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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Crochet Tips

Tips on Crochet
1. If you are a beginner, you may want to use a lighter yarn color. It's hard to see the stitches when the yarn is dark. I have a floor lamp called Ott-Lite, which is a "true color" lamp and is excellent for needlework! They can be expensive but the prices vary from store to store.They are anywhere from $120 - $160 at their website, but my husband paid $100 for mine at JoAnn fabrics about 4 years ago. (different kinds and sizes) They are selling at Amazon right now for $69. If you prefer a desk lamp, they are less expensive. I couldn't do without this lamp, especially when I'm working with darker yarns.

2. Gauge is very important in crochet, especially with wearables like sweaters, tops, skirts, etc. but not as important with scarves or purses. Using a larger hook or larger yarn than the pattern calls for, will make the item larger. Using a smaller hook and smaller yarn will make your project smaller. 

3. The bigger the hook you use, the looser, softer the item will be. This is good for scarves, shawls, some ponchos, and some hats.

4. If you use a smaller crochet hook, it will create a tighter fabric, which will tend to make it stiff  or firm. Some hats and purses need to be firm to hold their shape better. Also, if you want an item to be more firm, you should use a single crochet (sc) Using open, lacy stitch patterns will not result in a firm fabric. But that's good when you're making garments and scarves! You want them to be soft and drapeable.

5. You crochet tighter when you are stressed and looser when you are relaxed. If you put your project down, try not to wait too long to get back to it, because if you wait weeks or months and pick it up again, your gauge may be off, even if you have used the same size hook.

6. As a rule, it's better to crochet a little loose, rather than too tight. If your work is too tight, it makes it hard to pull the stitches through, and you're fighting with your work, making it hard. Crochet is supposed to be fun, not work! This can cause you to give up, but just hang in there and practice! You'll get the hang of it!

7. If you have never tried to crochet with novelty yarns, like fun fur, boa, or eyelash yarns, because of not being able to see the stitches, try using a plain yarn alonq with the novelty yarn, and use a large hook. I like to use size "P" crochet hook (gray plastic hook) for these projects. You'll be amazed at how much easier and quicker you can crochet with the larger hook. You can make a long, skinny scarf in one hour, even with the fun fur, if you follow this rule. Sometimes when you're using novelty type yarns and you can't see the stitches very well, you may just have to "feel" the stitches as you go. This is not difficult when you use a very large hook.

8. Crochet is incredibly easy. If you have patience and learn how to hold your hook and yarn, you can make almost anything. If you're a beginner and think you are not experienced enough to make a top or skirt, think again! My book, Crochet That Fits was written mainly for beginning crocheters who want to make garments and not just scarves, pot holders, wash clothes or afghans. The garments (tops, skirts, sweaters, dresses) in that book are fitted and flattering, not stiff or boxy looking like some crochet of the past. I came up with a new, very easy method called the Graduated Stitch Method (trademarked) that creates "shaped" fashions without using any increases or decreases! Beginning crocheters all over the world are writing me and thanking me for coming up with this method. They are excited and say it was SO easy to make their first garment! If you are on Ravelry, you can see some of their projects here. If you're not on Ravelry, you need to sign up now here! You'll love it! 

9. Surveys have been made among people who crochet and knit both. 98% of these people say that crochet is faster and more fun! Keep in mind that crochet takes more yarn than a knitted item in a similar design.

10. If you are making a project, and do not understand the pattern, don't be afraid to keep trying, and by all means ask an experienced crocheter. There are many websites that have tutorials and even videos of how to do stitches. It could be something very simple that will correct your problem. Please don't give up! Just learn the terms in crochet and you can follow just about any pattern.

11. If you are crocheting a scarf, and your piece keeps getting wider, it is most likely that you are adding stitches on the row or at the end of the rows. In double crochet, (but not sc) always skip the first stitch (dc) If you don't, your work will keep getting wider as you go.

 12. If your piece is getting smaller, you are probably accidentally skipping stitches. Counting your rows often will help eliminate frustration later.

13. Whenever you do a chain stitch at the beginning of a row (foundation chain) doesn't it seem to be tighter than the next few rows? I have found that if I use a larger hook for my foundation chain, than the pattern calls for, then the chain will not be too tight. After the foundation chain, go back to using the hook the pattern calls for. Another way to eliminate this problem (if you don't have a larger hook) is to work your beginning chain loosely.

 14. You can crochet almost anything, if you are patient and learn how to hold your hook and yarn! I can't type or drive a car that has a stick shift, but I can crochet! DESIRE to do it will really help you stick with it!


  1. These are really terrific tips! I especially appreciate the first one because it's something that I didn't know when I first started crocheting and not something that most people tell you. Great job!

  2. Thank you so much! I'm really glad the tips help! I'll probably add to that list as time goes on :)