First learn to read a pattern; sometimes those abbreviations can be tricky. Make yourself a little chart and keep it with your crochet hooks, that way if you come across a DCFP and are not quite sure which stitch they mean, you can look it up. Even now, I have one that I have laminated and keep with my hooks in a picnic basket where I keep my stuff. Here are two tips for reading patterns: The term "turn" in a crochet pattern means to turn the work over and crochet in the opposite direction. And the asterisk ( * ) is used in a pattern to specify the repeating of certain instructions. For example, if a pattern says " * sk next st, dc in next st. Repeat from * across." This means that you skip the next stitch and do a double crochet stitch in the next stitch then you back up to the * and do it over and over till you get all the way across. Sometimes a pattern will contain an asterisk on both sides of a set of instructions. In this case the pattern should state that these instructions are to be repeated somewhere in the project.
Always work a gauge swatch also. It is always easier to change hook size in the beginning than when you are making your actual pattern. Always read through your pattern first before you start. It is easier to learn a new stitch by making a chain and practicing then trying to do it in your actual project. It is kind of like cooking, you would not cook a new recipe without making sure you had all the ingredients. If you are having trouble keeping your place in a pattern, there are quite a few ways to mark your place, you can mark each line with a different color marker as you finish that row. You can cover up the rest of the pattern with a sticky note so that just the row you are working on shows. I have a friend that cuts her patterns apart and puts each row on an index card and then puts a ring through the corners and flips her way through patterns. You just need to find what works for you.
You will find as you become more experienced and have worked through some patterns that not all patterns take the same size hook and that keeping track of your hooks can be a pain. There are many sizes of crochet hooks so here is an easy way to remember what size for what project. Most thread crochet hooks are marked with numbers and most are made out of steel and are silver in color. The bigger the number, the smaller the crochet hook. Yarn crochet hooks are marked with the letters of the alphabet. You can buy yarn crochet hooks in aluminum or plastic. They come in many different colors. You can also buy wooden hooks that have been hand carved, but they are very pricey. (But would make a great gift).
Another great tip for buying hooks: I found that there are many vendors on eBay that sell lots (meaning large quantities) of crochet hooks. I have bid and won some of these large lots that had between 25-30 hooks for around 15 dollars. Now what in the heck does she do with all those hooks? Well, I made sure that I had 2 full sets of hooks and then I gave a lot of hooks away as gifts. On some of the hooks, I was paying less than a dollar.
There are many ways to store your crochet hooks, but here are some of my favorites. The large mini M&M tubes make great holders for hooks and they come in a lot of colors. The regular size also makes a good holder for needles. This makes your hooks portable. I have also made crochet hook cases out of yarn using a pattern. I have used tubes that beads and buttons have come in. You can also store your crochet hooks in a zippered pencil or cosmetics bag or a pencil box. I always have two complete sets of hooks, one for traveling that I keep in my purse or backpack, and one that stays at home. My husband took a piece of two by four and drilled holes the sizes of the handles of my hooks so that I could have permanent storage for the ones I use in my family room. They stand up and are right there when I need them. To make it more fancy and I have had him make several for gifts, I decoupaged a picture on the wood before he drilled the holes, then stained and varnished them. They were beautiful.
Now on to pattern storage. I have a syndrome called PAS. That stands for Pattern Acquisition Syndrome. I never found a pattern I did not like. This meant that I spent a lot of time on my computer copying, pasting, and printing all those free patterns you can find on the web. I have found that there are two things that make my life easier, first is to have a CD burner so that I can make a permanent record of the patterns. Second is to have a good printer. When I am at yard sales or my favorite thrift store, I am always on the lookout for used binders. I print my patterns out and put them in the binders. I use index pages to separate patterns and I try to keep them in categories like babies, afghans, etc.
When I find a pattern I like on the internet, I highlight the whole thing, go up to edit and hit copy and drop it into my Word program. I use Word because it will import the pictures that usually come with a pattern. I then name the pattern in Word. In My Documents, I make a folder that says, for instance, "Baby Afghans" I'd I move all the baby afghan patterns into this folder and then I burn a CD. Now if I write all over the pattern or my friends want a copy, I can pop in my trusty CD and print them one. For the crochet books I buy, I punch holes in them with a three hole punch and arrange them in binders also. I also researched the many different stitches you can do on the internet and made myself a stitch guide with instructions on different stitches. Most of these come with pictures and I find them very handy.
Yarn also has a syndrome you may find yourself afflicted with and that is YAS which stands for Yarn Acquisition Syndrome. Knitters and crocheters both find themselves afflicted with this. Here are a few yarn buying tips if you find that you just can't help buying yarn. Always buy your yarn on sale! Michael's and Hobby Lobby usually every week have some kind of yarn on sale. Always keep your eyes peeled for yarn at your favorite thrift store. Places like Goodwill and DAV usually bundle yarn in bags and hang them on the walls. You can usually get lots of small skeins for a reasonable price. Look for hand knit and crocheted items in good condition these can be taken apart and the yarn used for other projects. Yarn is made from different materials some of which are acrylic synthetic yarn, wool, and yarns made from cotton and other natural materials.
Here are a few explanations about yarn so you know what you are buying. Yarn comes in many weights and diameters so here I will try and give a simple explanation of weights:
Hope this helps answer some of your questions and gives you some ideas how to make your love of crochet easier. Happy crocheting!
Editor's Note: Here is a link to some basic crochet abbreviations. Beginners may want to print this out as a reference.
By Debra Frick
I might even want to try Playdoh, allowed to dry overnight, to get a larger hold on a smaller item!
alt = alternate
approx = approximately
beg = begin(ning)
bet = between
BL/bk lp = back loop(s)
BLO = back loop only
bo = bobble
BP = back post
BPdc = back post double crochet(s)
BPsc = back post single crochet(s)
BPtr = back post triple crochet(s)
CA = color A
CB = color B
CC = contrasting color
ch(s) = chain(s)
ch- = refers to chain previously made/worked
ch-sp = chain space
cm = centimeter
cont = continue
dc = double crochet
dc2tog = double crochet 2 stitches together
dec = decrease
dtr/dtrc = double triple/treble crochet
ea = each
est = established
FLO = front loop only
foll = follow
FP = front post
FPdc = front post double crochet(s)
FPsc = front post single crochet(s)
FPtr/FPtrc = front post triple/treble crochet(s)
FL/ft lp = front loop(s)
g = gram
grp(s) = groups
hdc = half double crochet(s)
hk = hook
inc = increase
lp(s) = loop(s)
lp st = loop stitch
MC = main color
m = meters
mm = millimeters
oz = ounce(s)
pat(s) = pattern(s)
PC(s) = popcorn(s)
pm = placemaker
prev = previous
rem = remain
rep = repeat(s)
rev sc/reverse sc = reverse single crochet
rnd(s) = round(s)
RS = right side
sc = single crochet
sc2tog = single crochet 2 stitches together
sk = skip(ped)
sl st = slip stitch
sp(s) = space(s)
st(s) = stitch(es)
tch/t-ch = turning chain
tog = together
tr/trc = treble/triple crochet
tr tr/trtrc =triple treble crochet/triple triple crochet(s)
WS = wrong side
X-st = cross-stitch
yd = yard(s)
yo = yarn over
yoh = yarn over hook
I want to learn how to crochet. What's the easiest way to learn?
By K.S. from KY
The way I liked best was to watch a crocheter as she stitched.
For written directions with pictures, go to:
in top line under name of site, click Learn
under that click Getting Started
under that click Chain and Single Stitch
See below for pic of beginning a chain from this site. That will get you started. More types of crochet stitches are on site. There are also easy patterns. Happy crocheting!
I would like to learn how to crochet. Any tips that might I learn from? Thanks.
By Debbie1995 from Julian, NC
Don't tackle a big project (afghan) until you know that you like crochet. It can get expensive and if you don't finish your project, it just makes you feel guilty. So don't sabotage yourself before you even have a chance to get going. Good luck. If you were in Arizona, I'd help you. (03/31/2009)
As a young girl I had a favorite aunt and she often invited me to come to her house on weekends. I rode the city bus and stayed with Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Bill. My mother taught me how to knit, but she didn't know how to crochet, so Aunt Dorothy taught me the art of crocheting. She was a wonderful lady and had a heart of gold, I will always miss her. I'm so glad that my Aunt Dorothy took the time and the patience to teach me.
Once you learn a few basic stitches, it is very easy to pick up. Print the illustrations and instructions and keep in a notebook for further reference. (03/31/2009)
My 80 year old friend just learned how to crochet a month ago and she's already completed two afghans. It's addicting and so much fun. Oh, once you get started, you can look for yarn at thrift stores and find great deals. Good luck.
Lee in FL (04/04/2009)
Get someone you know to show you while watching TV or a movie, or on a play date for your kids, so that you can stop and start again and get help. Try something like beanies, booties or granny squares, which will not take a skein of yarn and make good practice. (04/05/2009)