Crochet Basics – Tools!

I’m so excited to dive in to my Crochet Basics Series with you! If you are new to crochet, feeling overwhelmed with all there is to learn, this is the place for you! If you’ve been at this for a while, thinking maybe you’ll skip this series…I would encourage you to stick around. Maybe you’ll learn something you didn’t know, find a new tool or trick you can use, or just spend a few minutes hanging out with us while you read. Whatever your skill level, I’m confident there’s something here for you!

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So, without further ado, let’s jump into something easy – TOOLS. Okay, maybe this one isn’t so easy. It IS important, though, so stick with me! This one is going to seem a bit long, but hang in there! You can even jump to the section that applies to you if you don’t want to read through everything. It won’t hurt my feelings…too much.

When you walk down the yarn aisle of your local craft store and look at all the tools there, it can make starting crochet daunting. Do I really need ALL OF THIS?? Hooks, measuring tapes, yarn needles, stitch markers, rulers, notions cases, row counters, yarn ball winders, blocking mats, pom pom makers, yarn bowls, project bags, hook cases, scissors, gauge finder…should I go on? The answer is NO, you don’t need all of this. So take a breath and keep reading now that you know it’s not going to cost you a thousand dollars to start this new hobby. 

I’m going to break up the tools into 3 categories – Things You Need to Make a Scarf; Things to Buy Once You Decide Crochet is the Hobby You’ll Finally Stick With; What to Do With Your Money When You Win the Lottery.

Things You Need to Make a Scarf

Okay, these are the BASICS. I recommend making scarves at first to practice your stitches, your tension, your gauge. (Woah…what do those words even mean? Don’t worry – we’ll get there soon!)

1. Hooks  There are so many hook choices. As you crochet, you’ll find your preference. Try out different materials, different designs, different brands. The 2 main differences you’ll see in a hook that you want to address are how the tips are designed. Is it an inline hook or a tapered hook? This affects how the yarn is grabbed and how it moves with each stitch. I personally prefer tapered hooks, mainly because that’s what I started with before I even knew there was a difference. 

There are 2 brands of hook that are most popular with beginners and most widely available – Boye and Bates. I would recommend starting with one of these, as they are available just about anywhere and they’re inexpensive. 

  • Boye hooks are tapered hooks, made of aluminum.

  • Bates hooks are inline hooks, also made of aluminum.

Once you get into the swing of things, go crazy and try ALL. THE. HOOKS. Find your favorite and stick with that. 

2. Yarn 

Duh, LOL. Okay, but really. There are a million choices for yarn. Let me keep it simple for you. Up above I linked hooks in the size H8/5mm. This is going to work best with what we call worsted weight yarn (no, no, don’t panic! I have a post coming up about yarn weights and what they all mean!). Basically worsted weight yarn is what you find most commonly at craft stores, and even at Walmart. Touch it, squish it, find something that feels good to you and pick your color. I wouldn’t recommend starting with a multicolored, or variegated, yarn, though – that might make it a little too difficult to see your stitches. Stick to solids for now. Here are a few of my favorites. 

  • Or, if you’re a Hobby Lobby junkie, you can try their brand – I Love This Yarn

3. Tape Measure – For less than a dollar you can measure to your heart’s content. Really, though, this is truly all you need. There are super cute tape measures out there that you can spend way more money on, but for now just stick with the basics.

4. Scissors – Obviously you’re going to need to cut your yarn at some point. Or maybe not. Maybe you’re just going to keep crocheting until you get to the end of the skein and leave it at that. If that’s you – just scroll right past this one. (I’m not lying when I tell you I still use Fiskars kids scissors. They fit perfectly in my tool pouch, they’re sharp enough to cut my yarn, they’re not TOO sharp that I have to worry about it if my 4 year old snatches them away from me.)

5. Yarn Needle – I debated putting this here or the next section, because I personally didn’t start with a yarn needle. When I started and needed to weave in my ends, I just used a smaller size hook to pull the ends through. BUT I believe in building good habits from the beginning, and I want for you to use a needle to weave in your ends. It’s much easier and it’s going to result in a cleaner finished piece.

Okay, you’ve made a scarf or two. You’re fairly sure this is your thing. You want to upgrade a little. So let’s move on to…

Things to Buy Once You Decide Crochet is the Hobby You’ll Finally Stick With

You can keep using all the tools from the list above. If you want to upgrade a little, here are some of my personal faves.

1. Boye Ergonomic Crochet Hook Set – Invest in the set. Ultimately it’s going to be cheaper. The ergonomic hooks are going to be a lifesaver for you if you plan on crocheting a lot…or even if you don’t.

2. Now might also be the time you want to branch out into other crochet hook materials, like plastic or wood. Don’t go crazy yet – stick to the ones you can find in your local craft stores until you decide which material you like best.

3. Bent Tip Tapestry Needles – You can ABSOLUTELY keep using your plastic yarn needles you started with. But if you’re anything like me, or every other crocheter or knitter out there, you’ve already lost them. Possibly even before you got finished with your first project. Either way, upgrading to bent tip, steel tapestry needles is a fairly inexpensive way to up your game.

4. Notions Case – This is my favorite. It keeps everything in its place and is compact. It really is the perfect notions case.

5. Stitch Markers – Okay, this one is a little iffy. To be honest, knitters use stitch markers WAY more than crocheters. And for a long time, I just used a scrap piece of yarn in a different color than my project…or a regular old safety pin. Once I started knitting I invested in some stitch markers and I use them in crochet, too. Just remember that you need locking stitch markers for crochet – not ring markers.

6. Gauge swatch measurement ruler squareThere’s a version for knitters and a version for crocheters. This will make measuring your gauge easy peasy.

Okay, now it’s on to the FUN part!

What to Do With Your Money When You Win the Lottery

Are you read for the really fun stuff? Okay, so that title might be a little bit of an exaggeration…these items aren’t THAT expensive. But they are most definitely luxury items. You can hone your craft, and even make a business out of it, with the start-up tools that cost very little. If you’ve made it this far, chances are you’re in a committed relationship with crochet. You’ve made it Facebook official. Instagram is jam-packed with pictures of your projects. And you want to treat yourself. Here are some of my suggestions. Now…before going further, it’s important to note that this is by NO MEANS sponsored by the following people, nor are they the only ones in their chosen field. Some of these products I’ve personally tried, and some I’ve only been crushing on because I haven’t won the lottery yet (joking – they’re really and truly not expensive!). I will tell you that if you follow them on Instagram (and I’ll include each of their IG handles), you are GUARANTEED to fall in love and want to throw all the money in your checking account at them. And I wholeheartedly support that endeavor…as long as you’ve paid your mortgage/rent. Because otherwise where would your yarn live? Okay, enough. Look at all the pretty things now.

1. BQueen Collection handmade wooden crochet hooks. Makenzie and Mr. BQueen (aka Brian) make each hook by hand. When you order, you will choose your wood, hook size, and the crown design for the hook, and they will make it once ordered. I promise you it’s worth every penny. I’ve linked the Holly Wood hook, because that’s what I have…but I’m drooling over Blackwood and Redheart and I will add them to my collection one day. Head over to IG and follow them at @bqueencollection to see the hooks in action.

2. Hello Stella Fibres hand dyed yarn. Lindsay dyes the most drool-worthy color ways and I can feel the squish of her yarn through the screen of my phone. On my wish list (and they will be in my yarn stash as soon as I come up with a plan for them to justify buying more yarn!) are – Sleepy Hollow, Anything for Love, Bohemia and Rock Lobster. Go pick your favorites from her IG feed at @_hellostella_ and keep up to date on shop restocks.

3. Handmade Home Fibers hand dyed yarn. I CAN’T write this post without some sort of shoutout to Ashleigh. She is the maker behind Sewrella, and the reason this blog exists. She and her husband CJ recently launched their new line of hand dyed yarns, and I want them ALL! If I had to choose just 5…I mean, DO I have to choose just 5? At the tippy top of my wish list is Peach Cobbler. I constantly go back to pictures of that color way and just dream. Roman Holiday, My Fair Lady, Emerald City, and Macaroon round out the list. Follow their yarn adventures on IG at @handmadehomefibers and send me pictures of what you make with their yarn because I’m dying to see it in action!

4. Adorably necessary stitch marker charmsEach week Jensen picks a color and releases a limited number of charms in that color in her shop update. Sheep, dragons, unicorns, llamas, hedgehogs, chicks, octopus, pigs…and every week there’s an oddly cute pile of poo in that week’s color. Check out all the unbeatably cute charms on her IG feed at @trufflesshuffle and turn on your notifications so you know when she does her next shop update!

5. Dedicated project bag that’s super cute. Okay, I’m kind of embarrassed to admit that I don’t own an *actual* project bag of my own. I bought my sister one for Christmas last year, but I haven’t been able to decide on one for myself yet! I’ve been using grocery bags and random tote bags to carry my projects around. But don’t be like me – get yourself a beautiful bag specifically for your yarny goodness.

So there you have it! Tools you need, tools you might want, and tools to drool over. Coming up next – Yarn Weights Demystified! Worsted, sock, bulky…what’s the difference and how do you use them?

Until next time friends!

 

 

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