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Made popular during the pandemic (thanks to TikTok), crochet can be an easy and accessible way to make anything from clothes and accessories to stuffed animals.
Crochet is often compared to knitting because it also requires yarn, but instead of two knitting needles, you use a crochet hook. If you’re drawn to the idea of channeling your creativity through handmade crafts, crocheting could be a great hobby to take up.
“What I love about crochet and fiber art is that it’s a sustainable, community-based, accessible art form with a rich cultural history,” says Sophia Yau-Weeks , a mixed media, crochet and fiber artist who runs a small business. , Yau-Weeks Studios, with her two sisters, Olivia and Isabel, in the San Francisco Bay Area. “I was able to share crochet with my sisters,” adds Yau-Weeks, saying it’s “a way to connect with other human beings and build community.”
“I love the ability to take what is essentially a piece of string and turn it into something new and unique,” says professional crochet designer and blogger Ashley Parker. “When I first started crocheting, I struggled with anxiety and found that crocheting helped me keep my mind focused and made me calmer.”
If you’re a complete beginner, here’s how to get started with crochet:
1. Get the right yarn and hook.
If you’re interested in the art of crochet, you only need two things to get started: yarn and a crochet hook. “The yarn is your material and the hook is the tool used to create your stitch series,” says Yau-Weeks.
There is a whole world of yarn to choose from and many different sizes and styles of hooks. If you’re already overwhelmed, prepare to succeed with those that are ideal for beginners.
“I recommend starting with a 5.0mm or 5.5mm hook paired with a worsted yarn (size 4),” says Parker. Yau-Weeks agrees to choose a medium weight yarn because it is versatile and can be used for an array of projects. “For a beginner, I would recommend acrylic, cotton, or twisted wool yarns,” she says.
“This hook and yarn combo will give you a feel for finding and working your stitches, and they’re readily available so you can usually find a budget set to get you started,” says Parker.
2. Invest in a few useful extra items for a beginner’s toolkit.
Yarn or darning needles are a useful tool for finishing a crochet project and making sure things don’t come undone. “Yarn needles are an integral part of every crocheter’s tool kit, and beginners will need them to learn how to weave their ends,” says Parker. Yau-Weeks recommends choosing wire needles rather than plastic ones.
Additionally, you’ll want to invest in locking point markers, which “hold in place so they don’t fall out of your project and help mark the location of various points,” according to Parker. “I instruct beginners to use stitch markers to mark the first and last stitch of their rows to locate those stitches and prevent them from missing stitches.”
3. Start with the basics.
Once you have your yarn and hook, you’re ready to put them into action. You can take a course, learn by book, or consider the abundance of tutorials available online. Here are a few recommended by Parker and Yau-Weeks:
Parker recommends online platforms “where they offer courses to learn how to crochet as well as step-by-step project tutorials to guide you through learning how to crochet a specific project.”
“[These] are perfect for those who want to learn at their own pace and prefer to learn by watching someone else do it,” she adds.
There are also many free tutorials online. “Before investing in a course, I would recommend using the wide range of free resources available online,” says Yau-Weeks. “To get started, enter the item you want to craft, along with the ‘beginners tutorial’ and you should be able to find something that matches your skill level.”
You can find more online courses and crochet books here.