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Why bother learning to crochet?
By taking the time to teach yourself a new skill, you will be limited only by your imagination as to how this can be applied.

Crocheting is a skill that can provide your family with many custom-made items. By crocheting, you can create beds known as hammocks. Using that same hanging net system a chair can be made. Rugs, bedding, clothing, hats, belts, shoes, bags and many other useful items can be created by varying the size of your hook and your materials.

Where do I find patterns?
Patterns are available at many skill levels. Yarn retailers know that providing their customer base with new and fun patterns creates a market for their materials. Books, magazines and the internet are just three of the resources for patterns. As you become more skilled, you may find that you develop your own crochet patterns.

Don't limit yourself to pretty threads and yarns from the local retail outlet. Crochet work can be done with strips of old clothing, string, rope and even grasses and vines. If you find yourself without a crochet hook, these are simple tools that can easily be carved out of wood or fashioned out of a stiff length of wire. In a pinch, you can even learn to utilize your fingers to do the work. Even without the use of a machine, a skilled worker can learn to produce a large amount of material.

Getting started
For learning, I recommend that you use a ball of cotton thread and create some squares that can be used as pot holders, hot pads, wash cloths or even as protective mats beneath a lamp or decorative item. A beginner will find it necessary to undo and redo a row a few times before the proper tension and technique is learned. THIS IS PART OF THE LEARNING PROCESS and not a sign of failure. If you are patient with yourself, experience will increase your skill level.

For a beginning project I recommend starting with a small, squared item. A square item will tell you quickly whether or not you are turning the work correctly by how straight the sides appear. Counting the stitches will also tell you whether or not you are dropping or adding a stitch out of place. By working on smaller projects initially, you will be encouraged as your efforts are quickly rewarded with a finished project. As your speed increases, you will then gain the confidence to tackle larger projects.

At the end of this post, I have included a pattern that is offered free of charge by Lion Brand Yarn.

Here are some videos that demonstrate the basic stitches you will need to master in order that you might follow a simple pattern.

Chain Stitch
In patterns, this stitch will be abbreviated "ch st."

Single Crochet (includes good information on how to turn work)
In patterns, this stitch will be abbreviated "sc."

Double Crochet
In patterns, this stitch is abbreviated "dc."

Half Double Crochet
Abbreviated as "hdc."
-- Note: This instructor, from the UK, refers to the stitch as a half treble crochet stitch.

Triple Crochet
Abbreviated as “tr.”

Slip Stitch
This will be shown as “sl st.”

When you are reading a crochet pattern, here is a quick guide to tell you what the various abbreviations mean:

( ) work instructions within parentheses as many times as directed
* repeat the instructions following the single asterisk as directed
* * repeat instructions between asterisks as many times as directed or repeat from a given set of instructions
[ ] work instructions within brackets as many times as directed
alt alternate
approx approximately
beg begin/beginning
bet between
BL back loop(s)
bo Bobble
BP back post
BPdc back post double crochet
BPsc back post single crochet
BPtr back post treble crochet
CA color A
CB color B
CC contrasting color
ch chain stitch: refers to chain or space previously made: e.g., ch-1 space; ch(s) chain(s)
ch-sp chain spac
CL cluster
cm centimeter(s)
cont continue
dc double crochet
dc2tog double crochet 2 stitches together
Dec decreas(e)(s)(ing)
dtr double treble
FL front loop(s)
foll follow/follows/following
FP front post
FPdc front post double crochet
FPsc front post single crochet
FPtr front post treble crochet
g gram
hdc half double crochet
Inc increase/increases/increasing
lp(s) loops
m meter(s)
MC main color
mm millimeter(s)
oz ounce(s)
p Picot
pat(s)or patt pattern(s)
pc Popcorn
pm place marker
prev Previous
rem remain/remaining
rep repeat(s)(ing)
rnd(s) round(s)
RS right side
sc single crochet
sc2tog single crochet 2 stitches together
sk skip
Sl slip
Sl st slip sitich
sp(s) space(s)
st(s) stitch(es)
tbl through back loop
tch or t-ch turning chain
tog Together
tr treble crochet
trtr triple treble crochet
WS wrong side
yd(s) yard(s)
yo yarn over
yoh yarn over hook

Before beginning a project BE SURE TO CHECK YOUR GAUGE. At the beginning of most patterns, you will find something called a gauge. This will tell you how many stitches equal a certain size and how many rows of that stitch equal a certain size. By working a small test swatch of crochet work, you will know whether or not your thread and hook will create the correct size to produce the right sized finished work.

For example, if you work the stitches and rows given for the gauge (say, 4 inches) and produce a smaller size than the gauge (3 ½ inches), then you know that you will need a larger hook or you will need to hold the yarn more loosely or a combination of the two. If your swatch is larger than the gauge, then you may need to use a smaller hook, use more tension on the yarn or a combination of the two.

The amount of time it takes to produce a gauge is not wasted, but will ensure that you get the finished product you desire.

Making a potholder is a good beginner’s project for those learning how to crochet. Be careful to utilize a cotton yarn for this type of project as synthetic (or synthetic blends) will melt and adhere to surface when they come in contact to heat. The following pattern can be found at Lion Brand Yarn’s web site. They offer a variety of patterns free. (http://www.lionbrand.com/patterns/ckc-pot.html?newreg=1)


SIZE: 8½ inches x 8½ inches

4-ply worsted-weight yarn of 100% cotton, 1 ball
Crochet Hook - Size K-10.5

5 sc = 2 inches; 8 rows = 3 inches.

With 3 strands of yarn held together, ch 21.
Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each ch across (20 sc). Ch 1, turn.
Row 2: Sc in each sc across. Ch 1, turn.
Rows 3-21 (or so): Rep Row 2 until piece measures 8" from beg.
Last Row: Sc in each sc across, end (ch 10, sl st in last sc made) for loop. Do not fasten off.
Edging Row: Ch 1, sc in same space as last sl st, then sc in each row-end st along the side of potholder to next corner, 3 sc in corner, sc in each st of starting ch to next corner, 3 sc in corner, sc in each row-end st along opposite side edge of potholder. Fasten off.


Betty Boop Smith said...

Wonderful! I can't wait to hit Joann's crafts and walmart and I'm going to hopefully start after I get my materials

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