Friday, 14 August 2015

A beginners guide to crochet

When Squidge was born I decided to make him a creeper face blanket (Minecraft), at the time I could only knit, and not very well, so I decided to learn to crochet.  My mother-in-law lent me a book 'Kids learn Crochet' which taught me the basics (hey, if it can teach kids, it can teach me!).  Once I'd mastered chains and some different stitches, I started crocheting little squares.

Then I got so busy with Squidge and the blog I didn't crochet for months and months.  Well, about a month or two ago, I picked it back up again and have pretty much crocheted every day since! I'm fully addicted now!  I finished the creeper blanket (it's only a small baby blanket for the pram), it doesn't look great, but I'm so proud of it, I know that in years I'll be able to look back and see how far I've come.

Anyway, over on Instagram I've been putting pics up of my crochet progress and I've had a couple of people ask me to put a post together about how I got started, what I bought etc - something I was already planning to share with you :)

So - here's what you need to get started (links under the pics to the bits I bought and where from).
Essential crochet kit
Yarn (I buy Stylecraft DK from Wool Warehouse - it comes in a bag that's perfect for putting projects in) | Crochet hooks (this is a really decent cheap set £4.99) | Markers (great if you're working on multiple projects at the same time) | Small scissors (these are Tommee Tippee baby nail scissors) | Darning needles

These essentials (excluding the yarn) cost a grand total of £8.51, each ball of yarn costs £1.79 (if you buy this brand - I like it because they're decent sized, a good range of colours, they're soft and cheap).

FACT - did you know why people call it yarn and not wool? Because not all yarn has 'wool' in it - the stuff I use is 100% acrylic :)

That's one of the things I love about crochet, it's a cheap hobby to get started in :)  Once I learned the basics from the book, and felt like I'd learned how to stitch rows together really well, I tried to learn how to make a granny square... holy moly it took a lot of attempts! After a lot of practice I realised I was doing the wrong stitch (there's American terms and UK terms, I'd learn UK and the pattern was American... all very confusing!).  Once I realised, I corrected my mistake, learned how to Treble Crochet (TC) and there was no stopping me!

Here's some of the projects I'm working on:

Joined granny squares
I'm making a giant granny square blanket for us to keep on the sofa for the Winter, at the moment I'm making the width, so joining lots of squares together in a big row (it'll be 20/22 squares wide).  It's not perfect, but I'm still very much a beginner and learning. I learned this granny square from this video, and I learned how to join them together from Bella Coco in this video.

Giant granny square progress

Giant granny square close up

This is a giant granny square baby blanket for Squidge, it's still not finished, I need to add a lot more rounds to it, but that's the beauty of granny squares, you can be so creative in the colours you choose - it would look so different if where I used beige, I used black instead, and instead of the pastel colours, if I'd used orange and purple etc :)

Star baby blanket
I've just finished this baby blanket - the pattern was surprisingly ok - it only took 2 attempts to master, it's still not quite perfect, I think I've added an extra stitch in a couple places which is why the star doesn't have straight edges and has curved edges, but still a decent attempt :D   Again, I love how by changing the colours of this, or doing more than 1 row in each colour (I did 1 row blue, one row cream etc) it would have looked completely different.  This is the tutorial I learned this pattern from.

Baby chevron blanket progress
I'm really hoping my colleague doesn't read my blog, this is one of the baby blankets I'm making for her baby (she's due in Oct).  I wanted to learn a new stitch/pattern, and thought a grey and yellow chevron would be great and neutral for a boy or girl.  It's not perfect, I've made some mistakes, but for the most part it's pretty decent :)  I found the tutorial for it from a YouTuber called Jayda InStitches - she's amazing!!! 

close up of yellow and grey chevron blanket
A close up of the stitches - it looks more complicated than it is :)

Failed baby chevron granny blanket
Not all of my projects work out though - this was a granny chevron - it wasn't a great pattern as it didn't really tell you what to do with the ends/sides, so mine was getting smaller and smaller - that's when I found the pattern for the one above, which I love!

If you're thinking of learning, I really can't recommend it enough, especially if knitting wasn't for you. I find crochet much easier than knitting, and it's much easier to correct a mistake with crochet too - plus, I think the patterns are prettier - and I can actually follow a pattern in crochet, I never could with knitting :)
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