Picking up a new skill isn’t simple, and crochet is no exception. Not only do you have to learn how to use your hook and work your yarn, you need to find out where to get the information to learn from in the first place! Fortunately there are lots of great ways to learn to crochet, from articles to videos and books. In this guide I am going to look at how to find the information that you need to begin and take the early steps on your crocheting journey. Because getting started is a hurdle that alone is enough to put some people off entirely. At least for a while. Which is a terrible shame.
So if you are saying to yourself “It’s all well and good wanting to be able to produce these things I’ve seen, but actually, when you boil down to it, how DO I learn to crochet?”, you’re not alone.
A complete lack of knowledge can feel intimidating, but the beauty of the internet is that no one ever has to know about your false starts of failures – you can in the privacy of your own home give it a go! Taking your time to learn to crochet in a way that works best for you.
How I Found Out How To Crochet!
When I found out how to learn to crochet, I didn’t pick up the skill in the easiest possible route, I certainly lucked into a lot of the right choices along the way.
I had been wanting to learn to crochet for a while. My interest having been peeked by a close friend who produced some gorgeous crochet rabbits for my daughters birth. She’s always been a talented artist, but I had no idea she could make something that looked so professional out of wool! So, like the good friend I am, I decided to copy her.
She generously offered to teach me, but once I decide to do something I’m not great at waiting. So I popped straight out to the local hobby store and sat down in front of my laptop to find out how to give it an initial try.
Learn to Crochet on the Internet
Instructions aren’t always immediately and obviously accessible. But they certainly should be.
In a world as small as ours is since the advent of the internet, there is no reason that people should not be able to find what they wish to know in short order.
This doesn’t mean that it should be free. Because becoming an expert in anything requires a huge amount of time and effort, and these expertise therefore have value.
This is something worth pointing out, because although everything on this website is free, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth paying for patterns or tutorials on another website if you feel that they will be of benefit to your learning.
But the internet almost suffers from an overload of information. There are so many avenues available to you, how are you supposed to know where to start to learn to crochet?
Learn to Crochet with Youtube Tutorials
I love Youtube now, but I didn’t always. For some reason it bothered me.
It feels silly to admit it now, but I just didn’t get the point. When people called it the Google of videos, I was liable to give them a disparaging look. But Youtube is a fabulous learning resource and a great way to learn to crochet.
Not only is it free, but it gives you a level of detail that beginners really require. As long as you pick the right channel, with an instructor who speaks clearly and has a good camera angle and background, you are away.
This is the first tutorial I ever used: How to Crochet a Mouse
I had never crocheted before, and my efforts were by no means disastrous. A definite good sign of a quality tutorial.
Here are my top tips for picking a crochet tutorial on youtube that will work for you.
- Listen for a couple of minutes before you try and join in. If you don’t enjoy those two minutes and feel enthused to hook-along, move onto the next one
- Make sure the instructor speaks clearly and slowly.
- Look at the background. Is it plain or clearly distinct from the yarn and hook colour?
- Is the camera focused clearly, so that you can see the movements of the hooks.
- Does the instructor describe everything as she (or he) does it?
If you can answer in the affirmative to all of those, then you are probably onto a winner in terms of the channel narator and instructor. But what about the content?
How to Begin to Learn to Crochet
It’s all well and good picking a good instructor, but what should you learn first? Personally I chucked myself in at the deep end, and because I was lucky it didn’t have any major issues and kept at the hobby.
Although it is worth mentioning that while going to hard too soon can be off-putting, going too easy can also be boring.
The type of tutorials which are good for beginners are unsurprisingly the simple ones, but not necessarily the overly repetitive ones.
I wouldn’t for example suggest you made a blanket entirely of double crochets for your first piece, because frankly you will probably decide crochet is rubbish and dull before you are halfway through.
For this reason I always point beginners towards simple blankets like a granny square for their first go. Once they have mastered that if they enjoy it, they can either move onto different blanket styles, like the ever popular flecked Annie Blanket or very basic toys.
Toys with simple structure are easy to find – they will be fairly globular in shape. Without fussy ears, feet or clothes, and with little or no colour changes required.
My Favourite Crochet Youtube Channels
I have recently started up a youtube channel of my own, which you can check out here. But every channel is different, showing different patterns and styles, and you can never watch too many in my opinion!
I have dipped into a lot of youtube tutorials, and these three are all really good for complete beginners if you are looking for somewhere to start:
The best thing to do if you are looking for something specific, like a blanket or toy tutorial, is to simply run a search. Don’t be put off by someone’s tutorial having fewer views – make the judgement for yourself by taking a minute or so to check it out before you start. Remember, even the big viewing figure channels had to start somewhere!
Written Crochet Tutorials
Once you are comfortable with some basic stitches, having viewed and hooked along with some tutorials, you will be ready to work from written crochet tutorials without video.
Not all crochet sites are equal, and some are definitely aimed more at established crocheters. Filling their patterns with abbreviations without explanation, and technical terms. These are fabulous for the experts, but can leave beginners feeling stressed and confused.
What we want is for you to be relaxed and enthusiastic about carrying on.
So, when I say ‘written tutorials’ I am referring here to the crochet tutorials written in full sentences, with explanations and clearly denoted as good for beginners.
You can spot these because they will have lots of pictures, often showing how to carry out the stitches required. Or links back to videos for when you get stuck with certain techniques.
Once you are at home with tutorials written in clear English, you can start to deliberately look for some that also give abbreviations along with the descriptions.
Looking at them before you actually need to understand them will help to familiarise you with the concept, so that when you move on to the next stage of reading them you will feel more confident in their use.
The next step after you have successfully completed a few written tutorials, is to move
Crochet Pattern Books
Crochet pattern books again vary hugely, and it’s important before you invest to know whether the book is aimed at beginners or advanced crocheters.
The best pattern books for beginners are those that have a seperate section with explanations of the abbreviations and pictures showing how to carry out each technique used. Photographs showing how the hook will manipulate the yarn at each step of the stitch or technique will enable you to feel confident that you are following on correctly.
Some pattern books will tell you what the abbreviation stands for, but not what that actually means. Which can cause problems especially for instructions that are different depending upon whether the author is using American or English terminology.
Look also for instructions that give regular photos showing what your work should look like as the pattern continues, as well as giving a stitch count for each row.
Hands down some of the best things I have ever made have been from books – namely Edward’s Menagerie and Boho Crochet. These both have clear instructions for techniques and lovely photographs.
Both of these books are great for beginners, and Boho crochet has a good variety of pieces for the keen starter and more advanced practitioner.
I would however say that if you get just one of these as a beginner, go with Edward’s Menagerie. I love the way she builds up the skillset with each subsequent creature. And watch out for the descriptions above each one – they are hillariously bizarre.
Crochet Patterns Online
Of course crochet patterns can’t just be found in books these days. We have to go back to the good old internet.
It can be perhaps harder to follow online patterns for a few reasons. They don’t tend to have had the investment in images, so they are sometimes not as clear as those in a book.
In addition to this, whereas you can flick through a book and see if you like the style before you buy, online patterns often rely on payment before you have really got a feel for them.
For this reason research really pays. Google the designer’s name and check out whether they have been reviewed well in the past. It’s not always a certain sign, but it could save you a bit of money.
Of course, the greatest saving of all is when you are at the point when you don’t need to go and find a video, tutorial or pattern. But you can take all of this new information, and put it together all by yourself!
Make Your Own Crochet Patterns
When you are happy and confident following patterns, a whole wide world is opened up to you. And you could happily stay in that world indefinitely, if that’s your thing.
But some of us decide to take things a step in a different direction and start to create patterns ourselves.
When you have even a basic knowledge of crochet stitches, you have the early building blocks of doing it your own way. From something as simple as switching yarn types or patterns, to working your way through to varying other people’s and finally making something brand new and all your own design.
Beginners to Crochet
When learning a new skill, the old sayings ring eternally true. In order to advance to the top of the pyramid, you need a solid and ample foundation.
I hope that this rather extensive essay has helped clear up for you the steps that I think you might enjoy taking to reach this point. Not just successfully, but in a way that means you can enjoy the journey. And hopefully avoid some common crochet mistakes too!
And don’t forget – your learning is never done. Mine certainly isn’t! There are still plenty of techniques I fumble a bit with, and stitches that fox me.
The beauty of this open information world is, I can simply go back to the start again for each new thing. Watching youtube tutorials or checking out detailed photographically enhanced descriptions as each new thing occurs.
I look forward to learning more together soon, and in the meantime you might find some of your remaining questions answered here:
- Is crocheting a very expensive hobby?
- Are stitches better done too tight or too loose?
- Does learning to crochet take ages?
- Why is my crochet attempt curling up?
- Do some stitches use less yarn than others?
- Why does my blanket lean to one side?
Happy Crocheting! x
Excellent resource for anyone who wants to learn to crochet – thank you