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Beginner’s Guide to Crocheting + FREE Downloads

Beginner’s Guide to Crocheting + FREE Downloads

The fiber art known as crochet (pronounced “kro-shay”) is derived from a French word for ‘small hook’. The technique originated hundreds of years ago as a form of European lacemaking. Currently, there’s a revived interest in crochet (and many other engaging, productive DIY crafts).

Crochet is an easy-to-learn and satisfying activity, with calming and cognitive benefits. The delicate art of crocheting is a lifelong skill that you can use to make art, useful items and even to give as beautiful gifts.

Start by learning some basic crochet stitches and build on that with more advanced moves. Creating a simple, flat piece — where you essentially just go back and forth, over and over — is the simplest way to learn how to crochet and better understand how the method works. You only need to know a few stitches to be able to make a wide variety of projects.

To knit or crochet?

If fiber arts are something new for you, then you’ll want to understand the difference between knitting and crocheting. Knitting requires two needles, while crocheting uses just a single hook. In crochet, each stitch is completed before the next one is started, kind of like tying little knots, while knitting keeps many stitches open at a time, as one loops them closed, row by row.

Depending on skill and ability level, crocheting can be the quicker of the two to learn. It’s actually fairly easy to crochet decorative items such as doilies as well as fun shapes, such as stuffed toys or flowers. Knitting uses many repetitive stitches, such as cable, ribbing and Fair Isle, to make larger, more substantial items such as sweaters and scarves. Though you can also crochet full-size vests, caps and even bikinis!

Many crafters ultimately learn both techniques. It’s up to you to choose which method best suits your style, but with either skillset you can create something fabulous with your very own hands!

Free Crochet Patterns from Lion Brand Yarn

Thanks to our friends at Lion Brand Yarns, you can download and print a crochet pattern of choice to get started on your next crochet project.

Free Chevron Crochet Blanket Pattern

Lion Brand® Cora Chevron Blanket

Knitting Level: EASY

Materials need: 

  • Lion Brand® Feels Like Butta Bonus Bundle® (Art. #123): #103 Blossom 1 ball (A), #187 Buttercup1 ball (B), #173 Sage 1 ball (C)
  • Lion Brand® crochet hook size J-10 (6 mm)
  • Lion Brand® large-eyed blunt needle
Free Scarf Knitting Pattern

Lion Brand® Tenafly Scarf

Knitting Level: BEGINNER

Materials need: 

  • Lion Brand® Mandala® Thick & Quick® (Art. #528): 209 Thumbprint 2 cakes
  • Lion Brand® crochet hook size N (10 mm)
  • Lion Brand® large-eyed blunt needle
Free Butterfly Crochet Pattern

Lion Brand® Butterflies

Knitting Level: EASY

Materials need: 

    (Art. #3001): #600 Flutter Flutter Pack
  • LION BRAND® – LONDON KAYE® HOOK WITH A TWIST™ (Art. #3002) #302 Medium (11.5 mm) crochet

Crochet supplies

Many crafters love to crochet because it requires only minimal supplies. First you’ll want to figure out what size and style of hook feels most comfortable for you. Then, choose some standard yarns and patterns for beginners.

You will need a few things to get started, which can even be purchased as a crochet kit:

  • A crochet hook (or several)
  • A skein or two of cotton, wool or acrylic yarn or thread
  • Craft scissors

Crochet hooks

As mentioned previously, crochet literally means ‘small hook’. There are two common ways to hold a crochet hook: either like a pencil or a knife. But the best way to hold a crochet hook is whichever way feels most natural to you.

When shopping for crochet hooks, you’ll notice both yarn hooks and steel hooks. Yarn hooks are made of aluminum, plastic or wood and are best for regular yarn (from super fine to super bulky). Steel hooks are generally much smaller than yarn hooks and are most commonly used for lace-weight threads. Some hooks are even made of bone or bamboo.

Crochet yarn

An important choice to make when you’re starting a crochet project is the type of fiber you want to work with.

Yarn types
The most common crochet yarn choices for beginners are wool, cotton or acrylic varieties. Choose yarns that are not too fuzzy, so they’ll be easier to work with. If you wish to make lightweight, lacy items like vintage-inspired crochet lace doilies and tablecloths, you will want to start with crochet thread.

Yarn sizes
The thickness of yarn or thread is referred to as ‘weight’. You can find the weight of a listed on its label, where it will be numbered from one to seven (1-7, from the thinnest to the thickest).

Hook sizes
Most yarn or crochet thread packaging will also recommend a preferable and appropriate crochet hook size.

Basic crochet stitches

A slip knot or slip stitch is the first step of every crochet project, as it attaches the yarn to the hook. It is often abbreviated as “sl st” in instructions.

A chain stitch is the most basic of all stitches and is used to begin most projects. It’s often referred to simply as “ch” in guides.

It’s recommended that you practice crocheting chains to gain confidence before moving on to more advanced stitches or patterns. Chain stitches set the starting width of a piece of crochet and the height of your actual stitches.

There are four other common crochet stitches used:

  1. Single crochet
  2. Half double crochet
  3. Double crochet
  4. Treble (or triple) crochet
Just like learning to knit, crocheting takes practice. If you’re not feeling confident diving into the vast world of yarn and hooks just yet, then look into a crochet kit that comes with a pattern and all the supplies you’ll need. To learn how to crochet, you can watch tutorials on YouTube or refer to a guidebook. Everyone needs some relaxing ”me time.” If you need to unwind, try a hands-on craft like crochet.

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