Beginner Crochet: Tips and Tricks to Start

I learned to crochet from my grandmother when I was probably about 12 years old. Not long after learning, I made her a granny square lapghan (which can still be found in the living room) as thanks (and probably for Christmas or something), and proceeded to not crochet for far too many years. I didn’t pick it back up as a regular hobby until some time after high school – I would say around 2006, if I had to estimate. However long, it was long enough for me to forget a lot of what I had learned and struggle with finding projects that were suited to my level (who doesn’t want to do all the fancy [and usually complicated] things immediately?). It’s safe to say it was a struggle, and resulted in some pretty special projects. Specifically, I recall one of the first projects being a hat made with Lion Brand Homespun (WORST BEGINNER YARN EVERY) and an H hook (TERRIBLE HOOK TO USED WITH HOMESPUN BECAUSE IT IS 12 PLY). My cousin complemented on it and so I gave it to her, poor thing. She also has said she doesn’t like hats, so I’m sure it’s gone by now (and part of me hopes this is true).

But, now that I have been crocheting regularly for a number of years, I like to think I know enough about the craft to be able to help others. So, when my boyfriend found someone looking for crochet help in a not-crochet-related online community he’s part of, I jumped at the chance to help her out. (Also, I like making yarn friends, because I have none IRL.) I used all the brains I had to come up with what I feel like are some excellent tips and patterns for beginners.

Materials
Really, you just need a hook and some yarn. You can pick up both of these at any craft store – they aren’t very exotic supplies that you should have to go somewhere fancy. (You can get any cheap yarn to learn on, but if you keep with the craft, you come to appreciate nice fancy yarns and will probably wind up seeking out the closest local yarn shop to you!) Stitch markers are also pretty handy, and they are only about $4 for a pack of 20, but I have been known to use paper clips to keep track of stitches, so it’s not absolutely necessary. I do, however, highly recommend picking up a tapestry needle. They come in packs of at least two usually, which is convenient because I always wind up misplacing one and having to use the other until I come across the first one. Tapestry needles are used to weave in the ends of yarn so you don’t have bits of fiber sticking out anywhere; it makes for a much cleaner look.

Stitches
The very least you will need to know to create anything is how to make a chain, and the single crochet stitch. To learn these and any other stitches, I would recommend searching the stitch name on YouTube and watching a video on how to do it (this is how I learned knit stitches and tunisian crochet stitches). I’m not going to recommend a specific account, because there is only one way to do each stitch so it doesn’t really matter which one you watch. After you feel you have managed mastering the art of the chain and single crochet, I recommend learning half-double crochet and double crochet stitches – they’re pretty easy once you understand single crochet.

Scarves
A scarf is absolutely the best I’ve-never-picked-up-a-crochet-hook project, simply because it’s a giant rectangle. There’s no shaping to be done, and as long as you make sure each row has the same number of stitches as the previous row (something I didn’t bother to do with my first ever scarf), it’s pretty much impossible to wind up with a scarf that doesn’t do what it’s intended to do, or “doesn’t fit.” As mentioned in the previous paragraph, you need only know the chain stitch and single crochet, and you can make a scarf! If you think you’ll get bored making an entire scarf with one stitch (you probably will), this scarf pattern is an excellent one for learning the most used stitches.

Hats
Hats seem like they should be kind of difficult because they’re round, but it’s really not so hard as long as you follow the directions closely the first few times you make them. They’re basically created by making a flat circle, then you stop expanding on that circle at a point and work the hat even, which is how you get the shape. That might make no sense, so I direct you here for a simple hat made in half-double crochet.

Don’t want to do hats or scarves? If I were you, I’d register for a Ravelry account ASAP! Ravelry has a huge database of patterns, free or paid for, and you can filter by just about anything – yarn type, craft type, project category, and of course difficulty level. I think it might be my favorite social networking site on the web: it’s social networking, but you can actually learn things! Don’t forget to friend me while you’re there!

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2 Comments

  1. I agree. Starting with scarves is such a great way to begin. It’ s a way to practice all the different stitches. I made scarves that used combination of stitches – HDC, DC, HDC, SC and then repeat. I made scarves that used a basic stitch for the length of the scarf. People loved every one I gifted away.

    I had a hard time with hats. Actually what I had a hard time with was the stitch count once you joined the rounds. Finally one day, it clicked and I realized what I was doing wrong. Now I’m a hat making, potholder making diva.

    I’ve shown some friends how to crochet and I always tell them to begin making scarves and dishcloths to practice the stitches.

    Reply
  1. New Year, New Knit «

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