This blog contains posts about both original designs and items I've made based on others' patterns. Any patterns posted here are my original work and are my sole property. They may be printed for personal use but may not be copied or reposted. Items are intended for personal use, gifts, or sale for charity.

24 January 2012

Tips for Beginners

I have just started teaching my friend how to crochet.  As a result of 2 lessons, I present to you, Interwebs, the following tips:

My Tips for Beginners

Tips on Yarn

  • Use worsted weight or larger yarn for beginning projects; it is easier to see the stitches.
  • If appropriate, use a larger hook than the yarn calls for; it's easier to see the stitches.
  • Use a light-colored yarn; it is easier to see the stitches.
  • If you want multi-colored yarn, go with a style that gradually transitions from one color to the next rather than one that mixes colors in twists.  It's easier to see the stitches.
  • Avoid those fun textured yarns like Homespun, Boucle, or Eyelash.  You'll NEVER find your stitches in all that yarn
[Have you worked out the running theme yet?  When you're beginning, you need to be able to see your stitches!]
  • Cotton is hard to work with.  Find a simple acrylic that feels nice. Begin with cheap yarn, but not one that makes your skin feel like it belongs on an alien.
  • As your patterns progress in difficulty, keep a skein of v. v. cheap crappy yarn on hand.  Work the pattern until you understand it, and then begin working in your real yarn.  That way you don't learn on your real yarn. (see the first point below)
Tips on Learning
  • Know you are going to mess up.  This does not mean you can't learn, and it doesn't mean you're a bad person.
  • Look at messing up as an opportunity to learn.  I taught myself to crochet, and I have wasted more yarn than I've used well.  Mistakes help you learn. (see points 6-7 above)
  • Practice your chain stitch until it's even and tidy.  It's not all that interesting, but that stitch is the basis for all crochet. Once you figure out how to hold the yarn to make that stitch even, the rest is gravy.
  • Working Row 1 into your foundation chain is the worst part of any project.  It's plain not fun.  It takes too long.  But work Row 1 into your foundation chain.  Because the rest of the project is awesome.
  • For some, learning to read patterns is more difficult than learning stitches.  Be patient and be willing to start over a few times. (see the first point in this section)
Tips on Equipment
You don't need special gadgets.  You need a few mid-sized hooks (G-J).  You need some yarn.  You need a yarn needle.  Be ready to improvise the rest.  Use your kid's math ruler to check gauge.  Use paper clips or small pieces of yarn as stitch markers.  Use free patterns online.  Watch youtube for video tutorials.

DO have a pair of scissors dedicated to crochet (and sewing, if you sew) and don't let your kids or significant other touch them.  They are not for going to clip herbs; they are not for cutting out paper snowflakes; they are not for opening the packaging to micro SD cards--they are only for crochet (and sewing, if you sew).

My next post is a pattern for beginners who have learned (in an admittedly useless, boring swatch) ch, sc, and dc.  Let's have fun!

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