How to start with crochet?

The urge to crochet hit me when I was rolling around with my bellybump for the last months. I wanted to make a blanket, booties, teddys, kitties, hats and who knows what else. Since I knew that one of my friends is also crafting, I asked where to get yarn. She referred me to a local store and I ordered almost a box of colourful acrylic yarn. Since the ultrasound hadn’t confirmed my little one’s gender yet (all other “signs” were indicating a girl), I bought both blue and pink yarn.

As you can see in the picture, I started with both classic crochet and amigurumi at the same time. I think any of us have done some granny squares at school, but what is amigurumi? I found the best English explanation here. Until this day I prefer crocheting to knitting because it only involves one pending stitch at a time and with a small child it is not hard to just put the unfinished work aside. There is also less drama in case the the hook falls completely out of the stitch – there is only one stitch to pick up.

Considering some logic, it is easier to start with classic crochet as it requires less equipment – a crochet hook and yarn. With amigurumi you additionally need to think at least about filling, usually also safety eyes and other accessories. On the other hand, amigurumi is convenient as it is manageable with a few simple stitch types – slip stitch and single crochet.

Regardless of what you would like to try first, the next tips should work.

  1. I suggest starting with finding a specific idea – be it a pattern or a video tutorial. It doesn’t need to be anything revolutionary, but if you don’t know or remember any stitches, it is easier to start with a nice guide. After this list I will write about some official and good quality sources, where you don’t need to worry about copyright issues.
  2. To crochet you need a crochet hook. I suggest getting a set with different sizes because you need to have a suitable hook depending on the material. With a set you don’t need to worry, if you are missing the right sized hook, every time you buy new yarn.
  3. Based on what and who your project is for, the right choice of yarn is important. Honestly, I missed the mark with my acrylic stash in the beginning. Yes, it is cheap and pretty, but it is not practical, considering the temperature regulation and care factor. Unfortunately, I had to learn it the hard way – my scarf wasn’t really keeping warm and my little one’s hands were ice blocks in the gloves I made for her. The things also didn’t look well after a wash. So what yarn is suitable? For clothes good old cotton and wool. With those you need to pay more attention to care instructions and can’t just stick them in the washing machine with any program, but at least you can expect warm items that don’t make you sweat. For toys you can experiment with more different mix yarn, if the main concern is not, how they function against the skin.
  4. If you are interested in a 3D project, be it a toy or even a pillow, you need to consider filling. So far, I have bought polyester fiberfill and it has survived nicely.
  5. To add some extras to you project, it is worth exploring accessories like buttons, eyes, pearls/beads, wooden rings, rattles, fabric pieces, etc.

Where to find patterns? In the beginning I was looking for ideas on Pinterest and I managed to find patterns, too – for example, the one for my first blanket. Since it is rather a collection of ideas, you can’t really rely on that and before finding something decent you may end up on several product marketing links and bad quality pictures. Even if there is a proper pattern or guide, it may not be the property of the user and a breach of copyright instead.

Patterns for classic crochet are available in the DROPS online store. It has an extensive selection (from doilies to jumpers). If you are struggling with the patterns, you can additionally find video tutorials for both stitches and techniques.

For amigurumi I have discovered a similar collection. It is also an online store but offers a lot of support for a beginner crafter. It is our local lilleliis, who is sharing both free patterns and guidelines for useful techniques. I suggest learning the 4 tricks for neat stitches immediately – I discovered them one by one in different blogs and was disappointed that I didn’t know them earlier. If you are planning a multicolour project or your item contains several pieces, I also recommend reviewing, how to sew pieces and change colour. Another interesting source for patterns is Amigurumi Today.

I also have a small collection of books by now – I will share the details in another post. Feel free to add some good sources in the comments.

Do you feel like crocheting already?

PS: the crochet blanket is still a big time favourite at our house. I was complaining about the choice of material, but the little one loves it very much and still seeks for it – especially when she is sick and looking for a safe spot.

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