I have been looking back at some old crochet blog posts, mining all of the smartest tips from people across the web. Here are fifteen smart crochet tips:
1. Learn to read crochet stitch diagrams.
Crochet with Dee writes, “I think it is important for all crocheters to know how to read stitch work. Knowing so will help with counting stitches, in ensuring stitch placement is correct, for locating errors, and for being inspired to create something wonderful. The reading of actual crochet stitches is the “old school” style of crochet patterning dating back to the earky 1800s before printed patterns arrived on the scene.”
2. Remember that crochet is math.
Crochet with Cris writes, “We, as crocheters, use mathematics every time we pick up the hook. For those of you who follow patterns, you are working against someone else’s calculations. For a person who wishes to adventure into designing your own patterns – you are working with mathematics, even if you aren’t aware.” She has some great posts about math in crochet including one on the mobius strip.
3. Study the color wheel.
Stacey of FreshStitches writes, “Similar colors are ones that “go together”… you can spot them because they occur together on the color wheel! I try to keep the colors I use together in the same tone: brights with another bright color or putting a subdued pair together.” Lion Brand shares more color theory tips for crochet.
4. Use the right yarn for the recipient.
For example, Poetry in Yarn has a beautiful letter to a new mother recipient of a handmade acrylic gift. She says in part, “the ease of washing will give you just a bit more time to focus on your little one- to catch an extra smile or babble, and to blow an extra kiss. Because the most beautiful thing in your world will not be the little vest, but the baby who is wearing it.”
5. Crochet design is a long process.
Mamas2hands has a great brief description of the process of her design from idea through publication. And Kirstin Omdahl shares in an interview about her Seamless Crochet technique, “I practiced the technique on random motifs for a year before feeling confident I could design a collection of motifs and even figure out shaping to create 3-dimensional projects using this technique. It took a while to figure out how to best write the explanation in line-by-line instructions.” And the whole process can change significantly over time, as Vashti Braha explains in an interview where she describes switching to independent design and publishing.
6. There are ways to crochet more quickly.
FreshStitches suggests, “You can slash your crocheting time with a combo approach: use a bulky yarn and downsize the pattern!” And The Yarn Fix shares some wonderful things that you can crochet with just a chain stitch.
7. Try meeting up with other crafters.
Tanis Galik says, “Sharing projects and yarn knowledge has proved to be very beneficial for everyone involved. The more experienced crocheters help those that are learning, especially with reading patterns and then exchange ideas and techniques with each other.”
8. Charity crochet is best when you care about the cause.
Sandie Petit of Crochet Cabana shares, “There are so many worthy organizations out there. I find that people generally gravitate toward a cause that is in some way meaningful to them. For example, I have lost many loved ones to cancer so if an opportunity arises I might donate to that cause. I had two preemies so I will occasionally donate preemie hats and afghans.”
9. Keep trying new things in the craft.
Delia Creates reminds us, “You can crochet in the round, in rows, in blocks, make edgings… It amazes me that one little hook can create so many possibilities.”
10. Take measurements when crocheting wearables.
For example, “When you crochet your own socks, you can control everything from foot diameter to sole length to leg length and cuff style, not to mention color.”
11. Try crafty challenges from time to time.
For example, crochet a motif a day. Fox’s Lane writes, “The motif a day is about the doing one thing everyday for a month. It is about discipline and routine. It is about learning new crochet patterns. About colours and stitches. And it is about taking time.”
12. Take breaks if you crochet for business.
People who make money off of their crochet may need to take breaks from time to time to keep the love of it. Planet June says, “You’ll feel better for taking a break, it’ll give you a chance to clear your head, and you’ll be able to bring the creative energy and feeling of accomplishment from having done something fun back with you when it’s time to start work again.”
13. Yarn substitutions can be tricky.
In a really smart post on this Doris Chan says, “Experience has shown me that no two skeins of yarn are exactly alike. I’m not talking about skeins of completely different yarns that list the similar information on the labels. I mean I’ve had skeins of the same yarn that differ, albeit subtly, in weight or thickness, twist and texture from one color to another color, even from skein to skein of the same color same dye lot.”
14. But yarn heals.
Fiber Farm writes, “Not because yarn would have solved any of their problems, but because- to a knitter and crocheter- yarn is hope. Yarn is several hours break from thinking about the lousy state of your finances, the lousy state of the world. Yarn is the opportunity to use your skills to make something both beautiful and practical, to remember that you are good at something and to be proud of what you can do.” And Dora Ohrenstein adds, “We also turn to crochet because it’s so calming to feel the rhythm of one’s stitches, and feel the texture of yarn and hook working smoothly and harmoniously together, as a lovely fabric unfolds from our busy fingers.”
15. Trust yourself!
In an interview with Crochet Spot, freeform crochet artist Renate Kirkpatrick says, “Trust yourself – if you feel your project is going wrong, stop and have another look at the pattern, there’s a good chance you may have missed something… and isn’t it better to find the mistake on row 2 rather than on row 102?” And Tanis Galik adds, “Relax and enjoy it. Chances are it’s not going to be perfect in the beginning. And that’s fine. You can always pull the yarn and redo the stitches.”