Attention beginner crocheters, this one’s for you! Before you even pick up a hook, this post is all about stuff you need to know when it comes to crocheting.
There are so many little things that can make your crocheting experience a bit easier and fun! Now that I think back on my crocheting journey and how it started, I wish I would have done just a little bit more research before I took the deep-dive in and learned the art of crocheting.
The biggest thing for me has been patience… As those of you who know me are aware of, I have little to no patience for some activities; learning is one of them! I’ve always been the type to get frustrated very quickly when I’m in the process of learning something new. I expect myself to know how to do things perfectly and master the activity the first time around. I know, I know… I’m WAY too hard on myself and need to learn that it is okay to take time and give myself patience when learning.
I’ve been crocheting for almost six months (178 days, to be exact) and still to this day, I’m irritated with myself because I haven’t been able to perfect the Waffle Stitch and I only know about four different types of stitches. Single Crochet, Half-Double Crochet, Double Crochet, and Lemon Peel Stitch.
So, without further ado, here are 17 beginner crochet mistakes you need to avoid!
- Sticking your hook in the wrong chain when you start a project.
You don’t count the first chain on your hook so the first chain from your hook is actually the last fully formed chain you made. See the picture below for a visual representation. Don’t count the loop on your hook, the first fully formed chain is the first chain from the hook, the one next to that is the second loop from the hook and so on.
2. Using UK stitches when your pattern is US crochet terms.
Most patterns that you will come across will tell you point blank what type of stitches they require; UK or US are the most common types. If you have trouble remembering, just use this cute little rhyme I found. Always remember that single = states. If there’s a single crochet in your pattern it’s from the United States.
If a single crochet instruction awaits, your pattern is from the United States.
3. Thinking that blocking doesn’t matter.
To be fair, I have never blocked anything in my life so I’m not very familiar with it. But I do know that some patterns will require blocking while others do not. You may be asking yourself, what is blocking? Well, don’t worry! I’m here to answer your question.
Blocking means you hand wash the project and pin it into place on a blocking mat. Some yarn companies advise against using washing machines but typically you can use the hand wash setting on your project and won’t have a problem. Just do whatever it is you’re most comfortable with! Crocheting and the steps that involve it are not a one-way-fits-all. Blocking a project will flatten and straighten your work. It will often make your project grow a little so if you’re going to wash/block a project make sure you’re using the blocked gauge when you make it. You don’t want to make a garment according to unblocked gauge measurement, then wash it and have it grow a size.
4. Making starting loops with linking chains instead of using a magic loop.
This is a new one that I just learned! I had no idea that it’s easier to make a magic loop (also called magic ring) instead! There are two main ways to start crocheting in the round. One is to make 4 or 5 chains and join them in a circle with a slip stitch. This is the way most beginners, like myself, are taught to start granny squares. A neater and more adjustable way is to start with a magic circle. You can see from the photo below that the magic circle center is tighter than the chain link circle.
5. Using the same size hook for your chain as you use for the rest of your project.
Have you ever started making a project and then realized something is a bit wrong? More often that not (knot! 😉) the issue is that your starting chain is too tight. This is particularly common in beginner crocheters. As you can see from the image below, it’s important to get your chain tension correct otherwise it will ruin your project. The best solution is to use a slightly larger hook, usually one size up, than the pattern recommends to get the correct tension for your chain. Of course you can definitely stick to using a same size hook, but personally I’ve found that going up a size will make starting a new project that much easier!
6. Shrinking or growing crochet.
If you can see your project slowly growing or shrinking, it means something’s not right. You’re probably putting your first stitch in the wrong spot. This is where stitch markers come in handy! Typically when I start a project, I put a marker in the first stitch so I know exactly where I started.
For single crochet, your first stitch goes into the first stitch of the previous row.
For the other basic stitches, the turning chain counts as the first stitch so your actual first stitch goes into the second stitch from the previous row.
7. Trusting the manufacturer’s knots.
It’s a sad fact of buying yarn, but it’s highly likely you’ll end up with at least one knot in each ball of yarn. Do not trust this knot. The best thing to do is cut the knot out and rejoin it yourself, I have found a great video of making a slipknot which I will link down below; this particular video is for someone like me who is left-handed so I will also link a right-handed slipknot video below that.
8. Not learning to ‘see’ your stitches.
Most beginner crocheters are too busy trying to yarn over their hook that they’re not really concentrating on what the stitch looks like when they make it. This is totally understandable! Learning to crochet is like learning to drive a car. There are lots of different moving parts and it takes a while to catch your rhythm. When you first start crocheting, take a moment to count your stitches and learn what they look like.
9. Not learning new techniques because they look too hard.
I’ve heard it said that crocheting is simply pulling yarn through loops in different combinations, and that is dead right. If you can single crochet, double crochet, treble crochet, chain and slip stitch, you can complete most patterns. For real. Even the most complicated patterns are made up of combinations of the basic stitches. If you see a project you want to make, just give it a go! If you take your time, follow the pattern and read very carefully there’s no reason why you won’t have success.
10. Not learning about quality yarn.
This is something I’m still learning myself, so I can’t give you much advice. But after being a part of online crochet groups for quite some time, I keep seeing people say to pay close attention to the quality of the yarn and don’t purchase it just because you think it’s pretty or soft… Which I tend to do! Yikes. When you first start buying yarn, ask for recommendations and read online reviews of said yarns. I also found a wonderful yarn buying guide that should be helpful! It will make trips to the yarn store a lot less scary for beginners.
11. Not realizing that your turning chain equals the height of the first stitch of the row.
I don’t want to admit to anyone how long it took me to realize this, but your starting chain at the beginning of a row brings the height up to whatever stitch you’re going to do in that row. So Single Crochet is one chain, Half Double Crochet is two chains, and so on. Doesn’t that just make perfect sense in your head now?
12. Not learning to read patterns.
We are pretty lucky these days with crochet – there are countless YouTube videos online that can teach you to do almost anything in crochet, which is great! Learning to crochet from a book would be much harder, I imagine. I honestly don’t know how our grandmothers ended up learning how to do it without the Internet. What a pack of legends. However, this means that many people are learning to crochet without ever learning to read a pattern. If you’ve never given pattern reading a go, here’s a beginners guide. I’m still learning how to read patterns and it’s amazing how much that opens up your mind!
13. Not learning c2c.
It’s such a fun and quick way to whip up a blanket. It seems like it’s difficult but once you get the hang of it, it’s super easy! This is a very satisfying project for beginners. I still have yet to learn this, but I’m sure I will love it once I do.
14. Not learning to crochet in the round.
Learning to crochet in the round seems scary at first but if you understand the mechanics of how it works, you’ll be making things in the round like a total boss. If you’ve never made anything in the round before a good place to start is t-shirt yarn baskets. The stitches are big and well-defined so you can really see what you’re doing.
15. Not learning to weave in ends properly.
This is the biggest rookie error. When I first started crocheting, I thought you just knotted them in like you would if you were sewing. It’s incredibly important to weave your ends in very thoroughly when you finish a project. I know a lot of crocheters hate ends, but it’s all a part of the process. Below is a wonderful YouTube video for weaving ends the correct way!
16. Dwelling on small mistakes.
This is definitely one of my biggest struggles! When I made my first ever project, a Single Crochet scarf for my Mom, I hated it. It was not straight and the ends curved in making it look terrible. But even though I wanted to give up, I kept going. It was my first ever project, of course it wasn’t going to look amazing. When you’re first starting out, whatever you’re making isn’t going to look the best, and that’s totally fine! Buy some inexpensive yarn and hook away. Experiment and make mistakes. If you skip a stitch, don’t stress; just undo it, or keep going if it’s not going to bother you.
That’s the beauty of handmade stuff. It’s full of personality and beautiful faults.
17. Giving up too soon.
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve wanted to give up crocheting because things aren’t perfect… But no matter what, I’m sticking it out. I’m learning and growing each time I pick up my hook and yarn! Too many people expect to pick up a hook and start banging out amazing projects but this is a skill that takes time and patience. I promise, it will feel like you’re made of fingers and thumbs for the first few, but slowly it will all fall into place and you’ll start crocheting without even thinking about what it is you’re doing. It’s all worth it to get to the stage where you crochet and watch TV or chat with friends.
Are you a beginner crocheter? Or have you crocheted for awhile? What did you struggle with when you first started?