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What is Crochet? Getting Started

By: Jane Pullen - Updated: 15 Sep 2010 | comments*Discuss
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Crochet is an old needlecraft with its history stretching over several centuries. One of the traditional uses of crochet was to create fine and intricate lace that was used as a substitute for expensive bobbin lace. Over the years the popularity of crochet has risen and wained with perhaps its heyday being in 1970s. Many people will remember the distinctive crocheted items that were fashionable at the time, such as waistcoats and granny square blankets. Crochet became less popular as fashions changed.

Crochet Today

Over recent years crochet techniques and stitches have developed and today, crochet is a highly popular craft that is undertaken by people of all ages and backgrounds. One of the attractions of crochet as a craft is its versatility. Crochet is perfect for items such as fine lace trimmings or intricately worked clothing through to funky amigurumi dolls or quick to make accessories. Many new stitches and techniques are used to create items with attractive surface design. Variations of the same stitch will produce very different results.

Yarns have also changed over the years. Crochet has traditionally been worked with thin cottons and these are ideal for producing fine lace. In the 1970s, acrylic was popular and although early acrylics were hard wearing and durable, they were also harsh against the skin. The range of yarns available today means that crocheted items can be created to meet every taste. Yarns from pure cottons or wools, through to luxury silk or cashmere, or fun and funky yarns are all readily available.

Why Learn To Crochet?

Crochet is the perfect craft for someone looking to create their own unique items. There are a huge selection of interesting crochet patterns available to buy or offered freely over the Internet. Crochet patterns are simple to adapt and even something as simple as changing the yarn colour can give a totally different look to the finished project.

Crochet is also a great way to add a unique touch to a shop bought item. A crochet collar, for instance, can easily be worked on a plain sweater which will transform an otherwise dull item into something special.

How To Get Started With Crochet

Crochet is a very simple craft to start. Little in the way of specialist equipment is required. A crochet hook, some yarn and some basic instructions are all that is required to start crocheting.

Here are some tips to help someone get started with this fascinating craft:

  • Pick a relatively small but interesting first project - It is much easier to learn crochet when making an actual item than it is to make a simple sample square. There are many excellent projects for beginners that are quick to finish and cover many of the basics.
  • Use a plain yarn - Although it is tempting to use one of the fun and fancy yarns that are available, these can be tricky for a beginner as it is difficult to see the stitches. There are lots of attractive plain yarns that are perfect for beginners.
  • Find some good instructions – Many books, magazines and websites offer excellent instructions explaining the basics of crochet. Look for instructions with lots of illustrations as these help to explain how the basic stitches are formed. Libraries often have a good selection of crochet books and this can be a great way to learn more about the craft without investing in too many new books. There are an increasing number of good quality free videos available on the Internet and these are also an excellent source of instruction and are particularly helpful for visual learners.

Crochet is a fun and rewarding craft and in very little time even a complete beginner can be creating lovely and unique handmade items.

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