Today we are going to look at my top tips for achieving a stress free crochet session.
In my house the major culprits for most tangles and trip-ups are a fiesty feline and a tenacious toddler.
But in the early days they were right at the back of the queue when it came to my crochet stumbles.
These days there are some rules that I try and follow to make sure that it’s plain sailing when I pick up the hook.
Here are my top 10 tips for a stress free crochet session:
1. Get everything ready before you begin to crochet
It sounds obvious, but it’s something that most hobby and even professional crocheters seem to struggle with. Especially if you don’t have a dedicated area to work with. You sit down on the sofa with your hook pouch and some yarn, begin your work, and just as you are in the middle of a colour change you realise your scissors are still in the kitchen.
You then have to carefully put everything somewhere it won’t be accidentally assaulted by the rest of your family (both human and animal) whilst you trot off to find them before you can continue.
Not only do you risk having to go back a few stitches and repair your work, but it really ruins your relaxed mood.
Before you begin, take a second to make sure you have everything in place.
2. Plan your crochet ahead
Whilst we all like the idea of free expression through our crafts, even the most experienced crochet guru needs to have some idea of where they are heading before they get going.
If you are following a pattern, sit it in front of you. If there is a youtube tutorial you know might be of assistance, get your laptop set up before you start working.
If you are working out a new pattern, jot down your ideas before you start stitching.
3. Make sure you have enough yarn
It is incredibly annoying to put hours of work into a large crochet project, only to be caught short as you approach your end goal.
Before you begin, make sure you have at least as much yarn as you think you will need.
It’s always better to have too much than too little. You will find a use for the left overs every time.
4. Make crochet easy on yourself
Why take the hard road if you can take the easy one, with the same results? Whilst it is possible to count stitches in your head, or tally on a piece of paper, or wind a piece of loose yarn through, on the whole it’s an awful lot easier to slip in a stitch marker.
In the same vein, yes you can sew in ends with your hook, but in most cases you will find a yarn needle will get the job done a lot more quickly and easily.
And speaking of sewing in ends….
5. Leave a long tail of yarn
I find it always pays to cut off a good long size tail. Whether you are colour changing or ending a row, your loose end will need to be sewn into the finished work of crochet. This sewing will be far simpler and quicker if you have a lot to work with.
Remember, you will always cut it off short once it’s hidden amongst your crocheted stitches.
6. Check your yarn
If you are using a new ball of yarn, then it should release easily. However, if you are using one that you have already worked from it can become tangled very quickly.
Before you begin take any slack yarn and loosely wind it back around the ball. It seems like a hassle at the time, but it’s worth it not to get knots cropping up later.
7. Use a comfortable crochet hook
Some crochet patterns can be exceptionally repetitive. Which isn’t a problem for any type of crochet hook if you are using a large loose weave stitch. The problem occurs when you are making something that requires a stiffer structure.
This is also true of small toy patterns where you are closely stitching an expanding spherical shape with a reduced hook size. I usually find less than a 3mm hook on any project requires more force and therefore more friction to be exerted on my fingers.
8. Yarn to your left (right-handed)
If you are right handed, then keep your yarn ball to your left. This will mean the tail of the work trails away from your other hand, your body and the crocheted pattern you are working on.
This prevents the frustrating situation where the thread you are working on becomes wrapped around or caught on
9. Keep your yarn ball low
Gravity is your friend when crocheting. Not that it’s not the rest of the time, but it really is when you have a hook in your hand.
If your yarn is sitting lower than your work, then it will roll around as you lift the tail, releasing the thread without you needing to manipulate the ball.
Keeping your yarn freely moving can be the difference between the
10. Know when to cut your losses!
However careful you are, however well you plan, act and position your ball of yarn, at some point it will knot.
You will be happily in the zone, pacing your way through some beautiful consistent stitching, and suddenly you will stall.
In my irritation I have on numerous occasions tried to unpick knots in my yarn. Unless it’s exceptionally loose and my project is still very small, I never bother any more.
There is no reason not to just cut it off, and carry on as though you have just carried out a regular colour change.
Have a Stress Free Crochet Session
Crochet can be and should be a relaxing hobby. They key to a great session is in your prepartion, how you carry it out and how you react to the pitfalls.