What’s the Idea?
Learn how to crochet in this article for beginners. Crochet is easy to learn, you won’t need a large number of materials and it’s not an expensive hobby.
What’s the story
I learned how to crochet from my grandmother. She was addicted to this craft; I spent my childhood watching her making doilies, cardigans, table runners, table cloths.
We only found out how many items she had actually made after she passed away. She had entire cabinets filled with crochet pieces.
She started by teaching me how to chain and I would spend hours just doing that. Until one day, when she decided that my chains were OK and taught me other techniques.
The highlight was when she let me do a bit of the piece she was working on at that point. I think it was a table cloth and every time she put it on the table I kept reminding her that I had done part of it.
I was so proud of that and I think so was she.
Then, as I grew up, I lost interest simply because the pieces that my grandmother used to do were not trendy. Nobody used doilies or crochet table cloths.
In 2012, I moved to Scotland and, one day, I saw a crochet magazine at the supermarket. It had a basket in the cover. I looked at that and thought, ‘I could do that and it’s trendy.’
I bought the magazine but I fell in love with Amigurumi instead and I made a bunny for the daughter of a friend of mine. That was my first piece after all those years. Many others came after that.
People should do this because…?
Knowing how to crochet is interesting for a variety of reasons. You can make an immense variety of pieces: clothes, homeware, toys, jewellery.
By making your own items you can pick the design, the colours and the materials, and you can have something unique that no one else has.
You have the choice of following a pattern or you can even design your own piece from scratch once you are more knowledgeable.
Even when you are following a pattern you can choose the colours and/or tweak it a little bit in order to make it your own.
In the end, you will feel the satisfaction of making something. You will look at your piece knowing that you made it.
And when that friend of yours looks at your new pillow and says, ‘That’s gorgeous. Where did you buy it?’, you can say, ‘I made it.’
There’s another advantage of knowing how to crochet. It’s an activity that is very calming and soothing, probably due to the repetitive movements.
If you suffer from anxiety or are going through tough times, crochet will help you relax and focus. It will make you forget whatever is troubling you, at least for some time.
You can also sell crochet pieces or crochet patterns and make some extra money.
How do you do it?
Crochet is an art that is relatively simple to learn and doesn’t require expensive material, but you do need to practice it for some time before you master it.
You will also need to be patient because, especially if you are making a large piece, it will not be finished quickly.
The basic materials are a hook and yarn. You hold the hook with your dominant hand and the yarn with the other.
There’s no right or wrong way of holding the hook but the majority of people hold it either like a knife or like a pen.
You will start by making a slip knot and inserting the hook through the loop. The knot must be tight against the hook but loose enough so that you can move it back and forth.
The next step is to make a foundation chain. Once you have inserted the hook through the slip knot’s loop you wrap the yarn around the hook and you pull it through the loop.
Once the first chain is made, you will need to repeat this step as many times as needed depending on the item you are making. If you are following a pattern, the instructions will tell you how many chains to make; if you are just practising, 15 or 20 chains will probably be enough to start with.
The most basic crochet stitch is the double crochet (dc). Once you finish making the foundation chain, you insert the hook in the second chain from the hook, then you wrap the yarn around the hook and pull the yarn through the loops of the chain. Two loops on the hook.
You wrap the yarn around the hook one more time and now you pull the yarn through the two loops on the hook. Double crochet completed. You can repeat this stitch until the end of the foundation chain for practice or follow the instructions on your pattern.
Another basic stitch is the treble crochet. You start by wrapping the yarn around the hook, then you insert the hook in the forth chain from the hook (if you are at the start of the row, if not you insert the hook in the next available chain) and pull the yarn through. Three loops on the hook.
After this, you wrap the yarn around the hook one more time and pull the yarn through two loops. Two loops on the hook. Now, you wrap the yarn around the hook again and pull the yarn through the remaining loops. Treble crochet finished.
Once you get to the end of the row you need to turn your work and carry on from there. At the start of each row, you will need to make the turning chains.
The number of chains will depend on which stitch you are making: 1 chain for double crochet and 3 chains for treble crochet. After this, you just carry on making the following stitches normally.
If you would like to learn more there are several books available for beginners. See some suggestions below.
Another very relevant resource for crocheters, beginners or not, is Ravelry. This website hosts a community of people that love yarn-related arts.
Here you will find patterns (paid and free), links to shops and forums where you can ask questions.
I promise that, after some time, you will even be able to crochet while watching TV. Check out these 5 must-see British movies for inspiration.
Stuff you may need
- Stitch markers
- Pins for blocking the item
- Tapestry needle
- Measuring tape (for checking tension)