If you are reading this post, I am assuming you are just starting out with your crochet journey.
But enough about me…. let’s get into some of the crochet tips for beginners I have for you. I have learned all these tips from personal experience and unfortunately, had to learn a few the hard way. But keep these 11 crochet tips for beginners ( I like odd numbers) in mind and it should make your life a little easier.
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1. Wind Your Yarn Into Balls
Tangling is a real problem. Trust me… I know! I have spent way too much time in my early crochet days untangling the most
2. Always Do A Gauge Swatch
If you are like me, you are impatient to start working on a new pattern and are irritated by having to stop to make a gauge swatch first. But skipping the gauge swatch is a bad idea! Depending on the type of pattern you are doing,
3. Count Your Crochet Stitches… And Rows!
It’s happened to all crocheters at some point… having to frog (unravel) a row, or even worse, several rows to backtrack and fix a mistake made by messing up the stitch count. If you skip even one stitch, or accidentally work the wrong stitch, it can throw your whole project off. Count those stitches! Compare it with the stitch count in the pattern you are working to make sure you are on track. Also count your rows to know exactly where you are in the progression of the pattern. If all this sounds like too much extra effort and energy, invest in a stitch/ row counter. They are inexpensive and very much worth it. You just hit a button, or a clicker every time you reach the end of a row. It will make following along with the pattern much easier. Try this one, which has worked for me so far….
4. Work Your Tails Into Your Piece As You Are Crocheting
If you are switching colors often in your projects, you will come to hate the part where you have lots and lots of little yarn tails that you have to weave in at the end. To save you the frustration, start working your ends in with the other stitches as you are crocheting them. It’s simple… just crochet around the yarn tail and it disappears into your stitches and becomes invisible. It also secures them better so that they are less likely to come loose and unravel.
5. Use The Magic Ring / Magic Circle
Oooh…magic!! Sounds exciting right? Not too exciting but definitely useful and a much more efficient way to begin a circular crochet piece. The magic ring (often called the magic circle) can be used in place of chaining and slip stitching to form the beginning ring. The great thing about it ….the “magic” part is that you can pull the tail end and tighten it up enough to close tightly the opening in the center of
6. Use Stitch Markers, Or Improvise With Objects You Already Have
When trying to keep track of certain places in your project, such as the first stitch in a round of crochet in the round, use stitch markers. It makes it so much easier than trying to eyeball it, or having to repeatedly count stitches to find your place. Stitch markers are cheap but I find it easier (and even cheaper) to use objects I already have, and that you probably have too. Bobby pins work great. So do paperclips. Or if all else fails, take a small piece of yarn, in a contrasting color, and tie it around the stitch you want to mark.
7. Get Creative With Your Yarn Storage
I have quite an extensive yarn stash, and if you don’t already, you probably will too at some point. The yarn addiction seems to be a totally normal, and acceptable, part of being a crochet enthusiast. There is never enough yarn! My husband doesn’t quite understand this. But you do I’m sure.
So get creative with your storage options. The clear bags with zippers that bedding comes in works great and is what I use to keep together all my yarn balls of a certain color, or of a certain type. The ability to zip these up also keeps out tiny little fingers, as I have toddlers who like to explore, and occasionally wonder into my yarn corner. I have a shelving unit that has the little cubby like square shelf sections and I slide canvas or plastic bins into them to separate and organize my yarn stash. This shelving unit works great and is available in multiple colors…..
8. Wind Yarn Around DVD Cases To Make Tassels Or Fringes
Many crochet patterns, of course, have tassels or fringes added to the bottom. Who doesn’t love some fringe here and there? I know I do. To help make cutting yarn quicker and easier, as well as helping you to cut yarn sections of equal lengths, try winding yarn around and around a DVD case or a thin book. Anything that is square or rectangular and not too thick. This will save you the time from eyeballing or actually measuring out section after section of equal length yarn for your tassels or fringe.
9. Use Foundation Stitches Instead Of Chains To Begin A Project
Depending on the type of pattern you are working, foundation stitches can make the beginning edge of your piece look neater and more uniform with the rest of your rows. Instead of chaining a number of chain stitches to begin your first row of crochet, replace it with the foundation stitch technique. It doesn’t matter if you are doing single crochets, half double crochets, double crochets, and so on. The same concept applies to all of them. I actually plan to do a video on my YouTube channel on foundation stitches, but since I have not gotten around to that quite yet, check out my blog post on foundation stitches with tutorials.
10. Softening Your Yarn
Occasionally, you might have a yarn that is a bit too stiff or scratchy for your liking. Or maybe your finished project is just a bit too stiff. I make it a regular habit of softening my projects after they are completed. It is, of course, easier to soften yarn after your piece is complete, instead of trying to soften yarn first and then wind it back into a ball before using. The easiest and most effective way I have found to do this, is to use hair conditioner. Hair conditioner softens yarn fibers the same way it softens hair. I have used several different brands and most are equally effective. I use Pantene most often because I soften a lot of yarn projects and it is inexpensive and works pretty good.
To soften your yarn this way, just fill a sink with hot water and a generous amount of the conditioner and work the crochet piece into the water. I will add that you should check the yarn label to see if you can get the yarn wet/wash it as some yarns and wool you cannot. If it is safe to wash, swish it around so it works the conditioner throughout, and then let it soak for an hour or so. Make sure to rinse it, so it doesn’t dry with a funky smell if conditioner isn’t fully rinsed out. Then either air dry your piece, or throw it in the dryer on low heat (if the type of yarn you used is dryer safe….so make sure to check the label). Your finished crochet project should now be much softer and have more of a drape to it.
This is one of my favorite crochet tips for beginners and one I wish I had known right from the beginning
11. Block Your Projects
I admit that I do not block every finished piece that I make. It all depends on the item itself. However, some crochet pieces look a lot better when blocked. Blocking is a technique to get your finished piece to lay flat (fixes curling issues) and even to stretch a little to a more desired shape. There are several ways you can block a project, the easiest of which, is to spray it generously with water, pin it down to
Some awesome blocking mats I came across that have useful grid lines and come with pins to make your blocking more efficient….. Hephaestus Crafts Blocking Mats for Knitting – Pack of 9 GRAY Blocking Boards with Grids for Needlepoint or Crochet. 150 T-pinsH
So there you go. Plenty of crochet tips for beginners that you can use to avoid running into problems and crochet more efficiently. I hope you found them helpful. I will be posting articles here on the blog, with more tips tricks and resources to help the budding crochet artist in you. So check back often! And if you would like to be notified of new posts, or to get exclusive content from The Stitch Vixen, subscribe to the newsletter so I can stay in touch.