We’ve all got to start somewhere, but if you’ve never even picked up a crochet hook before, here’s everything you need to know to get started!
What are the essentials that I need to crochet?
What do I need to crochet? Just these three things!
- A crochet hook
A Crochet Hook
It might seem obvious, but you can’t crochet without a crochet hook! Hooks come in a range of shapes and sizes, so knowing what’s best for a beginner can be challenging. We’d recommend starting off with a 4mm or 5mm hook to start off with – they’re a good medium size for beginners to get to grips with. If you’re in the US, these may be referred to as G6 or H8 size hooks.
Beginners can struggle with getting the hang of pulling your hook through loops, initially your hook is probably going to be under quite a lot of pressure until you perfect your tension. For this reason using a metal hook is the best choice for beginners (plus they’re usually the cheapest option). Once you’ve got the hang of it, try experimenting with different hook materials to see what sort is your favourite.
You’ll need some yarn to get started with, but again there’s an awful lot of choice out there! You’ll want to start with something that’s not too fine, and not too thick – a DK (double knitting) or Aran weight yarn is probably the best choice.
If you’re picking up the crochet hook for the first time, it might be tempting to get some special yarn to start with – but we’d suggest holding off for a bit while you master the basics! You will make mistakes on your first attempts and have to undo your work quite a bit, and you don’t want to waste any of that special yarn. Picking up some cheap acrylic yarn is a good choice, not only for price but also because it’s normally very even and good for practicing with. Don’t forget to check out your local charity shops or thrift stores for second hand yarn too!
Ok so technically you don’t need these for the actual crocheting part, but once you come to an end of your practice piece (or if you get yourself in a big knot) then you’ll need a good pair of scissors. You may see people just breaking yarn by pulling it apart with their hands – you can do this but as well as damaging the yarn, it can also hurt your hands with certain yarns!
And that’s all you need to get started
Now that you’ve got your basic tools sorted, you can start learning stitches. Why not try heading to our tutorial section and trying some out today – check out our how to crochet tutorials.
What else do I need?
Once you’ve mastered the basics and are ready to start on your first project, there’s a few more tools you’ll need at your disposal.
A Yarn Needle
Once you’ve got to the end of your project, you need to do a bit of tidying up! Even if you’re making the most basic of shapes, you’ll have two yarn ends left over that you’ll need to sew into your work – your starting end and your finishing end. A yarn needle is different to a sewing needle, in that it’s bigger and has a big enough eye for you to get your yarn through. There’s a few different types of needles available, from metal to plastic, and even ones with loops which make attaching your yarn a bit easier.
A Tape Measure or Large Ruler
While you might not need this for simpler projects, if you’re thinking about taking on a garment project or something that needs to be made to a specific size, then you’ll definitely need a tape measure or ruler. You should alway remember to do a tension square when a pattern advises – this is how you test that your stitches are coming out as the same required for the design. You can find our tutorial on how to make a tension square here!
Stitch markers are an important tool for new and experienced crocheters alike! As the name suggests, you use them for marking specific stitches – most commonly the first stitch in a round if you’re making crochet circles using the spiral method (where you don’t join at the end of the round), but also for when you’re making complicated shapes or divides in your crochet fabric.
Of course you only need this if you’re making toys or amigurumi, but it’s a vital resource for any crocheter. Toy stuffing is normally pretty cheap, but if you just need a very small amount of stuffing you could try using left over yarn ends or cotton wool instead.
Again one for the amigurumi makers! (New to amigurumi? Then check out our ‘What is Amigurumi’ guide!) The range of safety eyes available is huge, and they’re much safer than sewing on buttons (even for adults, once the back of a safety eyes is attached it’s virtually impossible to remove). Keep in mind though that if you’re making toys for a baby or young toddler, safety eyes should be avoided – there’s always the chance that the whole safety eye could be pulled out and be swallowed, it’s safer to use a bit of embroidery thread and securely sew an eye on instead.
Some Pen and Paper (or an app)
Once you get onto starting a project, it’s important that you keep count of your rows and rounds. Having a notebook handy to keep track of your progress is a good habit to get into (some people will tick off rows on a pattern with a pen – but this does mean you’ll struggle to use that pattern again). There are also a couple of counting apps out there that can help with crocheters to keep track of their rows, or you could always use one of those handheld tally counters used by bouncers and sport coaches!
What do I need to advance
If you’ve well and truly caught the crochet bug, then there’s some extra tools available for the more experienced crocheter!
Once you’ve completed your project, you may notice that your fabric curls a bit or that those edges could be a bit straighter – blocking will help with this! There’s a range of solutions out there for blocking, from specifically designed boards with pegs to hold your shapes in place, to interlocking foam mats that can be used to block your larger projects. You’ll also need a spray water bottle to wet your fabric with (or an iron with a steam setting if you fancy going pro!) You can find our guide to blocking here!
Yarn Swift and Wool Winder
If you’ve entered the world of skeins (or hanks) of yarn, then you’ll need to unwind them without getting your yarn in a big knot. Gone are the days of getting your partner or a friend to hold the loops of yarn between their hands while you manually unwind it – there are now a huge range of affordable yarn swifts and wool winders that will do the job for you. Yarn swifts can take a bit of practice to get the hang of, but once you’ve mastered it those lovely hand-dyed skeins of yarn will no longer cause you headaches when coming to use them!
A Yarn Bowl
If crochet has taken over your life and you’ve always got a project on the go, then a yarn bowl is a nice little treat for yourself. The beauty of a yarn bowl is that it keeps your ball in one place while you work away, and as they feature a hole or slit for you to pull your yarn through, it means that your ball doesn’t keep rolling around on the floor – a must have for any crocheters with kitty’s in the house!
If you found this tutorial useful, why not check out some more!