What You Need To Get Started
Let's start right now with materials. So when you decide that you want to make a project, maybe you've been fishing around on the interwebs, I spend a ton of time on like Pinterest or Instagram looking for inspiration, or maybe you're flipping through a fashion magazine, you may notice that there are a ton of crochet pieces, especially on the runway right now. Crochet is totally on trends, and so it's pretty awesome that you're here to learn it right now. And I might say as a side note, kind of a post apocalyptic life skill because you're going to know how to make stuff if it all goes down. So good for you for being here. When you decide what you want to make... Well, there's two reasons why you might wanna approach project. You may either be in a yarn store and see all of these gorgeous yarns and just see a yarn and be attracted to it, and you should do that. You should grab it and get the hook that goes with it, and make whatever makes your heart happy. Or, you might see a project on...
one of the places I was just talking about and it might inspire you, and you might take that picture to a craft store or yarn store and work from there. And I'm going to give you just sort of a little basis of how you should pick your yarn from there. First, let's talk about how the different types of yarn that there are, or really they're called put ups, how they're wound. So the most basic one that you'll see at your local craft store is something that looks like this. And this is a skein. It's kinda tightly wound. You can crochet right from it. This is just your sort of like your fail safe, good solid yarn that you can use, great for practicing. This is a worsted-weight. Yarns come in different weights, which means basically it's not as much about how heavy it is per se. It's about how thin or thick it is. Standard yarn for crochet, let's stop there. People always ask, is there a different yarn for knitting and crochet? No, I don't think there is. Back in the day, the 20s, when crochet was super in fashion, it was very much a lace weight, sort of doily weight kind of thing. Now, there are no rules. You can knit with any yarn or anything that you can turn into a string you can crochet with. Don't let anybody tell you differently. This is a worsted-weight. This is a good, this is a great basic yarn to crochet with. Another way that you might see it, this is very similar, this is also called a skein. You could call it a ball, and no one would think anything of it. They're kind of interchangeable terms. And this is a really nice wool. This is a little bit chunkier. I'm super into chunky yarns right now, really into the big knits trend and big crochet wear trend. Some people like to, are super into crochet, extreme crochet, right now. So ,huge hooks, huge fibers. Not as wearable but really fun and artistic to work with. So this is sort of like a wee baby step towards that way. Then if you go to sort of a boutique store, you're going to find some higher end yarns, some of them, this is actually a relatively high end yarn, will be wound like this. But some of them, based on the type of fibers they are, need to breathe a little more. And so they can't be wound. It's not great for them to be wound and just sitting on a shelf like in a tight little skein like that. So they will come in something that's called a hank, and that's what this is. It's just a twist, right? And it makes it so it stays together, doesn't get tangled, but it still gives it plenty of room to breathe or whatever. But challenge is that you can't crochet directly from it or you will have a hot mess on your hands. And since this yarn is a little spendier, that would be a sad state of affairs. So, you have to do one of two thing. You have to wind it into a ball or what's called a cake. This is a cake. You can, again, also call it a ball, very interchangeable, but ball is kind of just like the general term. But to make this, you have to have a specific piece of equipment called a swift and a ball winder. I wouldn't even begin to send you to go get one of those as you're just entering your crochet journey. It's just something for you to look forward to and think about later. What is more realistic is for you to just wind it into an old school ball like this, like you've probably seen in every picture of yarn ever. It looks like this. But it helps when you're turning this into this if you have a friend. So I'm going to get Producer Kate to come on over. Come on in. Hello.
Thank you for your helping hands.
So you slide off the label. Now if you don't have a friend, you can also use just the back of the chair. You need to go a little bit slower, because there's not gonna be any movement to it. I'll show you what I mean in a second by that. And so you don't want it to get tangled. With hands, like this, she can adjust to how long it is, because you want there to be a little tension. Because if it's saggy like this, it's going to be really easy for it to not only fall off her hands, but it also to get tangled. Alright so, hanks when they're wound, they have little pieces of yarn holding them together. Sometimes one, sometimes there's several. I don't think I see anymore on these. Nope, that looks good. So you ditch that, and then you're going to start winding into ball. So to do that, you're going to kind of just wrap it around a few fingers, and you make a little, a little nubbin. You kind of smunch it, and then you start wrapping. So you're pinching the little hot mess I just made, and then you're wrapping around your fingers. You let go, and you keep wrapping. Okay, this is where it's helpful to have a human hand. See how she can kind of do a little, like wiggle waggle and it helps? So, you go like that, and then you would just continue winding. So the one thing to note is that I'm winding around my fingers, and I actually learned this from some amazing designers, veteran designers, in the knitting industry, Deborah Newton and Rosemary Drysdale, who saw me winding and insisted that there was a better way. So how I was winding was just like this, just moving around. Their argument, and it's absolutely true, is that, that is making the fibers really tight so that it can't breathe. And why does that matter? It's just gonna make your project not look as fluffy and luxurious. So if you can just kind of wrap around a finger or two, and then let go, see, so there's like a little bit of space, and then, keep winding. Let go, move. Then you'll end up getting a nice, like smooshy ball that isn't super stressful to this kind of fancy yarn that you've just purchased. So you would continue doing that until you had a total ball. If you needed to walk away, and didn't have time, thank you so much, and didn't have time to finish, but you don't wanna just set this down, I would either put it on the back of a chair, or you could re-twist it. So, to re-twist it, I just kind of put it around my middle fingers, and I kinda just do a little twisty groove thing. And then once it gets a little bit tight, if you bend it in half, see how it kind of winds up in it of itself, pull that through itself, and it's sort of relatively back in hank form. Then it won't get tangled. You can undo and start the whole process again whenever you have the time. So that's all there is to that. Total side note, but I don't want you to feel there's sort of this misconception that you have to only use an expensive craft store yarn to crochet. Those yarns are awesome. I mean I've had my own craft store lines for years, I love them. They're go-to yarns for a lot of projects, but that doesn't mean that I don't love to treat myself, or that you shouldn't. Crochet is just as much as an art form as knitting is, and so you should feel an absolutely license to explore all the great hand-dyed independent yarns that are out there, all the cool colors, and the fibers. So, there's a lot of interesting fibers. This is a wool that's been hand dyed. This one, and this is another form of ball, by the way, you would just call it a ball. So I know that's... So all three of these can be referred to as a ball. This is actually a polyamide and cotton, so it's a kind of a cool blend. It's also got an interesting way that it is constructed if you looked really close, and we won't right now. The construction is kind of like knitted tube, which is really cool. So there's a lot of really innovative stuff that's going on right now. I highly encourage you to go out and explore that. So you've found yarn that you love, or the yarn that's gonna work with the project that you have. The next thing is the hook. There are all kinds of hooks out there. There are aluminum hooks, there are bamboo hooks, there are plastic hooks, there are all types. My favorite type are these. These hooks come in all different sizes. These are by the brand Clover, and they are called Jumbo Amour and Amour Hooks. And I like them. I'm going to pick up kind of a medium size. They come in all of these sizes plus more. But, regardless, no matter what kind of hook you like, they will come in these little teeny, teeny, teeny, teeny, teeny, tiny hooks. That would be more like for like lace suede, if you were making a doily, or if you were working with wire or something really small if you wanted to crochet with jewelry, which is another cool trend happening right now. As I said before, I'm really into the bigger yarns right now, so I use these the most. And what I love about them is that they have... Well, they're these awesome neon colors which I love, but they have this really nice ergonomic handle, and they have this flat area for your thumb which helps. I also just happen to love sort of the rounded tip of this hook. You'll find there are other brands that have a really like sharp hook, or sometimes this area will be longer or shorter. They're all going to do the job. You find what works for you and feels the most comfortable, but anything, any hook is going to have the same result, it just depends on how you like to work. And I brought this one just for fun. This is a huge hook. This is a size 50, 25 millimeter. This is for big, big old mama jama yarn, or if you wanted to cut up huge strips of fabric, or really play with extreme art, or crochet, or do like a ginormous cowl or whatever. This would be super fun to work with. So, as you can see, I mean look at the difference. Look at the difference in those. There's a lot of flexibility with crochet. One of the things that I love about crochet though is that it's really truly sculptural. So, if you're working on a project, something like a plushy toy or amigurumi, which is like a Japanese animal or piece, it's really great because you can create shapes easily for crochet, and it's got a really nice firm stitch construction. So, those are your basics. Obviously, you have to have yarn, you have to have hooks. So you've got that. Some other tools that you might want to keep close, pair of scissors, obviously always good to have. I would use a measuring tape of one form or another. You could use a ruler, measuring tape, just some form of measuring device. Some stitch markers might be good to have. For crochet, you need to have stitch markers that are removable, because they're going to go around the physical stitch. This is just what's called a split stitch marker. This one, I'll set it down for you in a second, is very much like a safety pin, it's like a, I think it's called an interlocking marker. Either one of those, you don't need both, either one are gonna be great for you. Just have a couple of those around. And then, I would choose a tapestry needle. I like to have a few different sizes for depending on what type of yarn that I'm having, but at least have a good solid one. I like to use the ones that have the tip at the end. I just find that it's easier for weaving in ends, and we'll talk about that later, but you just wanna make sure that you have a needle that will accommodate whatever size yarn that you're working with. So those are the absolute basics for your get to start project bag. I think we're ready. We've seen all the stuff that we need, and now I believe that we are ready to dive in and start learning the good stuff, the foundation for crochet.