Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Lets Crochet: Part 1

Welcome to the knitters guide to crochet! And banish those fears, because crochet is easy. Sure, it requires a certain amount of perseverance, but if you've already mastered knitting then you are halfway there! Really.

For today's lesson, I will be going over how to form your starting chain.

First of all, you normally form your chain using a crochet hook and a slip knot. You then yarn over on your hook, and pull that through your slip knot to form "chains".
We will not be doing it this way.

I found as a beginner that mastering the chain is the hardest part of crochet. A pattern would tell me to "chain 18" and so I would. That part is easy. But then you have to crochet into that chain. And I have a VERY hard time seeing the stitches and the holes where I am supposed to slip my needle. Of course, this causes my entire project to be wrong from the get-go. Repeated attempts on "the chain" just left me very irritated. And sadly, without completing the chain correctly I could not complete any projects.  

As a knitter, forming the chain is the last part of crochet that I learned. I recommend waiting to learn this step to all knitters-turned-crocheters. As a beginner it is simply easier to knit your starting chain. I still (mostly) knit my starting chain!

For this exercise, I am using 5.0mm knitting needles and worsted weight yarn. For the next step (holding your crochet hook) you will also need a 5.0mm crochet hook.

How to Knit your Crochet Chain
1) Cast on 11 stitches using a crochet or long tail cast on on your needles.
2) Now, bind off those stitches until you are left with one stitch on your needles.
3) This leaves you with "10" crochet spaces. A crochet "space" looks like this. You should see a long line of them. We will further go over this in the next lesson when we start single crocheting.
Your fabric may curl slightly, don't worry, it will work itself out. If you are OCD, to make it not curl in this step you can bind off with a larger knitting needle.

4) FYI: don't worry about the "missing" stitch. If a crochet pattern tells you to chain 40, you simply cast on 41 stitches on your needle using the crochet or long tail cast on, and then bind them off until one stitch is left so you have 40.  (casting on 40 for knitting will give you 39 when you bind off, so if following a pattern cast on a extra stitch. )

How to Hold your Crochet Hook

1) I hold my crochet hook just like I hold my knitting needle, in my right hand. When we start crocheting, just hold it as naturally as possible. You can Google other ways to hold it if you want inspiration, but I found that just holding it like I hold my knitting needle works for me!

Interested in more crochet lessons for knitters? You can find the table of contents here, or click here for part two: single crochet.

In 2015 I also turned this series into a video series that you can watch below or on my Youtube channel.

*This guide is not meant for non-knitters. If you don't know how to knit and would like to learn crochet, I recommended Crochet School by CraftyMinx


Charlotte Wood said...

I like to crochet because for me, it goes so much faster, even though I learned to knit first.

Tori Bragg said...

I like that method of making a starting chain. Even for an experienced crocheter like me, the first chain can be such a pain (ha, rhymes!). When I start, I typically chain an extra stitch or two also. Otherwise the bottom tends to draw up, and no one likes that :P And I think I hold my crochet hook more like I hold a pencil (which is not technically the way they teach you to hold a pencil in kindergarten, cuz I'm a rebel ;) ). Really, whatever position you use works, as long as you can hook the yarn and pull it through haha.

Carolynn said...

I like to do both. It seems I'll get into a crochet frenzy and then...I'll get into a knit frenzy :)