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The Do's and Don'ts of Crochet

How to Crochet Like a Pro

By: Julia Wiatr, Editor,
The Dos and Donts of Crochet

Welcome to the wonderful world of crochet patterns! We all come from different backgrounds, but we have one thing in common - our love of crochet. Those thick and thin strands of yarn sliding through your fingers should make you smile from ear to ear, but if you're just learning to crochet then it can be quite frustrating.
When just learning how to crochet you can become tense, frustrated and easily lose your temper. To help make things a bit easier I've put together a quick guide of the do's and don'ts of the crochet world. If you have any of your own tips, feel free to add them in the comments section, below.

1. DO familiarize yourself with the basics

Take some time to learn about what you need to crochet (just a ball of yarn and a corresponding hook) and how to hold a crochet hook. There's a standard "correct" way to hold a hook, but everyone has their own variation. Experiment and find the position that's the most comfortable for you.

2. DO take time to learn about yarn.

Depending on the project you're making, you might prefer lace-weight yarn instead of worsted weight, or you might want pearl cotton instead of a wool blend. Be sure to read about the standard yarn types to learn more.

Complete Crochet Hook Size and Yarn Weight Guide

3. DO know how to choose your hook wisely.

Crochet hooks correspond with different yarn weights, so what you'll need depends on what you want to make. As you might expect, chunkier yarn needs bigger hooks, and lacier yarn needs the smallest ones. There's also the question of crochet hook type - do you prefer plastic hooks or bamboo? Or maybe you like working with aluminum. Check out the video below on the types of crochet hooks, or check out our guide on choosing the best crochet hook sizes for more information

4. DO learn the standard crochet abbreviations.

When you're reading a crochet pattern for the first time, you might be confused by all of the abbreviations. Take the time to know the basic ones, or keep a list handy, like the one below, to use as a reference guide. 

Crochet Abbreviations Guide

5. DO learn the basic stitches.

No matter how complicated the finished pattern might look, it can most likely be broken down into the most basic of crochet stitches: the chain stitch, single crochet, double and half double crochet and treble crochet. Everything else is placement and technique. Check out our guide on basic crochet stitches to see step-by-step videos and written stitch tutorials. 

20+ Basic Crochet Stitches

6. DON'T get cocky.

Once you know how to crochet the basic stitches, don't immediately jump into an intricate lace pattern. Like in all things, you have to walk before you run. Work up a few smaller, simple projects (think scarves or hats) with basic stitches before moving onto more stylistic crochet stitches and designs. 

7. DON'T start a pattern before practicing a new stitch

Practice makes perfect - this is true for all things. Read through how to work a stitch, watch a few videos to visualize it and work up a swatch to make sure you understand how to crochet it. 

Learn to Crochet with Crochet Videos

9. DON'T give up.

Crocheting can be tricky for a number of reasons: your yarn is too small, your yarn is too bulky, you crocheted too tightly, you keep dropping stitches, your hand hurts from holding your hook, etc. No matter the excuse you're trying to make, don't give up! Just keep practicing - you'll learn how to hold your hook in the best way (or you'll buy a more ergonomic crochet hook), and how to work with the chunkiest and thinnest yarns. You'll also get a better handle on how to work in each and every stitch and not skip or drop any AND how to keep a consistent gauge. Trust me. 

10. DO know how to care for your finished pieces.

Once you're done with your project, you'll want to treat it well so it lasts and lasts. Depending on the type of yarn you used, you'll need to take care of it differently. Certain yarn can be machine washed and dried while others are far more delicate and can only be hand washed. 

Caring for Crochet Items: 8 Tips You Need To Know

11. DO take the time to weave in all your ends.

Weaving in your ends gives your final piece a more finished and polished look - you'll be glad you did!

Do you have any other dos and don'ts for crochet? Leave a comment below and let us know - we'll work your comment into this article!

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Do not use any knots in your crochet, better to leave an end to weave in after you are finished your project.

No matter the project I tend to jump in without all of the needed information and from time to time I regret it. I did the same with crochet but it was so long ago now I couldn't even begin to tell you about all the fluster I had when I first stated. Now when I do begin a new project I will read everything first so as to eliminate all of the surprises.

Words to live by if you want to be a crocheter. These tips of dos and don'ts are priceless and well worth the read. As a matter of fact, they should be read more than once. I guess my favorite don't is don't give up. Yep. Even those with a lot of experience will find a pattern that poses a problem. Be patient and keep going. I promise, once you learn you will wonder why you didn't start this hobby years ago. It can be so rewarding.

I suggest "Don't" mix fibers unless you know how they will behave together. For example do not mix wool yarn with acryllic yarn as the wool will shrink/felt at a different rate/amount than acryllic. Also "Don't" mix different brands of yarn unless you know how both brands behave after being washed. Not all brands are spun the same and will sometimes behave differently in the washer (pilling, puffing up, fading, etc.)

Great article. My ex mother in law tried to teach me to crochet. She spoke very little English and she was left handed. Get the picture? It was a nightmare. Plus she was using thread and making doilies . I was making knots. I finally gave up. But then I found a book showing some tips, just like these. I bought sport yarn and a g hook and tried. After a couple weeks I was turning out Fushfish cloths, place mats and hot pads. That built my confidence into making so much more. So like it said, don't give up. Put it down for a bit, do something else and come back to it.

I understand, but my problem is just the opposite. I am left handed and patterns and videos are all right handed. I get so very frustrated that I have stopped crocheting and restarted months later.

This Do's and Don'ts of Crochet is great and very helpful for any crocheter. One thing I have learned over the years is to read the whole pattern and read the comments if there are any. Not just part of it or look at the picture and jump into the project. There are times I think "oh this one will come out great in no time". Only to find out that the pattern has errors or I don't understand how to do a few rows. Then I'll read the comments to see if any one made the item and make sure it came out right. The worse thing to do is spend the money on yarn and spend time doing it project and not have it work. Thank you for sharing this I will stop being so cocky!

Hi Cheryl, Reading through a pattern to make sure you understand it first is a GREAT tip! :) Thanks! Julia, editor for AllFreeCrochet

This is so helpful! The graphics are really helpful for any beginner crocheters. You can even print these out and hang them up near your crochet space or in your craft room.

When I first learned to crochet I started with one stitch, a double crochet. I used that stitch to create a couple of afghans by going back and forth, row aby row. By the time I finished both afghans I felt confident enough to move on to another type of stitch. After learning both stitches I began to feel like I understood the process of crochet. My world opened up, and my confidence soared. Its been over 40 years since I made that first afghan and Ive loved every minute of it.

I finally learnt a few months ago after many times starting and giving up. Once you get the hang of the basics it is really easy. The most important thing to me is getting a set of comfortable hooks that are easy to hold. What type of hooks do you find best? I am struggling to find good large hooks of 6mm and above. I got some bamboo ones but I hate the feel of them.

Try Furls hooks. Kind of expensive but totally worth it!

I usually go to JoAnns or Michaels. I have found hooks from the steel ones to the larger plastic ones. I even found a Q hook.

The easiest way to become frustrated with learning to crochet is to try to launch yourself into a project without first learning the basics. Start with something extremely simple, like making squares to be used in a blanket. Practice with single crochet until you manage to create a piece with straight sides and an even tension throughout. Soak up as much knowledge as you can from resources like The Do's and Don'ts of Crochet, and from How-To videos on You Tube. Most of all, dont give up. Your persistence will be rewarded.


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