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Crochet Tips and Tricks

Ball of blue yarn with crochet hook.

Crochet is a very versatile handicraft that can be used to create beautiful clothing, linens, toys, and more. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced craftsperson, there is always a new tip that might prove to be useful. This is a guide about crochet tips and tricks.


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Article: Thrifty Crochet Yarn

A ball of turquoise yarn.

Last winter, I decided to start crocheting again. I first learned how to crochet from a neighbor when I was a girl, but she was only able to teach me several stitches. I have never been able to read a pattern or make some of the delicate stitches that I have seen on some of the creations. My basic stitch consisted of single and double crochet. I could only do blankets. Sad, but true.

So my search lead to me to Hancock Fabric. I was able to purchase some skeins more on clearance, but found that the colors that I wanted and the yarn I liked cost more than I was willing to spend. Plus, I wanted to make items for my grandchildren and nieces. It was a little too much for my wallet. Having been out the game for so long, I did not realize how expensive yarn and hooks had become. Thank God for thrift shops. There I found my salvation and at the right price. Skeins for 50 cents, hooks for a quarter. I was in crochet heaven.

A bunch of different colored balls of yarn.

Armed with my yarn balls, hooks, I headed over to YouTube and started crocheting. Here is what I also learned about getting your yarn from the thrift shop.

  1. You are at the mercy of the color they have. I will mix colors and threads to get the right effect. I have on occasion dyed yarn, but for the most part, I use what they have.

  2. I find a lot of the yarn already in balls which I like, but you have to be careful. Sometimes, you might get two different colors in one ball and will not find out until you are almost through with your project.

  3. Take the smell test. I can't tell you how many times I have brought home a skein and I was wondering where that smell is coming from.

  4. I use a mesh bag to hand wash my yarn. My yarn tangles too much in the washer. No matter how many times I wash, smoke will not dissipate. I wash one skein at time. Dawn works best for me.

  5. I also buy knitting needles to hold my yarn balls together. I can usually get those for 2 for a quarter. I do know how to knit, but I like crochet better.

    Balls of yarn help together with a skewer.

  6. My hooks run from 25 to 50 cents. I love the aluminum hooks the best. The larger size hooks I have to buy at the store. I use the 40% off coupons from Michaels, Jo-Ann Fabrics or Hobby Lobby. Michaels has the best prices and take competitors coupons.

    A bunch of crochet hooks.

  7. If you continue to buy yarn through out the year, you will get some interesting threads, yarns, and textures.

  8. If you are lucky enough to get a skein intact, keep the wrap it comes in. It has valuable information, weight of the yarn, needle size, wash instructions, etc.
This year, I will be experimenting with home décor. I have already purchased jute, string and larger size hooks. My projects will include puffs, baskets. Wish me well.

    Source: I picked up this tip from how to make hook grips.

    By Georgetta Ruth [74]

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    Tip: Keeping Track of Crochet Chain Length

    glass jar with clothes pins behind crochet chain

    Recently, I did a project where I had to count stitches to make sure the chains were all the same length. Well, they sure weren't. I often have to compete with visiting kids and their video games, radios, videos, name. It is hard to find quiet.

    When I realized the project would literally have to be started over, I came up with a system that has really helped. I hope it helps you too.

    With some dollar store clothes pins and an old jar (cup, soup can, etc.). I marked one side of the pins with 10, some with 20 and 25 on the backs, then 50 and 75 on each side of 1 then 100.

    My chain was to be 200 long, so when I reached say 25, I put that pin on the jar. Then when I did that again, I would take off the 25 and put up 50. When I got to 100, I took the 50 down. When I got to 150, I put the 50 back up on the right side of the 100. When I got to 200, I took them all down.

    I know you can purchase stitch markers but that requires you stop and put something, even a little length of yarn in a stitch. I find this distracts me less and I can keep my hand on my hook, and my mind on the task at hand.

    Hope this helps you as much as it does me.

      Source: Nope just frustration!

      Link: N/A

      By Sandi/Poor But Proud [449]

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      Tip: Bread Closures for Marking Crochet Needle Size

      I had heard of using the tags/closures for bread packages to mark your projects while knitting or crocheting, but came upon another use for the little white tags while crocheting. I just started working on projects for Project Linus and usually have several projects going at the same time. I was using different size crochet needles and was switching back and forth on projects. I would forget what size needle I was using (I sometimes don't use what the pattern calls for because of the gauge). I decided to use the tags to mark the needle letter/number on them and attach to the project I am working on. That way I can start other projects using the same needle, but now I don't have to wonder was I using J or K, etc. It saves so much time instead of trying to figure out what needle you used.

        By HerkDia [32]

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        Tip: Try Tobacco String Instead of Crochet Thread

        When crocheting things like a bed spread, you can buy tobacco string and use it like crochet thread. It comes on a cone and a lot cheaper then the crochet thread. You can buy it at the stores that sell seeds and feed for cattle. The thread is cotton.

        By Doris from Randleman, NC

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        Tip: Basic Crochet Abbreviations Chart

        Here are some basic crochet abbreviations:


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        Tip: Crochet Squares In Waiting Rooms

        Whenever I know I'm going someplace (like the doctor's appt I have today!) I always take a small carry-all with me that has a small amount of yarn and a crochet hook. If I need a pattern I copy it on my scanner and print it out to take with me.

        Then, instead of sitting in the waiting room reading all those magazines that only make me hungry (they all have so many delicious looking recipes in them!), I crochet however many blocks as I can during my wait. When I get home I put the blocks all in a larger container to be kept until I have enough to make a new afghan with!

        By Cricketnc from Parkton, NC

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        Tip: Remembering Yarn Colors

        When making something where you have bought more than one skein of a given color, save one of the papers wrapped around the skein, and write on it near the color name, what you made with that color. If you should run short of yarn or want to make another item in that color, you won't have to try to remember what the color was.

        By Linda L from Bloomington

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        Tip: Avoiding Losing Stitches Crochet Tip

        Just today after about 45 years of crocheting! I was at the end of a row and was starting to pull the yarn up so it wouldn't easily pull out until I got back to working on my pineapple afghan that I was making; I saw my "clover" plastic safety pin that I use to mark stitches when knitting; and, I decided to put that on the last stitch I was working on and pulled the yarn down instead of up and it held fast and didn't go through the hole and kept my place with out unraveling a few stitches as it has sometimes when someone other than myself moved the item. I thought this was the neatest thing. I plan to tell my daughter whom I taught to crochet many years ago.

        By Sheila S from Leominster, MA

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        Tip: No More... Getting Lost in the Pattern

        My mother is in her eighties, and was crocheting an afghan of cats. The pattern consisted of about 8 rows, each one different, and then a repeat of these 8 rows. She kept getting lost in the pattern, so I took index cards and printed each row of the pattern on a separate index card. This way she could work from the first card, slip it behind the others, do the second, etc. There were color changes after each set of 8 rows, so I used colored index cards and repeated the pattern rows on different colors for each color change. She was able to keep her place without confusion with these cards.

        By Harlean from AR

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        Tip: Cake Cardboard For Blocking Crocheted Doilies

        I make a lot of crocheted doilies and when it comes time to block them I use the cardboard from cakes that I have purchased and saved. This cardboard has a shiny surface on one side so the doilies do not stick.

        By Barb

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        Tip: Crochet Cluster Stitch That Uses Less Yarn

        I was making a hat using the cluster stitch, and I was worried that I would not have enough yarn. The regular cluster stitch uses 3 yarn overs then pull through 4 loops. We'll I left off 1 of the yarn overs and pulled through 3 loops. The stitch still looks great and I had enough yarn to finish. This could work for popcorn stitch and any other stitch that calls for multiple yarn overs or grouped stitches. Be careful if you change gauge when you alter the stitch. Be sure to still make a swatch if needed.

          By Cynthia [11]

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          Tip: Mix Different Types of Yarn

          In a knitting blog, I read about acrylic yarn being a low-cost option. Well, it is - and to make it more interesting in small projects you can mix it with other yarns, even wool ones. I have been using very fine yarn in combination with worsted acrylic in my scarves, and adding novelty yarns as accents. The color combination of the yarns on a fairly big (15) knitting needle, is tweedy and very interesting. You can also use up all sorts of odds and ends of yarn. Everyone is getting scarves from me this Xmas!

          By Pamphyila

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          Tip: Working with Dark Colored Yarns

          I am the owner of a Yahoo craft group and help to lead a local community craft group in Frankfort, Kentucky. In our area group and on our web site, we always try to help each other make projects become a little more enjoyable to make.

          I discovered many of my group's members were having the same troubles crafting hand-made yarn projects. Those who are visually impaired and even some of our seniors find that it is very difficult to see where to place the next stitch while using black and other darker colored yarns. One day, I took on the task to try and find a remedy.

          I eventually discovered that if a crafter places a white towel or pillow case under the project being worked, the white shows through the small holes previously made, thus making it easy to see where those next stitches go.

          Another problem faced was similar, the difficulty seeing where the stitches go while using thick yarns to knit or crochet. I found that if I use a second strand of lighter weight yarn in a contrasting color, along side the thick fluffy yarn strand, the light fingering weight yarn becomes a guide to where I need to place the next stitch.

          Overcoming frustrating obstacles like those mentioned, makes all the difference between a work in progress (WIP) and a completed hand crafted project, made with pride and satisfaction.

          By Lora from Frankfort, KY

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          Tip: No Lost Stitches When Crocheting

          Another readers tip reminded me of this, when putting my crocheting down, I enlarge the loop that was on the needle and tie a loose knot with the yarn hanging off the needle. Keeps me from losing stitches when moving the item around.

          By Linda from Bloomington, IL

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          Here are questions related to Crochet Tips and Tricks.

          Question: Advice For Round Crochet That Buckles

          Need some help from crocheters please! I've just started to crochet so I don't do complicated stuff. Just finished making a round rag rug which wasn't difficult BUT the whole thing has buckled and looks frilly round the edges. I've undone it and tried working looser but that didn't work so I undid it again and tried working tighter but still no joy! please could anyone tell me what I'm doing wrong? It's so disheartening when you are new to a craft and you try so hard to get it right and nothing works! I love my new craft but if I'm incapable of doing a simple round, then I may as well give up, which would be a shame! Any suggestions, please? I got the pattern from Yarn Lovers Room on the internet. It said it was easy, so if I cant do an easy pattern, then I cant do crochet!

          Cettina from Malta, Europe

          AnswerWas this interesting? Yes No


          Most Recent Answer


          I find it easier to relax and not make anything tight unless it calls for it. Just keep practicing and soon you will be a master. :)

          ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

          Question: Crocheting With One Hand

          I can embroider, knit, quilt, needlepoint, but cannot crochet. My problem is I have one hand. My left. I have a thumb on my right. I am normally left-handed. I want to learn to crochet. Does anyone have any help for me?

          Diane from Milwaukee, WI

          AnswerWas this interesting? Yes No


          Most Recent Answer


          Buy a hand brace came to thought. attach the crochet hook to it with duck tape or some sort of something to secure it. I am right handed and do most the work with my left and hardly move the right at all. the hand brace you can get at any pharmacy store.

          ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

          Question: What Glue Can I Use on Yarn Ends When Crocheting or Knitting?

          What is the best "glue" to use to secure yarn ends when crocheting and/or knitting? Thanks for your response.


          AnswerWas this interesting? Yes No

          Question: Help with Crochet Instructions

          The pattern reads "work shell of 1dc, ch1, 1dc" in next stitch. I am confused as to into what stitch I am crocheting the last dc.

          By Rita S.

          AnswerWas this interesting? Yes No

          Most Recent Answer

          By Mistie 21 40 10/20/2011

          Absolutely right. In the next stitch work 1 dc ch 1 1 dc. These three steps are what is going to create your shell look, that's why they must be in the same stitch.

          ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

          Question: What Does the Crochet Abbreviation "ss" Mean?

          What does the crochet term "ss" mean? I have a pattern I am working on and the ss term is used with no explanation. My pattern did not provide a guide. It has something to do with the popcorn stitch, but that is all I know.


          AnswerWas this interesting? Yes No

          Question: I Ran Out of Yarn Making a Scarf

          If you could help me with my scarf, I would appreciate it. I started my scarf and I have ran out of yarn. How do I attach more yarn to the end?

          Erica from NY

          AnswerWas this interesting? Yes No

          Most Recent Answer

          By Andee in AZ (Guest Post) 02/02/2007

          I often just run two pieces of yard together if it doesn't look like it will cause too much bulk. Otherwise, I pull out some stitches and go back to an edge and tie in there or run two threads form there.

          ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

          Question: Understanding Crochet Patterns and Abbreviations

          What does this mean: Ch1, sc in end of next row, *2sc in end of each next 2 rows?

          By sumr from CA

          AnswerWas this interesting? Yes No

          Most Recent Answer

          By Cricket 205 896 03/30/2011

          Since you didn't mention knitting, I'm assuming you aren't knitting. These instructions are not uncommon in a crochet pattern. Here's the translation.

          At the end of the next row you work, chain 1 then single crochet one stitch.
          At the end of each of the next 2 rows, work 2 single crochet in the last stitch.

          If you're still confused send me a message via ThrifyFun and I'll try to explain it better.

          Have fun!

          ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

          Question: Casting Off a U Stitch

          How do you cast off from a U stitch on an afghan?

          By Wizzo49

          AnswerWas this interesting? Yes No

          Most Recent Answer

          By Lee Taylor 15 426 12/14/2009

          I don't know what a U stitch is, but I was always taught to cast off "in pattern" whatever you would do if you were going to knit that row, you cast off the same way. Hope that helps. I'm just a newbie knitter.

          ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

          Question: Crochet Stitch Abbreviations

          What does "spc' stand for in crochet?

          By Tina

          AnswerWas this interesting? Yes No

          Most Recent Answer

          By William C. A. 2 12/27/2013

          SPC stands for "space"

          ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

          Question: Help With Crochet Afghan Instructions

          I have been stitching an absolutely gorgeous afghan by Terry Kimbrough. I am not understanding how the edging instructions translate. The sentence is [sc, ch7, (sc, ch5) twice] in corner ch5 sp. Does this mean repeat everything in brackets and parentheses twice or just what is parentheses? Help please.

          By Susan

          AnswerWas this interesting? Yes No

          Most Recent Answer

          By Myrna 15 1,068 12/20/2013

          I played with the directions to see what it looks like both ways. I would conclude the directions mean to do all twice; otherwise, there is only one long petal while all others remain same size and it looks odd. But if you are making squares to join together, then the one longer chain loop is probably to join the other squares with. If it isn't a square to join with others, then I would create all as a repeat inside the [brackets/parenthesis) two times which gives a floral pattern and a fuller one.
          This is the best I can do for you w/o seeing the pattern/directions. Hope it helps you.

          ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

          Question: Making a Crochet Baby Bunting

          I'm making a crocheted baby bunting with side overlapping panels about 30 '' in height. What is the best way to fasten it closed, zipper, ties, etc.?

          By Ruth A.

          AnswerWas this interesting? Yes No

          Question: Question About Crochet Instructions

          I'm trying to make a beanie and I'm having trouble following the pattern:

          Here is one row of the pattern: 1 dcfp around next dcfp. 1 dc
          in next dc. 1 dcfp around next dcfp. 2 dc in
          next dc.

          I know how to do both stitches, but I'm getting confused as to where to enter the hook for the next stitch. Anyone could help me ? I tried to look for videos, but can't find any :(

          Many thanks!

          By Magali

          AnswerWas this interesting? Yes No