Monday, May 9, 2011

Crochet Tutorial #1

First things first. Supplies. You may think that all you need is a hook and some yarn. Well, what size of hook? Do you want the stitches to be tight and close together? Or do you want a loose stitch with a little give? What kind of yarn? Soft? Bulky? Shimmery? Light-weight? Let’s see if I can help.

#1 – Crochet Hooks

There are a lot of brands of crochet hooks. You will find them in all shapes and sizes. You will also find them in all price ranges.

I use Boye hooks. The only specific reason is price. I buy them at Walmart for about $1.50 each. You can buy them in sets also, which is a little better deal if you have the money to spend. Go here for a set.

Crochet hooks also come in very small sizes for crochet thread. Crochet thread will be talked about later in the yarn section. The hooks sizes are numbers, whereas yarn hooks are classified in letters. You can buy a set of both together here.

Now, how do you know which size hook to use? If you are using a pattern, it will tell you. If you are making something without a pattern, your yarn label will give you a good guideline. I will go into more detail about the yarn label further down in this post.

If you are just going to buy one hook to get started, I would suggest buying a size H hook (for yarn projects). I use it more than any other. It seems to be right in the middle in terms of tightness and size.

If you are wanting just one hook for crochet thread projects, my favorite is a size 8.

Now, I don’t mean to confuse you about hook sizes. Each hook size, whether a yarn or thread hook, will have a number. It will tell you the size in millimeters. Patterns will usually say something like, “Crochet hook needed is G/4.25mm”. The number on the small hooks will be something like “8/1.50mm”.

You may also want to purchase a crochet hook organizer. This is mine.

You can find them here.

Or, you can make your own. The pattern is here.

#2 – Yarn

There are so many different kinds of yarn out there. I use acrylic and cotton most of the time. Specifically, I use Vanna’s Choice, Caron Simply Soft, and Red Heart. I buy them at Michaels Craft Store or Hobby Lobby. Here is a link to the direct listings:

Vanna’s Choice.


Red Heart.

Caron Simply Soft yarn is unique. It is very soft and almost shiny. I really like to use it because it doesn’t have the fuzzy look that some yarns have. Here is a photo of a cardigan I’ve made with it.

Here is a photo of a fanny pack made with Red Heart yarn.

And here is an ear warmer made with Vanna’s Choice.

When choosing a yarn, read the yarn label. Every skein you buy will have a label like this.

Here is what you need to know. The box on the left tells the weight of the yarn. A pattern will usually specify a number when talking about weight.

0- Lace

1- Super Fine

2- Fine

3- Light

4- Medium

5- Bulky

6- Super Bulky

If you go to this website, (click here), you can see photos of each size relative to each other.

The number 4 in this label shows how many separate strands of thread were twisted together to make the yarn.

In the 2nd box, you learn about the gauge. A gauge tells you how many stitches and rows should make a certain size sample swatch. In this example, the gauge is actually a knitting gauge. (Shown with the knitting needles.) Check your pattern for your crochet gauge.

The middle box shows which size of crochet hook is recommended for this particular yarn.

The boxes on the right show care instructions.

Crochet Thread

Crochet thread also comes in different sizes. The most commonly used is a size 10. The package will clearly show the size. Thread is used to make doilies and baby blanket edgings. I buy it at Hobby Lobby. Usually I can get it for $2.50 in the store. Click here for listing.

Here is an example of a headband I made with crochet thread.

#3 – Yarn Needle

The last essential supply needed for your first crochet project is a yarn needle. It is also called a tapestry needle. It is used to weave in the loose ends left from the beginning and ending stitches. You can find them here.

And that’s it! Once you’re equipped with a crochet hook, yarn (or thread), and a yarn needle, you are ready to begin! If you have any questions about supplies, make sure to leave them in the comments and I’ll check in to answer them.

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