Learning To Crochet

There are so many books, websites and vids available on how to crochet, so instead of adding to the growing list, I thought I’d share my own personal experience of learning to crochet.

I’ve always been able to knit, my grandma taught me the basics before I started school, I used to love going to the yarn shop to help her choose a new pattern and wool…my yarn addiction started at an early age! Grandma was one of those women who could knit with her eyes closed, and so fast that it was nothing more than a blur, I suspect I never did her teaching justice.

About six years ago I decided I’d learn to crochet, it didn’t look that complicated, just one hook instead of two or more knitting needles, simple I thought…or maybe not!

Holding a hook

I looked at endless pictures and vids and quickly reached the conclusion it was a good idea to ignore how other people held their hooks, this was a personal thing, I had to hold my hook in a manner that felt comfortable to me, it really did not matter if it wasn’t the same way as everyone else, as long as I could crochet. So if you’re just learning to crochet, spend some time just holding your hook, it will make learning easier…become one with your hook, I know that sounds a bit deep, but if it helps, do it!

Tension

It is quite common to crochet the starting chain too tight, then have difficulty getting your hook into a chain, leading to endless frustration, and on more than one occasion, flying hooks and yarn, though this may be more due to me being somewhat short of fuse!

When starting out, use a large hook, work your chains loosely to see where you’re going to crochet, do not overly concern yourself with tension, get the techniques right first, finesse will come with practice 🙂

You will get a feel for tension as you progress with crocheting, I slide the yarn through my fingers, I still get a floppy stitch now and then, but I blame that on old age and arthritis!

Terminology

This was a tough one for me to understand, in knitting, knit is knit, purl is purl, in crochet an sc could be a dc, or a slip stitch, it was all very confusing, a lot of patterns do not specify whether they are using British or American Terms, and yes I am a Brit, but American terms make a lot more sense to me!

If it isn’t obvious from the picture, and the pattern doesn’t state which terms are used, look through the pattern for the turning chain, for example:

Ch 1, turn, dc in next 3 sts

In that case, dc means sc (single crochet), as a turning chain of 1 is used for single crochet. After a while you can do the translation in your head and there is no need to rewrite patterns in American terminology.

It took me the best part of a year to learn how to crochet, and then I reached the conclusion that I would rather knit, or embroider, anything but crochet! But within two years I returned to crocheting, and now I’m completely hooked. So if you’re just learning to crochet, keep persevering and good luck, before long you too will be an addicted hooker!

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8 Comments Add yours

  1. I’m so glad I’m not the only brit that prefers American terminology. Brit terminology feels too big somehow if that makes any sense

    1. Shana Rae says:

      Makes perfect sense to me, and it looks really daft if you crochet it as described, a dc instead of an sc, I always wondered why my amigurumi looked weird!! Maybe one day everyone will agree to use only American terminology!

  2. I actually taught myself to crochet by watching youtube videos a couple of years ago, and it was only a year ago that I realised I was using American pattern terms! Lol
    Nowadays, if I see a pattern without an SC written in it, I can almost guarantee that it’s a UK pattern – but I do tend to stick to my US ones more 🙂

    1. Shana Rae says:

      I found watching vids too fast for me, they’d moved on to the next part before I’d even got my hook in the stitch!! I thought I was being smart buying old crochet books on eBay, turned out most of them were written in UK terms, really did not help!! 🙂

      1. I have to admit to a knowing chuckle when reading about your experience, because I had the self-same thing – but I learned to quickly pause the vid while I made a set of stitches, then play on a bit more for the next set. That way, I eventually managed to crochet quickly enough to follow most of the vids 🙂
        My favourite tutor of all, while I was learning, had to be Clare, from bobwilson123 fame, as she was always just slow enough for me to keep up, but still fast enough for those who had all the basics already 🙂

        Although I was born here in the UK, I do much prefer the US patterns I find – having that SC in there makes all the difference, doesn’t it? 🙂

        1. Shana Rae says:

          The other problem with vids is that I need my glasses on to see the vid, but I can’t see to crochet with them on LOL!!!

          I love SCs, nice cute little stitches you can do so much with, I think they call them slip stitches in one of my old books, now that really confused me, slip stitching into slip stitches would take forever to crochet anything!

          1. I’ve never heard single crochet called slip stitching before – it must be a very old book indeed! Lol
            That’s what I love about this crochet malarkey – you can learn something new every day with! Lol

            1. Shana Rae says:

              I’ve just found the book, so I’ll do a post about it!

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