New Year, New Hobby: Learn to Crochet in 2021
With 2021 in full swing, we thought this would be a great opportunity for us to share a beginner’s guide to getting started in the addictive and rewarding hobby of crochet. Since 2006, TOFT has been dedicated to helping people in countries all over the globe begin their journey into the world of crochet. If you’re interested in the TOFT range of crochet kits which include everything you need to get started, stay until the end of this blog post. With that in mind, let’s begin.
The first thing you’ll want to do is find a pattern. A pattern is the instructions you’ll use to create your first project whilst including details such as which yarn to use and how many stitches and rounds to complete.
For your first project, it’s important to find a pattern that’s friendly for complete beginners. This will help you ease into the basic techniques of crochet and won’t be so difficult that it puts you off the craft. Along with difficulty, it’s also a good idea to find a pattern that’s exciting and interesting – make sure you’re working on something you really want to own! An interesting project will keep you motivated to get to the end. We recommend beginners start with a light colour wool such as Cream, Silver, Oatmeal or Stone as this also helps identify the individual stitches as you get to grips with what they look like. Try to avoid using really dark colours like Charcoal or Cocoa for a first project to make things easier for yourself
Founder of TOFT and best-selling author Kerry Lord has published several pattern books designed for complete beginners. Starting with the most basic patterns at the beginning of the book and slowly moving on to more challenging endeavors, these publications are a fantastic way to build a whole library of new projects without spending a fortune. If you’d like to take a look at the range of books authored by Kerry Lord, Click here.
Yarn's a critical part of the crochet experience, and so it’s important you use something that’s made with the right materials, and in the right way. Some cheaper yarns can be difficult to crochet with if they’re prone to splitting or fraying. You’ll also want a yarn that’s durable so your first project can be kept as a souvenir for years to come.
Another consideration when searching for yarn is the weight (size), as they tend to come in many different variants. Some of the most popular sizes are ‘Fine’, ‘Double Knit’ or ‘DK’, ‘Aran’, and ‘Chunky’. For beginners, we’d recommend large sizes of yarn such as DK, Aran, and Chunky, as these thicker yarns make it easier to see the stitches you’re working with.
TOFT has a wonderfully curated range of yarns made from 100% British sheep wool, for a naturally soft feel. It’s not just the raw materials for our yarn which are sourced from the UK. Once sheared, our wool is also dyed and spun in Yorkshire to ensure the best quality available. Take a look at our range of luxury yarn in many different colours and weights, here.
A crochet hook is the tool you’ll be using to create some fantastic future projects, and you’ll be happy to hear that these are easy to come by. Crochet hooks vary in size depending on the style you’re looking to create in your project, and the size of yarn you’re using. Your pattern should let you know which size hook or hooks are required for your project, so it’s best to check this first before making any decisions. As a general rule of thumb, we’d recommend using these hook sizes for the weight of yarn you choose:
3mm hook: DK yarn
5mm hook: Aran yarn
8mm hook: Chunky yarn
You’ll need to bear in mind something called ‘tension’. This is how we describe how tight or loose the individual stitches are within a given project. If you are struggling to get the right number of stitches to match the tension you may need to get a hook that is half a size bigger or smaller. Get in touch with us if you’re unsure and we’ll be able to advise.
Something else to consider when choosing a hook is the quality and comfort it offers. Crochet hooks tend to be relatively well priced but purchasing a hook that’s poorly made can cause snagging and be uncomfortable to hold. You’ll be using your hook for long periods, and an ergonomic design will make crocheting far more comfortable and enjoyable.
TOFT’s range of hooks has been created with a soft grip handle which makes them easy to grip and hold, whilst the aluminum tip makes crocheting smooth and effortless. If you’d like to have a look at our range of hooks, please click here.
There are a few extra items you’ll need to complete your first project, and we’ll go through those here.
A wool needle is essential to any crochet project – regardless of what you’re making. If it’s an animal, you’ll need to sew the parts together. If it’s a scarf or a hat, you’ll have a long thread at the beginning and end of your project (at least) that you’ll need to secure once you are finished. The best bet is to get one with a large eye so that the wool will fit through easily. We sell these large wool needles, along with a smaller, skinnier version that is great for sewing up mini animal projects. Both can be found here.
Depending on which pattern you’ve selected for your first crochet outing, it may need stuffing. Stuffing is used to bring a project to life by giving it a third dimension. All the Edward’s Menagerie toy projects will need stuffing to complete them. We offer three different stuffing options at the moment – a white polyester (which is great if you might ever need to machine wash the completed animal), along with a light and a dark pure wool stuffing. The different colours are designed to hide the appearance of stuffing in between the stitches of your project, so pick the colour which best suits the colour of your yarn. If you’re using a dark coloured yarn, the dark coloured stuffing will go nicely. Click here to take a look at our range of TOFT stuffing.
A row counter isn’t necessary, but it can be a really useful tool if you’re in an environment that leaves you easily distracted. A row counter that easily sits on the finger and is accurate is all you need. Click here to see TOFT’s row counter.
Embroidery Scissors / Snips
Using scissors you have around the home might work, but embroidery scissors or snips will make cleaner cuts in your project yarn and reduce fraying. A small pair that nestles in your project bag will never go amiss! Most seasoned crocheters and knitters have a pair of quality scissors in their tool bag as they are well worth the investment in the long run. Click here to see the premium embroidery scissors and snips that TOFT has to offer.
As mentioned at the beginning of the post, TOFT offers some creative crochet kits which include everything you’ll need to get started on an exciting first project. Inside you’ll find the pattern, yarn, crochet hook, stuffing, and sewing needle you’ll need to create a member of Edward’s Menagerie. Each kit is marked with a difficulty level to help you decide which kit is right for you, plus there are hundreds of projects to choose from.
Also included with the TOFT crochet kit is access to free online video tutorials. These tutorials will guide you through all the techniques you’ll need to get to the end of your first project.