A Beginner’s Guide to Crochet – The Tide

The New Year is here and that means New Year’s resolutions. If you want to learn something new or take up a new hobby, crocheting might be for you.

Crocheting is a yarn craft that involves a single crochet. This hook is uniquely designed with another small hook attached to the top, for looping yarn to create projects.

One of the biggest misconceptions about crochet is that it’s the same as knitting.

Knitting uses two needles while crochet uses only one hook. The stitches on a crochet project also look different than on a piece of knitting. Knitting can create better hats and sweaters, but knitting a toy is very difficult, so that’s where crocheting benefits. The same goes for knitting where some projects are easier to create, so it’s the artist’s preference over which one they like best. If you’re having trouble deciding which yarn craft you want to start, crochet is easier to understand. But, if you want more of a challenge, you can learn both.

To dig deeper into the mechanics of crochet, the two most important materials needed for any project are a crochet hook and a ball of yarn. These two come in many different sizes. There can be jumbo sizes and micro sizes. Hook size also correlates to yarn size. For example, if you have a medium sized yarn, the pattern will call for a 5mm size hook which is considered a medium sized hook. Hooks and yarn can also be made of different materials and textures. The yarn can be fine and soft or extremely fuzzy. Hooks can be made of aluminum, steel, plastic or wood.

There are many other very important materials needed for many crochet projects such as stitch markers, needles and scissors. When you crochet “in the round”, you are crocheting in a circle that has no end. Stitch markers are placed in the project to mark the first stitch of each round so you know where to stop. These can be crucial when crocheting toys.

Crochet toys, like these fuzzy bees and cows (as seen on TikTok), are called “amigurumi.” It simply means “crochet toy” in Japanese. Crocheting a toy can sometimes take different approaches to stitches than creating other things like scarves and hats. It is a little more difficult to create a small toy than a large sweater.

Most projects start with a “slipknot,” which is a simple knot that has a small loop. Other projects, like toys, often start with a “magic circle” or “magic ring.” It’s a bit more complicated than a slipknot and takes a lot of practice. A magic circle is more of an “open loop” than a closed loop with a knot at the bottom.

Even though crocheting is a wonderful hobby, there are consequences that come with it. Depending on how you place the hook in or against your fingers, inflamed bumps may appear on your skin. These bumps are most likely going to stay permanently on your fingers. Aluminum clasps mainly cause calluses and irritated skin. The hook even requires a correctly positioned wrist. You can develop carpal tunnel syndrome or repetitive stress injury if your wrist is in the wrong place.

Despite the problems you may have with the hook, there are plenty of ways to hold the hook and yarn that won’t hurt your hands. You can also wear splints and specific tools that go on hooks to prevent injury.

Unlike other vigorous extracurricular activities, this craft can be very relaxing and stress relieving. It doesn’t take much thought, just practice. When you start to master most stitches, crocheting will become an obsession. It can be extremely addictive when you feel like doing specific projects.

The hook is also a great way to get SSL hours. Numerous SSL opportunities donated by the county require students to create a blanket or one or more toys for hospitalized children. You can get up to 35 hours for coverage. It can also be a great way to learn how to crochet faster and complete projects on time, due to strict deadlines given by organizations.

As a beginner, some of the easiest projects include washcloths, scarves, and coasters. As you become familiar with crochet stitches and techniques, you can create things like bags, granny squares, or flowers.

Video demonstrations are much simpler than hand-made models, but not all projects come with a video. Each stitch has a specific name and abbreviation in crochet patterns and videos. The patterns can be a bit confusing to read, but are very easy to understand with just a little practice.

If you are thinking of starting your crochet journey, there are many Youtube channels that give very detailed explanations of each stitch you need to create a project. Some of the best include Bella Coco and Naztazia.

Good hook!