Want to learn something new? Fancy a new hobby for spring/summer? Maybe you’re looking for something fun and easy to do with the kids that isn’t too expensive and keeps their little hands and brains busy over the summer holidays?
Well… ever thought of taking up crochet? It’s simple and so much fun! Once you’ve gotten to grips with the basic stitches you can make so many different things from clothing to teddies, blankets and pillow covers, even sturdy dishcloths and fancy home decorations. This is a list of all the things you will need to get started and even where to find them at a great price (aren’t I good to you?)
What you will need
Firstly, as a beginner you should only start out with a couple of different hook sizes, although it may be cheaper to buy a pack of 10 or so hooks in all different sizes. I like to buy the hooks that have a little padding to them as they make for a more comfortable crafting session, but I tend to work on longer projects. Metal hooks are still very good and I use them often if I’m working with a finer yarn. Bella Coco has a great set of metal hooks in her online store for only £4 for 12 hooks and covers all the sizes you will need for now. (https://bellacocostore.com/collections/tools/products/aluminium-crochet-hook-set)
Secondly and probably the most important thing is wool or yarn. When I first started to learn how to crochet (ahh those terrifying days of ‘am I doing it right, why does it look so weird’) I used a chunky yarn to start with. I just found it easier to learn with, it built up quicker than a thinner yarn, such as Aran or Double Knitting, and I felt like i was achieving something without spending hours and hours as a slow beginner. I started buying a ball of this and that, here and there, as I had no clue what I was doing but it always seemed to work out pretty well. My advice to beginners would be to stick to just a couple of balls of a nice quality wool such as StyleCraft or Hobbycrafts’ Womens Institute line as these will always guarantee a nice finish even if you’re just doing a square practice. (http://www.woolwarehouse.co.uk/yarn/special-chunky-all-colours)
I would say one of my biggest mistakes as a beginner was not understanding how to match the type of yarn with the right sized hook. There should always be a label on the wool you purchase that tells you the size of knitting needle of crochet hook you use with it. Not doing this correctly will mean your work could end up being distorted or oversized, of course once you know what you’re doing you can work with it a little and make things the way you like them but to begin with it’s best to ‘play by the rules’! You can find great wool in your local shops too and I love supporting my local businesses this way. Also a lot of charity shops will sell a good variety of wool at a good price, they’re also a good place to check for patterns too. Crocheting, knitting and sewing patterns are usually found in abundance in charity shops!
Next we need to talk about some extra little tools I’ve found to be very useful while crocheting, while not being overly expensive of fancy in anyway. One of those being Stitch Markers, little plastic hoops you clip around your yarn once its been crocheted. This helps you keep track of where you are in a pattern. These come in very handy when making things like hats, clothes, teddies, intricate patterned squares, or anything that isn’t just a block pattern really. You can find these really cheaply again on the Bella Coco store or in any good crafting store. Embroidery scissors will make your life so much easier, they may seem like such a small thing but they make a huge difference. They cut through yarn so nicely and leave you with a lovely finish to your work. Talking of finishing your work, you will need to have at least 1 good darning needle in your kit. This will be for weaving in those loose ends on your work. It helps keep your work looking tidy and presentable and will help you with feeling organised and on track with the pattern you are following.
As far as somewhere to keep your beginners kit, that’s completely up to you….but hey, that could be a great opportunity for your first crafty crochet! There are lots of patterns and videos out there on how to make your own storage bags, rolls ups and baskets to keep your hooks and bits in.
One of my biggest helps as a beginner was…YOUTUBE! Yes… that’s right! I learnt how to crochet, as well as many other things in my life, from videos on Youtube. There are so many beginner videos out there that go at a great slow and steady pace for you to learn from and I learnt in a matter of hours. Of course I wasn’t a confident crocheter straight away but that comes with time (any day now! *fingers crossed*) but it helped me greatly with getting started and there is nothing quite like watching someone doing what they are explaining to you as a way of teaching, it really is the best way to learn. On top of this I love flicking through Pinterest on a nightly basis and forming a ‘crochet’ board for inspiration on knits I want to make. It’s also a great place to find some brilliant free patterns and support pages like Ravelry.
Once you get in the flow of things you will pick up on it very quickly. Crochet opened my eyes to so many things and I love being able to make home made gifts for friends and family and also lovely things for myself and my home too, of course!!!