Crochet is a repetitive activity, so you should be able to fly through your patterns, right? Or to expect your friend that is making your something to produce it in a reasonable amount of time? Sadly, although you can crochet dead fast when you’ve got a lot of practice and the right conditions, crochet is still very time consuming. Today I’ll share my experiences of why crochet takes so long, and what factors might be getting in the way of quick production.
- Why does crochet take so long?
- Learning to crochet takes time
- Choosing your pattern, colors, yarn and hook
- Working with crochet patterns can be slow going
- Dealing with friction, cramps and strains
- Yarn changes slow the process
- Why sewing in the ends takes a while
Why Does Crochet Take So Long?
There are an awful lot of reasons that hand made craft projects are time consuming, but crochet has some specific quirks that can make it slow going sometimes. These boil down to a few factors including:
- Learning new skills and a new language
- Making choices about patterns and projects
- Selecting yarn types and colors
- Reading and referring back to patterns
- Designing your own patterns when one isn’t available
- Straining fingers, hands and grip strength
- Changing yarns over
- Weaving in loose ends
Let’s take a look at each in turn and how they actually add those minutes and hours onto your predicted finish time.
Learning To Crochet
Learning to crochet isn’t just about how to hold a hook, pick up yarn and keep tension. It also involves learning a whole new language. Different terms, abbreviations. And depending on where your pattern comes from the same words can even mean different things in your instructions!
It takes a while to get familiar with the terminology, and to learn the individual techniques and stitches. Once you’ve learned to crochet, crocheting itself is faster but that doesn’t mean it’s actually fast.
Picking A Pattern
I don’t know about you, but even when I know what sort of item I am going to make choosing the pattern for it takes ages. I have a huge library of crochet books, from vintage books to modern ones, there is so much choice! I’ve spent entire evenings mulling over the benefits of a prettier but slightly more complex choice, over one that seems quicker but less appealing as a finished piece.
And that’s before I’ve even picked out my hook and yarn!
Selecting Yarn Type and Hooks
Once you know what you are going to make and which pattern you’ll follow, you need to select the right type of yarn. It might seem like grabbing something out the yarn basket is simple, but I’ll often need to order in or go buy the perfect yarn for a new project. Yarns might all look similar, but they come in a huge range of weights, materials, types and styles.
You’ll want to pick a yarn that looks visually right for the project, but is also the right type for it. You don’t want thick woollen yarn for your crochet teddy, likewise you don’t want tight woven yarn for your soft granny square blanket. And then to choose a hook that is the right size for the yarn you’ve chosen, and has a grip that allows you to manipulate the type of yarn most comfortably.
Choosing Your Yarn Colors
For craft enthusiasts choosing colors can be a serious business. We don’t just want them to match each other, but often to work well with the color scheme of a room, bedspread, curtains or rug.
Once you’ve got an idea of the color pallet you want, you then need to find these colors. And make sure that your balls of yarn are all from the same dye batch, so that they match exactly.
Reading Crochet Patterns Takes Time
Before I start to crochet I skim read the pattern. If there is a stitch I don’t use often in there it means I can remind myself how to make it, and I can then know what to expect and what equipment to use. For instance whether I will need stitch markers to count my stitches in a round.
When I begin a new pattern I’ll keep it with me to refer to. The breaks to check where I am in the pattern, see what is coming next and match it to my work all add time.
Why Does Crochet Take So Long To Design?
It’s worth mentioning that sometimes when you commission a crochet blanket, toy or item of clothing the designer will create an entirely bespoke pattern for you. When we design crochet objects I work from known shapes and build from there, but it still takes time.
You need to pause to make notes if you want to replicate it again, and take measurements and make assessments of how well it’s going as you proceed. You need to add in hours if not days to the time the project will take if it’s a bespoke design.
Moving Your Fingers In An Intricate Way Takes Time
There is only so fast a human can move their hands and fingers. However practiced you are, making intricate motions to manipulate tools takes time. Crafting will also be slower than using a machine, but there is a beauty to it that makes that worth the wait.
Friction From The Yarn
Certain types of yarn are gentler on your hands than others. If you’re working with a rough type of yarn or one with sequins intertwined with it then it is going to hurt your hands. Sore hands slows down your crocheting, but also means you need to take more breaks. Adding on to that total project time considerably.
Color Changes Take Time
Crochet projects that use more than one color take time. When you swap colors you will either begin your new section in a new color, or you will need to gradually switch over by combining yarn strands.
Whichever method your crochet piece requires, it is going to add to the time taken to crochet as it’s more complex.
Tieing Off Rows
Some crochet projects are mostly continuous, others require you to finish a row, cut your yarn and begin at a different place. In these cases there is a delay as you tie off the end, weave it in and restart in a new place. Time consuming, right!
Weaving In Yarn Ends
Crochet toys and other three dimensional projects don’t require an awful lot of work when you complete a row. The ends stay inside the object, nicely hidden from view. But with open crochet like blankets, baskets or even pen holders, you need to keep the loose ends of your yarn invisible.
The best way to do this is not to cut them short, where they stick out like tufty ends. They are also more likely to fray or come undone and ruin your project if you clip them short. What you want to do is sew them into the project, so they look just like any of your own crocheted rows. But doing this takes time too.
Why Does Crochet Take So Long?
Crochet takes a long time because this home making process involves using a variety of techniques, and your own bare hands that can become sore or irritated. You need to understand, read, follow or design patterns. And to apply these techniques repeatedly to form sometimes huge toys, blankets or throws. If you get very experienced you’ll be faster, but you’ll always need to accept delays for changing colors, weaving ends in or simply making decisions about how to proceed.
If you’re having trouble getting a crochet project together, why not drop me a line in the comments section below and I’ll see if I can help!