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Creative Projects at Home

A guide with information on how to begin a variety of creative projects from the comfort of home.

Crochet: Introduction & Materials

Crochet hooks and yarn

 

Crochet is a technique which uses a metal or plastic hook to create a patterned fabric using loops of yarn or other fiber. The many different stitches and abbreviations used in crochet patterns can look intimidating at first, but the truth is that it’s possible to make beautiful and intricate items using just two or three different stitches. Read below for tips and advice on creating your first crochet project.

 

Materials:

Crochet is a simple hobby to start. For your first project, you will need:

 

  • A skein of yarn
  • A crochet hook
  • A yarn needle
  • A pattern

You can begin by finding a pattern you like and purchasing the yarn called for by the pattern, or by finding a yarn you like and looking for a pattern which calls for that type of yarn.

 

Choosing a Yarn

It’s possible to crochet using yarn or fiber of any size, but the most commonly used yarn is medium or “worsted” weight, often designated as number 4 (for a complete chart of yarn weights and their differences, click here). 

 

Yarn is sold by the skein, and each skein will be encircled by a paper label, similar to the one pictured below. 

 

yarn skein label

 

This label provides you with important information, including: 

 

  1. Yarn weight - this will be a number between 1 and 7, and will tell you the thickness of the yarn
  2. Recommended needle gauge in order to achieve the suggested stitches per inch
  3. Recommended hook gauge in order to achieve the suggested stitches per inch
  4. Laundering instructions (symbols) -- the laundering instructions for (4) and (5) tell you how to care for any garment made with this yarn
  5. Laundering instructions (written)
  6. Fiber content - this tells you which materials are included in the yarn
  7. Weight - how much the yarn skein weighs in ounces / grams
  8. Length - the total yards / meters of yarn included in the skein

 

Choosing a Hook

crochet hooks in various sizes

Crochet hooks come in a range of sizes, with smaller hooks used for thinner yarns and larger hooks for thicker yarns. In the United States, hook sizes are usually designated with either a single letter, single number, or both. In other countries, they are labeled by size in millimeters (mm). Because of these differences, yarn labels and crochet patterns often provide all three size labels. Patterns using medium or "worsted" weight yarn usually use U.S. hook sizes G, H, or I. 

 

When choosing a hook, it's most important to read your yarn label. You will probably be able to get away with using a hook that's one size smaller or larger than the label recommends, but you'll have the best results using a hook of the recommended size.

Reading a Pattern

Crochet patterns rely heavily on abbreviations, and as a result they can look intimidating to beginners. Even for experienced crocheters, it can be helpful to keep an abbreviation chart close at hand:

While it may look like a long list, keep in mind that no individual pattern will use more than a handful of different stitches. 

Free Crochet Patterns

PPLD Ebooks

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