In preparation for my book signing and demonstration a couple of weeks ago I put a call out to my twitter friends asking them for their top crochet tips. Many of them were super generous and shared with me their developed wisdom after many hours of teaching crochet up and down the country. I even had a lovely late night conversation with the uber-tutor Ali Campbell. That was lots of fun.
I then chatted away with good friends I had taught to crochet. They gave me their words of wisdom – things I has passed on but had forgotten. So here you go – these are my top five…feel free to add your own.
Ok you can’t learn to block before you have learnt to crochet – but I suggest that unless you are making an amigurumi toy, your work is far too precious not to block. It makes all the difference. If you have ever said to yourself, ‘My crochet doesn’t look like it does in the book/magazine!’, ask yourself this question, Did you block it? There are lots and lots of articles available online about this. I have also written a section in my new book and indeed on this blog. Do it!
2. BUY A DECENT CROCHET HOOK
If you know you like this lovely yarn hobby and have begun acquiring a small yarn stash and a couple of pattern books, I suggest it is time to splash out and buy a good crochet hook. I literally have no sense of humour if someone steals mine…my eye starts to twitch. Personally I love Clover Soft Touch hook, but the are other ergonomic ranges which are loved by the professionals including Tulip and Knit Pro. I am a firm believer that my crochet is faster with a good quality hook and other friends testify to this fact. In fact it is a shame I am not on commission for the sales of my favourite brand!
3. LEARN TO MAKE A MAGIC RING
Even seasoned crocheters can find the magic ring (adjustable ring) difficult to master. This is a way of creating a foundation round of stitches that form a circle and you can avoid an unsightly hole in the middle. I have found the easiest way is to use a slip-knot method, illustrated beautifully in my book (shameless plug). Once you have mastered this technique toys and accessories look much more professional and are far more durable.
4. USE STITCH MARKERS
Designers and professionals need to use stitch markers…so I would suggest that you use them too. Stitch markers don’t have to be complicated or expensive. For ease of removal and sight I use a contrasting piece of yarn to mark my place. No need to hunt around the project bag for hidden safety pins or plastic swirls. The odd unwanted stitch or two in an amigurumi toy can really effect the look of the design – so choose the pattern wisely if you want to go free form and use stitch markers when the shape really matters.
5. DON’T BE AFRAID OF COLOUR
So many people find colour choice daunting. I fully understand that, but my top tip to enable you to break out of a colour inertia is to find a card or magazine cover you like and match your yarn choice to the colours in that pretty photograph. This particularly helps if you are drawing hues together for a stash busting blanket. You might feel all alone without the prescription of a magazine or designer colour scheme. Don’t fret, let your birthday card do the choosing. This technique will enable you to be a bit more colour adventurous.
The photograph above was taken by my lovely husband as a demonstration shot for the illustrations in my book. He took hundreds and I never really thanked him for the hours of dedication – but it does show the process of making a magic circle and my precious gorgeous crochet hook.