We all know that crocheting can be a truly enjoyable craft, but many times not as enjoyable when learning the art. If most people can only get past the first few stitches they would discover how enjoyable crocheting can really be. Over the years while teaching students to crochet I have noticed that there are many mistakes that are very common and I always warn them what to watch for and how to avoid them. This weeks post will be on a variety of topics covering some mistakes that new crocheter’s often make. Needless to say this post will be a little long. To help minimize the size of the post the first four mistakes I have already covered in earlier posts so I just added the link next to each of them for easy access. I also cannot get into as much detail with each one as I would like, still I believe you will understand each one.
Tension (see link How to Crochet Evenly Every Stitch)
Skipping the step on gauging (see link How to Gauge)
Crocheting into the wrong loop (see link Split Single Crochet) I know this is a tutorial on the Split Single Crochet but there is also a section on the parts of the stitch you can crochet into.
Not learning how to read a pattern (see link How to Read a Pattern )
Trying to crochet patterns outside of their skill level – This happens occasionally. Someone will take one or two classes and then come to class with an intermediate projected started. This will only lead to frustration and discouragement.
I know we all want to crochet something spectacular, but this is not the time for it. Take the time to learn some patterns in your skill level and then move on to the next one. By doing it this way you not only build your skill but your confidence as well.
Quitting to soon – This happens more often then I like to think of. People will go and buy a tutorial book on crocheting; then get frustrated with it and walk away without trying to seek help. I have also had some students take my class who had previously tried to learn to crochet and gave up either on themselves or the teacher. These are the students I hope to reach before they convince themselves they cannot ever do it.
What a lot of people do not realize is that there are basically three ways to learn, audio, visual and hands on. Not every body learns the same way, or teaches the same way. We know this from school. We all had that teacher that made a subject come to life.
I am fortunate that when I was tested I found out that I could learn using all three ways, which makes me a really good teacher because I also can teach all three ways. So if you have not had success with one teacher, do not give up. Just find someone else – you might surprise yourself.
Also remember that learning to crochet takes time and practice. It is not a craft that you will learn overnight. But it is one that could bring you hours of enjoyment once you have.
If in doubt, rip it out – If you have ever taken one of my classes, you will know this saying. I always tell student if it looks wrong to you then rip it out and start at the beginning of the row. I also had students that knew it was wrong and would try to cover the mistakes to make it look right.
If you want your finished project to look good, rip it out and re-work your stitches. I personally, would rather rip out twenty rows then to finish a project that I knew was not my best.
Turning chain mistakes – Crocheting is made of simple rules and turning chains for each stitch are always the same unless otherwise stated in your pattern. The single crochet does not skip the first stitch at the beginning of the row. All other stitches you will skip the first stitch, making the turning chain count as your first stitch. The turning chain for each stitch is as follows:
single crochet – chain one
half double crochet – chain two
double crochet – chain three
triple crochet – chain four
double triple – chain five
triple triple – chain six
Your foundation chain and foundation row; these are actually two different items but I have had students refer to them as the same thing. The foundation chain (see link The Chain Stitch) is a long strand of the required chains and the foundation chain does not count as a row. Your foundation row is the first row you crochet into the foundation chain. If you have chosen to work a foundation chainless single crochet (see link Foundation Single Crochet) then this would also count as your first row.
The last stitch – This is one of the absolutely biggest mistake that is made in crocheting. This is also one that I struggled with as a beginner. Have you ever finished a square only to find that the twenty-five stitches you had started with has dwindled down to thirteen. This is when you would discovered that you project has shrunk. (This is when your project becomes smaller in width at the end then in the beginning.)
This is caused by either skipping your first stitch or the last stitch. The easiest way to avoid this is by counting your stitches. In my beginning class we crochet one 5×5″ square for twelve weeks. Each square teaches a new stitch or technique. The one thing I always insist on for the first few weeks is that each student stop and count each row before continuing to the next. I know this may seem slow at first, but in the long run it is much less time consuming then ripping out a week’s worth of work.
I also know how basic this sounds, but it is important. Make it a habit to take the time to count your stitches! I still do this with some of my projects.
Avoid using dark, variegated or specialty yarns when learning – This is sometimes a hard thing to resist. With all the beautiful and fun yarns that are available now. But in the beginning it is more important to be able to see your stitches then what yarn you choose and that is more achievable when using a light color worsted weighted yarn. Once you have mastered the stitches and are comfortable holding the yarn, then move on to that yarn you are dying to try.
Some additional rules when you are crocheting.
1. When learning try to make time everyday to crochet. Daily repetition is the best way to retain what you are learning.
2. No drinking or eating while crocheting. The only thing I have near me when I am crocheting is water. Even that I keep well away from my work area to help prevent spilling. Even water is not good when it comes in contact with your yarn.
3. Always have you work area well lighted – You cannot crochet into what you cannot see.
4. When learning a new stitch or technique try to lose the distractions. If I am learning something new or starting a new pattern all noise is turned off and sometimes I even wait until my hubby is out of the house. Total silence is the best way to think and figure something out.
5. Always roll left over yarn into balls when finished.
6. Avoid crocheting when sleepy. It is more likely you will make a mistake when you are tired or sick.
9. Master one stitch before moving on to a new one.
I am hoping I did not overwhelm you, for I know it sounds like a lot. This really does eventually become second nature to you in time. I hope you found this post useful. I would love to hear some of the mistakes you have made over the years and some teaching tricks you have learned along the way.
Until next week, keep those hooks flying.