Introduction to Crochet/Getting started
Crochet is a relaxing endeavor.
Types of yarns
The most important traits of yarn are fiber type and thickness (which is known as weight).
- Cotton: absorbent and inexpensive. Does not stretch very much, so working with cotton can be more fatiguing than most other yarns. Useful for making placemats, tote bags, and other utilitarian items. Most crochet lace is made from cotton.
- Linen: plant-based. Produces lightweight fabric good for summertime wear, but pure linen wrinkles easily.
- Rayon: made from wood pulp. Absorbent, can mimic the appearance of silk without the expense.
- Wool: comes in many types. Always warm. Texture ranges from soft to scratchy. Some wools tend to pill, such as merino.
- Mohair: very luxurious. Expensive, unless blended at a low proportion with acrylic or other fiber. Difficult to work with unless stabilized with a second strand of another fiber. Despite these factors, working with mohair can be cost effective because good ready-made mohair sweaters are premium boutique items and the savings of starting from yarn can be worth the effort. Not a good choice for beginner projects.
- Alpaca: behaves similar to wool; soft and exceptionally warm.
- Acrylic: varies in quality. Basic acrylic is often the best fiber for beginner practice.
The crochet hook
Prepackaged yarns generally come with a recommended hook size. Hooks are sold individually or in sets of similar sizes. It's often a good idea to buy a packaged set. The price per hook is lower for a package and the ability to change to a slighly different sized hook helps to keep an even gauge while working a piece.
Crochet patters are generally abbreviated in order to save space while dealing with repetitive patterns. Some commonly used abbreviations in United States terminology are as follows:
|bpdc||back post double|
|bptr||back post triple crochet|
|dc2tog||double crochet 2|
|hdc||half double crochet|
|dtr||double triple crochet|
|tr tr||triple triple crochet|
|beg||begin or beginning|
|rep||repeat or repeating|
Often the instructions will include symbols like * (asterisk) or † (dagger) to mark a place from which to start a repeat. For example, "rep from * 4 times" means that once you've done the instructions the first time, you have to work them again four more times for a total of five times.
() Parenthesis surround instructions which should be worked together, sometimes indicated after the parenthesis. As an example, "(2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc) 3 times in sp" means that you will repeat 2 double crochets, chain two stitches, then 2 more double crochets three times in a space, for a total of twelve double crochets and six chains.
- Front loop: The loop closest to you at the top of the stitch
- Back loop: The loop furthest from you at the top of the stitch
- Post: The part of the stitch between the loop and the lower stitch; the vertical part
- Join: Use a slip stitch unless otherwise indicated.
- Work even: Continue using the same pattern, don't increase or decrease.
- Finish off: Pull the end of the yarn through the last loop on the hook to prevent your work from coming apart.
United Kingdom translations
Stitches used in these projects are done using United States crochet terminology. Stitches in the United Kingdom have different naming conventions as indicated below:
|Photograph||Schematic||U.S. term||U.K. term||Turning chain|
|chain stitch||chain stitch||N/A|
|slip stitch||single crochet|
|single crochet||double crochet|
|half double crochet||half treble|
|triple/treble crochet||double treble|
|double treble crochet||triple/treble treble|
- Edie Eckman, The Crochet Answer Book, North Adams, Massachesetts: Storey Publishing, 2005.