Crochet Instruction

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    Crochet Instruction

    Tension and feeding the yarn is the kit and kaboodle of crochet.  Get this down, and learning stitches will be a breeze.

    Hold work thusly so as to only have to move the hook forward and backward to yarn over (yo) and pull through (and pull up a loop):


    Here is how you thread the yarn around the left hand so as to be able to hold it as above while working: 






     
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    Re: Crochet Instruction

    Here's a white single crochet off a brown chain.  The hand position isn't quite right because of my taking the photo.  All of these steps should be assumed to be done in the position above.

    Begin: One loop on hook


    Place hook under top two strands of chain stitch


    Yarn over (yo).  If you are holding it all correctly, this simply means moving the hook into position behind the yarn coming down from your index finger.  It should NOT involve a wrapping motion (that all beginners do).


    Pull yarn through the chain stitch and up into a loop ("pull up a loop" in pattern speak) so two loops end up on the hook.


    Slide hook behind strand coming from index finger with the hook facing left:


    Slide hook back through both loops on hook keeping the hook pointed to the left (photo show it having cleared the first loop and abou to go through the second):


    Pull up a loop to complete the stitch:

     
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    Re: Crochet Instruction

    If your work is curling or pulling in any way, it means you are gradually making your stitches tighter and tighter.  Focus on your left hand and, as frustrating as it is, do not do any stitches if your yarn is not threaded and being fed to you work like that.  If you "cheat" and make the stitches by holding the yarn "any old way" you'll never master this; your stitches will never be even and your work nice and flat.

    The only way to remedy a piece that is pulling or curling is to rip it out and start over (or rip it out to the place where the stitches started getting smaller).  No amount of tugging and stretching will solve the problem, and if you keep going hoping for the best the whole thing will be a disaster.  I know.  Trust me.
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from toytrumpet. Show toytrumpet's posts

    Re: Crochet Instruction

    Thanks for posting it on a thread, Kargiver.  Looking at your detailed pics I'm not even sure I'm doing the second row of stitches correctly.  Will have to give it another look/see tomorrow in the daylight and give it a try again.  My second row doesn't look the same as yours.  I think I'm missing a little step when I pull the yarn back through.
     
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    Re: Crochet Instruction

    When working the first row off the chain, place hook under the two parallel, horizontal strands of the top of chain and above the single strand on the bottom.

    Top:


    Bottom:


     
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    Re: Crochet Instruction

    tt, you're welcome.  I'll add captions to the sc post to make it all the more clear - I know it's very hard to learn from photos.  Try not to do too much at once; you'll get frustrated and your eyes and hands will tire because beginners grip everything so hard - painfully hard.  I can see in your photos where you abandoned the left hand threading.  I know it's not fun, but anyone who asked me to teach them who didn't want to learn that part gave up entirely on the whole venture soon enough.  Those who stuck with learning the tension part of it are still crocheting.

    Oh, and I posted more than you need here in case anyone else ever wants instruction. :)
     
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    Re: Crochet Instruction

    OK, I added the photo descriptions.  Let me know if it's still not clear.  I have a hard time learning from photos no matter how "obvious" it looks like it should be.
     
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    Re: Crochet Instruction

    Kar, you are quite amazing!
    So much patience, wish you had been my crochet teacher. I am a knitter and can do that blindfolded and fast. I have also done some crocheting, but it is harder for me to do. Now I am anxious to try your method.  What size needle are you using on the pictures?
    Maybe if I start now, I can make an afghan for one of the boys for Christmas. LOL
    Another question. How many 1 foot squares can one make out of one skein of yarn? I somehow remember, you said 25 stitches make 1 foot.
    - Pingo
     
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    Re: Crochet Instruction

    Thanks, Pingo!  My great-grandmother and grandmother taught me this way when I was abou 6, I think, so given that's over 30 years ago, I'm as good at that as you are at knitting. :)

    In the picture, I'm using an H, but that's rather small for a newbie, and the gauge (stitches per inch) would be smaller so you'd end up with a smaller piece.  I'd recommend a J to begin with.

    How many stitches per inch is dependant on the size hook you are using.  I'd have to do a few swatches with different sizes to tell you.  It also depends on the weight of the yarn.  Same as knitting, I'd think.

    How much you can get out of one skein is variable.  I'd have to see the pattern you're interested in.  I've done far more baby blankets than regular sized afghans so I'm not good at estimating.  However, most patterns give you the approximate amount in ounces.  Different skeins are different weights, too.

    This is so much fun!

    ~kar


     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from toytrumpet. Show toytrumpet's posts

    Re: Crochet Instruction

    Most of the hooks I have aren't marked with any size.  I've no idea what the one I'm using is, it just looked like a good size hook to me.  There is one there that is marked "G" and other real small ones which I imagine were used for tatting "1" and "4".
     
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    Re: Crochet Instruction

    You have hooks without letters or numbers?

    "G" is part of a colored aluminum set of hooks designed for yarn of varying weights.  The size of the hook (and resulting size and looseness of stitches) goes up as the letter does.  G is smaller than H.

    The thread hooks are all silver (and are called "steel hooks") and sizes are indicated by number.  However, unlike the lettered ones, as you go up in number, your hook goes down in size.  For instance, a size 0 steel hook would be used for large kitchen cotton thread that is almost as heavy as a light yarn.  And, a snowflake ornament or doily would be made with finer thread and smaller hook, like mabye a 5.  Teeny tiny fine work would be an 8 or 9.  I don't do much with those; they take years off your vision life.

    Your "1" is too big for tatting, believe it or not!  So is the "4," actually.  I think actual tatting requires the teeniest ones.

    Before you can "graduate" to the steel hooks one absolutely must master the left hand duty of controling tension.  You can't handle thin thread like you can yarn and must rely on your skill with holding and feeding the thread just so.
     
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    Re: Crochet Instruction

    Micheals sells basic sets of the colored and steel hooks.  They will cover you for just about any project you'd want to do.  I've never needed anything outside of those basic sets.

    Since you both knit you're already familiar with running in ends, but just fyi, I use sharp darning needles for that task not yarn needles which I find not only too blunt to split fibers to lock in the ends but also too flexible (most are plastic).  I can post some instructions on finishing off tomorrow.

    I'll also post the pattern I start my classes off on (after they get the hang of keeping good tension with going back and forth on a practice swatch).  It's a scarf that gets tons of compiments, is very warm, and super easy and fast.  My great-aunt just asked me for the pattern, actually, as I made her one a few years ago, and she just decided to make the same one for a friend.
     
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    Re: Crochet Instruction

    The captions on the sc post photos really explain how to just slide your hook back and forth without any swirling or wrapping of the hook or yarn.  Just slide it up behind the yarn coming down from your index finger and drag it back toward you through the loops or stitches.  There should be very little motion required aside from the sliding of the hook back and forth with your right hand and the flicking of your left pinky out to get more yarn from the loose pile you've released from the skein a few yards at a time (that should be situated on your left with nothing obstructing it).
     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from toytrumpet. Show toytrumpet's posts

    Re: Crochet Instruction

    Karyn, these hooks I have were passed down from my cousin from God knows who before her.  A couple of the steel ones have to be for thread, they are so tiny.  Now in the daylight I can see sizes on them. The 3 bone ones at the top were my mother's.  They and the plastic ones have no size markings on them.  It doesn't matter, I'm just practicing with these rows to get the feel of it.  When and if I decide to try my hand at a "piece", if I don't have the right size, I'll just buy it.  Here's a pic of my colorful array -

     
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    Re: Crochet Instruction

    Those should get you through for quite awhile - looks like you have the most popular choices.  All the steel (silver) ones are for threads of different weights, croceht cotton to tatting thread.  The plastic and colored ones are for yarns of different weights.  It's much like knitting needles; the smaller the needles, the lighter the yarn and tighter the stitches.

    Definitely do buy the hook size a pattern requires, as you said.  You might feel the urge when the situation presents itself to use the next size up or down if you have it and then adjust your stitches accordingly.  Resist!  You'll have a big mess of uneven stitches and end up having to rip it all out, go buy the correct size hook and start over.

    Any impromptu "lessons" like this you can assume I learned myself the hard way over the years.  You might never step on them even if I don't mention the mistakes I've made, but I figure it can't hurt.
     
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    Re: Crochet Instruction

    Sitting here in front of your pictures, and I think I realize the step I was missing.  Phone rang and a friend was asking, "What are you up to today?".  When I told her I was sitting here trying to teach myself how to crochet, she said, "Oh, I can help you with that."  So, she'll be down in a little while.  I do think I have mastered sort of the double stitch through each loop.  At least it's looking more like yours.  We'll see by the end of the day.
     
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    Re: Crochet Instruction

    Oh, that's great, tt!  Maybe your friend can breath life into the photos, and you'll get an even better idea of what I was trying to show.  It's so hard to gather what's really happening with still shots.

    Have fun and be patient with yourself.  Bite the frustration bullet and stick with the left hand no matter how often you have to rethread.  You'll make it work if you give it time and practice.  You can learn any stitch on earth (I'm still learning new ones as they come up), but if you don't have your yarn feed going you'll tread water at "beginner" 'til you quit because you'll get discouraged with your work always curling and pulling not to mention taking too long.

    I will even go so far as to say that mastering a sc before mastering tension is putting the cart before the horse.  Chain for miles until you can work without rethreading your left hand.  That's the advice that has worked for my classes, anyway.  Those who did it succeeded, those who didn't...well, crochet just wasn't their thing.  You can keep ripping out the chain and work with the same stretch of yarn over and over.  It's boring, not nearly as exciting as making a swatch and getting a sc down, but once you have it, you have it.  You can go from there, and it will be much more fun for the up front effort.
     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from pingo. Show pingo's posts

    Re: Crochet Instruction

    Kar,
    I am enjoying your crochet lessons tremendously. I will drag DH to Michael's today, before we go to the office - and pickup a needle and some yarn. I will look for the "J". Do I really need a pattern to just make squares?
    Oh, wait - I just found this:
    http://www.allfreecrafts.com/crochet/index.shtml
    Maybe I will find something here. - Pingo


     
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    Re: Crochet Instruction

    I'm so glad you're enjoying it, too, Pingo!  Maybe over the years more will reference it, too.

    You don't need a pattern, but you do need consistency in your stitch size (no matter what size hook you use).  If you can make two squares exactly the same (no tugging or stretching, just laying one on top of the other), you can just make squares.  (They'll only end up exactly the same if you control it 100% with the tension from your left hand.)  However, I highly recommend not doing squares if you aren't going to do any special pattern.  Just chain until you have the width you want for the finsihed piece and go back and forth.  (Actually, chain a little less than you think you'll want; it always stretches out a bit.  I've ended up with HUGE afghans due to making that mistake.)  No assembly required that way, and if you notice you're tightening up (keep a close eye on it, stopping often and laying your work out to see if it's starting to pull in toward the center) you can refocus on your tension and loosen things up before they get out of control.  If you end up with 100 oddly sized squares, you'll not be able to use them to assemble a half way decent afghan.

    You can "dress up" a plain afghan of single crochet by putting on a pretty, fancy looking border.  By the time you finish the afghan you'll be much more practiced and can do something special around the edge.

    BUT, if you are confident in your tension and skill with basic stitches and patterns and keeping them even and absolutely are intent on using a pattern of granny squares, go for it!  You will know soon enough if you bit off more than you can chew.   And, I'd recommend sending me a list of patterns you'd like to try - I can rate them by difficulty.  Some look harder than they are and some are easier than they look.  Also, some patterns have mistakes, a real bummer for a beginner who might not recognize why they can't do what is asked of them and drive themselves insane before they realize it might be a misprint or mistake...nah, that's never happened to me.  LOL
     
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    Re: Crochet Instruction

    Oh, you know what?  I could make one of the squares you choose and take photos of each round.  You can go by that as you start off and know if you're doing it right, etc.
     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from pingo. Show pingo's posts

    Re: Crochet Instruction

    Thanks for all your suggestions, Kar. I think I like to make squares in order to get it more than one color. The bear you did (oh no, I am not trying that at all) you must have used a finer needle for the yarn you used, in order to get it so tight w/o any peep holes. Am I correct? - Pingo
     
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    Re: Crochet Instruction

    Sorry for the delay - dear SIL is here visiting unexpectedly.

    I used the blue hook in the photos, and thats's the actual bear yarn - notice the brown and cream?

    If you pick out a few square patterns, indicate your favorite, and I'll talk about how easy or difficult it might be.  You can decide on one, and I'll make a square of it with photos.

    Sorry, must sign off for awhile...probably 'til tomorrow.

    Later,
    ~kar
     
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    Re: Crochet Instruction

    Regarding "working off your index finger,"

    Picture 1 in this thread shows the line of yarn she means that you are to crochet off of - it extends down off the index finger and is taught the whole time you're working, never slack.  That's the constant "tension" I'm talking about that will contril the size of your stitches and evenness of your work.   Grip the work (your chain or whatever) between your left thumb and middle finger, as pictured.  Lift your index finger with the yarn over it so that the yarn is taught.  Then, move the hook back behind that strand, catching it with the hook, and slide it back through the loops of interest.  Very little motion.  No wrapping of the yarn.  No swirling of the hook.  Just a slide of an inch or so back to catch the yarn coming down from your index finger and sliding it back toward the work. 

    Copy the postion of the yarn, work, and left hand fingers in picture one exactly.

    Regarding finding the right strands to put the hook in, forget about that for now.  Do the best you can and focus 99% on getting the left hand position as described in this post above down pat.  Once you have that, MOVE ON to learning the stitches (including knowing where to put the hook).  The tensioin comes first.  Remember, horse, THEN cart.

    A beginner who insists on getting a sc down before being able to chain a mile without moving more than the hook back and forth behind the yarn off the index finger will not get the hang of it until she breaks down and does that exercise until it's mastered before moving ahead with stitches.
     
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    Re: Crochet Instruction

    Good day to curl up with some yarn...anybody giving it another whirl today?  I'll be around to answer any questions, make a quick swatch with photos, or anything I can do to get you over any hurdles you happen upon. 

    Learning stinks.  Anyone who says they love learning new things, I swear, they must mean they love knowing new things.
     
  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from toytrumpet. Show toytrumpet's posts

    Re: Crochet Instruction

    Shoulder is too painful to give it a try today, but I've not given up entirely.  Still have the row of stitches, hook and yarn out for another day.
     

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