Learning how to crochet may seem intimidating at first, but it is really easy. Better yet, it’s a great way to make unique gifts for your friends and family. Also, crocheting is a great way to destress after a long day. The repetitive looping with your crochet hooks allows your brain to relax while muscle memory takes over.

If you’re a beginner, and interested in learning, you will need to focus on the basics first. It might seem like a slow start, but once you learn everything about crocheting, you will be well on your way to making an awesome crocheted project in no time.

What is Crocheting?

Crocheting is the process of making fabric by weaving together yarn in a series of basic stitches. You are able to stitch together yarn, thread, or any thin material to create the pattern you desire. If you were wondering where the word “crochet” comes from, it is simply a French word that means “small hook.” People often get knitting and crocheting mixed up. The difference is minimal, even though the outcome is about the same. Crocheting works with one stitch and one hook at a time. Knitters, however, use two needles and work multiple stitches at once.

multiple bundles of different colored yarn for crochet stacked on top of each other.

Image CC0, by wilhei, via Pixabay

How to Choose Your Yarn

If you’ve come this far, you’ve probably already been in the yarn section of your local crafts store. It is very overwhelming if you don’t know what you are going for. For beginners, it is probably best to go with a bright colored, mid-weight yarn to better see each stitch and keep them easy to work with. A recommended beginner yarn is Worsted weight yarn, available in acrylic, wool, and cotton yarn.

Acrylic is the most common, due to being one of the more affordable options. It comes in a variety of colors to keep your projects personalized. Although it is cheap is not always the best route. Some cheap yarn splits apart, making a new hobby all the more frustrating. The best way to avoid this is to go with a well-reviewed brand like Red Heart or Caron Simply Soft.

Wool is a very forgiving option, which makes it great for practice. Wool is not as common because it isn’t the softest option and some people have wool allergies. Regardless, it is still a great yarn for beginners to use for crocheting.

Cotton isn’t a stretchy yarn, making some people prefer other options over it. However, it is a light option and holds its shape well, keeping projects intact for the longest period.

Once you get the hang of basic crocheting, you blow the world of crocheting yarn wide open.

Five different colored crochet hooks surrounding a blue and yellow ball of yarn with a hat started in the background on brown carpet.

Image CC0, by FeeLoona, via Pixabay

How to Pick a Crochet Hook

Crochet hooks consist of a tapered hook, rounded inside, or an inline hook, with a sharp incline. One is not better than the other, but different people figure out which they prefer. Crochet hook sizes go from B to J (2.25mm to 25mm), the key to choosing your size is to fit the hook to the thread and the size of the loops that you want. Additionally, the same goes for the material of the hook; a silky yarn will less likely fall off a wooden hook. The most common and cheapest hooks are the simple metal tapered hooks that come in a variety of sizes and colors. However, crochet hooks also come in different handle shapes for comfort and arthritis.

Crochet Stitches and Their Abbreviations

The most overwhelming thing in pattern tutorials are the abbreviations they give for crochet stitches. You’ll be able to follow patterns much easier if you understand what each stitch means. However, there are a bunch of crochet stitch abbreviations, so let’s cover the basic stitches and their abbreviations. As you get more comfortable with the basics, you can begin working with more advanced stitches to create intricate patterns in your projects and add more personality to any fabric that you create.

Basic stitch abbreviations

  • Ch – Chain
  • Sl st – Slip Stitch
  • Sc – Single crochet
  • Hdc – Half double crochet
  • Dc – Double crochet
  • Tr (or Tc) – Triple (or treble) crochet

Crochet stands for each single chain stitch done after a slip knot at the beginning of a chain. Slip stitches are used to move yarn without adding height. A single crocheted stitch keeps a base height. As you go up in the crochet stitches, you start to add height to your piece. For example, many people use the single crochet as a base foundation for their chain and add height with a double crochet stitch.

an older woman in white with red sleeves doing crochet with multicolored yarn with mainly her hands in the frame.

Image CC0, by congerdesign, via Pixabay

Crochet term abbreviations

  • Inc – Increase (add more stitches)
  • Dec – Decrease (eliminate a stitch)
  • Turn – Turn work to work back for the next row
  • Join – Join two stitches together with a slip stitch
  • Rep – Repeat

Basic Stitches to Start a Project

To begin a Ch, a chain, you will start by creating a slip knot in your yarn. Next, you start working an Sc, single crochet, stitch down the chain, following a pattern if you’d like. If an abbreviation says “Ch 15,” that means you would make 15 Sc stitches along your chain. At the end of your chain, you will Turn to begin the next row. To work faster, try implementing the next types of crochet stitches. The double crochet stitch works by doing what is called a “yarn over,” where you which is wrapping the yarn from back to front before placing the hook in the stitch” as described by the Craft Yarn Council.

Watch this video to learn how to make a blanket with a basic beginner’s stitch.

Uncommon Ways to Crochet

Crocheting isn’t just for blankets, scarves, and hats. You are making fabric that can weave its way into any shape and form that you desire. Of course you can follow patterns, but eventually, you can go off on your own.

Make toys

There are patterns for stuffed animals and dolls, sandals, and slippers. For example, people have made characters and decorations. You can also find clothes and costumes. It doesn’t just stop at what you can make; it also goes onto what you can crochet with. The video below shows you how to make a basic doll:

Finger crocheting

A more familiar way to crochet is with your fingers! Finger crocheting works if you don’t have a hook or if you can’t get access to one, like in a detention center, or for younger children.

Arm crocheting

Also, if you are trying to crochet a blanket in a short amount of time, try arm crocheting. By doing a simple single chain stitch, you can craft a beautiful fluffy blanket.

Watch this video to learn how to make a blanket using your arms:

Have Fun Crocheting!

Crocheting doesn’t seem so intimidating once you start having fun with your designs. You can find hundreds of designs out there that suit anyone at any skill level, from the beginner to the more advanced crocheters. You can also find books and starter kits to get yourself well on your way to making whatever you desire with yarn and a hook.

Crocheting is a great skill to learn because it is always able to produce heartfelt gifts that almost anyone would treasure. It is a fun and easy way to pass the time and relax anywhere as long as you have a ball of yarn next to you. Crocheting isn’t just for little old ladies; it’s for everyone to enjoy.


Featured image: CC0, by Nikon D5100, via Maxpixel

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