Do you see crochet blankets, hats and cute projects everywhere? Would you like to learn how to Crochet? Now you can in 3 steps!
Are you short on time (or have an abundance of time you need to fill)? You think you could use a hobby that reduces stress while giving you a sense of beautiful, tangible accomplishment? Sounds like you need to learn to crochet!The benefits are endless and different for everyone, but before we can reap the rewards we need to get a handle on what this craft is all about. I’ll explain it in the same terms that I do my grade school age nieces – crochet is a series of knots.
There are many types of knots (stitches) and we use a hook to help make these stitches faster than we could with just our fingers. Traditionally we crochet with yarn, and there are many kinds. Some people, however, crochet with rope, string, or twine! The possibilities are endless.
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The end goal with crochet is to transform a ball of loose yarn into a garment, accessory, toy or other object by way of knots. Which types of knots/stitches you make and in what order is what creates different shapes and styles of crochet. For example, below are two crochet projects.
They both use the same stitch or type of knot, and they even use the same kind of yarn – the difference is in the number of stitches in a row and the number of rows.
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Now that we understand what exactly this crazy craft is all about, I’ve devised 3 basic steps to get you crocheting today! Follow along and you’ll be well on your way to making something beautiful very soon.
To begin, you need to be prepared both mentally and physically. Physically you need to go shopping! To get started and give crochet a go, you really only need one ball of yarn and one hook. That’s it! Both of these supplies are pretty inexpensive when you consider that you’re beginning what may become a lifelong love affair with crochet art. Now doesn’t that sound worth the ball-of-yarn down payment?
When shopping for hooks and yarn – try not to become overwhelmed by all the options. There are tons of bright colours and soft things to feel and love. In due time, but for now try to stay focused. When looking at hooks, you’ll see that they are labeled (both on the packaging and on the hook itself) with a letter, number, and millimeter measurement. Here is an example of what you may see in the store. This hook is a size G-6 4.0mm. Be sure to look carefully at the packaging and hook itself to be sure you’re getting the size you want. The wrong combination hook size and yarn can mean trouble ahead.
I recommend starting with an I 5.5mm hook. Now it doesn’t matter at this point what brand hook you choose. The cheap aluminum hooks are great for learning without great investment – if you decide you want to crochet every day until the end of time you may become more specific about brand or style in the future. For now, try out something affordable. There is also a pack of different sizes (above) available on Amazon here
Now for yarn. There are different “weights” of yarn – by weight, the manufacturer is referring to the thickness of the strand. There are different categories each assigned a different number – you’ll find this info on the label of the yarn. I’ve included a guide below to help you identify what yarn is what weight in the store. Most crocheters work with a worsted weight or category 4 yarn more than anything else, and chances are you’ll find more worsted weight yarn in your big box store than anything else.
Begin with a worsted weight, get familiar with the feel of this yarn. Pick any brand, any color as long as it’s a worsted weight. Again, you don’t need to pick up the most expensive thing on the shelf here. My favorite staple yarn to always keep around the house is Vanna’s Choice (yes, like Vanna White) made by Lion Brand. It’s been consistent, is good quality for the price, and pretty widely available. So if you spot some of that in your travels, I recommend beginning there!
And remember that I 5.5mm hook you picked up? It will work beautifully with your new worsted weight yarn. When you’re first starting out, many crocheters tend to make their stitches pretty tight (not a bad thing, just the way it goes!) so using a bit of a larger hook will aid in seeing your stitches clearly and usually means a more successful outcome. Huzzah! (As you gain more experience and loosen your grip, you may gravitate more toward a G or H hook, but don’t worry about that now).
We have our hook, we have our yarn, now we need to get prepared mentally. By this I mean, understand that crochet is an art form. Now don’t get scared, I just want to lay down the truth here so you know what to expect!
Crochet Stitches via My Crochet Pattern
Crochet is a labor of love in many cases and does not always provide instant gratification. Many projects take hours and hours to complete, split up over days or weeks. Each stitch in a scarf or hat is made by hand – your hands! With each row you complete, you’ll watch your new project take shape and you’ll be so so proud… but this craft does take patience. When you stick with it and finish that first project, the overwhelming joy and sense of accomplishment is like nothing else!
Now onto step 2.. Learn the basic crochet stitches
Now that we have our supplies and a healthy dose of patience, we are ready to start crocheting!
It is probably high time that I mention that along with my blog, Sewrella, I have a Youtube channel all about crochet! On my channel I have a whole in-depth series on learning to crochet, where each technique has it’s own short, achievable video. I’ll be referencing some of those videos below and I recommend you check them out – it’s as close as you can get to having someone teach you these basics in person!
First, you need to get your yarn on your hook. There are a couple of different ways to get your yarn “joined” onto the hook, but the one that is easiest and most common is called a slip knot. I have a video showing how to do just that below!
Crochet Slip Knot Video
Now that we have our yarn on the hook, time to make a foundation chain! This chain stitch is the most simple, basic stitch of all crochet work. You’ll see it in all kinds of projects, throughout the entirety of a pattern. It’s a stitch you need to know and practice! Here is my quick video tutorial on the chain stitch: To watch, click Play above ⇑
Crochet Chain Stitch Video Tutorial
Once we have a foundation chain, we can begin with the four basic stitches. These stitches are:
- Single Crochet
- Half Double Crochet
- Double Crochet
- Triple Crochet
Now you do not have to know all of these stitches to make a project. You can make, say, the blanket pictured below using only half double crochets and chain stitches. Many projects consist of only double crochets and chain stitches. However in order to tackle most beginner projects and be well on your way to crocheting anything and everything, you need to learn the four stitches mentioned above.
I do have short, easy video tutorials for all of these stitches (listed below) that will have you stitching away in no time!
Single Crochet Stitch Video Tutorial
Click Play above to watch the video tutorial ⇑
Half Double Crochet Stitch Video
Click Play above to watch the video now ⇑
Double Crochet Stitch Video Tutorial
Click Play above to watch video tutorial ⇑
Now that you’ve got a handle on the basic stitches, you are almost ready to try a project! Just finish step 3…
3. Learn to speak the crochet language
If you’ve ever looked at a crochet pattern, it looks like another language. Now don’t let this scare you. Every crochet pattern is just a series of abbreviations. Most pattern designers (certainly those published in books and magazines) follow the Crochet Abbreviations Master List dictated by the Craft Yarn Council. That’s a fancy way of saying that you should see the same abbreviations in most patterns, no matter the project. A single crochet will be abbreviated the same way be in a hat pattern or monkey toy pattern.
On the Craft Yarn Council page of abbreviations, there are lots of terms that I never use and rarely see in a pattern. So instead of recommending you start there, with more information than you need at this point, begin with this graphic:
Now let’s practice:
Reference your abbreviations above and try to read this pattern.
Begin with a slip knot, Ch 20
Row 1: Sc in the first Ch stitch, and in each stitch across, Ch 1, turn
Rows 2-15: Repeat row 1
Row 16: Sc in each stitch across
Not too difficult, right? Now try to MAKE that pattern!
Did you try it? You now have your very first ever swatch! Hang it up with pride because you just crocheted!
Now you’re poised and ready to go out into the crochet world, armed with stitches and blazing with ambition!
After moving beyond these basics, be sure to see the rest of my Crochet Beginner Series over on Youtube:
Also available on my blog here:
I hope you’ve enjoyed learning to crochet with me – now go try some beginner patterns! I have several over on my blog (http://www.sewrella.com) and am always available for questions via comment – Happy Hooking, Sewrella!
Some of the things that Sewrella details in her post include making the most of yarn labels. They are filled with helpful information and while we’re on the subject, spend some time researching yarn online. You will be amazed at what you learn and what you can save in the process. You can buy in bulk and save even further. There are also many projects that include full kits with all the precise things you need.
She also suggests holding your crochet hooks in a way that is comfortable for you rather than trying to follow what others suggest. She has a number of helpful tips and tricks so be sure to read her article.
Want More? Learn —>How To Read Crochet Patterns