Crochet Tips and Tricks

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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Ball of blue yarn with crochet hook.
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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.

A ball of turquoise yarn.

    Source: I picked up this tip from how to make hook grips. https://youtu.be/9Kucd1ulH0U

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    Granny square with bread closure attached, marked with a J.I usually have a half dozen or so crochet projects going all at once, and sometimes don't recall the size hook I was using. I've started keeping the plastic bread closing tabs and writing the hook size on it and attaching it to my project during construction. Should I stop that project for a while and pick it up again later, the correct hook size is noted right there; no guess work!

    By Maile from Onalaska

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    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, dogs...you 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.
    PBP

    glass jar with clothes pins behind crochet chain

      Source: Nope just frustration!

      Link: N/A

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      The pattern says at the end of the row, join with slip stitch RST. What does RST mean?

        AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

        right sides together

        ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

        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.

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          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.

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          I like to work on multiple projects when crocheting and would use the same hook for whatever I was working on. When I went back to the project I would forget what size hook I was using. I started using bread ties and wrote the crochet hook size on the tie and attached it to the afghan I was working on.

          CommentWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

          Can I cut back on yarn on a crochet pattern by using a smaller hook? I am making a stuffed rabbit for toddler. Even if it turns out small that's OK.

          Thanks.

            AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

            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.

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

            By applesauce from Alexandria, VA

            AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

            Hey everyone thanks for all the hints. After watching the video on "ends" I guess I've been doing them almost correctly all the time.

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            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 helpful?Helpful? Yes

            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. :)

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            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 helpful?Helpful? Yes

            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.

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            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

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            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.

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            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.

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            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.

            By Kate H.

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            slip stitch

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            What does "spc' stand for in crochet?

            By Tina

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            SPC stands for "space"

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            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 helpful?Helpful? Yes

            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?Helpful? Yes

            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 . . .

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            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 helpful?Helpful? Yes

            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!

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            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.

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

            By Wizzo49

            AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

            I don't know what a U stitch is, but I was always taught to cast off "in pattern"....so 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.

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            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 helpful?Helpful? Yes

            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.

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            Crafts CrochetAugust 16, 2013
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