I remember being maybe 13 or 14 when I first wanted to learn to crochet. I watched my neighbor do such beautiful work, so I asked her to show me how. I worked so hard at trying to learn and after a few weeks, she told me I was absolutely impossible and I would never learn. I was totally crushed. I gave it up, but never gave up the desire to do it.
Years went by and occasionally I picked up a piece of yarn and tried again, trying to remember what she has showed me so many years ago. I finally mastered it somewhat; I could do a chain stitch and then attach a second row. I could not read a pattern; it was all Greek to me. If it is to you; here is what all of those abbreviations mean.
There was a middle school down the street from us and they offered a course on beginning crochet. I was delighted and I took the course. The one thing they taught was how to read the pattern and what did sc or dc mean. I was also taught to relax and not try so hard, enjoy what I was doing. Everything I did was not perfect, but I could crochet!! I started out making afghans for every member of my family, but that got old quick, I mean after all, how may afghans do you or anyone else need. Then I found a great book on teaching yourself to crochet. Now I not only still make afghans, but I make sweaters, pillows and anything else my little heart desires.
If you want to save on your yarn, check out thrift shops and also watch the paper to see the sale ads. Let friends know that you are crocheting; I have gotten yarn from them because an elderly aunt has passed on and no one needs it. Also look at yard or garage sales, you can really find some bargains.
A LITTLE HISTORY
Crochet means hook in French and this is the name given to the craft among the French, Italians and Spanish speakers. It’s known as haken in Holland, haekling in Denmark, hekling in Norway and virkning in Sweden. Although other forms of handwork can be dated far back in time, owing to archaeological finds no one is quite sure when and where crochet began.
In the past it was very common to work directly from a picture of finished work or from a sample. This is why in early patterns many of the directions seem to be missing. Women in the nineteenth century were familiar with crochet and therefore instructions that we need today were unnecessary at that time.
By referring to old books, magazines and brochures, people find techniques that have been forgotten. Often crotchetier think they have invented new crochet stitches, when they are actually reinventing stitches that have been around for years.
The most common size of thread or yarn is size 10. The higher the number the thinner the thread. Thinner sizes go down to 100. Thread is generally available down to size 30 or 40.
Some thread crochet items need to be a particular size, and therefore you need to use the size of thread recommended in the pattern. Other items such as edgings can be made in the size of thread you prefer.
It can take a while to get used to using finer thread. One way is to gradually work downward, rather than switching between a fine thread project and a heavier size. Work with it until the size of thread you’re currently working with comes to feel normal to you.
There are a number of differences between types of threads.
Luster means a shimmery, satiny shine. Mercerization is a chemical process done to thread, which chemically burns the fuzz off and hopefully makes it shimmer. Almost all crochet thread is mercerized.
Fuzzy thread can feel soft, but fuzz works against luster, so things made from fuzzy thread won’t have a satiny shine when completed. The major problem with fuzzy thread is that it makes your finished work more likely to attract and hold dust, pet hair, and other fluff. Items made from fuzzy thread tend to get fuzzier with even gentle washing.
A thread with insufficient twist can cause you to split stitches and it can separate in your finished work giving a stringy look. Thread without enough twist gets increasingly fuzzy as you stitch. Better quality thread has more twist. Thread with a good twist stays smooth, even and retains its luster.
CROCHET GAUGE TIP
Gauge is the number of stitches per inch and the number of rows per inch produced when working with a particular size of yarn and a specific hook. Gauge varies from crotchetier to crotchetier, even when they are using exactly the same yarn and hook.
To get beyond this problem make a swatch, or small sample piece in the stitch pattern using the size of yarn and hook. A swatch will help you determine if you meet the patterns intended gauge. For the best results, make a crocheted swatch of at least 6 inches square and then measure the stitches in the center of the swatch to determine gauge.
Often a crochet pattern doesn’t suggest a gauge swatch. It may say instead 4 stitches and 4 rows = 1 inch. To make a swatch make about six inches of chain. Lay the piece flat on a table. Count how many stitches there are in one inch. This is your stitch gauge.
Next, count the number of rows in one inch. This is your row gauge. Row gauge becomes important, when more difficult stitch patterns repeat after a number of rows. If the shaping must take place at a certain row and your row gauge is different from the pattern gauge, shaping won’t be done at the proper time and your garment may not fit properly.
Usually, if your stitch gauge matches, the row gauge will be close enough for most purposes.
If your gauge is larger than the one described in the pattern, use a smaller hook try another swatch. If your swatch is smaller, then you’ll need to increase your hook. As hooks vary between manufacturers, you may find that switching hook brand can help you to reach the right gauge.
- Here is instructions on a Beginner Crochet Block.
- A swatch should be at least two inches square.
- Always make a square swatch – it’s easier to make an accurate count.
- Try not to force your tension, but crochet just like you always do.
- If you naturally crochet tightly, use a size larger hook than recommended.
- If you naturally crochet loosely, use a size smaller hook than recommended.
- If your foundation chain is too tight or too loose, begin the pattern with another size hook.
- Always measure the swatch on a hard, flat surface.
- Here are some of the reasons why over 24 million people say they love crocheting and crafting with yarn….
- It has a calming effect — helps relieve stress.
- It feels good to work with beautiful yarn colors and textures.
- Create sweaters and accessories for yourself.
- Gifts “you make yourself” for family members and friends have special meaning.
- It’s a social activity to share with your friends and family.
- It’s portable — take it anywhere.
- Provides a sense of accomplishment when you complete a project.
- Adds balance to a high-tech, fast-paced lifestyle.
- Cost-effective hobby — you can spend a lot or a little!
- Maximizes your time while you watch TV or travel.
- Carry on a family tradition.
- Bazaars and shows — sell your finished items to raise funds and for business.
- Express yourself–design original garments and accessories.