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Crochet for Beginners: How to Start Crocheting

By: Julia Wiatr, Editor, AllFreeCrochet.com
Crochet for Beginners How to Start Crocheting
Crochet for Beginners How to Start Crocheting

So, you want to learn how to crochet but aren't quite sure how or where to start? Have no fear - and welcome to the world of crochet! It's very easy to get started as there is a wealth of information out there for you to peruse, but we've gathered some of our best and favorite tips and tricks here in this article to help you out.

Crocheting is an art that might seem awkward at first, but once you get the hang of holding on your crochet hook and working through a row of stitches, it will become second nature for you. 

Crochet for Beginners

Tips to Get Started

When you are first starting off, start small and then work on working your way up. Begin by practicing all the basic stitches, from your initial slip stitch and foundation chain up through a double or treble crochet stitch. There are so many crochet patterns that are made by these basic stitches, so you'll have a wide variety of projects to choose from. If you're unsure of how to proceed, you can find step-by-step tutorials to follow and even crochet video tutorials to watch and learn from. 

Reading a Crochet Pattern

Once you've gotten the hang of your stitches, you can start working through your first crochet pattern. It might seem a little daunting at first glance, to see all the rows and crochet abbreviations written out like that, but I promise it's not hard to follow along. There are a couple of key elements to a pattern that you should know in order to understand what you're doing.

  1. Skill Level: This is where the pattern difficulty is gauged for you, from beginner patterns up to advanced. This rating is based on the entirety of the pattern and the difficulty of the individual stitches within, plus the complexity of any stitch patterns. Even if the pattern is rated as a level higher than you think you are, read through and try and understand the pattern. You might be more advanced than you think!
    If you're interested in browsing patterns by level, check out some of our beginning, easy, intermediate and advanced patterns by clicking each level. 

  2. Construction/How a Pattern is Worked: Whether a pattern is worked side-to-side (flat) or in the round will be noted in the pattern notes. Patterns worked flat are listed in rows and those worked in the round are listed as rounds. 

  3. Gauge: Gauge is important - save time in the end and check it! The gauge information will tell you how tightly or loosely to keep your stitches to produce the desired effect. To check your gauge, use the yarn and hook size that the pattern recommends and work a 4x4 square and then compare the number of stitches in your work to what's listed. 

  4. Abbreviations: The abbreviations make it so the pattern is written as concisely as possible. Check the abbreviations list so you know that your "2 dcs" are simply two double crochet stitches, and soon you'll be translating these abbreviations without even thinking of it. 

  5. Symbols: Crochet patterns have symbols throughout, and while it may look a little weird, they're pretty standard and highly useful. The most common ones are: { }, ( ), * ** and [ ]. They typically set off a section when dealing with repeats, so you can say to simply repeat the section in parenthesis instead of listing everything over again. 

Tips for Beginner Crocheters

Once you've practiced your stitches and understand how to read a crochet pattern, it's time to start working on your own crochet projects. Below is a list of the top ten beginner tips and tricks for you to follow to help you out in your crochet endeavors. 

  1. Keep your hands clean: You want to avoid getting dirt and grease on your yarn, so wash your hands before sitting down to work. 

  2. Take frequent rest/stretch breaks: When working through a pattern, it's easy to get lost in concentration and end up holding your yarn or crochet hook too tightly. Stopping to stretch will let you relax your fingers and your back and will help to prevent tired and achy muscles. 

  3. Keep your crochet necessities in one spot: Keeping all of your yarn, patterns and notions in one place will save you valuable time. You don't want to get tired or annoyed looking for your tools before you even get started, do you?

  4. Read through the pattern: Give the pattern you're planning to work on a once-over to make sure you understand what it says and how to do everything. This is also the best time to pop over to Youtube or to check out various crochet video tutorials as needed to brush up on your skills. 

  5. Check your gauge: Save time and frustration later by taking the time to work up a crochet swatch and check your gauge. Otherwise, your work might end up smaller or larger than intended. 

  6. Keep your tension consistent: This is a tie-in to the above tip, but try and focus on keeping your tension consistent. This will help you keep your gauge right and steady as well. 

  7. Don't be afraid to try a different brand of hooks: Crochet hooks are made of different materials and there are even some that are specifically made to be as ergonomic as possible. Look around!

  8. Save a small bit of scrap from your project: Once you're done, it might be helpful to save a bit of the yarn you used in case you need to make any repairs down the road, or in case you want to replicate your project. 

  9. Stitch markers are your friends: When working on a project, whether in rows or in rounds, use a stitch marker to denote the last stitch of every row or round. This will help you keep track of your stitches and make sure you're following along correctly. For projects that are worked flat, this will also help you keep your edges straight. 

  10. Block your work: When you're all done with your work, follow our handy blocking tutorial to set your work in place and smooth out any unintentional wrinkles or uneven ends. 

  11. Don't give up! If a stitch or a project just isn't coming together, keep working on it. Practice makes perfect! 

Do you have any fun tips and tricks to add? 

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These are some great tips! I'm a beginner crocheter and I have trouble keeping my gauge consistent. I've found that it helps to use a slightly larger hook than is recommended by the yarn label. It's way easier to see the stitches and maintain a uniform gauge!

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