Crochet for Beginners - The Crochet Pattern
By Toni Rexroat, Crochet Me editor
After first discovering the addictive quality of the crochet chain and the possibility of the basic crochet stitches, such as the single crochet and the double crochet, the next thing any beginning crochet needs to learn is how to read crochet patterns.
Choosing a Pattern:
Step one is to choose a crochet pattern you love. While I wouldn't recommend choosing an experienced level pattern, don't be afraid of a pattern that will stretch your crochet skills. You want to enjoy crochet process and the finished project. That being said, there are hundreds of gorgeous crochet patterns for beginners available.
If you are crocheting a garment, the schematic can be your best friend. On the schematic you will find important measurement information for fit.
First take your own measurements. Remember to not to suck in your tummy, as appealing as it may seem. You will regret it when your garment ends up being too small. Decide whether you prefer negative easy, a tighter fitting garment, or positive ease. Then choose a size that works best for you.
Understanding the Pattern:
After you have chosen you pattern, read the crochet instructions completely, including the stitch guide, notes, any charts or diagrams, and finishing sections. Many times, confusion can be avoided by reading the notes section. Here you will find information on construction, tips on technique, and guidelines for keeping track of stitches with stitch markers or scrap yarn. Spend some time with the stitch guide, studying any stitches that you have never tried before.
The "Getting Started" section of the pattern includes the finished sizes, yarn specifications, hook size(s), special notions needed, and gauge. This is a great overview of the pattern. The finished size tells you whether the project is the right size. Be sure to check the notions to see if you need any additional supplies such as buttons, zippers, or fabric. The gauge swatch information is frequently a good opportunity to practice the stitch pattern used in the pattern.
Our #1 on crocheting for beginners is don't forget your gauge swatch! No one really loves the gauge swatch, but if your project ends up too small or too large, you will wish you had taken the time. The gauge swatch is especially important if you are substituting yarn. Not all DK weight yarns are exactly the same size. Substituted yarns, in combination with your individual crochet tension, you may not always give you exact gauge with the listed hook size. If your gauge is off, try a larger or smaller hook. Even a little difference in gauge can make a big difference over an entire project.
If you decide to substitute the yarn called for in the pattern, the first thing to look for is the yarn size. If the pattern calls for a worsted weight yarn, one option is to find another worsted weight yarn. This isn't a guarantee that your yarn will be the correct size and may require you to play with hook size to get gauge. A better indicator of correct yarn size substitution is wraps per inch (wpi). To figure out wpi, wrap the yarn repeatedly around a ruler and count how many wraps there are in an inch (see example at the right).
Keep fiber content in mind when you are substituting yarn. Cotton or silk will have a different drape than an animal fiber such as alpaca or wool. Pure cottons and silks also can have a tendency to stretch or "grow" over time. Some nice acrylic or acrylic blends can be used as alternatives for animal or plant fibers.
The top indispensable resource for crocheters, The Crocheters Companion has all the essentials for any skill level. Get tools, stitches, techniques, newly updated yarn information, abbreviations and symbols, and much more. This book is sure to become your go to resource for everything crochet!
Finally, believe the pattern. Designers are continually discovering inventive techniques for creating unique construction or stitch textures. Sometimes you have to simply follow the crochet instructions and trust the designer. Sometimes the most confusing sections of the pattern will become clear as you work them.
Learning to crochet, for beginners, can seem a bit overwhelming. But a good understanding of how to read crochet patterns can make the process easier. Grab one of the favorite crochet resources for beginners we've featured and, with these crochet instructions and tips, you too can learn to crochet today.
Special Savings Just For You! Get 10% Off* Select Crochet Products with Coupon Code: SAVELP
*One use per customer, final discounts will be displayed within the cart for qualifying items.
Discount not valid on pre-orders, value packs, subscriptions, and 3rd party products. Other exclusions may apply.
Learn To Crochet With These Recommended Resources! (And don't forget your 10% discount* with coupon code SAVELP)
Basic Crochet Stitches
Filled with 250 stitch options, this is one book no crocheter should be without. Easy to follow with visual and written instructions, you'll want to get your hands on this book right away.
Easy Crocheted Accessories
(eBook Download or Print Book)
Discover how to get maximum use of your yarn with 22 cleverly designed simple crochet for beginners and experts alike. Also find tips for saving money, stitch choices, and upcycling ideas.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Top Down Hat Construction
Hats are one of crocheters favorite patterns. Learn how to crochet hats from start to finish, plus get six delightful patterns to try