“Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvellous.” - Bill Moyers
Studies have shown that knitting and crochet reduce the risk of cognitive impairment in later life. Knitters have healthier brains and better memories than those who don’t knit or crochet.
But you don’t need to be 75 to start knitting or crocheting. Making your own clothes and accessories is back in fashion and furthermore, you can help reduce the waste made by the textile industry, the world’s second largest polluter.
If you’re getting started with knitting and crochet, you might need some help. Fortunately for you, this article will tell you what you need to get and how to get started.
Are you not sure about crocheting?
Here are some great reasons to crochet:
- It’s easy. Even easier than knitting! There’s just one hook to worry about and fewer basics to worry about.
- It’s popular right now. Crochet has seen a resurgence in recent years.
- It’s fun. You can create clothes and soft toys for your children.
- It’s practical. You only need one hook or needle, meaning that you can easily take your gear with you.
- It’s relaxing. Studies have shown that knitting and crochet reduce stress and slow your heart rate.
- It’s good for your brain. Following a tutorial or a free pattern and counting your stitches and lines can be therapeutic and good for your brain by creating new neural connections and strengthening old ones.
- It’s good for your hands. Crochet can improve your motor skills and your dexterity and can help reduce the risk of arthritis.
- It’s rewarding. Being able to say “I made that” can give you a huge sense of pride. Crochet allows you to build your confidence, too.
- It’s social. You can easily create a social bond by sharing your passion for crochet with others in a café or a Facebook group. You’ll be surprised at how many people you’ll meet through crochet.
Convinced? When are you going to start?
What Do You Need to Start Crocheting?
To learn to knit, you’ll need knitting needles. To learn how to crochet, you’ll need just one crochet hook.
Choosing a Crochet Hook
Just because you only need one hook, that doesn’t mean you should get the first one you see. There is a multitude of plastic, wooden, bamboo, metal, thick, and thin crochet hooks you can get.
A crochet hook has three main parts: the head, the shaft, and the handle. Each part is important and you’ll need to consider the material, length, diameter, and weight before choosing one.
Plastic crochet hooks are very light and are recommended for thick threads like when making a rug, scarf, or snood. On the other hand, metal crochet hooks are recommended for fine materials like lace.
Beginners should opt for a 15cm wooden or plastic crochet hook with a diameter of between 0.4 and 0.5cm. These are quite large crochet hooks and they’re good for making things with large stitches. They’re great for getting started.
A crochet hook can cost between a couple of quid and go up to £20 in a haberdashery. You can also find them online.
There are also packs of crochet hooks available so you can get various diameters and lengths and choose the right one for each project.
Choosing Your Material
Just like the hook, you need to choose the right material for your project. I recommend you decide what you’re going to make and then buy the crochet hook and the right yarn or thread.
Start with soft cotton thread in a single colour to better understand the process. You can get started with a hat, poncho, or some mittens.
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Which Are the Best Crochet Tutorials?
Once you’ve got your materials, it’s time to really start learning about crochet. Before you start your project, you should practise some of the basic crochet techniques. Even if it seems quite simple, you should start off simple and master the basics before you get started.
Here are some of the most common techniques:
- Chain stitch
- Half double crochet stitch
- Single crochet
- Changing the line
- Increasing or decreasing stitches
- Changing the yarn or thread
- Treble crochet or quadruple crochet
- Tunisian crochet
- Slip knot
Just by learning these techniques, you can have quite a bit of fun. You can then learn to do a magic circle, crochet in the round, or do a V stitch.
To learn the basics of crochet, there are plenty of tutorials and patterns available for free online. There are plenty of YouTube channels and websites that can show you how to do it. Keep in mind that the British and American terminology for crochet is different so check where each resource you use is from.
The best thing of all is that there are a lot of free resources to get you started with crochet and simple patterns. Similarly, you can use the internet and social media to get in touch with other crocheters. You can talk to them, show off your projects, and get advice. There are beginner crochet kits and equipment available for around £30 to £40, too.
Where Can You Find Crochet Patterns?
So you’ve already mastered the basic crochet techniques and you’d like to start making clothes or accessories. But you don’t know where to begin...
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Crochet isn’t as widespread as knitting but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a free crochet pattern onling. A quick search for “crochet patterns” on Google will reveal plenty of results.
- The website LoveCrochet has plenty of free crochet patterns for you to work from. Handy, isn’t it?
- AllFreeCrochet.com also has free patterns. There’s also information on the various techniques.
- Yanspirations has a lot of crochet patterns and knitting for you to work from.
- The social network Pinterest is also a great site to visit for arts and crafts. Searching for “crochet patterns” there will provide you with a lot of inspiration.
- Ravelry, the social network for knitting, crocheting, weaving, and spinning.
If you’re looking for ideas, here are some things you can make quite simply:
- Amigurumi soft toys
- Crochet basket
- A pouch or purse
- A teapot cosy
- A crochet baby blanket
- A poncho
- Granny squares
- A crochet scarf
- Crochet hats
- A placemat
- A cushion cover
- A rug
- An infinity scarf
As you’ll have understood, it’s not difficult finding information about crochet online. You just need to work out what you want to make!
Crochet is a great way to express your creativity and let your imagination run wild.
So are you ready to give it a go?
Before you start with a granny square, a baby blanket or baby booties, scarves, or your first slip stitch, consider getting a private tutor to help you. They'll be able to help you find suitable crochet projects, an easy crochet pattern, and the right yarns to get you started!
If you still need more help, search for crochet tutors on Superprof. There are plenty of tutors across the country with the skills to help you with your new hobby.
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There are three main types of tutorial available on the site: face-to-face tutorials, online tutorials, and group tutorials. Each has its advantages and disadvantages and the best one for you really depends on your situation.
Face-to-face tutorials are the most personal and have you and your tutor working together for the whole session. Of course, this bespoke service comes at a cost, making it the most costly type of tutorial available. However, it's also the most cost-effective as every minute of the tutor's time is spent helping you.
Online tutorials are similar to face-to-face tutorials with the main difference being that the tutor isn't physically in the room with you. Thanks to services like Skype, a tutor can teach you remotely using a webcam and an internet connection. Since the tutor isn't in the room with you, this can make hands-on skills like crochet a little trickier. However, without travel costs, the tutor can charge their student less per hour.
Finally, there are group tutorials. In these types of tutorials, there are several students and just one tutor. With all the students sharing the cost of the tutor's time, these tutorials are usually the cheapest per person per hour but each student won't get the bespoke tutoring or one-on-one time that they would in the other types of tutorials.
So are you ready to start learning how to crochet?
You'll soon be hooked!
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