Ok so you want to crochet. You’ve bought some hooks, you’ve got your yarn and you sit down and …. GAH everything on the internet is so confusing and nothing seems to be cohesive or make any sense! There are abreviations everywhere and they don’t match from one post to another, patterns are a minefield and you wish you’d just bought a scarf off etsy.
Don’t panic! Take a deep breath,
Crochet is fun but there are a few fundamentals that you need to get your noggin around first. Here are the tid bits I wish I had been told before starting out. Tips I’ve picked up on the way.
Lets start off with a very basic tip:
So to start with try using the biggest hook you have to hand and the chunkiest wool or yarn you have at home. It sounds simple but the bigger the hook and yarn the bigger the stitch and the easier it will be to see what you are doing (also if you need glasses wear them…I didn’t initially, but it also helps seeing)
Prepare to… practice
It may sound boring but practice a bit until it starts looking uniform, you didn’t start walking without ALOT of practicing first, you need part muscle memory and part confidence which comes with practice. I’d chain 11 and start Double Crocheting (dc) or Half double Crochet (Hdc) back and forth in rows until it starts looking the same on every row. Don’t be afraid to undo it and start again until your little square is perfect.
(dont forget to chain 1 after turning your row to start the next one)
Count your V’s
So after the chain you need to count your v’s. Each V is one stitch. Ok challenge…how many v’s are above???
Did you count 10? YESSSSSSSS whoop. (I hope you didn’t cheat!)
So this is a bare basic, but at the start I had no clue and my starter chain would twist and it was a hot mess. So count, count again and then keep counting as you go. It will save you time in the long run as you won’t have to undo it and start over.
So the V’s are also important when it comes to your rows, your hook has to go under the V to make a stitch. I didn’t realise when I started out that I was only ever crocheting in one of the loops and making everything in a rib!! So V, love them, count them, they go on top.
Stitch markers – a good tip
A brilliant way to help see where your row ends is by putting a stitch marker in the first and the last stitch after crocheting it. When you get to the end of each row turn the work (picture 1 above), chain 1 and work the stitch with the chain 1 in it (picture 2) and move the marker from the stitch below up to that stitch just made (picture 3). Your lines will always be neat at the end as you keep moving the markers up!
It is a way of reducing the chance of adding extra stitches as you go. I still do this, especially for blankets as they are so long when worked in rows.
I watched video after video when I started, pausing every other second to catch up. I’m a visual learner so I definitely have to see it before I can do it myself!
I have yet to find the courage to launch a youtube channel… never say never but here are links to my GO TO youtube channels for crochet BellaCocoCrochet https://www.youtube.com/user/sa8rah56/playlists and TLYarnCraft https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkO8yHEMmbvuw9Dgmuvwhsw/playlists
These ladies are the business on tutorials!
This is a tricky one, you’ll see tension mentioned and gauge, these are to guide you on the rough size of the item you’ll be making. It’s worth measuring a practice square against the patterns gauge info to see if you are a loose crocheter or a tight crocheter. If you are loose head down a hook size as a standard and if you are a tight crocheter then you guessed it, head up a size.
It’s not massively important if it doesn’t bother you but it could effect fit of gloves, hats and other garments. Oh and how much yarn you end up using so recommended yarn could not be 100% accurate. And no one likes playing yarn chicken!
American and English terms
When I first started I had no idea that there was two crochet ‘languages’; normally the pattern will tell you if is US or UK terms so keep an eye out. A simple trick to spot the difference is US have single crochet (sc) and the UK don’t. So if you see a sc in your pattern you’re working in US terms.
Well, there we are… well done if you’ve made it to the end!! I hope this helps anyone looking for a few beginner tips. My main tip is just go for it! You will get it but you need to just keep going by chanelling your inner Dory.
Until next time Fiber Fam,