I received the nicest email this week from a lady who just wanted to let me know she thought my work was adorable and it inspired her to want to learn how to crochet. It actually wasn't the first time I'd heard this, so I wanted to devote a blog post to all of my followers who might be considering crochet but either don't know how to start or haven't mustered up the courage to take the plunge.
How I Got Started
Before I get too much further into my tips, I wanted to share my own humble crochet beginnings.
I taught myself how to crochet a little over 3 years ago. When we first came to Izmir, Christmas stockings were hard to find, and it seemed like everyone here knew how to crochet. I taught myself how to knit years ago and figured it couldn't be that much different.
It was slow at first, but I discovered I actually enjoyed it a lot more than knitting. I loved how easy it was to make circles (knitters will understand) and that you could easily make something either lacy and dainty or thick and chunky. Once I got the hang of the basics, I began experimenting with my own designs, and that's what lead me to where I am today.
So the moral of the story there is that you don't have to be afraid to try. You can teach yourself, you don't have to have any special skills. All you need is a hook, some yarn, and an internet connection.
My Tips for New Crocheters
Without further adieu, I'm going to dive into my tips for new crocheters.
1. YouTube is your friend
We live in a remarkable age of technology where you can learn almost anything online. And YouTube is actually a fantastic resource for learning how to crochet. There are TONS of videos on crochet stitches, techniques, and patterns.
Videos have the awesome benefit of being able to pause and rewind. If you get stuck, you can always go back and re-watch something, or even go find another video that explains how to do a certain stitch or technique.
I highly recommend starting off with video patterns for this reason. Many video patterns have free written patterns to accompany them. When you're ready to start working on written patterns (which probably won't be for a little while yet, and that's ok), print out a copy of the written pattern and follow along as you watch the video.
2. Start with a pattern, not learning individual stitches
Most people will tell you to learn the basic stitches first. But the first problem with that is you don't know what you don't know. Which stitches should you learn first? Should you learn to work back and forth (rows) or in a circle (rounds) first? Etc., etc.
The second problem with learning the stitches first is that if you sit down and try to learn all the stitches you need to know in advance, you will: A. get bored, and B. never start (because there are so many stitches to learn, and you probably won't even need 1/4 of them for your first project).
So instead my advice is to start with something you actually want to make and work backwards. See which stitches a pattern calls for and learn those in order to make the project you need.
3. Start with a pattern you actually like...
A lot of people recommend making hats, dish scrubbies, pot holders, scarves, or blankets as your first project. That's because these are generally easy to make. But if you're not in love with your first project, chances are you're not going to really care if you just give up on it.
Instead, find something you really want to make will inspire you to learn, to keep at it, to not give up if it gets a little tricky.
4. ...BUT also start with a pattern that is fast and easy
Ok, so finding a pattern you like that is fast and easy can be a little tricky sometimes, but not impossible. Start with something labeled "easy" or "beginner friendly." These usually only involve a few basic stitches, so you'll be able to focus on learning and using just a few techniques at a time.
If you start with something really difficult, chances are you'll get frustrated and quit. Short, easy projects are ideal, as they give you more instant gratification!
5. Find a group of fellow crocheters
The other awesome part about modern technology is that you can connect with other people who have similar interests so easily. There are hundreds of helpful crochet groups on Facebook. Go find a community that will inspire and support you on your crochet journey.
Crochet is totally something you can learn to do yourself. It's fun and not hard at all once you get the hang of it. It's like riding a bike: it will take some time to learn and you're going to fall off a few times, but once you get the hang of it, it's very fun and easy!
And if these tips helped you, please leave a comment! Let me know which helped the most and share your story to encourage others who want to crochet!