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Made popular during the pandemic (thanks to TikTok), crocheting can be an easy, accessible way to make anything from clothes and accessories to stuffed toys.
Crocheting is often compared to knitting because it also requires yarn, but instead of two knitting needles, you use one hook. If you’re drawn to the idea of channeling your creativity through handmade crafts, crochet could be a great hobby to take up.
“What I love about crochet and fiber art is that it is a sustainable, communal, and accessible art form with a rich cultural history,” says Sophia Yau-Weeks, a mixed-media, crochet, and fiber artist who runs a small business , Yau-Weeks Studios, with her two sisters, Olivia and Isabel, in the San Francisco Bay area. “I have been able to share crocheting with my sisters,” adds Yau-Weeks, stating that it’s “a way to connect with other human beings and build community.”
“I love the ability to take what is essentially a piece of string and turn it into something new and unique,” says Ashley Parker, a professional crochet designer and blogger. “When I first started crocheting, I struggled with anxiety and found that crocheting helped me to keep my mind focused and made me feel calmer.”
If you’re a complete beginner, here’s how to get started with crocheting:
1. Get the right yarn and crochet hook.
If you’re curious about the art of crochet, all you need to get started are two items: yarn and a hook. “The yarn is your material, and the hook is the tool used to create your series of stitches,” says Yau-Weeks.
There’s a whole world of yarn to choose from and plenty of different sizes and styles of hooks. If you’re already getting overwhelmed, set yourself up for success with the ones that are ideal for beginners.
“I recommend starting with a 5.0mm or 5.5mm crochet hook paired with a worsted weight (size 4) yarn,” says Parker. Yau-Weeks agrees on choosing a medium-weight yarn because it’s versatile and can be used for an array of projects. “For a beginner, I would recommend acrylic, cotton, or wool yarn that is plied,” she says.
“This hook and yarn combination will allow you to get a feel for finding and working your stitches, and they’re readily available so you can usually find a set that’s budget-friendly to get you started,” says Parker.
2. Invest in a few extra items that are helpful for a beginner tool kit.
Yarn or darning needles are a helpful tool for finishing up a crochet project and to ensure things don’t come undone. “Yarn needles are a standard part of every crocheter’s tool kit and beginners will need them for learning how to weave in their ends,” says Parker. Yau-Weeks recommends choosing metal yarn needles instead of plastic.
Additionally, you’ll want to invest in locking stitch markers, which “hold themselves in place so they don’t fall out of your project and help indicate the location of different stitches,” according to Parker. “I have beginners use stitch markers to mark the first and last stitch of their rows to locate those stitches and prevent them from missing stitches.”
3. Start with the basics.
Once you have your yarn and crochet hook, you’re ready to put them into action. You can take a class, learn by the book, or consider the abundance of tutorials available online. Here are a few recommended by Parker and Yau-Weeks:
Parker recommends online platforms “where they offer classes to learn to crochet as well as step-by-step project tutorials to walk you through learning to crochet a specific project.”
“[These] are great for those who want to learn at their own pace and prefer learning through watching someone else doing it,” she adds.
There are also plenty of free tutorials online. “Before investing in a course, I would recommend using the wide range of free resources available online,” says Yau-Weeks. “To start, enter the item you want to make, along with ‘beginner tutorial’ and you should be able to find something suitable for your skill level.”
You can find more online courses and books on crocheting here.