working in rows always results in a flat piece of work. When working in rows, you will first make a starter chain. A chain is made by making a slipknot on your hook, and then pulling yarn up through the loop on your hoook, creating chains. At the end of the chain you will turn the project over (so that the back is now facing you), insert your hook into the chain specified (ie. 3rd chain from the hook) and follow the pattern instructions for the new row until you get to the end of the row. Every other row will be work with the "right side,"--that is the side meant to be seen--facing you, and on the alternate row, the "wrong side,"--or back of the project--will be facing you as you work.
When you have completed all instructions for a given row, there should be no more stitches left in the row. If you have extra stitches, or not enough stitches to complete a row's instructions, you have made a mistake.
Working in the Round
Working in the Round means that you will be starting with a circle or ring in the middle of your work and crocheting in a continuous rounds. Increasing the number of stitches in each round produces a flat piece of work; while maintaining a constant number of stitches in each round produces a bowl-shaped piece (used to make stuffed animals. etc)
To Start a round, make a slip knot on your hook and follow the pattern directions. An alternative to this method is to crochet the required number of stitches in a "Magic Circle" instead of in the 2nd chain form the hook. The magic circle closes tightly so that you do not have a hole in the center of your work, but otherwise, either method is fine.
You will need to use a marker to mark where one round begins and another ends. Take caution to end each round in the proper place.
* OR * *
Work instructions following * or enclosed in * * indicated number of times
( ) OR [ ] OR crosses
Work enclosed instructions indicated number of times
Make a slip know on hook. YO; pull yarn through loop on hook
YO, Insert hook into stitch to be worked, YO; Draw yarn through 1 loop, YO Draw Yarn through next 2 loops, yarn over, draw yarn through last 2 loops
Half Double crochet
YO, Insert hook into stitch to be worked; YO Draw yarn through 1 loop, YO, draw yarn through all three loops
refers to Yarn that is resting on hook.
Insert Hook into stitch, YO, draw through 1 loop, YO, draw through both loops
Refers to the space between stitches
Loop Yarn over hook