Learning crochet, a novices guide to getting started

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 also 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 this 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.

A dishcloth made with cotton yarn. The pattern turned out wonderfully thanks to the swirl dye of the yarn.Start with cheap yarn

By this, I don’t mean 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.

The stitches

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 they claiming 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.

My first attempt at crochet. It was supposed to be square but ended up something else.

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.

The second time trying the single crochet stitch and this time it ended up being a square like it was supposed to.

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.

A hat I crocheted for my son, in his favorite color green.

From there I made a hat for my son, as seen above, and then later one for myself that fit properly.

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?

25 Comments

  1. Avatar

    I have fond memories of making crocheted items with my grandma when I was young. Maybe I should take it up again. Thanks for sharing your experiences and tips.

    1. Avatar
      Author

      That’s great that you have those memories. It could be worth picking it up again.

    1. Avatar
      Author

      Thank you. I hope you do start again, it’s a great thing to do in the evenings.

  2. Avatar

    I learned to crochet on YouTube as well. It is amazing how much easier it is than the instructional books. The 2 D drawings just didn’t do it for me. Great post!

    1. Avatar
      Author

      I agree. I’m still hoping to one day be able to make something based on pictures or a written pattern, but for now, videos is the only way I can manage.

  3. Avatar

    I used to crochet, a lot, when I was young…made purses, sweaters, a tablecloth for my mom…I really enjoyed it. Thanks for bringing back some happy memories!

    1. Avatar
      Author

      That’s great. I haven’t made anything fancy with it yet, but I’m hoping to make a few things for the house this year.

  4. Avatar

    My mum has tried to teach me to crochet and I just can’t do it, I get all muddled up and end up with a knot!

    1. Avatar
      Author

      It’s not for everyone. Trust me, I had my fair share of knots in the first few weeks, but now they rarely happen unless I’m being sloppy.

  5. Avatar

    Oh, I do love YouTube for learning new skills! I’ve never tried this before but I think several of your tips can be applied to other new hobbies, too. 🙂

    1. Avatar
      Author

      Yes, YouTube is great for learning any skill. These tips can certainly be applied to other hobbies as well.

  6. Avatar

    I definitely agree with learning from someone else. I started out as a knitter and no matter what I did, I couldn’t figure out how to make crochet work! I love how it looks when you have a finished product, though!

    1. Avatar
      Author

      I’ve heard that knitters have a hard time learning crochet and vice versa. Agreed, seeing the finished project is always such a nice experience.

  7. Avatar

    I am so glad you wrote this! It makes my heart happy to know you are crocheting and enjoying it. I like to tell myself I had something to do with it (don’t burst my bubble if I didn’t). Your son’s hat turned out so great!

    These are good practical tips! Nice job!

    1. Avatar
      Author

      I’m glad it made you happy. I would say you have helped me grow this love because of the patterns you have shared with me. He loves that hat so much that he rarely goes without it on, even in the house.

    1. Avatar
      Author

      That’s awesome. Gotta love YouTube for its ability to entertain as well as educate.

    1. Avatar
      Author

      Yes, you do. And I can help you out when you do.

  8. Avatar

    My 12 years old daughter is the crocheter here, I am just not as patient as her with these projects. But it is a craft that make you calm and relax while watching movie.

    1. Avatar
      Author

      That’s great that she is crocheting. I am hoping to get to the point where I can watch things while crocheting, but right now I still need to keep my eyes glued to the project the whole time, so I listen to audiobooks or music with crocheting.

  9. Avatar

    Over 50 years ago my sweet grandma sat all of down and showed us how yo crochet..I was very young with small fingers I remember her live and patience today…I haven’t crocheted for years but I’m thinking about it..thanks for the memory!❤

  10. Avatar

    I made a whole blanket many, many years ago. I wish I could remember how to crochet. I will have to watch some of those videos and relearn.

    1. Avatar
      Author

      Oh that’s neat that you’ve made a blanket. I bought yarn to make a blanket but haven’t gotten around to starting it yet. I hope you are able to pick up the skill again.

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