Wednesday, April 1, 2015

How I Taught Myself to Crochet

Ten months ago, I taught myself to crochet using YouTube tutorials. I had tried a book before that, but it was difficult to understand which direction the static pictures were telling me to move my yarn and hook. I greatly appreciate having access to amazing, free online video resources that are the next best thing to a live instructor guiding you at each step. There are countless crochet tutorials on YouTube, but the links below are the tutorials that I chose because they are so easy to follow (you can always push pause to catch up). These tutorials cover everything you need to know in order to get started crocheting, including how to hold the yarn and hook.

Before getting started, I picked up some yarn and a hook for less than $5 at a local craft store in town (I like Jo-Ann Fabrics for a great selection of yarn and best-priced hooks). This is what I chose based on the recommendations in the video tutorial:


  • Yarn 
    • White (or light-colored)
    • Worsted weight (#4)
    • 100% acrylic 

    • Hook
      • Size 5.5mm (aka size "I")
      • Aluminum

      Isn’t it amazing that all you need to start crocheting is a single skein of yarn and a crochet hook? It's truly the people's craft! I selected white yarn because it is easier to see each part of your stitches with a light color. Worsted weight was recommended in the tutorial and is also commonly used in most patterns that I've found. Hook size 5.5mm is what was recommended on the yarn label, but 5mm (aka "H") was recommended in the tutorial and is also a great size to use with worsted weight yarn. Aluminum is a common hook material that is easiest to find in stores in multiple sizes. hosts the great YouTube channel with the video tutorials that I used to get started crocheting. The stitches (with abbreviations) covered in each tutorial are listed below each link:

      Beginner crochet tutorial (1 of 2)
      • slipknot
      • chain (ch)
      • single crochet (sc)

        Beginner crochet tutorial (2 of 2)
        • double crochet (dc)
        • half double crochet (hdc)
        • triple crochet (tr)
        • crochet in back loops only (blo)
        • slip stitch (sl st)

        The first video tutorial directs viewers to practice by making a dishcloth. I was in the car (as a passenger) when I started my dishcloth, so I had to go from memory. Well, I forgot what to do at the end of each row...

        Once I realized each row was getting narrower than the last, I added five double crochet rows on top of the 14 single crochet rows that I'd already completed, then saved my first ever piece of crochet for posterity. I thought it may come in handy one day for a reason other than wiping a child's nose.

        Here is a picture of my first crochet creation:

        crochet practice dishcloth
        My first "dishcloth"

        It doesn't look much like a dishcloth, but the goal was just to practice the stitches, so I'm calling this one a success. After learning the stitches, all I needed to do was hone my technique (i.e., get comfortable holding the yarn and maintaining consistent tension). I already had all the tools I needed to try following my first pattern! 

        For my first project, I wanted to try something a little more challenging than a dishcloth, so I chose to crochet a flower similar to the one in the picture below. I found a close match on Etsy. It's a crochet rose pattern designed by HappyPattyCrochet. Doesn't it look like the real thing? 

        Here is a picture of the real flower blooming in front of my house:

        pink flower in bloom

        April Fools! I just had to commemorate the fact that I'm publishing my first ever blog post on April 1st! The truth is, I have not yet crocheted Happy Patty's amazingly realistic flower pattern, but I'd like to one day.

        All kidding aside, I wanted my first real project to be something special, so I decided to make a blanket for my preschooler. I figured I'd be a master of the double crochet stitch by the time I completed an entire blanket. Since the blanket was going to take awhile, I wanted something a bit more challenging than straight rows of double crochet. After scouring the web for the perfect blanket, I chose this FREE Wavy Chevron Blanket pattern  by Paula of in order to learn how to make wavy chevrons. I love this pattern because there is also a video tutorial that goes along with it.
        Would you like to see a picture of my blanket? So would I, but it's not finished yet (unfortunately, this is not a joke). Although it's possible that I am the world's slowest crocheter, I'm not THAT slow. I have not finished this blanket yet because, after I crocheted my first few rows and proved to myself that I could follow a pattern (i.e., after the "I know Krochet" moment), I found myself searching the web for other cute, easy patterns and discovered...booties! It turns out, I gravitate towards projects that I can complete in a single weekend. I love the feeling of accomplishment that comes from quickly completing a crochet project. That being said, although there are countless fun projects vying for my time and attention, my goal is to complete my first blanket by Mother's Day, which will be a fitting way to celebrate the first anniversary of the day I gave myself the gift of crochet. 

        Are you new to crochet? What did you choose as your first ever crochet project?

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