As Daisy Farm Crafts continues to grow, I receive lots of emails and questions about our craft of crochet from so many of you. I discovered that I am repeating the same advice in personal emails back to you and it finally dawned on me that I should just do a blog post! So, I’d like to offer five tips that I give out to help someone get started on a crochet journey.
Use Big Yarn and Hooks
When you first start to learn how to crochet, one thing that can really help you with your counting and knowing where to insert your hook is to start big, meaning pick a larger size hook, a J or a K, even L, and thicker yarn, size 4 or 5 weight. (Look on the yarn label and you will see a number in a box.) It’s sort of like when you were in Kindergarten and learning to write for the very first time and they gave you giant crayons. The same idea applies to crochet. Having bigger hooks and thicker yarn will help you to see the stitches easier and give your hands a chance to adjust to this new craft.
Do you see the number 5 in the box? That is referring to the thickness of the yarn. As a beginner you should start with either a number 4 or 5 type of yarn. This will help you hold the yarn easier in your hand. This brand is Bernat Softee Baby Chunky.
TIP: To start working with a skein of yarn like this, start by finding the end that is tucked away in the middle of the ball. Dig your hand into the middle and pull it out. The end should be hiding in there somewhere. It’s much easier to pull from the middle of the skein.
Learn Straight Rows First
Choose a baby blanket, scarf or washcloth with straight rows as one of your first projects. Any of those projects will give you lots of practice time, help you learn how to keep the sides straight and work row by row. I suggest tackling hats and mittens or things worked in the round, after you have mastered working straight rows.
This is the type of beginning project I would like to suggest. It’s made with one stitch, a half double crochet, and has minimal color change.
(Even though changing color could be considered advanced, as a beginner, I want you to create something interesting, and so I encourage learning how to change yarn color right away. Working with all one color is just boring and would most likely have you set the project aside. Working toward the next color change keeps the project fun.)
Make a Practice Swatch
Always do a practice swatch when you want to move on to a blanket you are unfamiliar with the stitch used. You need this swatch to practice your tension, the stitch, learn how the turning works, etc. I’m sad with you when you email me and tell me that you’ve chained 177 for the base row, spent a lot of time working that long row and something just isn’t right. Short samplers, like 20 chains or so, are essential before you start a blanket. Below is a sample of the half double crochet stitch.
I always work samples before I start a project. I need to make sure I am using the proper hook size, that the yarn I chose actually looks good with the pattern I picked. This all can be fixed in a sample.
TIP: Never start, as your first project, a chevron, (zig zag) pattern. Like never. The counting on that type of project is advanced beginner or intermediate. Make sure you have a good understanding of crochet before you tackle a chevron. This tribal chevron my daughter Hannah made, only made this after she’d worked several scarves and other blankets. She used very large yarn and hook and made a very small sample using the pattern repeat first.
TIP: A pattern repeat is included in all my patterns. That means you can customize the blanket to the size you need and also make a practice swatch. For instance, the pattern repeat for this chevron is 29 + 3. That means make a chain length in a multiple of 29 then add 3.
Practice with Inexpensive Yarn
When you are new to crochet, buy an inexpensive yarn like Caron Simply Soft or Hobby Lobby “I Love This Yarn” and don’t worry about wasting it. It is for you to practice with and don’t plan on giving away your first project. It’s for practice and it is helping you learn your craft. The beautiful thing about crochet is that you can set aside your first pieces, or simply take them out and start all over. Even if you end up throwing them away, they still helped you get better. I suggest you say thank you for the practice and let them go.
This is a sample I worked when I was learning the Boxed Block Stitch. I didn’t know at the time what I would use it for, but liked to play around with the color. It eventually did end up into a darling blanket!
Keep Design Simple
When you are ready to make a blanket for someone else, which is the fun part about crochet, keep your design simple and find a pattern that uses minimal color changes and looks classic and modern. I recently taught one of my daughters how to crochet and we created together a look that meets this criteria. She first practiced a swatch, Then I showed her how to change colors and turn the corners. Those few instructions helped her to make something beautiful! She enjoyed working on the project a few hours every day. In about a week or so, her project was finished.
I think it’s the perfect gift to give a young mom. It’s modern and not old fashioned looking. We all know crochet sort of has that stigma attached to it, and in order for my young daughter to be interested in the craft, she wanted to make something updated. Here is the pattern for her all half double crochet modern beginner blanket.
I hope these five tips are helpful and you’ll come and find me on Instagram or Facebook. I like to share the projects I’m designing as I go. Come and learn with me! I’m discovering new stitches all the time and love to share them with you.
Let’s be crochet friends!