Hello again crochet friends and welcome back to my series on Getting Started With Learning How To Crochet. Today’s post is Part Two (Part One over here!) and I’ll be going through what equipment you should grab before you start learning to crochet and including a few personal preferences to guide you in your purchasing journey. This post is NOT sponsored in any way, I’m just sharing my opinions to help you guys out. Read on and take notes!
Quite possibly the most important piece of equipment for crochet; a crochet hook. There is now a huge variety of different hooks available on the market and most are quite cheap. This photo shows a selection of my hooks, I’ve gathered rather a few along my crochet journey! My collection includes metal hooks, plastic hooks, bamboo hooks, wooden hooks, soft handled hooks, hard handled hooks and no handled hooks. I have quite a choice whenever I start a new project and I don’t even have any light up hooks (yes these are a real thing!). So what hooks should a beginner crocheter use?
My preference is always metal hooks and this is true for most crocheters in my experience. Metal hooks tend to have a sharper point on the end which is handy for poking through tight stitches. They are also very widely available on the web, in craft stores or even in the local charity shop for bargain prices. Metal hooks can come with handles to make them more comfy to work with. As you get used to crocheting and spend more time working on projects, I’d recommend investing a little money into a set of soft handled comfy or ‘ergonomic’ hooks to ease pressure on your fingers and joints and allow longer crochet sessions. Yay!
One last thing to consider when purchasing a hook is the size. The size you need will depend on what project you are hoping to make and what size yarn you are using. Your pattern should tell you exactly what you need but my personal recommendation is to go for a medium size hook like a 4mm or a 3.5mm. This size is perfect for learning as it’s not so big that it feels awkward in your hand but it’s not so small you’ll be squinting to see the stitches you’ve made. Try to choose a project that uses a hook of this sort of size. This size is also perfect for DK yarn which is the most widely available and generally cheapest yarn, great for beginners! I’ll talk more about yarn in a moment but I have one final point about hooks (gosh this is more complex than even I thought!). In the UK we tend to use millimetres (mm) to measure hook size but across the pond a letter system is used which can be confusing. If you’re getting muddled, do a quick online search and you’ll find some nifty conversion tables that will really clear things up.
You’ve got your hooks sorted, hurrah, so now it’s on to the fun bit, yarn! Yarn comes in all sorts of amazing styles, funky textures and glorious colours, my photo shows a selection I just pulled together from the contents of my craft room floor!
As a beginner you want something easy to work with and widely available to practice on. A big mistake I made when I learned to crochet was to buy the cheapest yarn I could because I was worried I’d mess it all up. This was a really daft thing to do as the yarn I bought was such bad quality I can’t even crochet with it today as an experienced crocheter. It was fuzzy, it frayed and it looked awful. So much so that I gave up learning to crochet more than once because of it. Crochet friends my big tip that I can’t stress enough is treat yourself to some GOOD QUALITY yarn to learn with. It will a make your crochet journey a while lot smoother (literally) and for a few extra pennies it’s worth it ten fold. Stay away from shops own brand offerings and go for a recognised yarn company like Stylecraft, trusted and loved by crocheters worldwide. Steer clear of fancy yarns; eyelash yarn, pom pom yarn, blanket yarn etc are things to be tackled at a later date. Trying to jump in at the deep end and learn with these is going to cause you some serious frustration. Oh and do yourself a favour and go for light colours. It’s a well known joke amongst the crochet community that black yarn is IMPOSSIBLE to work with. It almost is so picking a light coloured yarn will benefit you by allowing you to see your stitches much easier as you work along.
Much like with the hooks, your pattern will tell you what sort of yarn to use. In my opinion DK (double knit) yarn is the best to start out with so try to pick a pattern that uses this. Also much like with hooks, the terms used to describe yarns vary from country to country. Descriptions like aran, double knit, 8-ply etc can get confusing. There are a host of websites that talk about conversions so check one of those out and clear up any questions.
Here’s a short list of specific yarns I have tried and tested and would recommend for learning with. If you’re looking to make amigurumi, check out my post The 4 Very Best Yarns for Amigurumi for some specific recommendations.
Yarns For Beginners:
- Stylecraft Special DK
- Hobbycraft Women’s Institute Premium Acrylic
- Patons Baby Smiles 4 ply
- Ricorumi Cotton DK
You’ve got your hooks, you’ve chosen your perfect yarn, you’re on the home straight now, just a couple more bits and bobs and you’ll be away.
Stitch markers. These are an absolute lifesaver and cost pence online so are 100% worth an investment. Stitch markers are usually recommended for amigurumi but I think they have a place in all crochet projects as they are super helpful for keeping track of the number of stitches you’ve done. This is especially handy when you live in a house of non-crafters who insist on asking you where their shirt is just as you reach stitch 101…or was it 102? You get my point, just buy some stitch markers, you’ll thank me later.
This is a collection of things I use almost everyday in my crocheting. Let’s run through these nice and quickly.
First of all, let me talk about scissors. You can use any old scissors you find lying around, they’ll all cut the yarn, I just find it very helpful to keep a dedicated pair of sharp embroidery scissors to hand when I crochet. The sharper your scissors, the less frayed your yarn ends will be. Bonus.
Next, a darning needle. These are BIG needles, the kind of ones you don’t want to accidentally stick behind your nails (been there, would not recommend!). You need a sizeable needle to sew in your crochet ends and secure your work. Simply put big and sharp does the trick.
That strange contraption on the right. It’s a hook measuring device I found in my Nana’s cupboard after she passed away. Not an essential by any means but worth picking up if you see one. It’s handy because it shows the size of the crochet hook when you poke it through the holes. Whichever hole it fits nicely, that’s the size it is. On the reverse are alternative measurements like the American letter system, saves looking up the conversions each time.
Lastly, stuffing and safety eyes. You won’t need these if you don’t intend to make toys, pillows etc so skip over this part if that’s you. Safety eyes are much of a much really. They can be picked up online in all sizes and colours and are usually quite cheap. They are great for adding a cute touch to bears and dolls. I get through hundreds of them! Stuffing is used for toys, pillows and anything else that need a filling to it. The best stuffing to use is high-loft polyester fibre fill. This is cheaply available online or in stores and maintains it’s shape better than alternatives. Before you buy it’s best to check it meets safety standards for your country. Sellers will advertise this.
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That’s it for part two crochet friends, I hope you’ve found all the equipment you need to start on your crochet journey. Let me know in the comments your top picks for beginners or what things you’re using to learn with, I’d love to know. I think that wraps up my little mini series quite nicely. All there is now is for you to go and learn how to crochet! Good Luck!
Speak soon, Emily (The Crochet Creature)