Learning to Crochet — The Basics

Posted by on Jun 20, 2011

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Vicki D. Oseland / Dreamstime


When you’re first learning to crochet, keeping your loops from falling of the hook, binding off in the middle of a row and deciphering all of those wacky pattern abbreviations can be enough to make you want to give up and go clean out your closet. But relax, there’s a book designed to answer all of your most critical crochet questions (and some you didn’t even know you had).

"Crochet: 200 Q&A" is an excellent resource for crocheters of all levels, giving you the skinny on everything from casting on the first stitch to creative finishing techniques. Author Rita Taylor has mastered crochet, knitting and pattern design and is an active member of the Knitting and Crochet Guild of Great Britain.

Rita gave us the scoop on the fundamentals of crochet and the supplies you’ll need to get started.

What is the best way to learn to crochet? I would always say that the best way to learn is to watch someone else, but watching a video is a good alternative to this. But saying that, I learned from a book!

What would you say is the biggest obstacle to overcome when learning to crochet? This depends a lot on whether the person can already knit, and which method of knitting they use. It can be difficult to get out of the habit of holding the working tool — the hook, in this case — and the yarn in different hands for those who use the “English” method of knitting. But there is no right and wrong way of holding the hook and yarn and you should work however you feel most comfortable.

What are the three must-have crochet hooks (size and type) for beginners?
For a beginner, the easiest way to learn is with a medium size hook G-6 (4½). Once you have familiarized yourself with the actions, an F-5 (4) and D-3 (3¼) are the most commonly used sizes. The best ones have slightly rounded hooks so as not to snag the yarn. I find the ones most comfortable to use are made from bamboo, but it is a matter of personal choice. You can buy square hooks now, which some people find easier to grip.

In "Crochet 200 Q&A," you talk about types of yarn that are best for crocheting certain projects. What should you look for in a quality yarn? Is the yarn brand as important to consider as yarn type? A quality yarn for crochet should be firmly spun but flexible. It's easier to work with a smooth yarn but there is no reason why you can’t try one with knops and slubs [a textured, lumpy surface]. Just remember to use a bigger hook than normal. A quality yarn should have no knots throughout the length of the ball, but I have not found one yet that meets this criterion. Even the most well-known brands can occasionally fall short and price is not always a guide to quality. I would say try them all, including some of the independent spinners, until you find one that you like best.

cover of Crochet: 200 Q&A
Rita Taylor is the author of Crochet: 200 Q&A, published by Barron's Educational Services.

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