If you’ve ever watched someone knit at breakneck speed and heard the needles “click-clack” you have probably wondered how on earth they do it so fast. Doesn’t it look complicated? You’ve probably wondered the same about crochet since both hobbies involve yarn and needles/hooks, but the two are quite different.
Crochet is relatively straightforward to learn and there are many online guides and tutorials for complete beginners. You’ll begin with basic stitches and master these before progressing to more complex stitches and techniques. As with any new hobby, patience and practice will pay off.
Many first-time crocheters can be disheartened and frustrated by their progress in the early stages (myself included!) as you learn to hold your crochet hook in a way that feels right for you and your tension (how tight or loose your stitches are) is inconsistent. But keep persisting and go easy on yourself – this is such a rewarding hobby once you get the hang of it.
What is Crochet?
Crochet is the practice of creating textiles or fabric using a hooked needle to weave loops of yarn together. The term ‘crochet’ derives from the French word and translates as ‘small hook’.
What’s Easy About Crochet?
One of the easiest and best things about crochet is the fact that you only need to learn a small handful of stitches and techniques to enable you to make a wide range of different projects.
Once you’ve mastered the basic single and double crochet stitches, for example, this allows you to make basic scarves, blankets, placemats, etc and once you learn to crochet in the round, you’ll be able to make hats and 3-D items like toys.
What’s Hard About Crochet?
Because crochet is about coordinating a series of physical movements (holding your yarn correctly, holding your hook in a certain position, and holding your project all at the same time) it can feel overwhelming when you’re first starting.
At the end of the day, it really all comes down to muscle memory. Think about how awkward or possibly disastrous riding a bike would be for the first time (without any stabilizers) and you’ll get the picture!
With time, patience, and practice, putting all these physical movements together will become easier and easier until it feels like second nature to you. If you’re really struggling, getting a friend or relative who crochets to show you the basics in person can be very helpful.
Otherwise, watching YouTube crocheters take you through these basics step by step can also be extremely helpful since you can replay the steps as often as you need to, slow the video down to half speed, and even ask them questions if you get stuck (the crochet community is very friendly!).
The following examples are just a few areas in which beginner crocheters struggle the most…
Figuring Out the Right Way to Hold Your Hook
Some hold it like a pencil, others like you would hold a knife or fork.
But though it’s important that you hold the hook in a way that feels comfortable for you, it does need to be held in such a way that allows the yarn to get hooked by the tip without slipping off and how you hold your working yarn in your opposite hand will affect how you hold the hook too.
Getting Your Tension Right
If you pull your yarn too tightly or too loosely through a stitch, this will make the finished result smaller or bigger than it’s supposed to look in the pattern/tutorial.
For this reason, many crochet patterns provide you with advice on the necessary tension by asking that you complete a ‘gauge’ swatch – this is basically the number of stitches/rows that are expected to fit into a 4 x 4 inch square, so if the pattern gauge calls for 8 stitches per row within this 4-inch square and yours contains 10 stitches, you’ll know your tension is naturally tight.
When you start out with crochet, it can be hard to distinguish an actual crochet stitch from a chain space since everything looks so similar and blends into one!
The unfortunate result of counting or missing proper stitches can make all the difference to your project, causing your work to ripple, have uneven edges or result in a different looking project altogether from the design you’re following.
How Long Does Crochet Take to Learn?
Again, muscle memory plays a large part. Some people can pick it up within weeks, others may take months, so don’t beat yourself up if you’re struggling to master some of the initial steps and techniques because everyone learns at their own pace.
How Many Hours Does It take to Crochet a Blanket?
This depends on several things: your skill level, the blanket size, the hook size, and also how often you feel like crocheting! A baby blanket for a crib may take only an hour or 2 to complete whilst a blanket the size of your couch or bed may take several days/weeks. Using chunkier yarn and a larger hook will speed things up.
What Do you Need to Start?
All you’ll need to start learning today is:
- A crochet hook (4 or 5mm is a good size to start with)
- A 50g/100g ball of DK (Double Knit)/Worsted weight yarn (this corresponds best with a 4/5mm hook and is the most common yarn weight)
- Darning needle
- Tape measure
Tips Every Crochet Beginner Should Know
1. Find a comfortable hook – you can get ergonomic ones that are easy to hold than regular flat aluminum ones.
2. Take advantage of free online tutorials to help you pick up as many new stitches and techniques as possible.
3. Learn the difference between US and UK crochet terms! Both countries use the same names but both have different meanings.
4. Master the basics first. Once you are confident using the four main stitches (single, half-double, double, and treble crochet) you’ll become an unstoppable crocheter!
5. Practice, practice, practice! (It took me days just to get to grips with making a foundation chain and my first circle motif looked more like a hexagon), but keep persisting and you’ll nail it.
Is Crochet Easier than Knitting? (Difference in Knitting and Crocheting)
Knitting uses two separate long, thin needles – often connected with wire to prevent stitches from slipping – and involves transferring stitches from one needle to the other, whilst crocheting uses one needle with a hook at the tip to interlock loops of yarn together.
Some knitters may find crochet hard, but generally crocheting is considered the easier craft since the stitches do not need to be moved back on forth on separate needles and crocheted work is less likely to unravel compared to knitting.
Is Crochet Easier than Sewing?
Many find crocheting easier than sewing because it is easier to undo your work with crochet by simply unraveling the yarn, whilst pulling finely threaded stitches can be a little trickier.
Crochet also involves larger, denser material to work with and a larger tool, making it easier to handle compared to the delicate, intricate threads and needles.