Cute cuddly toys, summery shawls in gorgeous vibrant colors, trendy home décor… the world of crochet is a paradise of beautiful handiwork, so it’s not surprising that we’re huge fans. Fancy having a go yourself, but don’t know where to even start crocheting? Then you’ve come to the right place! A beginner’s guide to get you started on your very own crochet journey.
Pinterest, Instagram, Ravelry, our own website… You don’t need to look far to uncover the many treasures of the crochet world. We’ll be the first to admit we have the best job in the world, and with every new product coming in and patterns delivered by our designers, we’re a bit like children in a candy store. The excitement! Our fingers start tingling, itching to start crocheting. Yes, even those who can’t crochet! So often we read the comment from customers, ‘If only I could crochet!’ Well, this is for them. For you. And all who have been tempted by the kaleidoscopic array of colors, the soft yarns and the endless possibilities to start a new hobby. We’ll tell how to get started with this wonderful hobby and what accessories and tools are essential for beginners. We should warn you: crocheting is addictive!
A beginner’s guide to…
? The basic stitches
Whatever crochet project you choose to begin with, you’ll get nowhere without the basics. The basic stitches, that is! You either begin with a slip knot and then crochet a foundation chain or you start with a magic ring (yes, it’s magical!). Other essential stitches to know are slip stitches, single crochets and (half) double crochets. YouTube will be your best friend in these early stages but watch this space: we have a complete online crochet course in the pipeline! Remember that, as with anything, it’s just a matter of practice, practice, practice. Some aspects will always be tricky in the beginning, but keep persevering, remember to count your stitches and it’ll soon be second nature to you!
Something worth bearing in mind is that the US and UK use different crochet terminology. So, a single crochet in the US is a double crochet in the UK and a double crochet in the US is a treble crochet in the UK. To help you out, most patterns will indicate which terminology they use, but in case they don’t, a handy tip is to check whether the pattern uses single crochets. If it does, then you know it uses US terminology; single crochets don’t exist in UK crochet. FYI, our Yarnplaza crochet patterns use US terminology. Don’t worry, though. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll find it easy to switch from one system to the other. After all, to-MAY-toes and tom-MAH-toes are all just tomatoes and we have complete faith in you.
? Hooks, yarn & accessories
The range of yarn and hooks on offer can be overwhelming, to say the least. Who better to offer some guidance than our star crochet designer, Annemarie Arts? Her hook of choice? The new, ergonomic crochet hooks from Yarn and Colors. These popular hooks are not just gorgeous to look at (rose gold tips, anyone?), but are also supremely comfortable to hold thanks to their soft grips. The cute charms, that you can collect and swap out to suit your mood, double up as stitch markers. They may not be the cheapest hooks on the market, but it’s well-worth investing a little bit more in getting a decent hook that will give you hours of pleasure without strain. Choose the hook size that suits your choice of yarn.
As ‘trial yarn’, the glossy cotton Yarn and Colors Must-have yarn is, well, a must-have! The supple thread lets your hook glide more smoothly through the yarn than an acrylic yarn and it produces beautiful crochet work. Also useful to have in your toolbox are a row counter, locking stitch markers and a sharp little pair of a scissors.
? Your first crochet project
Enough practice, it’s time for the real thing! The next step is to follow a whole pattern. A perfect project to start your crochet adventure with is this adorable Ricorumi bunny. The clear pattern includes step-by-step instructions for all skill levels and uses basic stitches to produce this sweet amigurumi. And then all that’s left to do is decide who gets to enjoy your first crocheted labor of love; there are going to be lots of happy little people cheering you on as you practice your new hobby!
Would you rather crochet a home accessory instead of an amigurumi? Then the Block Blanket from Yarn and Colors is a fun project for crochet newbies. This blanket proves that you don’t need complicated stitches to achieve a fabulous effect. Once you get into the swing of it, let the repetitive action of the stitching relax you and then you’ll experience the true joy of the craft. The crochet kit comes in 3 different colorways, or if you prefer to stretch your creative wings, grab the pattern booklet and put together your own selection of the required Yarn and Colors Epic. Good luck narrowing your choice down from the simply massive range of hues available!
? Rookie errors
There’s no avoiding them when you first start crocheting: those pesky beginner’s mistakes. We’ve all been there. Instead of inserting under both loops, you’ve only worked through the back loop. And by the time you’ve realized our mistake, you’re nearly on row 20… oops!
Crocheting too tightly
First place on the list of rookie errors goes to: crocheting too tightly. You keep pulling the yarn tighter and tighter. Then when it comes around to crocheting the next row, you can’t get your hook through the stitches anymore. Typically, this issue clears up with more practice. It’s a matter of getting used to how to hold both your crochet hook and yarn as you crochet. It's important that you're sitting comfortably (posture, posture, posture!) and let the yarn run smoothly. Are your stitches still too tight? Then try pulling the yarn up a little higher to make looser loops before you finish the stitch off. Or try using a larger size crochet hook.
Identifying the stitch
Many novice crocheters find it difficult to identify the stitches. This leads to skipped stitches or working through the same one twice. As before: patience and perseverance will win the day! The more time you spend crocheting, the less it will look like a tangled mess of strands to you. If you look at your work from above, every ‘v’ is a stitch. Together they form a kind of braid, and this is the previous row that you work your next stitches through.
Increases, decreases and color changes
Working your increases, decreases and color changes neatly can also be a stumbling block. This is where a good video tutorial will come in handy, as you can pause, rewind and re-watch it until you feel you have a good handle on the technique. If you’re looking for some great visuals, with clear actions, we’d recommend checking out the videos on our Dutch sister-website, Wolplein.nl: increasing, decreasing, and changing colors.
Ready to start crocheting?
Are your hands itching to start crocheting? Great! We hope you enjoy it as much as we do. Remember: start with something easy. It should be fun and relaxing! Grab a cup of tea or coffee and make sure you have all the essentials to hand. Ready? Then start crocheting!
We’d love to see your first crochet projects! Share them with us via our Facebook page or on Instagram with #yarnplaza. Leave your top tip or share your beginner’s mistake in the comments below.
Have fun crocheting!