My mom taught me to crochet when I was about 9 or 10. I would watch my mom crochet afghans on summer afternoons, and ask a zillion questions. Finally, she gave me a J hook. I still have it.
Did I mention my mom is totally blind? Yep. She crochets blindly. AMAZING.
As a lot of kids do, I got bored rather quickly. I got frustrated because I couldn’t crochet as fast as my mom does. So I put the hook away.
When my oldest was a baby, a friend of mine was crocheting. After a quick reminder course, I picked the hook back up and crocheted an afghan. It was awful! But I kept at it. After 17 years, I can crochet pretty darn fast.
But it wasn’t until about 10 years ago that I realized everyone crochets differently. I crochet a bit tight. A friend of mine crochets so loose that she has to go down a hook size. That’s when I realized there was so much that I hadn’t been taught.
10 Things I wish I had been taught about crochet
1. You have to have the correct gauge.
You have got to work up a swatch and measure that puppy to get the correct gauge. Like I said above; everyone crochets differently. You may need to go up or down a hook to get the correct gauge. VERY important for garments
2. You have to COUNT, COUNT, COUNT those stitches.
An even stitch count means straight edges. Every row must have the same number of stitches. If your just beginning, stop at the end of the row and count stitches. Once you are fairly experienced, you’ll “just know” that you’ve got the right stitch count. Straight edges means your afghan isn’t going to look like a trapezoid. My very first afghan was a trapezoid.
3. It’s okay if you’re not holding the yarn “the correct way”.
I hold my hook in my right hand, and the yarn in my left hand, I hold my work with the thumb, index and middle finger. I hold the yarn with my ring and pinky finger. It works for me. My mom hold it the traditional way, wrapped around a finger…but I just can’t. I get a cramp just thinking about it.
4. Dye lots matter.
When you buy yarn for a project, try to get all the yarn you think you will need, PLUS an additional skien (or cake). And make sure the lot numbers match. This will give you the best color. Remember that horrific afghan I mentioned at the beginning of this post? Yea. I knew nothing about dye lots.
5. Don’t go by the letter on your crochet hooks.
Crochet hooks are labeled by letter and millimeter size. However, you may run into an instance where you pick up two N hooks, and one will say 9.00 mm, and the other will say 10.00 mm. Different manufacturers, as well as the age of the hook cause this. Always go by the millimeter size on the hook, and work up a gauge swatch if it’s a garment you are creating.
6. You will make mistakes.
And that’s okay. Even those who have been crocheting for eons will tell you that you will frog (rip out) your fair share of mistakes. EVERYONE miscounts from time to time.
7. The Back of your work should look as good as the front.
I, personally, am very particular about this. When your working a pattern on a hat, for instance, you want the inside of the hat to be just as pretty as the outside. If there is a ton of knots, or unwoven ends in there, it just looks…messy. And especially in a hat, hair is going to get tangled up in unwoven ends and knots.
8. US and UK terminology is different.
There’s nothing like surfing on Pinterest and finding as awesome crochet pattern. And then realizing that what you are crocheting doesn’t look like the picture. That’s probably because the pattern is using UK terminology. Here is a handy translation for UK crochet terminology.
9. There is no wrong way to hold the hook.
Some people hold the hook like a pencil. Others hold it between their thumb and middle finger. Some put their index finger over the loop on the hook, some do not. Just do whatever feels natural to you. There is no wrong way.
10. Crochet isn’t just for grandma’s.
You can create lots of boho-style garments by crocheting! Here is just a few ideas.