Really, you don’t have to take anyone’s word that crocheting it’s easy, but perhaps one of the main reasons why many people think crochet is hard to learn is because of the vast array of hooks, yarns, stitches and patterns that can seem overwhelming to a beginner. In order for you to begin exploring the possibilities of crocheting, the first step is to learn about the basics first.
Introduction to Crochet
The best part about crochet is that you don’t need many supplies to get started. In fact, all you need are these three basic items: a crochet hook, a yarn and scissors.
If you do not own any crochet hooks and this is your first time crocheting, it is best to purchase a hook that comes in the size that the yarn you would like to work with recommends. As a general rule, the thicker the hook, the thicker the yarn will need to be.
When it comes to yarn, it is best to stick with a plain yarn made of cotton or acrylic. They’re the easiest materials to work with, plus they are a lot cheaper than wool or mohair. It is also recommended that you choose a solid color for the yarn, so you can really see how the stitches are made as you go along. Patterned yarn, while it gives more texture to your finished product, would make it more difficult to track your progress.
However, for every project you are doing, it may require a specific kind of yarn and a hook, so it helps to know the finished product you have in mind to be able to select your supplies carefully. The best advice for all beginners who are just starting out with the craft is to simply just read all the yarn labels carefully. This will help you determine whether it is the right yarn for the finished product you are envisioning and to know what kind of hook you need.
Practicing Your Hold
With the right supplies in your arsenal, the next thing you need to learn is how to hold the crochet hook in a way that is comfortable for you. In truth, there is no one right way to hold a crochet hook; however, there are two basic styles, which you can try depending on what your dominant hand is. The danger about holding your hook uncomfortably is that it can lead to hand cramping.
If you want to use the over-the-hook position, all you have to do is hold the hook so that the handle rests against your palm, just as you would a pencil. The under-the-hook position, on the other hand, requires you the hold the hook like you would a spatula. Your hand should be under the hook with your thumb and forefinger placed on the thumb rest.
Learning the Basics
Every crochet project begins with a chain stitch, and this is usually abbreviated as “ch” in instruction pamphlets. In learning how to do a chain stitch, it is important you also know how to do a slip knot.
To start, you will first need to create a loop with the yarn. Make sure that the free end of the yarn is dangling behind your loop. Next, insert the crochet hook through the center of the loop and hook the free end. Just pull this all the way through and up of your crochet hook, until you are able to pull the free yarn end to tighten the loop. The loop on the crochet hook should be firm, but loose enough to slide back and forth easily on the hook. Once you have the yarn wrapped, hold the base of the slip knot with the thumb and index finger of your left hand.
For beginners, it is best to practice crocheting a chain for about 10 to 15 minutes a day, until you are able to control the yarn in a sense that it is not too lose or too tight. Once you are able to fully work your way through the beginning chain with full control, you are ready to begin the actual stitches required to make any crochet projects. These include learning different kinds of stitches such as the single crochet, double crochet and treble crochet. While it is normal for you to want to master these techniques right away, it’s important that you master the chain stitch and slip knot first, before you attempt to do any of these more advanced stitches.
Reality is, mastery of the basics will get you far in the craft and will make your finished products look more polished. All you have to do is just be patient. Also, don’t underestimate the importance of a test swatch while you’re trying to work through a project. A test swatch is the art of practicing a specific stitch without trying to make anything. It is a way for you to practice how to do the stitch you need while also figuring out your preference on how tight or loose you would like your stitch to be.
At the end of the day, there is something fulfilling and exciting about watching a yarn transform into a usable piece of fabric. Yet, it is important to realize that crochet takes practice and a lot of patience, so you just need to work on the right projects. The good news is that there are so many excellent patterns for bookmarks and scarves that beginners like you can make with much success, so go grab your crochet hook and yarn and get started!