7 Common Mistakes of a Newbie Crocheter

By A Guest Writer – 37 Comments

A Guest Post by Caren Wilson.

We all make mistakes, whether we admit it or not. Below are some of the mistakes that I’ve made when I was new to crocheting and also some mistakes that I’ve noticed from others. If you are a crochet newbie, hopefully this list will help you learn from my mistakes and the mistakes of others. If you have a mistake that you would like to share, feel free to leave it as a comment for others to read!

  1. Miscounting stitches. Although this is a common newbie mistake, it is also a mistake that is made by many crocheters regardless of skill level. Miscounting stitches is probably the single most common mistake amongst all crocheters, since it is so easy to do. When you first start to crochet, try to make it a habit of counting your stitches carefully and using crochet stitch markers to assist you.
  2. Crocheting in the wrong loop(s). Often times when crocheters are self taught or even taught by friends/family, without formal crochet instructions from a class or instructor, they over look the obvious. Hey, I was guilty of it! Normally when you crochet, you are to insert your hook into both loops of a crochet stitch. Other times you may find it necessary to only crochet in the front or back loops. To learn more about the different loops check out this post: Crochet in Front, Back, or Both Loops
  3. Skipping the gauge. Gauge is important! It is how you know your crochet project will turn out to be the correct size. It is written in a crochet pattern for a reason. You can learn more about gauges in this post: What the Heck is a Gauge?
  4. Over thinking it. I’m often asked for crochet help on the most simplest things. I’m not saying this to put anyone down, but to tell you not to over think when you crochet. Crocheting is not rocket science and it isn’t as hard as you may think it is.
  5. Getting frustrated, frustrated and more frustrated. I’ve been frustrated plenty of times, especially when I first started out learning and crocheting new things. Crocheting is suppose to be fun, so I learned to just relax. Walking away and coming back to a crochet project with a clear head always seemed to work for me. It helps solve whatever crochet obstacle I had to overcome.
  6. Not asking for help. Don’t be stubborn. If you need help, just ask! Simple as that. If you don’t know where to find help, here is a post that can help: How to Ask for Crochet Help
  7. Trying to be perfect. Being a perfectionist is great for some things, but give yourself a break when it comes to crocheting. When you are first starting off, just have fun playing with the stitches and learning something new. You can worry about it being perfect later, because chances are it won’t be perfect your first few times. It’ll come with practice.

If you would like to add one of your crochet mistakes to the list, feel free to leave it as a comment!

Caren is a life long crocheter and self proclaimed yarn junkie. In her free time she enjoys crocheting items for charity and playing with her two children. Caren wishes to inspire others to crochet more, learn more, and live more.

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37 Comments

  1. Denise says:

    Miscounting stitches is my #1 problem – glad to see it was listed (as #1 ironically)! It makes me feel much better. It’s also the reason I haven’t moved on to projects that have “shape” to them like a sweater. I’m going to make a poncho for a friend that I made for myself and had 10 extra stitches on it at the end for some reason. I’m going to religiously use stitch markers for her poncho. Thanks for this post!

  2. Jessi says:

    My biggest mistake when I was starting out was leaving too short of a tail. I figured I was being responsible with my yarn, plus a short tail meant less working in when I was done, right? I can’t tell you how many projects started unravelling at the begining before I was even finished. Maybe this is obvious to most, but it wasn’t to me.

  3. Darlene says:

    In number 2 above add the bump or hump on the back as another place a stitch can be placed.
    Also I think getting acquainted with the look of the stitches is a good idea. What does each stitch look like when you come across it in the next row, so you know where to place (or not place) the next stitch. I know this was a great help for me when I took the time to really look at the composition of a stitch and realized I had been placing my stitches in the wrong spot. Of course it through my count off and I couldn’t understand why. It came out okay, but was nicer looking when I changed to the correct placement.

  4. Sandie says:

    What a fun topic. Who doesn’t make mistakes? I am guilty of some of these and I’ve been crocheting a whole lot of years. Count, count, and count again and still get it wrong! LOL I’ve read over and over to put a marker every 25 or 50 stitches so you don’t have to count them all again. I always mean to do this, but invariably I forget. Now and then I will remember and it is SUCH a help when counting not only stitches on rows but rows on a lengthy project with set number of rows. Safety pins are great for this.

    I don’t think I crochet in the wrong loop unless I misunderstand the pattern. I have a habit of skimming rather than actually reading. Bad Bad. heh I also don’t think I have ever in my life done a gauge swatch. Of course I don’t make clothes, just afghans, scarves and hats and such so gauge is not as important. Again, bad me.

    If a project is frustrating me continuously, I move on. Life is too short.

    I also get questions which sometimes seem so self-explanatory to me, but I do remember being new to the craft and trying to decipher this foreign language. I try to remember my roots and think of different words to use to describe the instructions. :-)

    I am somewhat of a perfectionist and have to force myself to move on if I make an error that is really not important or visible in the finished work. If it is something only I will know and will not affect the use of the product, I try to let it go. Sometimes I succeed and other tips it is froggin’.

    Thanks for the article, Rachel. You always inform and entertain me.

  5. Teena says:

    A big thing for me was finding out there were two crochet languages, US and UK. Before I found that out I was doing the wrong stitches, no wonder some patterns were frustrating!

  6. Bookworm says:

    I’m definitely guilty of over-thinking things and trying too hard for perfection. And miscounting stitches :-) Though, I don’t do that as much now as I used to (I’ve been crocheting for almost a year now). I will say, I’ve never done a gauge swatch. But I don’t think it’s really that important for certain types of projects. I’ve not made anything clothes related, where size really matters, so checking gauge isn’t really a necessity for me.

  7. Chika Montes says:

    COUNTING!!! Misunderstanding the pattern. . . =/

  8. Lisa says:

    it took me ages to figure out when i started (and it wasn’t until i came across your site Rachel) that you were meant to crochet it both loops normally and only one if required.

    the other mistake i made.. was never knowing how much yarn to buy… i remember i thought that a ball of yarn should do a whole project… so that meant a lot of returns to the store in the hope of finding the same colour batch at first!

    oh.. and i’m still not so good with the stitch counting…

  9. Rachel says:

    These are such great tips Rachel! Especailly number 6. My crocheting didn’t get anywhere close to decent until I discovered my LYS’s hooking group.

  10. sandhya says:

    When I taught crochet to those who could already do a little of it the most common mistake I had seen was while doing crochet in the round they would go to the next round without closing the previous round and so leaving an unfinished end and a very messy couple of stitches at the beginning and end of each row. Once I showed them the proper way they always wondered why they had a bump on their work..

  11. Lane says:

    Teena, I agree with you! I found a really cute pattern for some flowers a few months ago that was written in UK. I started crocheting it and it turned out to be an egg somehow… It wasn’t until then I figured it out.

  12. Jeanne says:

    Gauge has always been my downfall. The first thing I ever crocheted (a queen-sized afghan) ended up with one end 4 1/2 feet wide and the opposite end 7 feet wide. It took me years to figure that out! And I usually crochet far more tightly than most people, so I have to choose slightly larger yarns and hooks that are at least 1 to 2 sizes larger than suggested in a pattern.

  13. Bookworm says:

    Jeanne-

    I think that would be more an issue of consistency than gauge. I know that I don’t use gauge at all, but I’ve never really done anything that absolutely needs it. I think unless you’re making clothes or something that needs an exact fit, as long as you’re consistent, gauge doesn’t really matter.

  14. CrochetConnie says:

    A corollary to #1 – not checking the pattern to determine whether the turning chain counts as the first stitch on that row/round. And I’d add #8 – not keeping an even and comfortable tension as you crochet. When I first started I tended to cut off the circulation in my finger! Then I’d loosen the thread too much, ‘cuz my finger ached. My projects could most kindly be described as “interesting.”

  15. Sharon says:

    I have crocheted for over 45 years and am open to all the new ideas that are out there. I recently started making some garments after years of afghans, baby blankets, scarves, etc. I really enjoy them HOWEVER I hate it when a pattern is shown in a photo and they manage to hide the real flaws! They seem to pose the models to hide specific areas that are not as attractive as they should be. Why? If I spend a lot of time on an item I would like it to have an overall good fit. This has nothing to do with gauge; I have made tops with ties way too long, sleeves that pucker in the back because they did not take time to shape the sleeve and patterns that don’t show the item in sections so one can see the measurements. But the biggest thing is photographing them to make them look better than they actually are. I think magazines that publish patterns for the general public have an obligation to make sure that the overall product looks good and not only when certain aspects have to be hidden.

  16. P.J. says:

    Good morning everyone~

    I have a problem that I can solve. I have a fairly simple pattern, it’s a wave pattern, rows of half double, than crochet 3 stitches to make the peak, crochet stitches, than de-crease 3 stitches, ok that’s pretty simple. chain stitch at the end & turn. After I put in about 4 rows, i end up picking up stitches, oops, & there I go, IS THIS ALL THE MIS-COUNTING I DO? CAN ANYONE GIVE ME SOME ADVISE? thanx so very much.

    • Rachel Choi says:

      Hi PJ, yes it does sound like you are miscounting stitches if you are accidentally adding more and more. You can try using stitch markers to help you count. Some folks like to put a marker (scrap of yarn, paper clip, safety pin) every few stitches (such as every 10 stitches or so, whatever is appropriate for your pattern) to help them count.

  17. B J Titus says:

    I am new at this and after I make about a dozen rows, the bottom looks all rippled instead of flat. And tapering in with each row. I am trying to make an afghan.

  18. beatrice says:

    was recently given a project to finish his stiches are much tighter than I can get but he did not count stictiches that’s obvious its like eight feet long and starting to curve if I skip a stitch every 10 or so will it straighten it out without taking the entire thing apart. really don’t want to do that. Should I go down to where he ended and count his stiches to keep it straight or rather to get it back straight.

    • Rachel Choi says:

      Hi Beatrice!
      I’m not sure what you are making, but if you want it to look perfect, it sounds like you should start over if you want it to be straight. If you just want your part to be straight, you can probably just continue to crochet and be careful not to add any more stitches.

    • Sharon says:

      I think you have two options here. 1) rip it out and start over with the correct count put a marker at about every 50 stitches if it is exceptionally long. Skipping stitches will just make problems in the long run. 2) If you know the number of stitches necessary and there are more than you need on this length, just turn and crochet into each stitch until you have the required number the start with the tail and pull out each unnecessary individual stitch. This is time consuming but better than re-doing the whole chain and definitely better than skipping stitches.

  19. Aysha says:

    Hi i need some help.
    Im also fairly new to crochet, ive been teaching myself through videos online. I have made four projects so far. im happy with them all however i have a problem with my last project. i made a wavy pattern and im finished with it, it was supposed to be a a baby blanket but it turned out really long in length, is there a way to shorten the length?

    • Rachel Choi says:

      Hi Aysha! Congrats on learning to crochet, I hope you are enjoying it so far! The only way I can think of to shorten the length is to undo part of the blanket. If you are adding to the length each row, then you can take out some of the rows.

      • Aysha says:

        Hi Rachel! thank you for the quick reply. thank you im really enjoying it a lot.
        About my blanket as i add the rows thats my width, my length was from my first chains that
        i started with. I added wrong i guess and made it too long i want cry haha i dont know if i should
        just used it as is and gift to my cousin who is about to have a baby or just keep it with myself,
        it really pretty though.

        • Rachel Choi says:

          We’ve all been there, you’re not alone! It’s up to you if you want to keep it or give it as a gift. Sometimes when I mess things up I take it apart and reuse the yarn. It happens a lot!

          • Aysha says:

            Haha thanx alot of your help Rachel
            i just read about making a gauge maybe next time i will make
            one for a pattern im not sure about

  20. Aysha says:

    Hi Rachel! thank you for the quick reply. thank you im really enjoying it a lot.
    About my blanket as i add the rows thats my width, my length was from my first chains that
    i started with. I added wrong i guess and made it too long i want cry haha i dont know if i should
    just used it as is and gift to my cousin who is about to have a baby or just keep it with myself,
    it really pretty though.

  21. Aysha says:

    Hello
    i have another question, how do i crochet a mini anchor
    im looking for videos on how to do so but cat find anything

    • Rachel Choi says:

      Hmm… I don’t think I have an anchor pattern on the site. But if you do a google search for it, it’s possible there is a pattern for it out there somewhere :)

  22. Lynn says:

    If you make 13 chain at the beginning of a project, & dc into 3rd chain from hook, how can that give you 12 doc at the end??? The maths don’t add up.

  23. Anita Trotty says:

    I have mistakenly added an extra stitch when doing popcorn stitch rows. I thought about decreasing in the particular popcorns next row but decide against it….I pull the thread out and do rhe row over. Would decreasing work?

    • Rachel Choi says:

      Redoing it will probably give you the best outcome if you want it to be exactly as you planned. You can try some decreasing and see how it goes, there’s no harm in experimenting!

  24. ariel says:

    Kiaora, and hello
    i am a self taught beginner through watching you tube clips. I have made 2 squares im happy with them but seem to have problems with closing a round and always end up with an extra post/hole please help i am somewhat of a perfectionist and can’t get past this to graduate onto actually nearing completing something thank you other posts were helpful.

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