Sunday, March 22, 2009

Learn to Crochet - Lesson 2 - Materials/Yarn Prep

Lesson 2 - Materials/Yarn Prep

This is a lesson for beginners. I will be assuming you have NEVER crocheted before in your life. Be patient with me if you already know some (or all) of these things.


Get a skein of yarn. Choose 100% acrylic, 4 ply. Nothing fancy. Nothing frilly and fluffy. Just a basic yarn. You can get into fancy and fluffy yarns later, once you feel confident in your skills.

Buy yourself a size H/8 crochet hook. This is the perfect size for this weight of yarn. Later, when you feel more confident, you can buy thinner yarns and smaller hooks, or thicker yarn and bigger hooks! But, for now -- size H/8 is the one for you.

You may want to buy TWO hooks. These things are known to wander at times. :-)

Yarn Prep:

Look at the label on your yarn. It will tell you to pull one end of yarn out of one side of the label and then work from the yarn ending at the OTHER end of the label.

Disregard this. :-)

If you prep your yarn in the way I will teach you, you will rarely (never?) have tangles and battles with your skein. Remember, crocheting is peaceful. Strive for peace with your yarn as you work.

* Slide the label off your skein of yarn. Save it, if you think you will need more yarn of the same color. Toss it, if you are all set on yarn.
* Find the end where the yarn comes OUT of the center of the end of the skein. Pull that end out about 4-6 inches.
* Find the end of the yarn that is on the outside of the SIDE of the skein. Unwind that end off the skein about 3 feet.
* Place two of your fingers under this OUTSIDE end of yarn, and wrap the long end of yarn around the skein and wrap your fingertips under it, at least 3 times. When you are near the end of that piece of yarn, wrap the very end (maybe 3-6 inches) around and around the part you just wrapped around the skein. This secures the end so that it does not try to tangle itself in the working end (the end coming OUT of the skein of yarn). This will save you a billion headaches. Trust me on this one.

To illustrate:

After you have the skein ends ready, take the working end (shown to the right, above) and pull out a small pile of loose yarn. One rule to keep things running smoothly and peacefully is to KEEP IT LOOSEY-GOOSEY! :-) If you are constantly pulling and battling your yarn, you will fight for each and every stitch. Do you want to do that? No. It will be much easier to have beautiful and uniform work if you keep things loose.

So, pull a little pile of yarn out of the skein as you work. If you feel tension on your yarn as you work, pull out another little pile of yarn.

Be careful not to pull too large a pile of yarn, or it will tangle up and you will battle that! Just pull enough to keep from having tension on your yarn as you work.

Here is a reasonable pulled-out pile of yarn:

Now I must go and gather groceries! (The word Groceries will forever bring to mind the book Eat, Pray, Love. LOL!) And, so you go and do other things, too, and I will post the next lesson by late tonight. This brings me to ...


When you are not actively crocheting, you will want to store your project. Once you really FEEL the meditative and relaxation aspects of crocheting, you will want to take your crocheting everywhere you go! You will do it at lunch time. You will do it in doctor's office waiting rooms. You will crochet on planes and in cars (my younger sister gets car sick when crocheting in a moving car, so be aware of your own senses on this one). Get yourself a fun bag to tote your crocheting. I recommend a large nylon beach bag. If you have cats that will want to dislodge your efforts, maybe one with a top zipper or another way of closing it? Chose one that is big enough to store your upcoming skeins in the bottom, with your project on top of that. It is fun to see the skeins disappear and the project grow!

Next lesson: Chain stitch. The base of all crocheting.


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