So, you want to learn how to crochet? That’s awesome! I have gotten a lot out of this gratifying craft. There’s a few things that you should probably know before you start. And these tips I have for you are less rules and more like guidelines to prevent you from getting frustrated. Now, I have for you, 5 crochet tips for absolute beginners.
1. Use a larger hook
I would say to start with a J/6.mm hook or a K/6.5mm hook with a mid sized yarn. Look for a (4) on your yarn label. (How to Read a Yarn Label) This makes your stitches a bit larger and easier to see. In my tutorial on The Crochet Basics: How To Make A Single Crochet Stitch I go over the anatomy of a stitch. Which can help you understand what you’re looking at.
2. Use yarn that you can see clearly
I know how temping it is to want the pretty, fluffy yarn. But please trust me when I say that it is not good to start with. Use a yarn that has as little of a “halo”* as possible. Once you know what you’re doing you’ll be able to use any yarn you want. But for now, stick with the ones that will make it easy for you to identify your stitches.
I go over some good yarns to start with in my post on 5 Things You Need To Start Crocheting. That post also happens to be good for what you actually need to have to start crocheting.
*A halo is when your yarn has fuzz or fluff that sticks out around the yarn strand.
Note: There are some yarns that are so fluffy, that you literally can’t see what you’re doing. You’ll be feeling to see where your stitches are and if you have the right amount.
3. Count your stitches!
I can not stress this enough. I highly suggest starting with a small swatch so that you can get use to the act of counting. When you do your foundation chain you will need to count your stitches. Then, when you finish your first row, you will need to count your stitches. Counting your stitches is something that you should do at the end of every row. This is so you make sure you don’t skip a stitch and make your work have a weird pulled in look on one end. It’s also so you don’t add a stitch that’s going to make your work flared at one end.
Your first project should be a simple square so you can catch your mistakes early on. Eventually you might feel a bit a dangerous and only count your stitches once ever other row or so.. Once you’re familiar with what your work should look like, you can usually see if the sides don’t look straight. But I usually count anyway, just in case. I find something satisfying in having the right number at the end of the row or round.
4. Take breaks
This isn’t just for your frustration levels if it’s not going as well as you would like. It’s also because your hands and wrists will start to hurt pretty quickly. You’re using new muscles, so this is completely normal. Just make sure to take a break when you need it.
Honestly, it’s a great idea to stop about every 20-30 minutes and stretch out your hands and wrists even when you’re not a beginner. Most of us just get into a flow and forget to. So, if you start off with the good habit of stretching, then maybe you’ll be that awesome unicorn of a person that remembers to do it once you’re proficient. (I’m rooting for you!)
Here’s an article on some stretches that can help keep you loose and reduce pain: https://kirstenhollowaydesigns.com/2019/11/8-stretches-that-help-avoid-pain-while-crocheting.html
5. Watch your Tension
When you get into the world of crochet you’re going to hear the words tension and gauge a lot. Starting out, all you really have to know is that it is important to keep the tension on your yarn even. Try to make your stitch all around the same size.
If you make some too large, then you will make large holes in your work when you work into that stitch later. If you make your stitches too small, you’ll have a hard time working into them later and it will be noticeable on your work. Don’t let this tip intimidate you though. Uneven tension is normal for beginners. You’re still developing your muscle memory and getting use to feeding the yarn to the hook.
There are a fair amount of words that you may not understand when you first start crocheting. So you might like to take a look at my post, A Glossary of Crochet Terms.
It will get easier
Whether you follow these 5 easy crochet tips for absolute beginners or not, if you practice your craft often, you will get better. I’ve heard it more than once.. Absolute beginners saying that, “there is no way this is relaxing!”. The reason people find crocheting relaxing, is because once your hands know what to do, it becomes muscle memory. You will be able to listen to things, carry conversations, and watch television while you crochet. It really just takes practice and a willingness to learn. I talk more about the affects of crochet on the body in my post about Crochet Therapy For Anxiety if you’re interested.
Where to start?
Once you have your supplies and this bit of advice, you might be wondering where to start on the actual crocheting. You should definitely start with this one, Learn How To Crochet A Starting Knot.
Once you have that done, you can take a look at, 5 Basic Crochet Stitches You Should Know. Once you have those down, the crochet world is your oyster. As long as your patient with yourself you can crochet anything you put your mind to!
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