My Crochet Hooks and Yarn Journey

Crochet is a fun and relaxing hobby that can produce beautiful and usable items. If you are new to crocheting, you might feel overwhelmed by the variety of stitches, patterns, yarns, and tools available. But don’t worry, you can start with some basic skills and techniques and gradually build up your confidence and creativity. So grab your crochet hook, pick your favorite yarn, and let’s dive into the fascinating world of crochet!

Zaine Crocheting

Let’s Pause – Knot Your Average Tale: My Crochet Adventure

When I was younger, I watched my mom and aunts grab a ball of yarn and a crochet hook. Let them do their magic and *poof*, a new coaster or table centerpiece is made. I am always amazed at how they were able to do that, so I asked my mom who taught her, to which she responded: “My lola (grandmother) taught me.”

Fast forward to the year 2022, a year or so after the pandemic hit, I am so stressed with work that I badly need a hobby to help me relax and feel accomplished. That’s when I stumbled upon a crochet video online, and the memory of mom and aunts skillfully doing it came knocking on my mind’s door. I turned to my dad and said, “Pa, I’ve always wanted to learn how to crochet since I was a child. I think I’ll buy a crochet yarn and hook one of these days so I can try my hand at it.”

My first crochet yarns and hook

To my surprise, the very next day, my dad handed me a small ball of yarn and a two-way crochet hook. I felt a rush of excitement as I thanked him and hurried upstairs to my bed. There, I spent the whole day engrossed in Crochet for Beginners videos, eagerly trying out each new stitch I learned. As I experimented with different techniques, I discovered a few tips that I’m excited to share with you:

Tips for Crochet Beginners

1. Choose the right yarn and hook.

The yarn and hook you use can make a big difference in how your crochet project turns out. For beginners, it is recommended to use a medium-weight yarn and a hook size that matches the yarn label. This will make it easier to see your stitches and avoid mistakes. You can also choose a smooth and light-colored yarn that will not split or fuzz easily. Avoid using very thin or thick yarns, or very dark or variegated colors, as they can be more challenging to work with. Here is a YouTube video I watched on reading a yarn label:

2. Learn the basic stitches.

The foundation of crochet is the chain stitch, which is used to start most projects and create loops. From there, you can learn other basic stitches such as single crochet, double crochet, half double crochet and slip stitch. These stitches are used in many patterns and combinations, and they can create different textures and shapes. You can find tutorials and videos online that will show you how to make these stitches step by step.

Crochet Chain Stitch

3. Practice tension and gauge.

Tension is how tight or loose you hold your yarn and hook when you crochet. Gauge is how many stitches and rows you have in a certain measurement (such as 4 inches). Both tension and gauge can affect the size and shape of your crochet project, so it is important to practice them and be consistent.

A good way to practice tension is to crochet a simple square using one stitch and check if your edges are straight and even. As for practicing your gauge, try to make a swatch (a small sample) using the same yarn, hook and stitch as your pattern, and measure how many stitches and rows you have per inch. Then compare it with the gauge given in the pattern and adjust your hook size if needed.

4. Read patterns and charts.

Crochet patterns are written instructions that tell you what stitches to use, how many to make, where to join them, and so on. Crochet charts are visual representations of patterns using symbols for each stitch. Both patterns and charts have their own abbreviations and symbols, which you can find in a key or legend at the beginning of the pattern or chart. Reading patterns and charts can be tricky at first, but with practice you will be able to follow them easily and create beautiful projects. There are also a lot of sites you can visit for free crochet patterns.

5. Have fun and experiment.

Crochet is a creative art that allows you to express yourself and make unique items. Don’t be afraid to try new things, such as different stitches, colors, yarns, hooks, patterns or techniques. You can also customize your projects by adding embellishments such as buttons, beads, pom-poms or appliques. Crochet is also a great way to make gifts for your friends and family, or to donate to charities or causes that you care about. The most important thing is to have fun and enjoy your crochet time.

Crochet Yarn

After a little bit of practice, I made my first coaster using the yarn my dad gave me, following a pattern I found on a Youtube video. I stayed up all night, and while crocheting, I realized that if I wanted to make more complex and colorful designs, I needed different types of crochet hooks and yarns. So, the next morning, I woke up early and bought new hooks and yarns online.

I then practiced creating beanies, which I think I did fairly well. However, I do admit it is not perfect. The edges were not properly made, and I added a few stitches too many on some parts because I didn’t use a stitch marker.

My crochet beanie

Still, I learned a lot from making them, and I was excited to apply those lessons to my next project: a bucket hat.

The idea of creating one came to me when my family and I planned to go on a walking tour last summer to one of the historical places here in Manila, which is Intramuros and Fort Santiago. Me and my sister managed to create bucket hats before our trip.

Having completed beanies and bucket hats, my craving for crocheting brought me to try something different. This time I made a dreamcatcher, which I gave to Nico as a gift. He mentioned that it’s his first time to have a place on his own, and I wanted to give him something he can use to accessorize his room.

My crochet dreamcatcher

A few more months have passed, and I am now more confident in my crocheting skills. I was able to make crochet bags and purses for my mom, cousins, uncle, a sling bag for Nico, and a purse bag for Nico’s mom. Crocheting became a dose of relaxation for me. The feeling of fulfillment whenever I see the happy faces of the people who received my crochet gifts makes my heart flutter.

I started crocheting as a way to relax and express my creativity. I had no idea how much I would enjoy it and how much I would learn along the way. Crocheting has taught me patience, perseverance, and sometimes, even problem-solving skills. I have made some beautiful and usable items for myself and my loved ones and received many compliments on my work. I am proud of how far I have come as a beginner, and I look forward to improving my skills and trying new projects in the future. Crocheting has become more than just a hobby for me; it has become a passion and a source of joy.

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