Developing fun digital detox habits is crucial for breaking free from the lure of screens. While classic crafts have been increasing in popularity since the start of the pandemic, crochet has become a popular choice among people looking to replace their daily doomscroll with practical creativity.
Learning to crochet is a satisfying and rewarding hands-on experience with endless possibilities. Are you ready to learn how to start crocheting? Read on for what you’ll need, what to make first, and where to begin.
What Is Crochet?
Crochet is a creative hobby in which a crochet hook creates loops of yarn, thread, or other materials to make fabric. This meditative craft allows you to create items like blankets, scarves, hats, clothing, and home decor.
You can crochet almost anywhere with just a few inexpensive tools. Crochet is easy to learn and suitable for people of all ages and skill levels.
With some practice, you can create beautiful and functional projects using basic stitches and techniques. These handmade items make great gifts for loved ones and crafts you can sell.
How To Start Crochet: Where To Begin?
Starting any new hobby can be intimidating. A helpful tip for people who want to start crocheting is to concentrate on the basic single-crochet and double-crochet stitches before getting carried away with learning every possible skill. Find a first project that excites you and is beginner-friendly.
Simple steps for starting your first easy crochet project:
- Decide on an accessible beginners’ project for an item you’re motivated to use. (This way, you’ll be more likely to finish.)
- Find a pattern or tutorial by searching online. YouTube, Pinterest, and even TikTok will lead you to many easy projects. Check the list of supplies and identify the required techniques.
- Acquire the items online or from a local craft store.
If you have questions about the contents of the pattern or the supplies needed, ask someone with experience. Try going into a craft store, joining a crochet Facebook group, or messaging the pattern designer.
While there are plenty of free crochet patterns with video tutorials online, you can also check for crochet or knitting clubs in your area. You may discover a community you enjoy by crocheting along with and learning from like-minded crafters.
What Should a Beginner Make First?
A good starting point when learning how to crochet is any rectangular or square item made of basic stitches like single or double crochet. Dishcloths, hot pads, and rectangular beanies can be excellent beginner projects. The famous crochet classic – granny squares – can be a great place to practice basic stitches and colorwork.
Simple, smaller projects will grow your skills and confidence before you move on to larger projects like crocheting blankets and sweaters.
What To Buy To Start Crocheting
The simple supplies for crocheting include yarn, a crochet hook, and a tapestry needle. Tools such as stitch markers can be beneficial but are optional at first.
When gathering your materials, focus on the basics for your first project. You can expand your stash with time.
Your chosen crochet pattern or tutorial should specify the type of yarn you need. You’ll find the characteristics of each particular yarn, such as yarn weight (thickness), number of yards, and kind of fiber, printed on the label. It’s also worth getting to know these basic yarn details to help you understand the craft:
Dye may vary slightly, so be sure to buy skeins from the same dye lot. (This information is indicated on yarn labels.)
Yarn is available in a wide variety of fiber types. Wool, cotton yarn, and acrylic yarn are the materials most beginners use.
Yarn is divided into different weights depending on thickness. Lace weight is the thinnest, while super bulky is the thickest. Your yarn label will likely include a number referring to the Craft Yarn Council’s standard weight system ranging from 0 (lace) to 7 (jumbo).
Crochet hooks are designed specifically for the craft and come in different sizes and materials. Both right- and left-handed beginners can use any crochet hook.
Crochet Hook Sizes
A crochet hook’s size refers to the shaft’s diameter. The size you pick will depend on what you are crocheting and what yarn you are using.
Typically, a wider shaft will create larger loops in your crochet stitches; the thicker your yarn is, the larger the hook size you will use.
Take note of where your pattern is from, as countries label crochet hook sizes differently. You can always double-check the size by finding the metric measurement in mm/millimeters.
Yarn and Hook Recommendation for Getting Started
For crochet beginners who want to practice basic stitches, a standard hook size of H-8 (5.00mm) and a worsted-weight yarn are excellent places to start. (When choosing yarn, look for “Category 4” or “medium” noted on a label.)
How To Hold a Crochet Hook
While there is no right or wrong way to hold a crochet hook, achieving a comfortable grip is crucial. You should hold the hook firmly but without putting too much stress on your hands. Gripping the hook with as little tension as possible will get easier with time.
First, get familiar with the parts of the hook. Each hook has a finger or thumb rest, plus a handle.
One primary position is holding the hook like a knife. Wrap your hand over the hook, gripping it between your thumb and middle finger, with your index finger resting on top.
Alternatively, you can hold the hook with a pencil grip. Hold the hook with your thumb and index finger, allowing the handle to rest against your palm.
Every crocheter will develop a favorite position. It may take some practice to find your preference. In any case, avoid angling the hook up or down. Keep the hook turned slightly toward you.
Stitches & Techniques To Learn (The Basics)
If you want to learn how to crochet, perfecting the six basic stitches is the foundation for more complicated stitch patterns. These simple building block stitches come up in crochet designs repeatedly.
Common Crochet Terms
You may come across the following words in free crochet patterns and tutorials:
- Crochet Chain – the foundation of most crochet projects
- Working Yarn – the strand of yarn you’re actively crocheting with
- Slip Knot – to begin, make a slip knot to attach the yarn to the hook
- Turning Chain – the chain stitch(es) that begin each row
Here, we outline each stitch’s basic look and use. The abbreviations in brackets are how you often see a stitch written in crochet patterns. Understanding these abbreviations is the start of learning how to read crochet patterns.
1. Chain Stitch (ch)
Let’s start with the most straightforward technique: the chain stitch. Foundation chains are the starting point of most crochet projects, so make this the first stitch you learn. Chain stitches are also used to create gaps between other stitches, like in crochet mesh or lace.
When you are a new crocheter, practicing this technique is an easy way to gain confidence. You may have even chained with a piece of string or rope and your fingers without realizing it.
2. Single Crochet Stitch (sc)
The single crochet is an easy, quick-to-learn stitch. With this skill, you can create a dense fabric that doesn’t have holes. This solid material is ideal for home decor items like baskets, pillows, and even crochet bucket hats.
3. Slip Stitch (sl st)
This versatile stitch can be used for simple edging, decorating, or joining two motifs together. Slip stitches are shorter than single crochet, allowing you to move your yarn without creating the height of a regular stitch.
4. Half Double Crochet Stitch (hdc)
The next stitches to learn are slightly taller. Halfway between the height of single crochet and double crochet, half double crochet stitches allow for better drape than single crochet. If you want your project to mimic the ribbed look of knitting, look no further than the beautiful texture you can achieve with half-double crochet.
5. Double Crochet Stitch (dc)
Double crochet progresses quickly and drapes well, making it a popular stitch for blankets and other larger projects. Combining this stitch with single crochet or puff stitches creates fantastic, unique textures.
6. Triple Crochet Stitch (tr)
Referred to as the “treble” crochet stitch in the UK, the triple crochet is the tallest of the six stitches listed. Its height makes it less stable than the others. However, the looser stitches can create gorgeous, mesh-like fabric for summer garments.
How to Start a Crocheting Business
You may only be interested in crochet as a relaxing hobby. Although, if you want to put your free time to good use, crochet can also be a realistic side hustle.
Online marketplaces like Etsy are perfect for establishing a store to sell your crafts. Most aspiring crochet business owners choose between two ways to make money: selling original crochet designs or selling finished items.
Designing digital patterns is a great way to contribute to the crochet community while earning extra cash. Crafters who want to build their brand can assemble a collection of unique designs and pattern templates for their crochet business.
Selling patterns is also an ideal option for those who find crocheting the same items over and over too repetitive. Crocheters and knitters often use Ravelry, Etsy, and LoveCrafts to sell their pattern PDFs.
If you want to focus solely on using your hands, selling finished items is a legit way to earn money, mostly from home.
First, you will need to decide what crochet items to sell. Finding a design you can make in a relatively short time is best. Aim to balance the cost of the supplies, the time investment necessary, and the price you can sell the item for.
Popular, quick, and cost-effective crochet items to sell are headbands, beanies, small stuffed toys, and baby hats.
List finished items on platforms like Etsy or Facebook Marketplace, or attend craft fairs in person to reach your dream audience.
Beginner Crochet FAQs
What order should you learn to crochet in?
When learning how to crochet, it is best to master some simple stitches that can become the foundation of other essential skills. Once you’re a pro at the chain stitch and single and double crochet, practice other beginner techniques such as seaming.
For confident beginners, learning to increase and decrease is valuable. With these bases covered, you can start making beautiful, shaped items like garments and amigurumi.
Is knitting or crocheting easier to learn?
At their core, knitting and crocheting are similar skills that involve making fabric out of yarn. In general, crochet projects work up more quickly than knit projects. Because of their relative speed, crochet projects can feel more accessible to impatient beginners.
While similar, these two crafts have distinct differences. The most obvious difference between crochet and knitting is the equipment needed. Crochet involves just one hook, and knitting requires two needles. When starting with fiber crafts, some crafters find it easier to handle a single crochet hook than the two needles used for knitting.
Some crafters find crochet stitches more complicated to form at first, but crochet can make it easier to fix errors than knitting.
Ultimately, every crafter will have a different learning experience when starting to crochet or knit. Many people find that after they master one skill, the other is much easier to learn.
What if I’m left-handed?
No problem! You can use the same equipment whether you crochet with your right or left hand.
The good news is that most patterns are suitable for lefties. When you start learning to crochet, search for left-handed YouTube tutorials because they will be easier to follow.
Is crochet difficult?
Learning to crochet is like learning any other skill: it requires patience and perseverance. However, the basic stitches are simple to practice. There are plenty of projects to make using only these beginner skills.
How long does it take to get good at crochet?
The time needed to become a confident crocheter depends on your enthusiasm and commitment. Simple techniques are relatively quick to learn and can be practiced in a few sessions.
Mastering even tension in your stitches will go a long way toward making your projects feel polished. Of course, refining your skills takes longer. The process of getting good at crochet will involve trial and error.
Are You Ready To Start Crocheting?
Putting down your phone and picking up a crochet hook can be the start of a creative and productive hobby. With just a few easy-to-find supplies and a plan, you can try out a new craft, create useful items, and learn an analog way to unwind.
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock /Iryna Kalamurza