Crocheting; Six Tips for Beginners

Hello all! If you are ever looking for a new hobby you should definitely consider crocheting. There are so many perks! If you have a lot of extra time it is a way to fill it in a purposeful way. You can create so many incredible things, from homemade gifts for friends and family to eco-friendly versions of everyday products. I first embarked on my crochet journey about 2 years ago. I started crocheting in my first year of university. I was living on campus and wanted to find something to do when I had some free time, I also wanted an activity that was more calm and therapeutic. Believe it or not, crocheting can be very therapeutic. Below are some tips that I wish I would have known about when I first started crocheting. If you would like to follow me on my crochet journey, gain some tips and tricks for crocheting or simply look at any of the products I create, you can follow me at @jadenscrochetco on Instagram and Facebook. 
  1. 1. Use a Simple Yarn and Pattern

    There are many different cool and intricate yarns out there. However, when you first begin, you will want to be able to easily see every stitch so a plain coloured acrylic, thicker yarn is best to do this. A yarn with a weight of 4 or 5 indicated on the label works well as it is not too thin and you can easily see and count your stitches. Using a plain coloured yarn will also make it easier to differentiate each stitch so you don't skip one or accidentally put two stitches into one. When you start crocheting it is also a good idea so start off with a simple pattern. If you jump in trying to make something intricate with many details you may get easily frustrated and feel defeated. Just know that you can do it, practice makes perfect. Starting with something simple such as a scarf or baby blanket that is square or rectangle is advisable. Making something that is strictly made in rows gives you the chance to get down the basics of stitches and rows. The rows will go back and forth with whatever stitch you decide to use. In not time, row after row, your first project ever will be finished!
  2. 2. Use Stitch Markers!

    Sitch marks are similar to little clips. They clip onto a specific stitch in a pattern to mark something specific. These are helpful not only to beginner crocheters, but for everyone! However, for beginners they can work well so that the piece you’re working on doesn't get smaller or wider in width as you work. It will get smaller in width if you skip stitches in any of the rows, and it will get bigger in width if you are accidentally putting 2 stitches into one. To avoid this, use stitch markers. They work like this; when you complete the first and last stitch of a row, you insert the stitch marker. This way you know to stop putting stitches at the end of a row to avoid making it bigger, and you also know exactly where to put your first stitch of a new row so you are not skipping any and subsequently making your pieve smaller. 
  3. 3. Use the Proper Size Crochet Hook

    When you're crocheting, say a flat rectangular scarf there should be no curling up of the piece. If the edges or corners of your piece are curling upwards or inwards, you might want to consider using a different size crochet hook. On most skeins of yarn bought from a store, there will be two pictures, knitting needles and crochet hooks. Under the crochet hooks it will indicate a size. This is the ‘standard’ size crochet hook to use with the associated yarn. This is definitely a good size to start with as it means you probably won't have any difficulties with losing your yarn or on the other hand it being too tight around the hook. However, if you are using the associated hook size and your work is still curling, go a size up! This is in no way a bad thing or the wrong thing, it just means that you crochet with a bit more tension, so going up a size in the hook size will help even out the tension of the stitches with the size of the yarn. Also, there is no right or wrong tension, everyone is different. 
  4. 4. Don't be Shy About Frogging Part of a Project

    The term ‘frogging’ in crochet terms means to unravel or pull out a certain amount of stitches or rows. So sometimes while you’re working on a piece you will notice a mistake a few rows down. If you notice a mistake in your work and you feel that it's not that noticeable, leave it if you’re comfortable with that. I am the type of person who wants my piece to look perfect. When I first started crocheting, if I made a mistake I used to leave it because I didn't want to waste my time taking out rows that I just crocheted. However, I have learned that when I make mistakes now, for me, frogging my project up until the mistake to fix it is worth it to me. In the end I always find myself thinking ‘yes, I am so glad i took the time to do that because now I feel like my project is more complete’. In the end, I believe the time it takes to frog it and re-do it is so much more worth it in the end. It is also made one of a kind by you and you already put so much time and effort into it. 
  5. 5. Keep a Note With Specific Details

    This is a simple, non time-consuming trick that you may not think you’ll need, but will definitely help! There have been too many times where I have started a project and it’s been put away for a week or so and when I get back to it I can't even remember what hook size I was using or details about a specific part in the pattern. Jotting down the hook size will save you in the long run because if you start using a different hook size half way through a project can make your piece look distorted, bigger or smaller. It is also a good idea to jot down any extra notes, if you need a reminder about how many stitches there should be in every row, what stitches you’re using or how many rows of each colour or stitch you need if you’re alternating at all. 
  6. 6. HAVE FUN!!

    The last tip I can give you is just to go with it! Crochet is a type of art that can be interpreted many different ways. Try out different patterns, colour combinations and stitch combinations and see what you like. Remember, if it doesn't work out exactly how you imagined the first time, that is okay. It can take some time to get into the groove of it. My first scarf started out about 10 inches thick and finished at about 30. Long story short, try your best not to get discouraged with time and practice. You will get it. When you do, you will be so happy and will be on a crocheting roll! 
Thank you for taking the time to read my article. I hope that it was informative and maybe even motivated you to pick up a skein of yarn and crochet hook next time you’re out and about! I love to see other peoples creations and I love to help people as well. Crocheting can be so good for you. Taking time to be creative and spend some time for yourself are also ways of self-care and wellness with you and your body. If you have crocheted for a while or are even a brand new beginner I am always open to questions; if you wish you can contact me at @jadenscrochetco on Instagram and Facebook.