So, clearly you want to know how to start off
As much fun as it is to start buying all the pretty yarn you lay your eyes on (and believe me, I have done it), the first step is to get some basics to start practicing. All you need are a few items to get going. This blog focuses primarily on crochet stitches but a lot of this information is useful for knitting as well.
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- Knitting needles or crochet hook (or both if you want to experiment)
- Yarn (obvs).
- Scissors, ideally a small pair that you only use with yarn so they don’t get blunt so quickly
- Darning needle – to weave in the ends of the yarn once you have finished your project.
For two reasons I recommend starting with a slightly chunkier yarn (perhaps a worsted/aran weight, the name will vary according to which country you are in).
- It’s just easier to see what you are doing when you aren’t sure about where to insert the needles/hook
- You make progress more quickly which is encouraging when you start out and are working at a slower pace. Don’t let yourself be put off by making slow progress when you could just work with a yarn that will build up more quickly.
Knitting needles are pretty easy to come by and any craft shop will probably sell a variety of types, metal, wood and bamboo needles. Crochet hooks can be more limited. I bought a plain single crochet hook at a haberdashery store, but it wasn’t that comfortable to use. I then bought Clover Amour Crochet Hook Set which I much prefer and I think these hooks are great for beginners.
If you only want to start with one pair of needles/ a single hook and one ball of yarn, make sure that they work together.
Most yarns come with a label which tell you not only what needle/hook size they recommend, but also washing instructions and material used in the yarn.
Sometimes using a different sized tool can be desirable to you want a looser or tighter structure than usual, but as a beginner keep in mind the manufacturer’s recommendation.
If you are using a pattern, make sure you know which country it comes from. Especially in the case of crochet, difference countries use different names for the same stitch. For example, what is known as single crochet in the US is called double crochet in the UK. You may end up with a finished product very different from the pattern if you have the wrong set of terms.
Eventually I am planning to do a series of videos and blog posts with images on the basic crochet stitches in the not too distant future.
I had started to get this set up but didn’t really have the right equipment. I attempted to position my camera on a rather precarious pile of items to see what I was doing. The camera kept falling off…unsurprisingly. Not ideal and so I will wait until I have the equipment to make videos.
In the meantime, here is my round up of YouTube Videos I found helpful. It can be difficult to find all the information you need in one video. Some videos only show how the stitch is done when you work into your first chain. Then when it comes to your second row you often insert the hook in a slightly different place which they didn’t demonstrate.
If the video doesn’t cover both it can be difficult on the second row to work out what you are meant to do. I’ve done the work for you to give you the best of what I have watched,
Bear in mind that there are two different systems of referring to crochet systems – one for America (and Canada), and another used in the UK (as well as Australia and New Zealand).
As is often the case, the US and UK like to confuse each other by using the same words to mean different things. We still love you though!
I will clarify as I go along which stitch is being discussed in both terms. YouTube videos can confuse things if they don’t state which set of terms they are using.
|US term||UK term|
|Single Crochet (sc)||Double Crochet (dc)|
|Half Double Crochet (hdc)||Half Treble Crochet (htr)|
|Double Crochet (dc)||Treble Crochet (tr)|
|Treble Crochet (tr)||Double Treble Crochet (dtr)|
In the UK single crochet doesn’t really exist. We like to be awkward like that.
Slip Knot and Chain Stitch
Personally I find that many videos and written instructions make the slip knot far more complicated than it really is. I’ll provide my own method soon.
However, SimplyDaisy provides a pretty good tutorial on this (a lot of her videos are good for tutorials. This video also covers the US Single Crochet/UK Double Crochet. She also does another beginners video to cover the other stitches, but it is quite short and might be better as a refresher than a first time video.
There is no real right or wrong way to hold the yarn, it just depends on what you find comfortable. If you hold it a different way than how a particular YouTuber does it really doesn’t matter.
UK Double Crochet Stitch (US Single Crochet)
Crochet Guru does a good video on this stitch. She covers both the first row into the foundation chain as well as additional rows. She also gives good instructions on where to insert the hook.
UK Half Treble Crochet Stitch (US Half Double Crochet)
I watched quite a few videos to find a good one for this. A lot of videos either only did a row from the foundation chain without a second row. Alternatively they had a row already done from the foundation chain and only showed the second row.
This video from Happy Berry Crochet shows the stitch very clearly but starts from the foundation chain without doing a second row.
I found after watching a lot of videos it is difficult to find one which covers both parts in good detail. This video from Scribble assumes a first row has been done but is still very helpful.
UK Treble Crochet Stitch (US Double Crochet)
I picked another video from Crochet Guru for this. I would have recommended her for the Half Treble as well, but the yarn she uses makes it a little difficult to see the stitches.
Alternative to YouTube
I really liked the book Mollie Makes: How to Crochet if you prefer a book to videos.
Ultimately, it’s all about practicing. Mistakes you make are as valuable to the process as a video tutorial. Relax, have fun and just start stitching!