How to Crochet
Crochet is a wonderful hobby that is both relaxing, and fulfilling. The easy pace, regardless of the speed you choose to set for yourself, makes for a relaxing time, and the beautiful finished projects will more than satisfy your need for concrete fulfillment. Here is a helpful guide for those learning how to crochet.
The supplies you will need, though minimal, can make or break your project, so take the time to be choosy. A pattern, a hook-ended needle, and some yarn are all the materials necessary. Begin by finding an easy beginners pattern. Patterns can be for beginners, but complicated. I would not recommend these as it takes time at the beginning to get down this technique. Choose a pattern with a minimal amount of colors, one that is not too large that it will take a considerable amount to complete, and a gauge (needle size) of G, H, or I. Also, choose good quality yarn. Poor quality yarn can often break, or have knots in the spool, and frays easily. Once you've chosen a pattern, follow the provided instructions as far as yarn color and needle size. A helpful hint, always buy one more spool of thread than is called for. Better to have too much than to run out in the middle and find that the color you need is out of stock.
Once you have your supplies, you can begin the learning process. Crochet patterns are written in abbreviation. These abbreviations are not difficult to decipher, and are used over and over again, so you will find yourself remembering them quickly. Some common crochet abbreviations are: Sc-single crochet; Dc-double crochet; Tc-triple or treble crochet; Hdc-half double crochet; Inc-increase; Dec-decrease; Yo-yarn over; Sk-skip; and Rpt-repeat. Again, there is nothing complicated about these codes, no matter how daunting they may appear at the onset. Take a few minutes with your first pattern to familiarize yourself with these terms. After being reviewed two or three times, abbreviations will read as smoothly as regular words.
Next you must learn the stitches. Different patterns call for different stitches and combination of stitches to bring them to life. Together, we will learn the foundation stitch/chain stitch, the four basic stitches, as well as a few important terms. Without further adieu, I present the stitches.
The foundation stitch, true to its name, is the basis for any crochet stitch. This is a simple stitch to learn, though it takes a few tries to get comfortable with it. Start by making a slipknot on your crochet needle. Be careful not to make it too tight. Take the needle in your right hand (for those who are right-handed. Left-handed stitchers should reverse these instructions.), and the thread in your left. Face the hook toward you, and bring the thread from behind to the front of the hook (so it is now between you and the hook). Turn your hook face down, and catch the thread in the hook. Pull this thread through the knot that is already on your needle. One stitch has been completed, and there should now be a new loop on the needle. Practice this step as many times as you need until you are comfortable with it. Also play around with the thread to reach a good mixture of looseness/tightness. It should be loose enough to run freely through your fingers for quick and easy stitches, but taut enough to give your stitches structure. Spend a few minutes getting comfortable with the thread and needle. You will naturally find your proper balance.
Once you have practiced your fill of foundation stitches, look at your pattern to see how many foundation stitches you need for the length of your project. After the foundation chain, your pattern will tell you what stitches to follow up with. I will just go from smallest to largest stitch, as I have no specific pattern to copy. The single crochet begins by sticking your hook into the second stitch of the foundation chain. Yarn over (yo-this is the crocheting term for wrapping the thread around the hook, just like you've done for all your stitches), and pull the thread through the stitch. You should now have two loops on your needle. Yo again, and pull this thread through both loops on your needle. This is one single crochet stitch. The preceding instructions apply to the first row of crochet (after your foundation chain). All consecutive rows require a turning stitch/turning chain to continue. This is a chain stitch at the end of your last row followed by a skipping of a certain amount of stitches in the previous row. I'll explain further. The turning chain will differ depending on which stitch you are working with. Here we will discuss single crochet, as that is what we are working with presently. So, at the end of your first row of single crochet stitches, stitch one chain stitch (foundation stitch). Next, instead of sticking your needle into the first stitch of the previous row, skip that one, and place your needle into the second stitch. Stitch a single crochet in the second stitch (i.e. single crochet into that stitch), and continue stitching your single crochet stitch in each stitch of the previous row. Voila, this is your turning stitch. This is the procedure to follow for all following rows, except that from now on you put the needle into the first stitch instead of the second. The turning stitch varies slightly with each stitch, but I'll cover that as we go through the stitches.
The half-double crochet is similar to the single. Yo, and place your needle through the third stitch from the hook. You should now have three loops on your needle. Yo again, and pull through all three loops on the needle. This is the half-double crochet stitch. As far as the turning stitch, the differences for half-double crochet are these: make two chain stitches at the end of the row (instead of one as in single crochet), and stick the needle into the third stitch instead of the second (again, only for the first turning chain, all consecutive rows, stick the needle into the first stitch). Double crochet is almost exactly the same as the half-double. Yo and stick the needle into the fourth stitch. Yo again, and pull the thread through the first two loops on the needle. Yo again and pull it through the last two loops. This is your double crochet stitch. Differences for the turning stitch are as follows: stitch three chain stitches, and place the hook into the fourth stitch. For all consecutive rows, stick the needle into the second stitch. Triple crochet might sound more complicated, but in reality it is only one step more than the double. Yo twice, and stick the needle into the fifth stitch. Yo again, and pull through leaving four loops on your needle. Yo, and pull through the first two loops. Yo again, and pull through the next two loops. Yo one last time, and pull through the last two loops. Well, look at that, I think you've got it! Here's one last change for the turning stitch. Stitch four chain stitches at the end of the last row. Stick the needle into the fifth stitch from the needle, and into the second one for all following rows.
Above is all the basic information you will need to learn how to crochet. The next part is up to you. The more you practice, the better you will get. With time, the complexity of your projects will increase, and the variety will grow. Your enjoyment can only grow, as well, with time spent using this pleasant past time.
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| November 20, 2018
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