When I started crocheting I had so many questions, and found myself endlessly googling a plethora of things usually not finding the answers I needed. Talk about frustrating! So in order to help save you lots of frustration, anger, and potentially tears, I have compiled a list of 10 beginner crochet tips I wish I had when I began crocheting. This hobby can be so rewarding when you finish a piece and it turns out exactly how you pictured (or better), but it can also make you want to pull out your hair when you hit a snag (literally hit a snag). Okay so here we go, let me know if these tips were helpful or if you have any other helpful beginner tips I should add to my list!
Crochet Tip 1: Comfortable Hooks
This one is HUGE guys. That’s why I had to put it first! When I started up crocheting again I used the basic little metal hooks you can find literally at almost any box store. You have all seen them. The basic, plain metal hooks that come in a variety of colors. You can usually get some variety packs for a good cheap price, but don’t let that cheap price tag pull you in! Your hands can thank me later. I personally prefer the Clover Brand hooks. They have some with a wider flat handle that are called soft touch hooks. They also have others with a more triangular handle which I also often use (pictured below). These are hooks you can use for hours and hours without the aching and pain those thin metal hooks cause!
Crochet Tip 2: Must Have Crochet Tool Kit
Just like a handy man has his bag of tools, crocheters and knitters have our own little tool kits that we need to finish our work. If you want a really affordable beginner tool kit that also comes with a set of hooks with padded handles try this crochet kit. You can knock out numbers one and two on this list with one affordable purchase! It has a lot of different sized hooks so you can use them for tons of different projects and yarns. It also comes with stitch markers, yarn needles to weave in ends, and countless other tools that are essential in making your projects come together. As a bonus it even comes with a little case to keep you organized! I carry this around in my crochet bag at all times!
Crochet Tip 3: Quality Yarn
Quality yarn does not necessarily mean expensive yarn! You need something that is soft to the touch so you don’t end up rubbing your fingers raw when you first start. I have so many projects half done because the scratchy yarn irritated my fingers so much I just cant bring myself to finish them which is such a bummer honestly. If you read my Best Acrylic Yarn Post then you already know I am a big fan of Caron Simply Soft yarn. You can read that post if you are interested in knowing in detail why I think it is so amazing! All you need to know for this post really is that it is like little baby clouds gliding across your fingers as you crochet. Obviously the best way to figure out how a yarn will feel is to go to the store and rub every single sample and skein until you find the super soft and forgiving ones. If you don’t want to be that person at the craft store, that’s fine because I was and I will put a list below of some of my favorite yarns that are easy on the hands!
- Caron Simply Soft of course!
- Ice Brand 100% Mercerized Cotton which I use in swimwear and summer tops
- Cascade Fixations Yarn is the perfect yarn for bikinis!
Another thing you need as a beginner is a simple basic yarn. You want something that is tightly woven and not easily split. This was a huge headache for me as a beginner. My mom bought me this awesome fluffy yarn with little knots of fluffy goodness along it. I loved it right up until I tried to make my first row with it. It was impossible to see the stitches I needed to go through for my patterns and all in all was extremely frustrating. To start out stick with the simpler, tightly woven yarns until you get a bit more confident! 24/7 Lion Brand Mercerized Cotton is a perfect starter yarn for helping you clearly see your stitches and I use it for different swim tops like my Simply Cute Bikini Top Pattern. (Pictured Below)
Buying Crochet Supplies Pro Tip: If you purchase any of your craft supplies at Joann Fabrics like I do sometimes, then you should really consider getting the Ibotta App on your phone. They have 10% cashback coupons for Joann’s as well as other cashback opportunities on certain yarn brands like Big Twist. They also have lots of other retailers on there but I pretty much only use the Joann rebates. I have gotten almost $85 back from just buying things I would have bought anyways by scanning my receipt in the Ibotta App. You can have the money sent to your paypal or use it to get gift cards (Joanns, Applebees, etc).
Crochet Tip 4: Yarn Winder
If you were like me when I began crocheting, I would have my yarn sitting on my lap or a table and when I would pull to get more yarn it would go flying onto the floor. For some people that may not be a huge deal, but I have two giant fluff balls who love to get their fine golden hairs in all my projects. Keeping my yarn off the floor is the first step to minimizing the amount of pet hair I am going to have to pick out later. The best solution I have found is working from center pull yarn cakes. While some yarns like lionbrands mandala yarn already comes in cute center pull cakes, most yarns do not. The solution is a yarn winder. My big brother was sweet enough to purchase me my own yarn winder from Amazon for Christmas this year. I have made countless cakes with it without issue. After using a center pull cake I never want to go back to my bound up skeins ever again! Upon my last check this winder was only $19.99 and qualified for amazon prime free shipping. Well worth the price in the time and hassle it saves you while working on your larger projects.
Crochet Tip 5: No Wrong Way to Hold Your Hook
Guys this is probably one of the most important things that I have just now finally come to terms with. I learned how to crochet at a very young age when my hands struggled to grip my hook. Because of that I now hold my hook extremely firmly with my whole fist, very caveman like. I would watch all these YouTube tutorials where the crocheters held delicately onto their hooks with just the tips of their fingers. They made making crocheting look like an artist creating a beautiful painting and I looked more like a toddler struggling to hold onto a fork correctly. Every time I tried to hold my hook like someone else it would slow me down tremendously, and I could never get my hook to latch when I yarned over and it was a nightmare. As I ventured out and began watching more and more videos I began to realize that really almost no one holds their hook and yarn exactly the same way. You do whatever feels most comfortable for you! Your best work will come this way plus the more comfortable you feel holding your hook, the quicker your projects will work up.
Crochet Tip 6: Label Your Ongoing Projects
This is something I just started doing and I am telling you I should have started doing this day 1! What do I mean by label? I mean write down what size hook you are using, the brand, weight, and color of the yarn you are using, and even what pattern you are following for every project. I have seen some people who buy giant ziploc bags and put their project, the extra yarn for it, and a sticky note with that info on it all in the bag to help keep themselves organized if they put a project down and plan to come back to it later. I cannot tell you how many times I have put down a project even for just two days and came back to it and couldn’t remember what hook size I had been using. It was torturous to try to guess and work up a few rows only to then realize it was the wrong size and have to pull out rows of my hard work. You don’t have to go as far as getting a bag for each project (even though that would help organize AND keep all smells/pet hairs off your projects!), you can keep a small note pad with your project info in it, or even keep it in the notepad of your smartphone!
Crochet Tip 7: Bring Your Projects With You
You will be shocked by the amount of time you spend waiting around in life that you could be spending working on your latest project! Think about it. You wait so many places, even if its just for 10 minutes. The doctors office, social security office, the bus, the airport, and so many other places you often sit and wait. Five minutes here, ten minutes there… It all really starts to add up for your crochet projects and you’ll be surprised at how quickly you start completing projects! This is especially good for people who normally don’t have the time in their schedules to set aside 30 minutes or more just to relax and crochet, but still want to make some super awesome crochet things!
Crochet Tip 8: Have a bag just for Crochet
I know this may seem like common sense to some people, but I know as someone who is not inherently an organized person, I didn’t think of this until way later than I should have. I personally have TWO bags. I have a small one that I bring everywhere that I use in all the places I mentioned in tip 7, but I also have a backpack for crochet. Why a backpack you may ask? I am just not a big shoulder bag kind of girl. I like being able to just throw a back pack on and be on my way. The backpack allows me to put multiple projects in it, therefore I can bring it with me on road trips, vacations, to the beach, to the park, or where ever else you may go and want a plethora of projects to work on! Another great thing about using a backpack as your on the go bag is that it has tons of pockets and compartments to help keep you organized. Since I have a tendency to forget where I put things, this is something I need to have. I make sure everything has a place and that I put it back as soon as I am done so I never misplace it! The backpack pictured above has tons of compartments in it and would be perfect for hold and organizing your crochet projects.
Crochet Tip 9: Watch the Whole Tutorial FIRST
I have been, and still sometimes continue to be, guilty of not taking my own advice, but this tip can save you tons of frustration with your projects. Please, PLEASE, watch the tutorials from start to finish before you start making the project. If you only follow one of my beginner crochet tips on this list, I promise this one makes a big difference! I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I was following along with a tutorial just to get halfway and the video saying “Oh I forgot this part at the beginning but it’s crucial…” or the “Oh yea if you wanted to make this bigger or smaller you could have..” and other things that you wish you had known in the first half of the video. Not only will watching the entire video beforehand allow you to get a better grasp of the project, but it may also help you identify and solve issues that you might encounter, or even allow you to see where and how to alter the pattern to make it fit for your needs. Lastly watching the whole video can allow you to see if maybe the video is too advanced for you at this point in time. You could bookmark it and come back to it after you’ve had a little bit more practice. Go ahead and try out my Beginner Crochet Towel Topper Tutorial below!
Crochet Tip 10: Don’t be afraid to go off pattern
When I was beginning I followed patterns to a tee. Then when I finished I wished I had made a few small tweaks along the way. Nothing’s worse than spending hours and hours on making something only for it not to be what you envisioned when its done. If you think the sleeves are going to be too short, then add a few rows! If you want to add a different trim detail than the pattern, then go for it! The sky is the limit! whether its adding more rows, decreasing the number of chain stitches to start, or completely taking out a few rows, its all up to you. One tip for doing this is to write down the changes you made. You do this so that firstly if it is something you will have to mimic on the other side of a project, like a sleeve or strap, you’ll want to know exactly how you did the other side. Secondly you may want to keep it written down for altering other future projects or to maybe eventually write your own pattern some day! Maybe attempt my Vibrant Bikini Top Pattern (pictured below) and try altering the straps to make your own unique design! You could cross the straps in the back, add an additional row of elastic, make it a halter instead!
Did I Miss Any Beginner Crochet Tips?
That’s it! I hope these ten beginner crochet tips help start all you beginners out on the right foot! I know at first this hobby seem challenging and at times almost impossible, but keep your hooks held high and keep practicing! I went from making crooked uneven washcloths to writing my own patterns for tops in a few months! It just took setting time aside to improve my crocheting skills, and some research on good tutorials, patterns, yarns, and hooks! Let me know if there are any questions you have and I will do my best to answer! If I missed anything or you just wanna say hi, leave a comment below! Thank you <3
-XOXO Taylor Lynn