Look I totally get that the yarn you have chosen for your first project is fabulous…I mean it has been handspun, it has beautiful earthy tones and in itself is indeed a thing of beauty. Let’s put aside that it is in a ‘hank’ so we will have to hand-wind this into a ball before we even start. You need to make sure you are kind to yourself with your first projects – let’s at least have a fighting chance.
Light and Bright
Firstly, while charcoal and navy are terribly chic, they are difficult to see in the dimpsy evenings of autumn. Learning where to put your hook will be much easier if you go for a light colour; a white, a cream and perhaps even duck egg if you are really style conscious.
From Fairy cobwebs to unwieldy rope
I would also suggest that you aim for a mid-weight yarn. Ok let’s not get too technical but the width and the weight of the yarn has a name. Stay well away from ‘lace’ weight. Yes it is pretty, sometimes it might even have mohair within it and look like it has been spun by fairies. But it will drive you cross-eyed if you are just beginning your crochet journey.
Don’t if you can avoid it go to the other extreme. It can be tempting to pick up a super-chunky or t-shirt yarn with an enormous hook and begin to wrestle with the stitches and yarn. This type of yarn has great stitch definition, but unless you have got great guidance and a super pattern to follow you can end up making a hard mat of nothing. You will begin to wonder how you will ever find a practical use for it. Eventually two weeks later when it has gathered dust and some sort of sticky substance, you will throw it in the bin.
So, ok what shall we used as a beginner project. Let’s go with a 4.5mm or 5mm hook and a light coloured aran. The biggest issue here is choosing a yarn that is well spun. It’s doesn’t matter if it is cotton, wool or acrylic. What it must not do, and I cannot stress this strongly enough – it must not split easily. This choice will often decide whether you pursue your crochet journey or not.
In the Fray
The best way to check a yarn before you buy it is to just take the end and see if it frays or unwinds easily. If you can see the seperate strands of the yarn appearing very quickly then you need to avoid this yarn for your beginners project.
If you are really finding it difficult with splitting yarn think about a tape yarn which can’t be split by your hook, but whatever you do, do not go too chunky. So there you go – essentially try to ensure your first forays into crochet are not filled with frays. You might just do what I did on my first crochet lesson – throw hook, yarn and your patience across the room, with inimitable cry, ‘It’s Splitting!’
‘Notes to a Novice Knotter’ is a series of short essays about beginning to crochet – they are intended to be a bit of fun and not crochet law – feel free to get involved in the conversation via the comments.