So what do you need?....
The great thing about crochet is all you need is a ball of yarn and a hook (plus a pair of scissors would be useful) which makes it a great portable craft.
- There are many types and brands of yarn from the traditional crochet yarn to Super chunky weights. A good weight for a beginner is a Double Knit (DK).
- Be warned though, the cheapest isn't always best as it may split, be itchy to work with or will leave your project looking naff and will put you off crochet and I'd hate for that to happen.
- Don't use dark yarn as it is really difficult to see the stitches.
If you are new to using yarn, a top tip is to keep the label and tie a piece of yarn to it. Yarn is dyed in batches and if you run out in the middle of a project it is better to buy from the same dye lot so you know the colours will match perfectly.
- There are different types of hooks made from wood, metal or plastic and come in different sizes. The size of hook you use will depend on the type of yarn and the technique you are using.
- To start off I would recommend buying a 4mm Crochet hook which is a typical size to use with a DK yarn. If you prefer you can use a larger hook, the stitches will be bigger but you will be able see them easily whilst you get used to the technique. Don't start with a hook smaller than 4mm.
- My advice is start learning with a good quality metal hook. I started with Boye Aluminum Crochet Hooks which were a gift and I still use them now. Once you have learnt the basics you can try out other hooks, one of my favourites for large projects are the Clover Amour Crochet Hooks, they are so comfortable because of the soft, ergonomic grip but they are more expensive than other brands.
Note British crochet terms are different to the US. Make sure you know what pattern you are using otherwise it won't look like the picture, yep I did that!
Simply Crochet has a conversion chart on their website as well as a chart for abbreviations.
More Helpful Crochet Tips....
- The best projects to start with are making swatches and granny squares. Simply Crochet have a free app where each week a free granny square pattern is available to download check it out here (only available for iPhone and iPad).
- Stop for breaks. Crochet is repetitive and it is good to stop and wiggle your fingers and it's a good excuse to make a cuppa/grab cake/open wine* (*delete as appropriate)
- A pattern may require a specific number of stitches and it will have the number of stitches you should have at the end of a row in brackets (). Make sure you count at the end of each row, it saves unravelling it later! I've done that so many times!
- When working in the round use a stitch marker on the last stitch of each round to keep track of where it begins and ends. Move the stitch marker to the end of each round as you go.
Left Handed Crochet....
I was asked on Twitter for advice for lefties. I'm a rightie so I don't have personal experience but I searched on Pinterest (of course, who needs Google?!) and I particularly liked this video. It has some good tips regardless of whether you are left or right handed. I found a useful tip from this video is to think of it as your dominant hand rather than left or right.
The Little Soap Kitchen highly recommended this YouTube Video to me on Twitter. After years of trying to learn left handed she cracked it in only an hour after watching this!
If there are any lefties out there who can offer more advice please leave them in the comments.
My main top tip for you is ....
....Perseverance! It took me a while to get my head around it but after a few weeks of determination and some tantrums it finally clicked!
Before I sign off here are some great resources to check out....
- The review of my favourite Crochet book
- Simply Crochet magazine
- Pinterest is a great source and I have a board dedicated to my love of crochet
- The Deramores Blog has just started a How to Crochet series, check it out here
- Kate has a free Crochet for Beginners eCourse just launched over on her blog Beak Up Crafts
- You Tube is great source and it's free! If you are learning with UK crochet terms make sure you are watching a video using UK terms. This may sound obvious but it's easy to get confused if you don't realise.
I follow lots of crochet blogs to be inspired and learn more. There are a lot out there, here are some of my favourites....
- I love Attic 24 for the use of bright colours, free easy to follow patterns and inspiration.
- Lara's lifestyle and crafty blog, Messyla, has a Learn to Crochet Series over on her blog
- Twinkie Chan is fun and quirky, proving crochet is not old fashioned!
- One Sheepish girl has beautiful photography and she has just launched a book with fun patterns.