Crochet – Seven Important Crocheting Tips to Remember

We all know that saying Practice makes perfect. In crochet you will find that this is very true but it does not take too much to make your seams perfect. Enjoy your crochet and follow these easy tips for pure crochet success.

Tip 1: When you first learn how to crochet, the whole process will feel very strange as you will have to hold the hook, yarn and work together at the same time as you try to create the different crochet stitches. But work on it, practice stitching until it feels natural, this won't take long. A good idea to practice the basic seams is to start putting together a lot of individual Granny squares (or a huge square) to use for natural and easy moving the hook. At the end, you can also sew them together and get a cozy blanket.

Tip 2: When crocheting, thread the yarn through your fingers, this is what actually creates the tension in your work and therefore determines how tight or not your crochet is sewn!

If you look at a crocheted hook, you will see it tapering inward as it gets closer to the actual hook, therefore it has different thicknesses. The farther away from the hook itself, the thicker it becomes. Therefore, if you allow your loops to go up on the shaft of the hook, your loops will be larger and the work will therefore be looser. If you work near the hook itself, your loops will be smaller; and the smaller the loops, the tighter the stitches. So if you find yourself working along the hook shaft and not near the hook, bring the loops down towards the hook and give the yarn another pull to tighten the loops to reduce the size.

Sometimes it is necessary to tighten your seams even more. To do this, simply pull your crochet yarn again at the end of the newly formed stitch.

Crochet tension is important in most crochet projects, especially for clothing. Tension dictates the size of the finished clothing. The tighter you crochet, the thinner the yarn and the smaller the hook, the smaller the end project and vice versa. So always check your crochet tension against the pattern to make sure the finished item has the right fit. Alternatively start crocheting with something where tension is not so important, such as a mat, shawl or Granny Square.

Tip 3: When doing project topics where excitement is crucial, always take the time to prepare for a practice test. This extra time at the beginning of a project saves time and heartache later. (Practice test instructions are always included in the patterns in which they apply.) Practice tests are just practicing crochet pieces using the hook and yarn that the clothing will be made of. Patterns tell you how many stitches and rows should match a specific length and width.

Remember that you do not need to use the same yarn or the same size hook as described in crochet patterns. Adjusting the size of your crochet hooks when you are too tight or too loose for each crochet pattern will change the finished project size. Just be careful that if you use a different thickness yarn or a different size hook, check tension by crocheting a practice test to double check sizes. This is only really important when making crochet clothes.

Tip 4: Relax and enjoy your crochet, it will really show up in your work. Do not hold your hook or yarn too tight or too loose. Look back at your seams and make sure they are all the same size. Try to allow your crochet hook to move freely and tighten the yarn automatically when you finish each crochet stitch.

Tip 5: Always keep your work. Your thumb and index finger should hold your crochet just below where you sew.

Tip 6: When joining new yarn balls, always do this with a chain stitch and try to make sure if straight line crochet that it is at the end of a row as this makes weaving in the yarn ends easier. This also gives a more professional finish.

Tip 7: Crochet with fun fur is not easy because of its many eyelashes. For a beginner, this is not easy at all as these eyelashes make it very difficult to see your crochet stitches. If you can't see your seams, placing your hook in the back and front of the stitches is extremely hard work and can be extremely frustrating. It is therefore very easy to go wrong.

By adding another ball of different type (any type without eyelashes) to the fun coat and crochet with a strand of each yarn at the same time, you will make your seams much more visible, making work much easier to handle. This will make your yarn and therefore work much thicker, so make sure if you are making an outfit that this will still fit and adjust hook sizes properly.

Above all, have fun … Remember that crocheting is a pleasant pastime, even for a beginner. So pick up a hook and start today.

Cotton Yarn Vs Acrylic for Crochet Dishcloths and Scrubbers

Generally, I prefer to use cotton yarn when crocheting blankets and scrubs. This is mainly because cotton is natural, soft and durable. But over the years, I've had many crochet people tell me that they prefer to use acrylic for washcloths and scrubs. Still, it boils down to personal preference; but in this article I will go through several reasons why you might want to choose one over the other.

Cotton Pros:

Natural. As already mentioned, cotton material is natural. To be honest, I don't know if this makes a difference or not, but it does put my mind at ease when I make scrubbies for fruits and vegetables. That said, I try to stick to the white or off-white yarn, since you also don't want any colorful dyes washed out in your food.

Scrub Treatment. Cotton is soft to the face, yet it makes an effective scrubber for dishes and pots and pans.

Disadvantages of cotton:

Shrinks. With cotton, be careful when sticking your rags into the dryer because it will shrink the material. When making rugs and other washcloths or scrubs, make sure to make them slightly larger than what you need them to be. Or just avoid putting something in the dryer.

Drying. Another cotton fall is that it takes forever to dry. One solution I have found with dishwashers is to simply drape them over your dishwasher. But if you have a hanger that is handy over the sink, it works even better.

Expensive. Cotton fabrics are generally more expensive than artificial fibers. However, on the plus side, as already mentioned; it is also more durable, which then helps to balance it.

Acrylic advantages:

Dries quickly. One of the good things about using acrylic yarn is that it dries relatively quickly.

Static. I find that acrylic has a natural static that when swept across the floor or a dresser, it collects the dust much better than cotton does.

No shrinkage. Acrylic material does not shrink. However, I find that it tends to extend more over time.

Economic. It's pretty cheap to buy in the store.

Acrylic Disadvantages:

Unnatural. Unlike cotton, acrylic is made from unnatural fabrics. For most people, this poses no threat; however, some may experience itching or even rash if used on the skin.

Not durable for hard scrubbing. The yarn is not as durable for hard scrubbing in the kitchen or at home. It's fine for facecloths and dusters, but for heavy scrubbing needs, personally I would resort to a cotton.

So there you have it. I hope you will experiment with both.

History of Crochet 1500 BC – 1820

Little is known about the early history of crochet. It seems that the earliest crochet was made using fingers rather than the hooks used today. There are theories that crocheting could have existed as early as 1500 BC, as part of nun work, which included conifer lace and coil lace.

There are three main theories for the origin of crochet. Some believe that it originated in Arabia and spread east to Tibet and then west to Spain after finally following the Arab trade routes to other Mediterranean countries. Alternatively, it is thought to have originated in South America, where a primitive tribe used crochet ornaments in puberty rituals. Another alternative stems from the fact that early examples of dolls working in crocheting were known in China.

However, there is no solid evidence of how old the crochet is or where it came from. The evidence that it appeared in the sixteenth century is small and hotly contested. There are references to a type of "chained pruning" made around 1580. However, this appears to have been a type of cord, sewn on fabric as a decorative braid.

During the Renaissance, women crocheted several strands of thread, producing fabrics similar to lace.

The earliest evidence of crocheting, as we know it, is first seen generally in the second half of the eighteenth century. Crochet may have evolved from Chinese needlework, an ancient form of embroidery known in Turkey, India, Persia and North Africa, which reached Europe in the eighteenth century and was referred to as tambouring. The main theory behind the origins of crochet seems to be that it began when it became clear that chains that worked in a pattern would hang together without any background fabric. At the end of the eighteenth century, tambour developed into what the French called crochet in the air when the backdrop was discarded and the seam worked on its own. Tambour hooks were as thin as sewing needles and therefore the work must have been done with very fine thread.

Crocheting began to emerge in Europe in the early 19th century, boosted by Mlle Riego de la Branchardiere, who is known for her ability to take needle and bobbin lace designs and transform them into crochet patterns that could be duplicated. She published numerous designs and also claimed to have invented lace-like crochet, today called Irish crochet.

A type of lace called cheyne lace was made with a hook from the late eighteenth century and a primitive form of crocheting called pajamas can be found from about 1820.

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