Crochet Tips for Beginners #1 and a Free Pattern

granny squareSo, you’ve successfully completed a crochet class, taught yourself from Youtube, or maybe a patient friend sat you down and showed you the basics. However you learned  to crochet, there are some things that only experience can teach you.

Faroe cushion frontThis simple crochet cushion is designed to give you some experience in the basics of crochet, choosing a yarn, making a tension square and following a simple pattern. Think of it as a spring board for your own adventures in crochet. Experiment by working in stripes, change the yarn and make a unique accessory for your home that will have all your friends asking where you bought it. You can find the free pattern here.

Let’s start with a few basics.

Choosing a pattern

This can be a daunting process. There are literally thousands of free patterns available on the internet, but remember you get what you pay for. A free pattern is unlikely to have been tech edited (so it may have mistakes), it may use terminology unique to the designer that can flummox a beginner or it might just be brilliant. Choose with caution by looking at patterns from reputable designers, sign up for free patterns on yarn company websites such as Rowan or ask your friends to recommend great blogs.

You can register on the Rowan website for patterns, tutorials and lots more inspiration. Look out for courses run by Rowan consultants at your local yarn store too.

Check out the free Pattern Tab to find my latest free patterns, many of which were first published in magazines, so have been tech edited and road tested by beginners.

Read the pattern through before you start

It sounds obvious, but reading the pattern allows you to highlight things you may not have come across before (such as the slip stitch seam on this cushion), you can look up techniques online, consult a book or ask a friend. Believe me, there’s nothing worse than settling down to an evening of crochet only to come up against a nasty surprise!

Here’s a great slip stitch seam tutorial from Simply Crochet.

Check your tension

Designers give a tension for a reason. If you work more or fewer stitches than the stated tension, this will affect the size of the finished piece and the amount of yarn you’ll need. For example, this cushion pattern gives a tension of 8 stitches to 10cm, if your tension varies, then your cover may be too big and sag or too tight. As a general rule of thumb, go up a hook size if you have too many stitches and down a hook size if you have too few. A point worth noting here is that in addition to the tension given, you must account for a seam allowances, which is why the cushion cover pattern instructs you to work rows of 26dc – slightly wider than 30cm at stated tension – but you’ll need a stitch on either side for  the seams. Making a swatch also allows you to practice techniques, such as the simple button hole on this cushion. You can then take your swatch with you when you choose buttons. That way you’ll get the right size and a great colour match.

Faroe cushion backMind your language

Check before you start whether  your pattern has been written in UK or American crochet terms. There really is no difference to how the stitches are worked, but they do have different names. A UK double crochet is the same as an American single crochet. Most magazines and books have a conversion chart, it an be useful to keep one in your project bag or stick it in the front of a notebook so you can remind yourself.  After a while you’ll find you become fluent in both UK and US terms and can easily convert in your head, but until then always check before you start and be clear on which stitch the designer means. A simple rule of thumb, if a pattern uses “half double crochet”, then it’s definitely written in American terminology – we simply don’t have that stitch name in the UK!

So there you are, a few things you were probably told in class and instantly forgot – you’re not alone – learning a new skill takes time and patience and the humility to admit you don’t know everything. That goes for the teacher too – we’re constantly learning and discovering new techniques – and it’s what makes teaching  so rewarding.

You’ll make mistakes, you’ll give up on projects half way through, falling out of love with the yarn or the pattern. You’ll experience the thrill of saying you made it yourself when someone compliments your scarf or jumper.  Before you know it, someone at knit group, or work or even a friend will say “Can you show me how you did that?” and you’ll be passing on your skills and enthusiasm to another beginner.

But first you have to make stuff. Go to your library and borrow a book, ask advice at your local yarn store, email your teacher and ask for recommendations or buy one of the great UK magazines that are filled with patterns, hints and tips. Have fun, be brave and let me know how you get on.

Happy making

T x

 

Leave a comment

1 Comment

  1. I adore knitted and crocheted pillows. I have most of a crocheted slipcover sitting at the bottom of my WIP bin somewhere.

    Like

If you liked this post, please click the share buttons and tell your friends. Thank you

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  • Follow Me

  • I’m Tracey Todhunter. I’m a freelance writer. specialising in green / ethical living – with a “sideline” in craft!

  • Follow Baking and Making on WordPress.com
  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • And so it begins - checking the text actually fits the flatplan, swatching, proofreading & wondering why I put myself through this! New book nerves!!! Really looking forward to sharing this one' progress from plans to print over the next few months
#amwriting #crochet #horgolás #haken #haaktechniekenbijbel #uncinetto #grannycoolcrochet #crochetgirlgang #crochetconcupiscence Toadstools - definitely not the edible kind! Hooking up a few of these today & remembering how satisfying quick crochet projects can be!
#crochet #amigurumi #lovecrochet #naturalfibres #grannycoolcrochet  #horgolás #crochetmakesmehappy #häkeln #crocheteveryday The perfect yarn / button combination? About to cast on a baby cardigan, an excuse to use these beautiful buttons from @textilegarden. I like to use natural fibres and this wool & mohair blend from @thefibrecompany is a firm favourite, especially as it contains a proportion of British wool. We should celebrate our British wool industry & the farmers & shepgerds who give us beautiful, sustainable fibres to work with. 
#choosewool  #britishwool #supportbritishwool #knittersofinstagram #wool #buttons #knitting #yarnlover #woolweek #woolworks #madewiththefibreco Exciting post! My review copy of @emmavarnam 's new book just arrived. Can't wait to sit down with a cuppa and enjoy this! Perfect inspiration for the ladies on my next granny squares workshop.
#grannysquares #grannysquares rock #grannycoolcrochet #grannysquarelove #amigurumi #crochetblanket Yesterday I made more elderberry jelly, but ran out of jars! Lucky my neighbour saves all hers & what was left is now in  one of my @littlewrenpottery bowls. It feels like we're approaching peak autumn here, the starlings have stripped the rowan tree of its berries, the oak leaves are turning and the forest floor is strewn with sweet chesnuts. This really is my favourite season. 
#embracingautumn #upandautumn #autumn #thisautumnlife #slowliving #homesteading Weekend window view. I spent the weekend staying with a friend in Derbyshire, every time I visit the view from my bedroom window changes a little. On Saturday morning I sat drinking tea in bed watching the river, hoping to see a kingfisher, but content just to see the ducks!
#morningslikethese #slowliving #thewayweliveinthecountry #wildweekends
  • Previously on the blog…

  • Recent Posts

  • Categories

  • Currently Reading (not sponsored): No Serial Number

  • Products I love (not sponsored): 9 Meals from Anarchy Veg Stock

  • Engaging the Public with Climate Change (Co Author):

  • Crochet: Learn It, Love It (Author)

  • Woman’s Weekly Guide to Crochet (Author):

  • The Drift Collection (Contributor):

  • Whimsical Hats (Contributor):

  • Hand Made (Contributor):

  • Dorling KIndersely Guide to Crochet (Contributor)

  • The Legal Stuff:

%d bloggers like this: