My tips & tricks for crochet newbs and the curious


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This list is certainly not a be all, end all of crochet for beginners… but it is a good start if you’re looking to try crochet.  Little recommendations and things to think about when choosing yarn or a project, and things to avoid when you’re not yet sure what you’re doing.

Choosing a project :

  • Do not make socks as a first ever project!  They’re not impossible, but there are complications (working in rounds, the heel, etc).  These things could make you hate your life and swear off crochet.
  • In the same way, do not start with a lace project.  Lace is hard to see (read : hard to see what your stitches are doing) until you block it – and as blocking is the very last step, I think lace might cause more pain than pleasure at first.
  • Same thing with thread…
  • …or anything you make with a steel hook (hooks under 2mm)

Understand : I’m not saying any of these projects are impossible for beginners.  But if you want to looove crochet, you need quick, satisfying projects.  The above are so long to complete, I’m afraid you’ll drop them before being truly hooked and that is not the idea.

  • Look for simple accessories : scarves, hats, even a simple shawl, a washcloth… projects that require little or no sewing; little or no shaping; and that use basic stitches (ideally, no post stitches).
  • On yarn bands, you’re often offered a free pattern and a lot of these are well-suited for beginners.  Also see yarn company websites such as Lion Brand, Drops and choose from their beginner projects.

Once you’ve mastered basic stiches, and patterns, feel free to jump into ANYTHING!  Right then and there.  I’m telling you!

Choosing a yarn :

Once you’ve chosen your project, you need to find some yarn to make it with.  Read your pattern info.  You need this to choose an appropriate yarn.

  • Yardage or meters / Size / Fiber content : the information at the begining of your pattern will give you information on the yarn used.  Use this info to substitute with a similar yarn.  Get as close as possible to all the info on the suggested yarn with your substitute.
  • Avoid complex yarns like mohairs or lumpy yarns, or yarns that are very hairy.  These make your stitches hard to see.
  • Avoid black; white; neons; and very dark colours.  Instead, choose a creamy, or crisp colour.  Ideally, pick a colour that is the same throughout the ball.  I say ideally, but… long colour variations are also good to start with.  And they will make your project look like it was made by an expert.
  • Americans label yarn size very simply,giving each size a number from 0 to 6.  0 is lace, 6 is super bulky or super chunky.  I recommend starting with yarn no smaller than a 3 (DK or sport) and to opt for a 4 (worsted or medium).  If the yarns you have access to do not provide this info, look for something that is worked with a hook sized 4.5 mm or 5 mm.  Your project should be chosen with this yarn or hook size in mind.

 

The beauty of crochet is in its simplicity :  a similar project will take less time to crochet than to knit; and correcting a mistake in crochet is as simple as unraveling your work to the mistake, and moving forward from there.  There is no picking up of stitches.  This is a good thing for beginners.  And simple does not mean crude, far from it.  You’ll see.

If you’ve searched the web for tutorials and are still having trouble, consider asking if your local yarn store offers classes (tricotine.ca, for example, if you’re somewhere on Montreal’s North Shore) or send me an e-mail and we can book private classes (I have skype, for those of you too far to drop by) =)

And if you’re an experienced crocheter with tricks for beginners, please share them in the comments!

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