A few weeks ago I shared some ideas of what you need to get started sewing. Today I'm looking at crochet. Crochet is a wonderful yarn craft that I first learnt about 10-12 years ago. I'd had an operation and during my recovery I sat on the sofa watching A LOT of daytime TV and really got the crochet bug. My nan was a fabulous crocheter and had tried to teach me when I was little but we never got very far, I guess I wasn't a motivated student then! So fast forward about 30 years and I decided I would learn to crochet so I could make flowers, I quickly learnt that hats are easy to crochet too, then a whole world of crochet possibilities opened up.
Crochet can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be, as with everything you are best to start simple and build on what you learn. The good news is that it is not expensive to get started either. The bad news is it can be totally addictive and you CAN end up spending a lot of money on amazing yarns, hooks and patterns.
Growing up here in the UK we always called this wool. but as that can be confusing - not all 'wool' is made from wool - I've got in the habit of saying yarn instead.
You can spend a little or spend a lot but as a beginner you want an inexpensive, smooth, light coloured acrylic yarn in a Double Knitting, light worsted, worsted or 8 ply (what the yarn weight is called varies round the world). Beautiful handspun yarns, cottons and yarns with textures will come later. As a beginner you want simple and plain. You will be undoing (called frogging in the crochet world 'cos you 'rippit rippit' out!) lots of times and you don't want to be worrying about how much your yarn cost. I'd recommend a plain colour too, it's just easier to see your stitches, and talking of seeing your stitches, definitely stay away from black or navy to start with. Something similar to this is ideal:
Crochet hooks come in different sizes and the size you need depends on the type of yarn you are using. For your Double Knitting/8 ply/light worsted yarn you'll want a 4mm hook (that's a size 6 in the US) . If you chose an aran or worsted yarn then you'll need a 5mm (that's a US size 8) hook.
Start by buying just one basic hook, you might be lucky enough to find one in a charity or thrift shop or even be able to borrow one from a crocheting buddy.
Once you are totally 'hooked' on crochet you'll want to invest a little more in some lovely hooks with comfy handles. Several different brands are available but the ones I have are Clover Amour and I love them.
A Tapestry Needle
You'll need a needle to sew the ends of your yarn in and maybe to sew your pieces of crochet together. A big blunt needle with a big eye (so the yarn can go through)
Nothing fancy needed here, you can use any scissors at all, they just need to be able to cut the yarn. The ones from your desk, or even the kitchen scissors are fine!
'How to' Tutorials
Right, you have your yarn and hook, now what on earth do you do with them?
For this You Tube is your friend, literally it is like having a friend sitting right beside you, showing you what to do. Obviously an actual crocheting friend to sit with you is the best way to learn but if you had one of them you probably wouldn't be here! My favourite tutorials on You Tube for learning the basics are from Bella Coco but of course there are loads to choose from. There is also a great basic stitch guide on Petals to Picots.
The great thing about crochet is that there is only a couple of basic things to learn and everything is a variation of those basics. Once you have them down you can make anything - yes! I promise, you can!
If I'm teaching someone to crochet I always start with a basic Granny Square. I would recommend it to everyone. It's easy, you learn 2 basic stitches and there are no straight edges to worry about. Plus once you have made a granny square you can use it as a coaster - win win! The Bella Coco video for a Granny Square is here.
One of the worst things about crochet is that different countries have different terminology for the stitches. There are UK terms and US terms - same stitches but with different names - what a pain! As a beginner don't worry but later on you'll be following patterns and you'll just need to know what version it's written in.
Now you are ready to crochet, what are you going to make? You need patterns. Luckily the internet has you covered here! There are hundreds of thousands of sites with patterns, some free and some to buy. These are just a few of my favourite sites:
Attic 24 - scroll down to the "patterns and tutorials" section on the left sidebar
AnneMarie's HaakBlog - a fabulous selection in the Free Patterns Section
One Dog Woof - really fun modern crochet ideas
Repeat Crafter Me - LOADS of really fun patterns
Whistle and Ivy - lots of different pattern and the place I first saw how to crochet plaid
Poppy & Bliss - perfect for colour lovers
Petals to Picots - over 200 free patterns, all sorts so your bound to find something that takes your fancy
Moogly - not just patterns, great 'how to' videos too
by Crafty CC - amazing rainbow projects
Start a crochet pinterest board to bookmark all the fabulous things you find, mine is here if you want to repin some to get started.
Crochet magazines are also a great place to find patterns and advice.
Have I tempted you to have a go? Most people who always say they wish they could crochet are pleasantly surprised how easy it is once they get started.
I'll be sharing this at these link ups