Crocheting for beginners – basics

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Being a newbie in any field is not a piece of cake. For sure, you have many questions and need a hand to get them answered. Good news is that getting started with crocheting is easy and it can be done at an exceptionally low entry cost – all you need is a hook, some yarn, a pattern and… a bit of patience. If you are searching for crocheting for beginners tips then below post has you covered.



Crocheting for Beginners – Crochet hook

Crochet hooks come in many different types and sizes. Plastic, metal, bamboo, wooden. Thin lace hooks, regular sizes, jumbo and broomsticks. Plain or with easy-grip handles. There are Tunisian hooks, afghan looms and knooks. Hooks are manufactured in variety of sizes – ranging from 0.6mm diameter (US equivalent of 14 steel) used for lace-type work, all the way up to 20mm diameter (US equivalent of size S) used for bulky blankets or rugs.

If you don’t know what you’re looking for, choosing the right one can cause absolute headache.

Piece of advice..

As a beginner you want to go simple. This will allow you to learn and practice basics, yet still achieve phenomenal results. Start with a standard metal or a plastic hook. If you don’t know if crocheting is your thing then there’s no point in investing in any expensive accessories (unless you’re filthy rich, and you’re willing to do so just because you can). The more colorful and fancy the hook, the more expensive it is and trust me – they all do the same thing!

Additionally, begin somewhere between 4mm (US G-6) and 4.5mm (US 7). I find it optimal for learning – not too thin to get you discouraged, and not too thick to prevent you from practicing basic stitches successfully. Just about right for a start!


Crocheting for Beginners – Yarn

If by now you think hooks are overwhelming, then you’ll be shocked with the vastness of yarn assortment. Unlike with hooks, quality of yarn does impact the overall result. Good news is that at the beginning you only need to know a bit of basics and you’ll be perfectly fine in making any choices for your projects. Here are few essentials:

Fibers 

Generally speaking, we get natural, synthetic or mixed yarns. Natural ones come from animals (like wool) or plants (like cotton). Synthetics are man-made (like acrylic or polyester). Mixes are derived from combining natural fibers with synthetic ones (here sky is the limit).

Natural yarns typically come in toned shades and are more suitable for clothing and blankets, although they tend to be expensive.

Synthetic fibers are available also in fluorescent colors and at lower prices, so are well fitted for stuff like toys or décor.

Mixes are my favorite type (in general). They tend to combine softness and washability of natural fibers with strength and shrinking prevention typical of synthetics. They are also typically friendly for crochet beginners.

Yarn weight

Yarn thickness comes in many types. The most popular classification comes from the US and includes 8 different categories: from ‘0’ being the thinnest ‘Lace’, to ‘7’ being super thick ‘Jumbo’. Challenge is, however, that not all producers label yarns using the standardized metrics. Therefore, at times you may not be able to find that piece of information on a ballband. Fortunately, all manufacturers provide us with recommended hook sizes, which gives us good indication about yarn thickness (the bigger hook size needed, the thicker the yarn).

If you’d like to know more on this topic then take a look at my blog post on yarn weights.

Form

It may not seem like something crucial to consider but after few years of my crocheting journey I feel this may be important for a beginner. Yarns are typically sold in 3 ‘forms’: a hank (twisted ring), a ball or a donut. For a start you may want to avoid hanks – yarn needs to be wound in a ball before it can be used so requires a bit of prep work.

Example yarn label.

For learning purposes, I’d recommend using light (type 3) yarn, ideally wool. That is because wool is not too stretchy and not too stiff, good material to work with.

However, if you’re looking to get something less expensive – go with acrylic yarns. One way or another get something labeled similarly to the image on the right. Symbol on the far left of a bottom line indicates thickness, the one in the middle of the bottom row shows recommended hook sizes.

Lastly, how much yarn do you need? Well this is a bit of a tricky question. Typically, ready-to-use patterns would give you details as to what is needed. I personally tend to get more yarn then what is advised in the pattern as my stitches seem to be tighter and I do use more material. However, it’s a totally individual matter and I’m sure, you’ll work it out for yourself over time.


Crocheting for Beginners – Stitches and patterns

In order to start crocheting you only really need to learn how to make a basic chain and a ‘single crochet’ stitch. I would encourage you to search for videos explaining the technique, no writing can fully explain the hand moves needed.

When I first started learning I used Red Heart Yarns tutorials a lot and this is what I recommend. They provide fantastic free online resources for knitting and crocheting.

As for the pattern – go with a simple scarf. It’ll have a rectangular shape and will allow you to work out muscle memory as you repeat over and over the same moves. Start with a basic chain and work rows with a single crochet stitch. Your scarf width is your basic chain, your length equals the number of rows. You can adjust both parameters to whatever you wish.

If you decide to go with 4mm/G6 hook and a Light type of yarn, then you’ll probably need around 4 or 5 balls for 25cm (10 inch) wide and 125cm (50 inch) long scarf.


Finally…

Image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Retrato_del_Maestro_Yoda.jpg

Patience you must have, my young Padawan…

Follow Master Yoda. If at the beginning your output doesn’t look ideal – don’t worry, you’ll get there (unless you are freakishly talented then you’ll get this right straight away!). I’d strongly encourage you to commit time and effort to practice those basics. All other stitches are really and truly only a variation of what you’ll learn at the start.

Once you feel comfortable with chains and single crochet stitches (and you’ll know that once you come to a point where you don’t really need to think what to do to make it work) – go ahead and explore more complex stitches. If you mastered single crochet, then learning those other techniques will be a piece of cake.

Oh! And one more thing – if you are in the UK then a single crochet is a double crochet for you.. it’s winded.. I’ll make a post on that soon so stay tuned!

Have fun and let me know if you need a hand with anything! Leave your question below or contact me directly at cogito@cottonnutty.com.


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29 thoughts on “Crocheting for beginners – basics”

  1. About 10 years ago I had very long dreads, and a Crochet hook is exactly what was used to put them in. Oh, the pain lol. After a while, I used a homemade tool from a piece of wire but the Crochet hook worked well in the meantime. 

    I believe it was a 0.6 size…very small but perfect for the job.

    Good read and a walk down memory lane for me.

    Reply
  2. Wow I really love crocheting, Infact it’s self taught. I just watch people do it and I grab fast. Crochet slipper socks seem like they should be a complex item to make, but I promise these socks are not only warm but also quick and easy to make.I made my first pair in worsted weight in about five hours total. It’s pretty difficult to estimate, though, since I work on them sporatically over weeks.The best yarn for crochet socks is acrylic. The tricky part about socks is that you need a certain amount of stretch to make putting them on and taking them off easier, but you also need enough stiffness to keep them in place. thanks 

    Reply
  3. Thanks for this entertained article Crocheting for dummies – ready, set, crochet! Given that I am still a complete beginner in crochet, and have only recently started experimenting with various (easy) forms of stitch, this article confirmed and motivated me to continue, as the exercise work a master, as they say.
    I have a collection of crochet hooks of different thicknesses, and I try different combinations.
    I agree that patience is needed, and regular exercise. And eventually, I will be able to start crocheting even more demanding products.
    Friendly greeting,
    Nina

    Reply

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