Crafting comes in many forms and can be enjoyed by all ages. For many years, as a kid, I made bead necklaces and bracelets. From there I moved on to a variety of crafts but never stuck with any of them. For a good long time, I didn’t even think about crafting. Perhaps an idea would pop into my head, yet I never saw it through. However, recently I have been wanting to get back into crafting, and not knowing where to start, I went through various blogs for inspiration. Many crafts spoke to me, yet I did not pick up any of them. Then, about two years ago, I spotted a Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Crochet Kit and bought it. The funny thing is, I didn’t know how to crochet at the time. Learning crochet didn’t even come to mind when I bought it. I simply saw something Rudolph-related and had to buy it.
Then, back in mid-2018, I made the decision to learn how to crochet. I started to watch YouTube videos on how to crochet and I was intrigued and frightened. Honestly, it all looked incredibly hard, and even so, beginner crochet videos felt like they were impossible to follow. However, I was determined to see this through. So, I went out and bought a few skeins of yarn, a couple of hooks and took the plunge. One way to keep me accountable in learning this skill was to include it in my monthly goals.
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Learning crochet – what you need to get started
Regardless of whether you are learning out of curiosity or hoping to turn crochet into a full-time job, there are a few things you need to get started.
The first is the willingness to learn. Without that, you won’t get anywhere. Once you have that, it’s time to turn your attention to the necessary supplies. Unlike some crafts, there aren’t a lot of supplies you need to start crocheting. At the bare minimum, you need yarn, some hooks, scissors, and a large sewing needle.
Invest in good hooks
Even when you are starting out, the one thing you should do is invest in good hooks. This was actually my first mistake when I started. I bought a cheap set of hooks, not even thinking that there would be different qualities of them. That first set of hooks caused me more problems than I care to admit. The hook portion was so small that it was near impossible to grab the yarn. This led to a lot of frustration and I almost gave up right then and there. However, after thinking about it, I realized that if I upgraded my hooks, then it should fix some of my issues.
I bought a crochet set and have been incredibly happy with it. Not only does it have good quality hooks of various sizes, but it comes with a few other items that come in handy. Once I had a good set of hooks, I found crochet to be easier and more enjoyable.
Start with cheap yarn
By this, I don’t mean to buy inferior yarn. However, diving into crochet by buying the most expensive handspun wool yarn is setting yourself up for failure. You want to get yarn that is readily available and doesn’t break the bank. This means that if you mess up on a project, then you aren’t out a lot of money. As your skill increases, then you can start working with the more expensive yarns. I honestly look forward to the day when I start working with wool and other high-value yarns. There is an alpaca farm a few hours from where I live, and one day I will invest in some of their yarn.
For beginners, I would recommend using brands such as Red Heart, Bernat, and Lily Sugar n’ Cream. I have worked with all of these yarns and have had very positive experiences with them. Though of all of them, I have to say the Lily Sugar ‘N Cream was the most enjoyable to work with. It’s an incredibly soft cotton yarn that doesn’t split easily.
There are more stitches in crochet than I can easily name. However, once you learn the basics, it is fairly easy to expand to those more complicated stitches. The best way to learn the stitches is by creating small blocks where you repeat the stitch until you have it down. Don’t be surprised if it takes a couple of these blocks before you have it down.
The most basic stitch is the single crochet. I highly recommend starting with this one. It is great for whipping up quick items like dishcloths and even hats, but it, more importantly, teaches you how to properly hold the yarn, hook, and keep an eye on your tension. From there you can move into the half double crochet, which is a bit more complicated before finally working on the double crochet.
Tension is important
No matter what stitch you are using, keeping the tension in your yarn consistent is key. This is fairly difficult when you begin, however, it will come with practice. Trust me, when I first started, every stitch was a different size because I couldn’t keep the tension consistent.
Learn from someone
If someone in your family or circle of friends crochets, then ask them to teach you. This is by far the best way to learn. Having someone there to show you and point out your mistakes as they happen will make it easier to learn. However, this isn’t always an option. There are plenty of blogs that have guides on how to learn the basic and more advanced stitches, however, I find that static pictures and written descriptions don’t always work. This is why I highly recommend YouTube videos. In fact, this is why I learned to crochet.
YouTubers to watch
There are a million and one YouTube videos out there on learning crochet. However, not all of them are beginner-friendly, despite their claims to be beginner videos. Here are the channels I feel are the most helpful, not just for beginners but as your skill increases as well.
Practice, practice, and practice some more
The only way you will get anywhere with crochet, or any other skill for that matter is by practicing. When I started, my stitches were too loose or too tight, mostly because my tension was off. However, the more I practiced, the easier those stitches became. I no longer had to worry about them being different sizes.
This was my first attempt at making a practice square. As you can see, it’s not even close to a square. Was I discouraged? A bit. But I gave it another try and day or two later and did much better.
See, now that looks like a square! It just goes to show how much of a difference can happen between a first and second attempt.
Make a variety of things
It can be easy to want to stick to squares at the start. And I would say do so if attempting a new stitch. But once you have it down, look for a pattern to make something using that stitch. You will find yourself in a rut very quickly if you keep making the same things over and over again. The first thing I made once I had my basic stitches down was a hat. It was made with single crochets and came together fairly quickly. It ended up being far too big, however, it was a good learning experience.
From there I made a hat for my son, as seen above, and then later one for myself that fit properly. Crochet also allows you to make gifts for special occasions like Mother’s Day.
Don’t be afraid to experiment. There will be failures as well as successes. However, over time, you will learn to love crochet. I know I look forward to whenever I have a chance to pick up my yarn and hook.
Do you know how to crochet? What other crafting skills do you have or want to learn?