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Knitters Learning Crochet
Want to learn to go from 2 needles down to one hook? So did I!!
I want to share resources and tips for knitters who are trying to pick up how to crochet. I've gotten better...at least my crochet is more even and isn't growing out one end. Still, I don't see stitches as easily as I do knitting. And I know it's just practice.
I can knit forwards and backwards without looking. Ok, I don't want to brag...a lot of it was practice and focusing on learning.
I bought some DVD courses from my local JoAnns (I'll list them below) and lots of beginner crochet books (and I'll list them below too).
Then I had my big thought. The best way to practice the stitches and let my hands get used to the motions would be to make dishclothes! They're small, and I can focus on one or two stitches without worrying about a big pattern. Plus, I can always use more dishclothes or facecloths. And if they grow because I messed up, no one will see it but me.
I bought oodles of Bernat Handicrafter cotton yarn and Sugar'nCream yarn and a few pattern books, and I'm pretty good with a double half crochet now. I still have difficulties counting the stitch and if I'm supposed to go through both loops or into the front or into the back. (UPDATE: Guess, what..It DEPENDS. I should have known.)
Get a Grip
Learning to hold the crochet hook
Holding the hook is much different then holding the two needles. Thankfully, if you're used to a left handed throw, holding the yarn will be a piece of cake. If you're not, then I would recommend practicing knitting with the left hand throw on a simple scarf.
I've seen crocheters hold the hook with their thumb and forefinger as well as thumb and middle finger. I usually hold it like a 3 year old holds a crayon. Probably NOT the best way if you have carpal tunnel tendencies.
Types of Yarn - And What's Best For Beginners
I remember 20 years ago when I was starting to ramp up my knitting and I bought what I jokingly called a Tribble. It was a large Mohair ball made by Patons and supposedly had enough to make a simple sweater.
I tried to knit with it but the yarn kept sticking to itself, and I had a heck of a time trying to see the stitches.
So, rule one for crochet yarn is the same as rule one for knitting yarn - don't choose something slippery or fluffy or difficult. Stick to a double knitting wool or cotton.
The wool is great because when you drop a stitch, it just sits there. You really have to work on the fabric to get a dropped stitch. Plus, with crochet, you maybe lose one or two stitches, and then you pick up the loop and get working again.
The cotton was my choice because I could make face cloths, dishcloths, and coasters quickly and easily.
There are some lovely acrylics out there that are very inexpensive and great for practicing with. You can create a number of squares and then stitch them together for an afghan, so don't throw away those swatches.
Crochet Books for Knitters - Useful Book References
Sometimes a book with pretty images or well done drawings can help tremendously when you're trying to figure out how to make that stitch.
I personally learn better when I have a project rather then swatches. If you do too, this book has a lot of good useful projects.
This book is geared for people who knit and are trying to switch over to crochet.
I love the idea of crocheting a little black dress. This book is more an inspiration to keep you learning. We all need a goal.
This stays in my project bag at all times. It's the ideal reference with clear directions and awesome photographs of the stitch and what you're supposed to do.
It's all in the wrist
I've found that I knit using my fingers and forearms. I do knit very quickly. But crochet is more of a wrist movement. Your wrist moves almost in a circle 8.
So make sure you keep your project in your lap with your arms relaxed otherwise, you'll get tennis elbow or carpal tunnel.
Training Videos - Nothing is more fun then a class that you can pause
I love sitting at my desk with a nice cup of something and watching someone teaching me a new skill. If I get stuck, I can back it up.
I have here my dvd collection that I've used to brush up my skills.
There's a new online teaching site called Craftsy.com and I've purchased a number of their knitting courses and projects. You may want to look into their crochet courses.