How hard is it to crochet? When I first picked up a crochet hook, the closest previous experience I had was an ill-fated adventure in knitting 6 years earlier. And my experience is that crochet involves learning a little bit of new muscle memory, but it is actually really quick and easy to master. In fact it’s so straightforward that anyone with even a passing interest should give it a try!
- How hard is it to crochet?
- Is crocheting hard for beginners?
- Can I learn crochet by myself?
- How long does it take to learn crocheting?
- Is it easier to learn to knit or crochet?
- How hard is it to crochet a granny square?
- How hard is it to crochet a blanket?
- Is crocheting good for your brain?
How hard is it to crochet
I can’t remember what inspired me to try crochet for the first time. But I do vividly remember sitting there with a hook in one hand and yarn in the other, trying to put the two together, and thinking it could only be made possible by growing a third hand. I dropped the needle and fumbled with the yarn, and made ridiculously overblown proclamations about how impossible it was.
To give you an idea of the sensation, cross your arms for me, right now. Now uncross them, and cross them again with the other arm on top. It’s so simple, yet so difficult at first! Practice a couple more times though, and you’ll be able to fold your arms the ‘wrong’ way very easily. And that’s about how difficult it is to learn the action of crochet too.
All crochet is fundamentally based on looping a length of yarn around a crochet hook, then drawing it through a stitch already on the hook. That single motion is about as difficult as crossing your arms the wrong way round for the first time. Once you’ve mastered it, everything else is just a case of building up patterns, and staying motivated to finish.
Is crocheting hard for beginners?
I don’t think so, but I guess this depends on your definition of beginner. If you can already knit, then the familiarity with how yarn and needles feel is going to give you a head start. If you like Lego, jigsaw puzzles, or braiding your kids’ hair, then the dexterity and concentration needed for those activities will help you get started with this one. Even if you’ve never done any of those things, but you want to hold something you crocheted yourself, then that’s all you need.
At the end of the day, we all have different things we find difficult. I didn’t learn to drive until my mid-thirties. If you can’t crochet yet and you’ve got no relevant past experience, but you got a driver’s license before turning 35, I salute you. You can definitely learn crochet too!
Is it worth it?
Trying something new is always worth it, and you’ll always learn something! Even if you learn that you hate crochet, at least you won’t die wondering about it.
You can pick up a crochet hook and a ball of yarn for $10 on Amazon, or $5 in Joanns, or mere cents in thrift stores. And if you decide you don’t like it and want to give up – that’s fine! Keep hold of the crochet hook though, it’s got lots of other handy uses, like doing up small buttons, pulling snags through to the inside of woolen sweaters, and yanking hairs out of plug holes (yuck).
Can I learn crochet by myself?
Oh yes! I am extremely introverted. I could regale you with stories of times I have made life harder on myself through sheer stubborn refusal to engage another human being in conversation. But luckily for my pride, they are mostly beyond the scope of this article.
Crochet is an excellent solitary pastime, and you can learn it by yourself too. You’ll need some source of instructions though. Here are some to try:
- YouTube videos
YouTube is the best resource for learning crochet techniques. The vloggers who spend hours patiently demonstrating and narrating crochet techniques then editing and uploading the footage are angels. From slip knots to stitches, and even making whole cardigans, there is a video to demonstrate everything.
There are plenty of crochet books for beginners, and you can check one out of the library if you don’t want to buy. Static, two-dimensional images and their captions aren’t always the best for learning techniques, but books are unbeatable when it comes to following a new pattern for the first time.
There are several monthly magazines dedicated entirely to crochet, plus plenty of crochet coverage in more general interest craft magazines. Look out for editions which come with a free hook and ball of yarn to accompany an easy beginner project.
Like this one – hello!
How long does it take to learn crocheting?
As I’ve said, all crochet basically boils down to one action – pulling a looping of yarn through another loop of yarn. I’m certain you can learn to do that pretty quickly. And I think one of the best, most freeing things about crochet is that once you’ve mastered that action, you can basically make whatever you like. You don’t need to build up through unwelcome stages of making things you don’t want, just to get proficient enough to make the things you do want. Dive right in at the deep end!
My first make was a granny square blanket. My second was an amigurumi elephant with a questionable trunk. I still have both of them 12 years later, so their standard is not embarrassing in the slightest.
How hard is it to crochet a granny square?
Lots of beginners start their crochet career with a humble granny square. Whether you work outwards from the center or in rows, and whether you stop small or go big, the granny square is a great way to master your grip, work on your technique, and practice getting a steady tension. There are literally hundreds of videos online to help you, and a basic granny square is one of the easiest patterns you can possibly start with.
How hard is it to crochet a blanket?
There are lots of ways to make a crochet blanket. You can
- Work in rows.
- Make a big stack of granny squares and sew them together.
- Work from the center out (effectively, one giant granny square).
- Go wild and free form shapes together.
The first three aren’t difficult at all. Only the last option requires a good grasp of how to build up different shapes using crochet stitches, and a feel for how an evolving design is going to come together without a pattern.
In fact the hardest part of making a blanket is keeping going. Big projects take stamina, and if you want to use lots of colors or assemble your blanket from granny squares, there will be extra jobs like weaving in loose ends. My top tips for staying motivated are:
- Listen to podcasts or binge box sets as you go.
- Join an online or real life crochet group for company and to share your progress and be cheered on by other people.
- Take breaks to complete smaller, quicker projects.
Is it easier to learn to knit or crochet?
I think most people would agree that crochet is easier to learn than knitting. I can do both, and it’s certainly my experience.
- In crochet you only hold one hook, and only keep one stitch on the hook at a time. If you drop that stitch, your work can only unravel one stitch at a time too. And since the stitches are more knot-like than in knitting, they don’t tend to unravel too readily.
- In knitting, you use two (or more) needles at once, and you hold all your stitches on those needles at all times – or so help you! If one of those needles slides out, picking those stitches up again is fiddly, and dozens or even hundreds of stitches can get lost at a time.
- It’s also easier to go backwards in crochet if you make a mistake. No less depressing but much easier. You can literally ‘delete’ the stitches as quickly as text on a screen. Whereas in knitting you need to ‘unwork’ each stitch in turn.
- And finally, crochet takes up less elbow room. So it’s easier to pick up and practice on trains, subways, buses and in waiting rooms.
Is crocheting an expensive hobby?
Alas, cost is probably crochet’s biggest downfall. Crochet uses about 25% more yarn per square inch than knitting. Which means in materials alone, it is the more expensive hobby. You can save some money by looking for supplies in end-of-batch yarn sales and thrift stores. You can even unravel old sweaters to repurpose their yarn!
Is crocheting good for your brain?
Finally, if you’re still on the fence, I’ve got a bit more information which I hope will persuade you to give crochet a try! Crochet can be seriously good for you! Research has shown that:
- Learning new skills improves memory in older people.
- Tactile projects are physically soothing to work on, and relax our heart rate and breathing.
- Finishing projects gives us feelings of accomplishment and improves self esteem.
- Joining a crochet community in real life or online promotes a sense of belonging and relieves feelings of loneliness.
- Some crocheters use their hobby to manage mental health conditions and life events such as grief, chronic illness and pain.
How hard is it to crochet? Summary
I think crochet is one of the easiest and quickest yarn crafts to learn. It requires very little investment in materials or equipment, and once you’ve mastered the very basics you can progress quickly to the projects you’re really interested in.
I hope I’ve given you the confidence to have a go too – let us know what you plan to make in the comments box down below!
More crochet guides for beginners
Burns & Van Der Meer. Happy Hookers: findings from an international study exploring the effects of crochet on wellbeing. Perspectives in Public Health. 2020.
Chan et al. Training Older Adults to Use Tablet Computers: Does It Enhance Cognitive Function? The Gerontologist. 2014.
Mayne. Feeling lonely, feeling connected: Amateur knit and crochet makers online. Craft Research. 2016.