5 Things I Wish I Had Known as a Crochet NewbieBy Claire Ortega-Reyes – 18 Comments
Pliny the Elder had written, “Experience is the most efficient teacher of all things.” I personally discovered that statement true enough—specially when it came to my crocheting. As a newbie I didn’t know much about the “proper” way of doing things. I made a LOT of mistakes that resulted in catastrophically funny FO’s (finished objects). Here are five things I learned, the HARD way:
1. Getting the correct gauge and using the right materials is VITAL to crochet success.
Ever an impatient person, I didn’t bother to learn about gauge when I first tried crochet. Heck, I didn’t even know that using different kinds of yarn with different kinds of hooks had any effect on my work! A few Lillyputian hats and one giant fingerless glove later, I learned the reason why my projects never came out the same size as the pattern indicated. Wish I had paid more heed to the resource books and sites I came across!
2. Never take shortcuts in finishing crochet work.
I had made a shrug for my mom—my first ever “serious” garment project. I was ecstatic that I had been able to finish the project! My mom was, if possible, even more excited than I was. She said she would wear it the moment I finish it. I just sort of tucked the ends in somewhere (the shrug was lacy so I didn’t have the patience to weave the ends in properly). Off my mom went, proud as a peacock (peahen?), wearing her daughter’s creation. And then, disaster struck. The yarn end on one sleeve had emerged, and the sleeve somehow had started to unravel! Good ol’ mom tried to solve the problem by tugging at it (GAHH!) which of course made the problem worse. Lesson learned: ALWAYS hide the ends properly—it is so worth the time and effort.
3. Read the pattern through before making an attempt.
It can be very frustrating when you’re halfway through the pattern and you realize that you lack some materials to complete the project. Also, some pattern writers put important information in different areas of the pattern as pattern notes. As you develop your own preferences and skills in crochet, you realize that you can tweak patterns more to your liking. Reading the whole pattern through can really help. For example, I was able to make a seamless project out of a pattern that had required sewing. Reading the pattern thoroughly before working on it reduces the number of UFO’s (unfinished objects) and can even minimize your work load.
4. Just because the yarn looks cute as a skein doesn’t mean it would look great when crocheted.
Ah, I had to learn this lesson oh so painfully. I had purchased many a “pretty yarn” (and they were NOT cheap) that ended up looking like sparkly rainbow puke as a crocheted item. Lesson learned: always try to look at gauge swatches provided at the store. If they don’t have any, take the time to do your research by looking at finished crochet projects online.
5. Always test your limits!
I had wanted to learn crochet because of all the inspiring crochet work I had seen online. You know that feeling you get when you see pure crochet awesomeness? I always experienced that! Along with the appreciation for the beautiful crochet work, a thought would always occur to me, “I could never do that!” For some time I had always chosen easy patterns because I had felt that I couldn’t possibly tackle more complicated ones. And then courage grew in my heart—I looked past the “skill level” portions of patterns, and simply tried everything I wanted to try. When I came to a part I couldn’t understand, I did everything in my power to overcome it, and I didn’t stop until I did conquer it. As a result, my knowledge and skills in crochet grew with each pattern I triumphed over. So always think you can do anything, crochet-wise! Never close yourself to learning opportunities from crochet sources and fellow crafters.
What about you? Do you have crochet insights you wish you had known when you started crocheting? I bet you all have funny newbie stories. Happy crocheting everyone!