The art of crochet originated in 16th century France as a means of making lace. By the early 20th century, crochet gained popularity as a method of crafting edgings for doilies, linen tablecloths, and clothing items. The word ‘crochet’ has its roots in the French ‘croches’ which means ‘hook’. Also known as the twin of knitting, it involves the use of interlocking loops of yarn. Crochet is a relaxing hobby which has managed to stay in vogue over the centuries. It is a cost-effective pastime which can help you express your creativity. There are also many instances of people with mental and physical health issues benefiting from the therapeutic properties of crochet.
Crocheting requires very few supplies, and all of them can be procured quite easily. Things you might want to stock up on include hooks, yarn, scissors, T pins, yarn needles, tape measure, gauge ruler, and split markers. You will also need a box or some type of container to keep all these supplies in. A notebook and pencil may prove handy if you plan on jotting down a new pattern or improvisations to an existing one. You might also want to buy a folder to store your notes, patterns and handouts so you can locate them easily when the need arises. All these supplies can be found at your local arts and crafts store.
Before you can start a project, you will have to find a pattern that you like and the right yarn for it. The pattern you choose must correspond with your skill level. Try and get the best quality yarn possible as this will have a significant impact on the finished project. Buy enough yarn to see you through the project. Ensure that you do not use more than five colors in a single project.
Slipknot and Chain Stitch
The chain stitch is the foundation on which you will build your crochet pattern. You must start by putting a slipknot in the yarn. First, make a loop a few inches from the end of the yarn and then hold the hook like you would hold a pencil. Use the hook to make a loop through the first one and pull the knot close to the hook. The knot should be loose enough to slide on the hook. This is known as the slipknot.
Hold the hook with the slipknot in one hand and twist some yarn around the fingers of your free hand. Yarn over (YO) and draw yarn through the loop with the hook to make a chain stitch. By repeating this step you can make the necessary number of chain stitches. Most patterns require you to start with a specific number of chain stitches before moving on to single crochet or other types of stitches.
Slip Stitch and Single Crochet
A slip stitch is primarily used for edging, joining rounds, and ending a project smoothly. The hook must be inserted into the second chain from the hook. Then (YO) the hook and draw it through the chain and the loop on the hook in one move. This completes one slip stitch.
A single crochet stitch needs a chain stitch as a foundation. You will need to have one chain stitch more than the total number of single stitches you require. For instance, if you want 12 single crochet stitches, you must have 13 chains to start with. You must insert the hook in the second chain from the hook such that it is under the top two threads. Then, the yarn is wrapped over the hook and drawn through the stitch so that you have two loops on the hook. You must again draw the (YO) then and pass it through two loops on the hook. If you have a remaining loop then you will have successfully completed a single crochet. Using this stitch can make the finished fabric dense.
Double Crochet Stitch
This stitch too needs a base of chain stitches though it is taller than the single crochet. For practice, you can first make a foundation of 12 chains. Then pull the yarn gently over and put the hook into the fourth chain from the hook. Pass the thread over once more and draw the hook and yarn through the chain. After you do this, you must have three loops on the hook. Next, pass the yarn above and pull through the first two loops. Then pass (YO) again and pull through the remaining two loops to complete one double crochet stitch. Using this stitch will help you produce a looser fabric than the single crochet.
Half Double Crochet Stitch
As its name implies, this stitch is somewhat similar to a double crochet stitch though not as tall. Make a practice base of 12 chain stitches, (YO) and put the hook into the third chain from hook. (YO) again and pull the hook through the chain. You should have three loops on the hook. Next, (YO) again and pull the hook through all three of the loops. This completes a half double crochet and you will have one loop on the hook.
Triple Crochet Stitch
This stitch can be called an extension of the double crochet. You can start with 14 chain stitches and (YO) the hook two times. Then put the hook through the fifth chain from the hook. (YO) yet again and pull it through one loop. You should see four loops on the hook. (YO) and pull the hook through two of the loops and again (YO) and pull through two more loops. (YO) and pull through the two remaining loops till only one loop remains on the hook. This completes the triple or treble crochet stitch. This stitch is best suited for heavier yarns and those with a lot of fuzz.
The kind of stitches you need will depend on the pattern, yarn, and hook used. When buying yarn for a specific project, you can check the label for suggested patterns and type of hook required. Once you learn the basic stitches, completing interesting and fun crochet projects will be a breeze. This can be your stepping stone to mastering complicated stitches and finishing techniques.
- Knit, Crochet, and Heal: Talks about how crocheting has helped people overcome physical and mental health issues like grief, depression, and bipolarity.