The Crochet Shrug is an Ideal First Project
What was the first thing that you ever crocheted? Most people started out crocheting just a chain and not going any further with it. Other people started by crocheting a simple square or rectangle. Rectangles can be extended to make easy crochet scarves but for the most part new crocheters don’t start off by making wearables. I think this is a mistake. I believe that starting off by learning to crochet a really simple wearable crochet item can provide you with a great foundation for crochet as well as a great product that you can be proud of. Easy crochet scarves are a good place to start but I actually think that the crochet shrug is the ideal first project.
Why A Crochet Shrug?
It may seem daunting to take on a crochet shrug as the first thing that you ever crochet so why do I think it’s an ideal first project for a new crocheter? Here are some of the reasons:
o The crochet shrug can be made with simple squares and rectangles. Unlike with many other wearable items you do not need to know more advanced crochet techniques like increasing and decreasing to make a shape. You only need to know some basic crochet stitches and how to read a crochet pattern. Then it’s just a matter of making some squares and rectangles and putting them all together.
o The crochet shrug doesn’t require a lot of yarn. It’s a fairly small wearable item so it isn’t going to require more than a couple of balls (or skeins) of yarn. This is good because it means that you can easily make multiple crochet shrugs in different yarns and using different hook sizes and stitch patterns so that you can see what different results you get.
o The crochet shrug isn’t a time-consuming project. It won’t take much longer than it does to make a crochet scarf and it’s certainly a lot less time consuming than other large projects like blankets. Starting out with a bigger project can be too ambitious and leave you with a half-made item that you don’t want to finish.
o The end product is something to be proud of. If you crochet a chain or a scarf then you’re going to be proud of it because it’s the first item that you crocheted. However, after a few months you’re not going to want to brag about it anymore because everyone who crochets has made one of these items. A crochet shrug, on the other hand, is something you can wear for years to come and when people ask about it you will always be proud to see that it was the first thing that you ever crocheted.
o Your skills will grow as you work on the project. Your skills don’t grow at all if the first thing you crochet is just a chain. And they really don’t grow much if you’re making easy crochet scarves because all you learn is the stitch and how to turn your work to make rows. You learn those things with the crochet shrug but you’ll also learn a little bit about measuring your work to fit your size as well as stitching pieces together. This makes the crochet shrug an easy project that still teaches you a lot.
Crochet Shrug Decisions to Make
When you are getting ready to crochet your first shrug you’ll need to find a pattern. But before you do, you should think about a few things because deciding on them in advance will make it easier to find the right pattern. Things to think about include:
o Do you want long sleeves or a short sleeve crochet shrug? If you live in a warmer climate or are making a crochet shrug during the summer months then you will probably want a short sleeve crochet shrug but either option can be found.
o How big does your crochet shrug need to be? Most patterns will provide various size options within the pattern instructions. However if you need a plus size crochet shrug or a petite crochet shrug then you may want to consider that as you look for patterns.
o What color do you want your shrug to be? You don’t actually need to decide this before you find a crochet shrug pattern but you’ll need to decide it before you start the work. The crochet shrug will be easiest to make if you select a single color rather than trying to learn to change colors at this point. Also you will find it easier to learn to work the crochet stitches if you work with a light yarn so you might want to consider making a white crochet shrug or a silver crochet shrug instead of a black crochet shrug or dark brown crochet shrug. Choose what works for you, of course, but do keep these things in mind.
Finding a Crochet Shrug Pattern
You can find lots of different crochet shrug patterns online and in books. However you really want to start with a very simple crochet shrug pattern that doesn’t require any increasing or decreasing. Top ways to find this include:
o Go to the library. Look through children’s crochet books for a free crochet shrug pattern. Patterns for kids are very simple to follow and will give you what you need to know to make a crochet shrug. However these patterns are also sized for kids so you may need to adapt your size accordingly!
o Browse through Crochet Pattern Central. This is a leading place to get free crochet patterns online. You will need to take your time to look through the shrug patterns, though, to find those that don’t require increasing and decreasing. (Or else you can attempt to learn those advanced techniques before making your first crochet shrug!)
o Check eHow. Several authors on this “how to” site have provided detailed instructions for how to make a crochet shrug.
o Here’s a great pattern from Crochet Spot. This site has lots of easy to follow crochet instructions and their instructions for this “sassy shrug” are so simple that it’d be tough not to get it right! It's for the shrug that is featured in the photo at the top of this article.
Don’t be afraid to tackle the crochet shrug as a beginning crocheter. It’s really easier than it seems and you’ll be so proud of the product that you create!