Not Your Grandma’s Squares – How to Teach Yourself Crochet
Thanks largely to Pinterest, the crafting renaissance of the last few years has begun to take on a life of its own. Handicrafts like knitting and crochet are considered social art forms, and were once passed down from one generation to the next by women who met in groups to work and chat. Your mother or grandmother may have tried to teach you one of these skills as a child, but at the time the interest didn’t sink in or the desire wasn’t strong enough to retain the information.
You may be familiar with the Granny Square Blanket. Most likely someone in your family had one when you were growing up, and if not, you definitely saw one across the Barr family couch on Roseanne. This iconic crochet pattern often included mismatched or 70’s era colors, low-cost scratchy yarn, and was just ugly.
Today’s crochet combines the spirit of the women who created the art (1700 lace makers) and the ingenuity of the 1970’s without any of the ugly out-of-date patterns and colors. Now that you are finally ready to learn, this quick guide will help you start the process of learning how to crochet with tools and resources available on the Internet.
Start with the basics
First you need to gather up your supplies. A great basic project to begin with is a dishcloth. No matter how crooked it starts out, you will still have a functional item at the end.
To make a dishcloth you need:
100% Cotton Yarn
Sugar’n Cream is a great brand to buy with low prices and a large selection of colors.
Buy either a metal or wood one appropriate to the size yarn you purchased. For a dishcloth using Sugar’n Cream yarn, you need a size H or size G hook. This will be labeled on the side of the yarn package. Selecting between metal or wood is a personal preference. Some individuals like how slick metal is to work with, some people do not. Start with the one you like best and switch if you find it does not work for you.
Learn Some Stitches
All crochet stitches are a combination of 3 basic foundation stitches: Foundation Chain, Single Crochet, Double Crochet.
Step 1: Create a Foundation Chain
Start with a single slip knot. Place your crochet hook inside the slip knot and tighten down the string. Make sure the string isn’t very tight or else you won’t have any room for movement. Begin the chain by pulling a loop of yarn through your initial slip knot. Continue creating loops until you have the number you need for your pattern.
Step 2: Create a Row of Single Crochet
Holding your foundation chain in one hand, insert the hook back into the second chain from the hook. You should now have two loops of yarn around your hook.
Push your hook through enough to catch the yarn in your opposite hand around the end and pull that through both loops. You now have a single crochet stitch. Continue this until you reach the end of the chained row.
Step 3: Create a row of double crochet
When you reach the end of your row, chain 2 more stitches as you did the initial foundation row. This is called a turning chain. Now wrap a strand of yarn around the top of your hook and insert the hook into the second chain from the end. You should now have three loops of yarn on your hook.
Push your hook through enough to catch the yarn in your opposite hand around the end and pull that through 2 loops. This will leave 2 stitches on your hook.
Catch the yarn in your opposite hand around the end and pull that through both stitches remaining on your hook. Continue this until you reach the end of the row.
Select a pattern
For a dishcloth you may not need a pattern, but if you’d like to use one, here are a couple examples.
Single Crochet Dishcloth Pattern
Chain 27 stitches.
Row 1: Turn and stitch sc [single crochet] into the 2nd stitch. Repeat till the end.
Row 2 – 25: Repeat row 1
Double Crochet Dishcloth Pattern
Chain 27 stitches.
Row 1: Turn and stitch dc [double crochet] into the 2nd stitch. Repeat till the end.
Row 2 – 25: Repeat row 1
Join a Community
Crochet and knitting is a social art – meaning it is a great opportunity to get to know other hand crafters like yourself. Most groups are welcoming to newcomers and can help you learn as you go. Everyone was a beginner at one time or another!
Ravelry.com is a website dedicated to connecting those who love to knit or crochet. It includes forums for discussion, a comprehensive search engine for patterns (type of yarn, difficulty, etc.), and tools for crafters to catalogue and store project information, supplies and other details you may need to refer to later.
Find a Local Yarn Shop
Local yarn shops (or LYS as you’ll see on Revelry) are a great place to meet others interested in crochet! They often have a weekly meet-up that is free to attend to get to meet other people who enjoy their shop, or the shop may offer classes. KnitMap is a catalog of yarn stores that you can search by location.
Take A Class
Many local shops offer classes that can expand your skills, but if you don’t have the time, Craftsy is a wonderful online resource that provides classes that can be taken at your leisure. Craftsy is geared towards crafters of all skill sets, but they offer quite a few beginner crochet classes with notable crochet pattern designers.
With a bit of work and perseverance you can learn to crochet and start making your own handcrafted projects for your home and as gifts. Crochet is perfect for baby blankets, which are always fun gifts to see opened at baby showers.
Ready to try some other DIY projects? Check out this amazing All Natural Face Scrub Tutorial.
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