Everything You Need to Know About Crochet
I’ve decided to compile my favorite crochet patterns and resources in one easy-to-find post. Now when I try to find these patterns and resources later, they’ll be waiting for me. Thanks to everyone who came to chat with me at Maker Faire 2017. I hope that these resources get you started on your crochet journey!
The Craft Yarn Council has a really good yarn weight system. I often find non-U.S. patterns that use different terminology, so I’m forever looking up where Aran fits on the yarn weight spectrum, or how heavy Roving weight is. And for the life of me, I can’t remember whether sock or sport weight is the heavier of the two. Go figure.
Mysteriously, hooks aren’t always referred to by the same size guidelines. Some will give a letter, others a number, but it turns out that there are two sets of numbers and… never mind, I just Google it as needed. So here are the Google search results for crochet hook sizes. These guides come in many text and image formats, and you can just pick the one that works best for you.
What about basic stitches? The Craft Yarn Council again has good resources for basic crochet stitches, including chain stitch, single crochet, half double crochet, and double crochet stitches. They’ll also show you how to do crochet increases, crochet decreases, crochet seaming, and crochet edging. However, it’s all text- and image-based, which doesn’t work for everyone.
If you’re a video person, The Knit Witch offers crochet tutorials on YouTube. I linked to the chain stitch, since that’s where most projects begin, but you can find links to other Knit Witch crochet stitch videos from there.
The Romantic Lacy Shawl from Red Heart Yarn (seen on the right) has been a favorite for years. The pattern is very simple and straightforward. This is the one I made for my Nana’s 95th birthday, and the sample that you saw on my Maker Faire poster.
Totoro! I really love this pattern to make a crochet Totoro, which The Assistant has been cozying up with since I made it. The pattern is available on Ravelry, which is pretty much the primary repository for all yarn-related patterns.
The blue poncho that I was wearing on Saturday and Sunday at Maker Faire? That’s a variant on this customizable poncho pattern here, by Patti. It’s basically a long, thin rectangle that I stitch together to create the neck hole. You can make it as large or small as necessary, and you only need one basic stitch.
The Peek-a-Boo Button Wrap from Nerissa Muijs is a very straightforward pattern — basically a giant rectangle with arm holes. I was wearing this on Friday at Maker Faire.
Also on Ravelry, the Chevron Lace Cardigan crochet pattern. This was the first big project that I did. Yes, it takes some concentration, but there are no seams and you can try it on and measure as you go.
Where Do I Buy Yarn?
Now we’re talking about the fun stuff. A good yarn makes it all enjoyable.
Of course, you can go to your local Michael’s or JoAnn Fabrics for yarn, but you get what you pay for. In these cases, it’s mostly acrylic, which is soft but not terribly inspiring. Of the brands carried here, I think Caron Simply Soft is a good starting point. It’s easy to work with, and fairly forgiving. I used that in my Totoro; you can see him in the photo to the left.
But once you have a little bit of confidence, go to your local yarn store. I also make a habit of visiting yarn shops when I travel, because every merchant carries something different. There’s nothing that gives you a better education than touching the yarn. And trust me, it’s ok to touch it all. We all do it.
If you’re ordering online, I’ve been very happy with the service from Deramores in the UK. You’d think that it would be more expensive and take forever to ship yarn across an ocean. You’d be wrong. I’ve gotten better prices and faster service from Deramores than I have from a big U.S.-based yarn merchant. Go figure. They often have sales, so keep your eyes open for discounts. Also, they have a very nice loyalty program where you can earn discounts on future purchases.
My Favorite Yarns
I prefer to work with wools or wool blends, though I’m willing to make exceptions for any yarn that just feels good.
The muti-hued orange in the shawl photo above? That was a Madelinetosh yarn. It was thinner than I usually work with, but it was a joy to handle.
For chunky scarves and hats, Misti Alpaca makes the softest yarn. It’s like working with cotton candy. I really love it.
I’m a recent convert to Malabrigo Mecha yarn. There’s a lovely springiness to the yarn, and it just feels good in my hands. The variegated colors are exceptional. See the rich purple in the photo to the left? That’s the one. Even their natural color is a lovely vanilla white that complements everything.
If you like a little sparkle, Blue Heron Rayon Metallic is gorgeous. However, it’s getting harder and harder to find. A quick Google search will set you on the path towards the yarn you need for a shimmery accessory, occasionally at a discount. Each skein is generous. One skein took care of a small shawl, and I’m using another to make a very open-weave top.
I’m also a big fan of Scheepjes Stone Washed XL yarn, the one that was used in both the green vest and blue poncho that I wore at Maker Faire. I buy that through Deramores, which I mentioned in the section above. It’s a very forgiving cotton/acrylic blend that is a pleasure to work with.
How to Buy My Scarves
You can find my online store at ScarvesandStories.com. Each purchase comes with a short story.