CROCHET Helpful Hints

Helpful tips to help crocheters. 
 Crochet Hooks

Crochet hooks come in a variety of sizes and can be made from different materials - steel, aluminum, plastic, metal, or wood.  They can be bought individually or in sets. Aluminum and plastic crochet hooks are sized by letters (A to Q), and steel ones are sized by numbers (14 to 00). When choosing a crochet hook that is letter-sized, remember that the lower the letter the thinner the hook will be. The reverse is true for the number-sized crochet hooks; the higher the number the thinner the hook.              Beginners might want to start with a bigger sized hook to be able to see the stitches better.  When making an item using a pattern, it will suggest a size to use but that may be different if you tend to crochet tighter or looser - if you're trying to match the gauge.
It's best to use hooks that are a different color than your yarn.  That makes it easier to see the stitches.

One of the best things about crocheting is choosing yarn.  There are many different types and brands to choose from.  As a beginner, it's best to start with something that is inexpensive and I strongly suggest using a solid light color, it's easier to see the stitches.  Save the fancy, more expensive kinds for later when you're more experienced.  And it's better to buy too much for a project than to run out and can't find the same dye lot when you're trying to finish.  You can always use the leftovers for small projects or even use it as stuffing for toys and pillows.

 Different fibers of yarn will result in completely different results in your piece or garment. You want to be familiar with the different kinds of yarn fiber and how they will work in a knitting or crochet project.

Synthetic Fibers

Nylon, rayon, acrylic, viscose, and polyester are all synthetic fibers that appear in yarn. 100 % acrylic yarn is a common choice as it is the most inexpensive yarn. This makes acrylic yarn a good choice for those just learning how to knit or crochet.


Many yarns blend different natural fibers, synthetic fibers or natural fibers with synthetic fibers, such as for a softer feel. If you want to felt your knitted or crochet project, you must ensure the yarn is at least 80% wool, but the other 20% can be synthetic.

Natural Fibers

Cotton- Made from cotton plants, many types of cotton yarn are treated with chemicals to make them more durable, mildew resistant, and able to accept dyes better. Some environmental concerns have been raised with traditional cotton production though.

Wool- Many different kinds of wool exist and are spun into yarns with different weights and textures. Wool accepts color very well and is very warm. Merino wool yarn is a popular choice in making garments.

Cashmere- Cashmere, from the soft undercoats of cashmere goats, is a more expensive yarn which is especially smooth while still retaining warmth.

Alpaca/Llama- South American llamas or alpacas produce very soft, warm yarn. Llama wool yarn is less soft and bulkier. Alpaca and llama wool is non-allergenic, since it does not have the lanolin found in lamb’s wool. This yarn does not accept color as well as wool though.

Mohair- Mohair is a thick yarn from the Angora goat with an especially fuzzy look.

Angora- Angora is an especially soft rabbit fur yarn which has a fuzzy appearance.

Linen- Linen yarn is made from the flax plant and is a lightweight yarn perfect for summer garments.

Silk- Silk comes from silkworm larvae and is very smooth and light. Since silk does not have much stretch, silk is generally combined with other fibers for yarn, often cashmere for a truly-luxurious yarn.

Eco-Friendly Yarns

Organic Cotton- Please see this article for more information on organic cotton created without synthetic fertilizer or pesticides and, when made into yarn, without chemical dyes.

Bamboo- Bamboo yarn has the feel of silk and is very strong. Bamboo is a renewable resource because it can be harvested without killing the plant, which then regenerates the removed bamboo in a couple of months.

Hemp- Hemp is another renewable resource which can be grown without pesticides or herbicides and is the strongest natural fiber. Hemp yarn garments are softer with each machine washing and can be treated for softness as yarn. Check out LanaKnits to read about and purchse Hemp yarn.

 Crocheting Accessories/Tools

There are a lot of things that can help make your crocheting experience a pleasant one.  I'll list some and describe how they're used. They can be purchased separately or sometimes in a kit.  You might want to consider putting the items in a small closeable pouch or small bag that fits in the bag you have your project in.  This way you have everything ready and available.  A nice pair of small scissors are also a good thing to include as well as paper and a pencil.

Stitch Markers: To mark points of increase, decrease, or changes in pattern.  The split-lock design can also be slipped through completed work to mark for buttonhole placement or any other necessary marking.Stitch markers can be purchased at your local yarn store, or sometimes found objects can be used as stitch markers. The white plastic rings in the picture were in a container of blank CDs.

Row Counters: Used to record the number of rows completed.  There are also electronic counters and apps for digital devices.

Stitch Holders: Used to temporarily hold stitches which will later be worked into a garment.

Cable Stitch Holders: used to temporarily hold a few stitches to the front or back of work while forming a cable.

Yarn Bobbins: used in multi-colored knitting.  Each color being used in the design is wrapped around a bobbin, and the bobbins are allowed to hang from the work, a short distance from the needle. Since the bobbin stores the yarn, there are no long strands to tangle or become knotted while knitting, so the colors are much easier to manipulate while creating the design.  Bobbins are available in several sizes to accommodate different weights of yarn.

Yarn or tapestry needles: used to sew knitted or crocheted pieces together.  The large eye allows easy threading of various thicknesses of yarn and the blunt end prevents splitting the yarn.

Crochet hook and stitch gauge tools: They come in a variety of configurations and usually have rulers and cutouts for each hook size for ease in determining the size of hooks.

Retractable tape measure: small size easily fits in your project bag and makes measuring easier.

 Tunisian Crochet Hook

 Tunisian Crochet is also referred to as "Afghan Crochet" or the "Afghan Stitch."  No turning of rows also makes it easier to keep count & is less strain on your wrist if you're prone to that type of problem. You can even use this hook traditionally with a point protector on one end when you need an extra long shaft! Available in sizes 0 U.S. to 10-J U.S. (2-6mm).


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