This list is everything I wish I knew when I started crocheting. Over the years I’ve picked up these tips, so I would like to share them with you. I hope beginner crocheters, and even more experienced ones, find my list of things every new crocheter should know helpful. Leave a comment below if you have any tips or advice you found helpful.
1.Use a Stitch Marker When Working in the Round
You have to realize that you are crocheting around in a spiral. You will eventually lose count of which row you’re on unless you insert a stitch marker into the last stitch of each row. Once you crochet back around to the beginning, take the stitch marker out and continue to move it up each row so you can easily keep count. If you don’t have a stitch marker, you can easily use a bobby pin or something else to help determine each row.
2. Crochet Over “Tails”
If you hate weaving in the “tails” or ends of the yarn after you’ve completed your project, like I do, here’s a great trick for you. While starting a new row, hold the tails against the top of the unworked stitches. Crochet as you normally would, but the tail will eventually become hidden inside the stitches you’ve just made. Not only will they still in place and not come undone, but you also don’t have to worry about weaving them in. YAY! (Note: This technique doesn’t work for all projects, such as open work projects, so use your judgment here.)
3. Gauges and Gauge Swatches
Be sure to check your gauge! This means all your stitches are the same size and tension. For a beginner, your stitches will be all over the place, but with some practice and patience, your gauge will eventually even out.
Your gauge can also be affected by your mood and stress levels. Even an experienced crocheter will notice a difference in gauge when stressed out. Crocheting is supposed to help relieve stress, not cause you more stress. If you’re too stressed, it might be better to put your crochet work aside for a little bit until you’ve calmed down. You don’t want to make a ton of mistakes, have to rip everything out, and have to start all over again.
When it comes to gauge swatches, most patterns will have information about the gauge included. Based on the information provided in the pattern, you would then grab the correct hook size and yarn, begin making a swatch and measuring it. If your swatch is bigger than the size stated, you’ll need to go down a hook size. If your swatch is smaller, try using a larger hook size. You may have to make a couple of swatches with different hook sizes to get the correct gauge measurements that’s included in the pattern. Having the correct gauge is important as this will determine the correct sizing for your project.
If your pattern doesn’t provide any gauge information, watch your project closely. If you’re able to, have your recipient try it on often so you can make adjustments as you go. Nothing’s worse than completing a project only to realize that it’s too big or too small. You also want to keep in mind the type of yarn you’re using as some yarns have more stretch to them than others.
4. Organize Your Yarn
It’s time to get that yarn stash of yours under control! Even if it’s as simple as storage bins, it’s best to keep your yarn organized somehow. You can organize your yarn by color or brand, so it’s really up to you on what you want to do. I choose to organize my yarn by color. I keep everything in these fabric bins, which I purchased off Amazon.
If you have a lot of yarn leftover from other projects, you know how easily it can get tangled. Instead of becoming frustrated with all the tangles, invest in a yarn winder. A yarn winder easily winds your yarn into clean, stackable yarn cakes in a few short minutes. Trust me when I say you’ll use it all the time. I use the Standwood Needlecraft YBW-A Hand Operated Yarn Winder.
5. Hook Size Basics
Depending on the project and type of yarn you’re using, you’ll want to change up your hook size. A small crochet hook will make your project tighter and a larger hook will make things looser. If you’re using thinner yarn you’ll want to use a smaller hook. If you’re using bulky yarn, you’ll want to use a larger hook. Most recommended hook sizes are located right on the yarn label. You can use the recommended hook size or you can go up or down a hook size depending on how you want your finished product to look.
An exception would be with amigurumi items. Amigurumi is typically done using worsted weight yarn and smaller crochet hooks ranging from size E-4 to H-8. You want your amigurumi to be sturdy and tight so that stuffing won’t show. I HIGHLY recommend using the Clover Amour Hooks.
6. Color Changes in the Round
Instead of having a strong jagged line when changing colors in the round, here’s a tip for you. On the stitch before the color change, yarn over with the new color. Slip stitch into the next stitch and continue to crochet around as normal.
7. Sewing Pieces Together
This might seem like the most excruciating part of the project, but it has to get done. Be sure to dedicate some serious time to sewing your pieces together. Don’t feel tempted to rush through the sewing process because you’ve crocheted all the parts and just want to be done. Trust me, I’ve been there, done that. If you don’t have time to sew, put the project to the side until you can focus on that and not rush through it.
When sewing or attaching your items together, be sure to use pins, especially when sewing an afghan together. Pinning everything will make sure things will get sewn where you want them to and won’t look lopsided. This is especially important when crocheting amigurumi projects as a crooked ear can devalue the quality of your item. You want to make sure your sewing is sturdy and that you’ve gone all the way around or across your item. Don’t change your needle direction when sewing. Keeping everything even will make the completed project more professional looking rather than it looking like you rushed through it.
Those are my tips for things every new crocheter should know. If you have any suggestions or tips to share of your own for things every new crocheter should know, please leave a comment below.
Check out this post to find out what every new crocheter needs to have on hand.
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