7 Most Common Mistakes That Beginners Make When Crocheting
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If you are just starting out to learn how to crochet it can be daunting at first. You see other crocheters and they tell you it’s so easy! I’ll admit, I have been known to do this to my friends and family. But, let’s be real. Unless you are a crochet prodigy and just took to crocheting like it was nothing, chances are that when you start out you’ll struggle a bit at first. I have put together a list of the common mistakes that beginners make to try to ease the growing pains of learning a new hobby.
Once you get some practice under your belt, you will find that it actually is easy. There is definitely a learning curve with crocheting but I promise you it is worth it. So, let’s learn this thing together.
I encourage you to read through these before and even while you are making your first project as a resource for what you should and should not be doing.
So fellow new crocheters, here are some of the mistakes that beginners make:
1. Pay Attention to the number of chains you need
You might have watched or read patterns that say, for example, “make a chain of 60 +1 (it could be any number) chains”. That extra chain is your turning chain so when you go down your row with your stitches, you will have a total of 60 stitches (not 61). This can be confusing at times because you might find yourself wanting to start your next row of stitches with putting your first stitch in that turning chain.
Something that will help you keep track of your stitches is to count your stitches. So in the example I gave above, you will want to always have 60 stitches in each row. You might also want to use stitch markers as a guide. You can do this by putting the stitch marker on your first stitch and maybe one on every tenth stitch to help you keep count.
Let’s give another example. Say I am crocheting something and the pattern says to chain 5 plus one.
So you will be chaining 6 chains as you can see in the picture above. That 6th chain is your turning chain. When you start your row of stitches remember to to skip the chain closest to the hook and this will give you 5 stitches total. The picture below is what your first row of 5 single crochet stitches should look like.
2. Crochet under both loops (at first, definitely one of the mistakes that beginners make)
When you have created your chain in the beginning of your project, your first row of single crochets will (in nearly every pattern) be going in only one loop of the chain. When you are on your second row of single crochets and every row you do from there on, you must go into both loops of the stitch below it.
Now, there are some patterns that will tell you to only go into one of the loops. So, if it does not specify, then you will be going into both loops.
The image below will give you an idea of what I mean.
3. Keep your tension loose and comfortable
As you are working on your first project it may be hard to get a feel for what you are doing because you have never done it before. So, as you are learning all these different things and trying to maneuver your hands, it’ll probably feel uncomfortable and awkward at first.
The stress of learning the techniques will most likely show in your work. What I mean by this is that your stitches may end up too tight. If you have to really force your hook through your stitches, you’ve made them too tight. You want to keep a loose tension on your working yarn and keep your loops on your hook slightly loose. Ideally, you’ll want to keep this consistent throughout your whole project but you can work on that through practice.
Crocheting is a relaxing hobby that many use it as a means of therapy or a time to meditate. You can read more about the benefits of crochet in this post. So, remember to relax your hands, neck and shoulders, and let the yarn do the work for you.
The picture above is the same stitch and the same amount of rows. However, on the left I was very relaxed with my shoulders and neck and kept the tension loose enough to work easily. The square on the right is a very tight tension.
This was even hard for me to do and I hope you don’t work in this fashion. I felt so uncomfortable working in these tiny stitches and it became rather awful to do just a little square! Moral of the story is that you want to strive for that looser tension where you can easily work into your stitches without having to force it.
4. Weave in your ends
Anytime you are starting a project, adding a new ball of yarn, or finishing up a project it is important that you leave enough yarn at the end to be able to weave those ends in. The last thing you want is to have put countless hours in on a project and have it unravel after a few times of wearing it. Weaving in your ends will ensure that your item will not come undone.
5. Use the right yarn for your project
In any pattern you are following you want to make sure that you use the same weight of yarn that the pattern says. If you don’t use the recommended weight yarn then your project will not look right. For example, a weight 6 bulky yarn is just that, it is very thick yarn. Therefore, you do not want to use this size yarn if you want to make a summer tank top.
6. Use the correct size crochet hook
We have already established that it is crucial to use the right size yarn for your project, but you also want to be sure to use the recommended crochet hook size for your yarn and pattern.
Now, I’ll be honest here, I have used a hook that was a half a millimeter larger than the recommended size and it really didn’t affect the end result. Having mentioned that, I wouldn’t go any larger or smaller than that. the size crochet hook you use will determine the look of your stitches and if you are following a pattern you will want to use the right hook to achieve the best result.
7. Accidentally making increases (or decreases) in your rows (definitely another one of the mistakes that beginners make)
This one is a very common mistake made by beginners, talk to anyone (myself included) and they will be guilty of having done this at least once. If you have done this or just want to see what I mean, head over to My First Few Duds post and with the red blanket you’ll see what I mean.
Making an increase is done by putting more than one single crochet (or whatever stitch you are using) in the same stitch. And you can decrease by skipping a stitch or two… though there are actual methods to use when you want to make a decrease on purpose.
The best way that I have found to avoid this mishap is to count your stitches as you go. Yes, this may take you longer to finish a project but it will (I hope) prevent you from having to take your project apart and start over.
As a self-declared novice, these are the common mistakes that I personally have made. This list is by no means a comprehensive one but I wanted to point out a few of the blatant ones to help ease those growing pains for fellow beginners. Please feel free to drop a comment if you have any other common mistakes that you have made.