I don't know about you, but every autumn season I get the itch to start something new! I don't know what it is, but every year I feel in the mood to get crafty or start some kind of project that I can do at home. In case any of you feel the same, we thought it would be fun to do something together. So, we've worked with Holly Neufeld to create a series of posts designed to teach you to crochet! I have been looking forward to this series for a few months now as I am in NEED of brushing up on some long-forgotten skills. So without further a do, take it away, Holly:
Crocheting is one of my most beloved hobbies. I think one of the biggest reasons I love it so much is the simplicity of it. You only need a hook and yarn to create something. And it’s so easy to bring your projects with you wherever you go.
I was very fortunate to have my husband’s mom teach me how to crochet. She took a bit of time one summer afternoon six years ago to show me the basics, and I’ve been “hooked” ever since. I started off making scarves and dish cloths, but it didn’t take very long before I was trying amigurumi animals and making hats and cowls. I enjoyed crocheting so much that I was looking for excuses to buy yarn and make things. I ended up opening an Etsy shop in 2007 to sell the things I created.
My wish for you, is that this series will be a simple way for you to grasp the hobby and be well on your way to creating crocheted gifts and lovely things for you, your friends, family, and your home. I hope it ignites a passion for yarn crafts like it has for me.
If there is a specific project you have in mind, your pattern will suggest a yarn weight that is best suited. There are many different weights of yarn, such as:
0: Lace (or fingering)
1: Superfine (or sock)
2: Fine (or sport)
3: Light (or DK, light worsted)
4: Medium (or worsted, afghan, aran)
5: Bulky (or chunky)
6: Super Bulky
Your yarn label will have a little symbol with a number on it.
0: Lace, 1.6 - 1.4mm (steel hook)
1: Superfine, 2.25 - 3.5mm
2: Fine, 3.5 - 4.5mm
3: Light, 4.5 - 5.5mm
4: Medium, 5.5 - 6.5mm
5: Bulky, 6.5 - 9mm
6: Super Bulky, 9mm +
Your pattern will have a gauge that explains how many stitches (st) should be in a certain length, for example, 4 inches. Use your measuring tape to crochet 4 inches of single crochet (sc) stitches to make sure the gauge is correct.
To start, choose a medium or bulky weight yarn and the appropriate hook. With the hook in your right hand, hold it with the hooked end pointing upwards between your thumb and middle finger. Your index finger will be a guide for the yarn, and the handle end of the hook will rest on the outer edge of your hand, with your ring and pinky fingers lightly keeping it in place.
Flip if you are left handed.
Now let's talk about reading a pattern. Crochet patterns are written using abbreviations, which makes them easier to read. Yarn industry designers and publishers use the same abbreviations in most patterns. Sometimes a pattern will have a unique abbreviation and usually explains what it means at the beginning of the pattern. These are a few of the most commonly used abbreviations:
ch, chs - chain, chains
dc - double crochet
dc2tog - double crochet two stitches together
dec - decrease
hdc - half double crochet
inc - increase
rep - repeat
rnd, rnds - round, rounds
sc - single crochet
sc2tog - single crochet two stitches together
sl st - slip stitch
st, sts - stitch, stitches
tog - together
tr - treble crochet
yo - yarn over
beg - beginning
ch sp - chain space
A chain space is, for example, when you ch1 and then skip a stitch before making another ch1 in the next stitch. This creates a little opening which is called the "chain space". So when the pattern reads: 4dc in ch sp, you'll stitch those 4 double crochet stitches in the little opening that was created the previous row. A Granny Square pattern is a pattern that you will work in chain spaces.
Brackets [ ] and parentheses ( ), indicate that you work the instructions within them as many times as directed, often in the same stitch. For example, when the pattern reads (sc, 2dc), it means to do those stitches in the same stitch.
* or * * indicates to repeat the instructions after or between asterisks as many times as directed. For example, the pattern might read: "Row 2: Dc in next 5 sts; *ch 1, skip next st, dc in next st; rep from * to end of row."
Understanding abbreviations, how to read patterns, needle sizes, and different yarn weights will be less overwhelming. This series will teach you basic stitches, and equip you with everything you need to know to start crocheting. So look forward to some fun patterns and how-to videos! -Holly
Credits // Author: Holly Neufeld, Photography: Sarah Rhodes. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.