So you've decided to learn how to crochet! Crochet is a fantastic hobby, and one that has only become more and more popular in the past few years. Learning to crochet can sometimes be a daunting task - with so many things you can buy from different hooks, tools, yarn, accessories, and more.
While some of these tools are necessary - not all of them are! Similarly, there may be a few that you look at and think won't be necessary but make things a whole ton easier.
When I first started crocheting, I can't tell you how many times I ran to the craft store during that first week. I found out I needed so much more than I initially thought. Not only thing - about half of the stuff I bought I actually still use to this day. My goal in this blog post is to help keep you from making the same mistakes I did, and help keep your area as clutter free of junk you won't use!
Crochet hooks are a given - this is one of our main tools of the trade! Craft stores have a ton of different crochet hooks to choose from these days, and it all depends on preference:
- Wooden Hooks - good for slipery yarn, has a bit more grip than aluminum hooks. Many types of wood are used, but the most common in craft stores is bamboo.
- Aluminum Hooks - good all-around hook, difficult to use with some yarns if they're slipery (see wooden hooks)
- Resin Hooks - pretty, another all-around hook but tends to have more surface drag than the other two.
- Other - includes stainless steel, nickel, and other materials via other sellers.
I know plenty of crocheters who would probably disagree with me on these - but it all depends on your preference and what kind of yarn you like to work with. In my opinion, there's a use for most of these hooks in different situations. For example, I'll use a wooden crochet hook with slipery yarns, as it helps give me a bit more grip on the yarn than an aluminum hook would.
On the other hand - I'll use aluminum hooks for most everything else. I have an old set of Boye crochet hooks from my grandma that I've been using for literally my entire life of crocheting. Using something else seems so foreign to me and it makes it difficult for me to get back in the groove of it.
As for yarn - you can find different styles of yarn at most craft stores. Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Joann, etc... generally have a large amount of yarn available for sale. Some of these stores will have different brands and specific varieties for sale at those stores. If you don't have a craft store near you, some general department stores (such as Walmart) may also sell yarn as well.
For beginner friendly yarn - you may want to stay away from specialty or "novelty" yarn - such as boucle or faux fur. These yarns are generally harder to use because it's harder to see the stitches as you work. Tension can also be difficult to keep track of with these and you may have a harder time making your stitches even throughout your work.
My favorite beginner friendly yarns:
- Lion Brand Heartland (See my review of Heartland here!)
- Red Heart Soft
- Caron Simply Soft
- Loops & Threads Impeccable (See my review of Impeccable here!)
The yarns listed above are cheap, easy to find, and pack a punch for your buck. As you get more comfortable crocheting, you can start getting a feel for what kind of yarn you like and what kind of yarn you'd prefer to skip.
Yarn is essential - however you notice I did say "Or some other fiber" in the title as well.
Yarn isn't the only thing you can crochet - if you're just beginning, it may be the easiest, but I've seen people crochet with all sorts of materials!
- Macrame Cording (or rope)
- Plastic Yarn made from recyled bags
- Old Clothing
That's the thing I love about crochet - it isn't always yarn. You can make some amazing things out of other materials and really make it your own.
Heh - this is the one that sent me running to the store a good two times that first week.
Starting out, I had no idea how useful a darning needle would be - nor did I know the correct size to get. When I read "Darning Needle", I thought "oh I have plenty of sewing needles".
First of all, a tapestry needle is not the same thing as a sewing needle - sewing needles can be small and have extremely small holes for the thread to go through.
You will want to look for a tapestry needle (usually found near the crochet section) with an eye large enough to fit your yarn through. Plastic or metal, it doesn't matter - though the metal ones are a bit nicer in my opinion. Honestly, you may want to get a small pack of them. These things go missing (for me) faster than my little sister in a candy shop.
Stitch markers come in handy more often than you think - but you don't really have to get super fancy with this, if you don't want to.
Stitch markers are used to mark beginnings of rounds, hold your yarn in place while your hook is used elsewhere, and useful for patterns if you want to keep things symmetrical or crochet to a certain stitch in your project.
Markers usually come in packs or in a small carrying case at craft stores. Since you are crocheting, you will want to make sure they are removable (locking). Ones they sell for knitting will not work usually, as those are generally solid "O" rings and will not come off your work after a stitch is finished.
The best part? You can buy them for super cheap! This set of 150 from Amazon is $8. I actually wish I knew this sooner because I'm pretty sure I spent like $5 for a set of 20 in-store.
You can also buy artisan stitch markers on etsy if you really want to get fancy. Remember if you're looking for crochet markers, you will want to find either ones with lobster claw hooks, or find something that mentions they are "locking".
Some (not all) alternate items you can use as stitch markers:
- Keychains with Lobster Claw hooks
- String or yarn - slide it through the stitch you need to mark, give it a quick single tie if you need to keep it somewhat sturdy until you move it
- Safety Pins
If you are like me and tend to lose stitch markers as you work - you'll probably end up using some of the above in your projects more often than the stitch markers themselves... oops.
Another obvious one - scissors are essential, no matter what fiber you're using. You can even get specific thread cutter snips if you want to go the extra mile - but fabric scissors will do the job just fine.
Make sure you have an nice, clean pair of sharp scissors. This pair should never cut paper or anything aside from your fiber to keep it sharp. If you have a pair of dull scissors, it could cause your cuts to not cut all the way through your fiber. Trying to cut one spot multiple times may even cause issues with cutting the wrong part of the yarn trying to get one part to break clean.
I am very guilty of having scissors all over my house. Unfortunately, that means my family uses them for whatever they need - cutting boxes, tape, harvesting herbs, etc... I'm constantly looking for a pair that doesn't have glue residue or that is sharp enough to make a single cut on my projects.
To keep my scissors nice and sharp (and out of my family's hands), I like to try and keep a pair in my travel kit at all times. That way I know where this is and can just take it out of my bag when needed.
Rulers are especially helpful when working with wearable patterns, but they can be useful in other situations, too! Often times, when starting a pattern, you may see "continue until blanket is X" long" - or something similar. This is where rulers, tape measures, and gauge rulers come in handy!
They have plenty of types of rules and tools for measuring out there that you can use - I personally have a smaller gauge ruler that I keep in my project bag. I also do have a small tape measure with me in my bag in case i'm working on a project that calls for something longer than my gauge ruler.
So this isn't really necessary - but it is a big help!
Having a pencil pouch to store your tools is a great way to keep everything together and not lose track of your smaller tools. Things like stitch markers and tapestry needles are easy to lose, so keeping them in a pouch is one of the best ways to always keep them close and easy to grab when needed.
While this list is not a complete set of tools - these are the absolute essential tools needed to start crocheting (in my opinion). It should also be stated - not all of these are absolutely necessary! You can get by on just a hook and yarn if you want.
I mean, I don't know if I would suggest cutting yarn with your teeth or ripping it apart with sheer force... but, you really could if you really wanted to avoid scissors.
I also suggest keeping more than one pencil pouch around. I try to keep one pencil pouch for my general tool set and then have different pencil pouches for each different project i'm working on. This way, I have all the tools I need for each project ready to go! This is super handy for trips away from home so I'm not carrying around a bunch of extra weight that I won't use.
What are your must have tools and what did you end up finding you needed when you started crocheting? What did you use in a pinch if you forgot something? Drop your tips for beginners in the comments below!