“I crochet because knitting isn’t weird enough”
A lot of our Woolyknitters are weavers and knitters, so today we’d like to introduce you to the wonderful world of crochet and give you a few of our top tips to get you started. We’re here to help you gather all of the right tools, give you the confidence to persevere through the beginning stages, and leave you with some ways to reduce your yarn waste and make your creations a little bit more sustainable.
01 Don’t Be Defeated by Tension
One of the biggest obstacles in learning to crochet is the very first hurdle: getting your tension right. When you’re first learning to crochet (particularly if you’re used to knitting with 2 needles), getting used to holding a hook in one hand and the yarn in the other can be very tricky. The only way to get over this hurdle is to power through.
The 3 things to remember when it comes to getting your tension right are:
1. Make sure your loops are tight enough to be close to the hook but not so tight that you can’t pull loops through.
2. Hold the yarn however is comfortable for you (perhaps start with one loop around your palm and one around your index finger) – as you get more comfortable with holding the yarn, you’ll be able to tweak and correct your hold.
3. Do not give up! Everything feels a bit unfamiliar when you first try it, but before long it will be like second nature.
02 Learn How to Make a Magic Ring
This will be step 1 in most crochet patterns (especially if you want to get into the world of amigurumi) and is an essential to learn straight away. Whilst its name makes it sound pretty elusive and mysterious, it is actually really simple. A search on Youtube will bring up a tonne of how-to videos – but one thing to note is that there are MANY different ways to achieve a magic ring (some are a LOT more simple than others), so watch a couple of videos and find your favourite method.
03 Make Youtube Your Best Friend for Learning New Stitches
Whilst we’re on the subject of Youtube, it is a fantastic source of free and high-quality tutorials for every stitch that you can think of. Follow along with the videos until you’re comfortable with the stitch and make a playlist to work through and come back to when you need a refresher. Youtube is a great place to find free patterns as well and perfect for when you first start and want to see how each step of the pattern is done.
04 Start with an Aran Weight Yarn and a 5mm Hook
If you can see and count your stitches, you’ll be able to get a better understanding of what effect each stitch has on your finished product and it will give you the confidence to adjust existing patterns or improvise with your own patterns.
05 Practice with Patterns
Patterns look complicated at first but they’re basically instruction manuals that will guide you through every single step of your making process. They’ll also give you purpose with your crocheting and will introduce you to new stitches and techniques that you might not have come across before. If you want to make something Christmassy to decorate your home with, you can find lots of easy crochet patterns in our recent blog post.
06 Use Stitch Markers
A big part of crocheting is COUNTING. It feels like a lot of concentration at first, but before long you’ll have mastered the art of counting stitches and simultaneously watching TV. To save on counting every single stitch, stitch markers will be your best friend. Place them at the beginning of each round to help you see where your first stitch of the round was.
07 Don’t Be Afraid to Frog
Frogging is another way of saying rip out your stitches and give it another go. It apparently gets its name from the way ‘rip it’ sounds like ‘ribbit’ (as in, the noise a frog makes)… I have no idea who decided this would be the official term, and it seems like a bit of a stretch to me, but it’s a cute way to describe it I suppose. Anyway, the point is – don’t be afraid to just try it again. There’s no harm in it and it’s better to redo it correctly than to keep going with the wrong number of stitches.
08 Keep Your Yarn Cut Offs for Stuffing
There’s absolutely no need to waste money on toy stuffing when you can just use your scraps of yarn. A great thing to do is to wash out an old jar or find a little box and fill it with every single yarn scrap you cut off. If you use other crafty bits like felt or fabric, get those cut offs in the jar too. Your jar will soon fill up – a fantastic sustainable hack!
09 Take Lots of Photos
Take photos of your pieces in progress as well as your finished items – not just to share on social media, but also just for yourself to look back at and see how much progress you’ve made and how your skills have grown. It’s a massive confidence boost and gives you the encouragement to keep trying new and more tricky patterns.
10 Surround Yourself with Other Crocheters to Share Tips and Tricks
Reach out to other people in the Woolyknit community and get swapping tips! It’s always great to have a lifeline to get in touch with in the event of a crochet crisis. Swap photos of progress and finished pieces, share your new safety eyes source, send them a link to a free pattern you’ve found – having a community to bounce off will improve your skills and knowledge so much!
So those are our top crochet tips for anyone who would love to get started. Let us know your advice for beginner crocheters or any tips and hacks you have in the comments section – sharing your knowledge is key!