When you think of a library, you probably think of us as a source of free books. While that’s true, and we do adore the printed word, our real goal as an institution is to provide the world with information. For free, whenever possible.
So with that in mind, welcome to RML’s new series of How To posts. In this series we hope to provide you all with the resources to learn something new from the comfort of your own internet capable location.
So to start, let’s learn how to crochet.
What is crochet? It’s like knitting, but faster, using way fewer needles, and producing an overall thicker fabric.
What do you need to get started?
Some yarn and a hook. And don’t let the yarn purists push you toward expensive stuff – you can often find yarn and hooks at second hand stores, at lawn sales, and usually at big stores like Wal-Mart and Amazon, for pretty cheap.
Aim for a simple, lightly colored yarn that’s all the same color. Save the super textured, multi-colored, and dark colors for when you’re more comfortable with your stitches
Most yarn will tell you what size hook to start crocheting with. This Red Heart yarn pictured below, for instance, has a little image recommending a 5.5 mm crochet hook (aka an I-9) to start out with.
Here are more detailed guides to the stitches, for both lefties and righties:
Right-Handed stitch guide: https://www.mooglyblog.com/learn-how-to-crochet/
Left-Handed stitch guide: https://www.mooglyblog.com/how-to-crochet-left-handed/
Don’t be afraid to practice the stitches they explain above one at a time until you get the hang of them. If you make squares, you can use them for coasters, or if you connect everything into a long strip, you can turn it into your very first scarf.
If you get bored just practicing the same stitches over and over, try some of these single crochet patterns.
And Congrats! You’re crocheting!
If you want to know more about how crochet works, here are some more useful topics:
Anatomy of a stitch: https://oombawkadesigncrochet.com/2016/09/stitch-anatomy-the-starting-chain.html
Written Patterns 101:https://www.craftyarncouncil.com/standards/how-to-read-crochet-pattern
Charted Patterns 101:https://oombawkadesigncrochet.com/2018/04/the-beginner-crochet-stitches-and-symbols-you-need-to-know.html
Yarn Weights 101:https://www.thesprucecrafts.com/understanding-yarn-weights-2117311
Basic Crochet Shapes:https://www.mooglyblog.com/how-to-make-5-basic-crochet-shapes-free-patterns-and-links/
and, naturally, here are a bunch of free patterns you can play with:
Other Beginner Patterns:
Some random advice for getting started:
- Start small for your first few items – dishcloths and coasters are quick and a lot less frustrating. Blankets are awesome and all, but they take FOREVER and can be super discouraging.
- There are many ways to hold your hook, but really, as long as your string gets tied in the right knots, it doesn’t matter how you hold things. Use whatever hand is comfortable for you and crochet in whatever direction you want.
- If you get frustrated with the hooks, try finger crochet! It’s a great way to learn how stitches work without fussing with that extra tool in your hand.
- Use simple, light colored yarn when you’re learning things since it’s easier to see the stitches.
- If you can’t get your edges to stay straight, count your stitches. I know it’s tedious, but it’ll help you learn how to find that last stitch in the row.
- The internet is your friend; if you don’t understand something, YouTube it.
- There are tons of online communities, like Ravelry, where you can find free patterns and ask for advice. There aren’t actually that many trolls in the fiber art community, so don’t be afraid to chat with folk.
- If you want an expert to talk to, ask at the nearest craft store for help finding a fiber arts group. Even if it’s called a knitting circle, chances are good someone there can help with crochet.
- Work on your craft in public! One of the best ways to find knitting/crochet buddies is to have a project out when you’re in public. I have met fellow knit/crocheters while in staff meetings, while in class, while riding on buses and trains, while waiting in the doctor’s office, and even while helping someone else solve a problem with their crochet at work. Fiber artists are literally everywhere, you just have to lure them out. And RML has its own Yarn group!
- Talk a friend into learning with you—it’s fun to have people there to help puzzle things out with. (And yes, boys can crochet too—don’t let anyone tell you different.)
- There are a lot of different kinds of yarns out there, and some of it can be super expensive. Don’t be afraid to look for yarn at lawn sales, flea markets, and used clothing/item shops. Wal-mart and other box stores often stock the cheaper brands of yarn as well.
And if all else fails, come talk to the librarians at RML. Both are versed in the basics, and one has been crocheting for years. We’re happy to help you learn.