As we rapidly approach Library Camp UK 2011 in Birmingham next Saturday (a whole different blog post arriving soon) I am reminded that I promised to show some attendees the basics of how to crochet.

I learnt to crochet a long time ago.  My mum taught me how and I learnt more about it from books I bought and those I borrowed from the library.  I also used to frequent the local wool shops in town for crochet patterns.  I prefer crochet to knitting for many reasons, only one hook, easy stitches, hands don’t get as hot handling the wool.  Over the years I have put together waistcoats, scarves, blankets, cardigans and hats.  Lots of hats ….. this was the 70s!

The stitches are very easy and are made by creating chains, single crochet, double crochet, trebles and various forms of trebles.  There is a huge range of instructional videos on youtube, picture books showing each step to create one stitch but there is no substitute for having someone show you how to crochet.  If you want to learn ask around.   You might be surprised. Or if you are going to library camp just track me down.

Some words of warning though!

One:  Check the source of any patterns, magazines and books as there is a difference between American and British terminology.  If you are using an American pattern but crocheting with British terminology you will end up with a complete mess!  Below is a table showing the difference:

British American
Double crochet (dc) Single crochet (sc)
Half treble (htr) Half double crochet (hdc)
Treble (tr) Double crochet (dc)
Double treble (dtr) Treble (tr)
Triple treble (trtr) Double treble (dtr)
Miss Skip
Tension Gauge
Yarn over hook (yoh) Yarn over (yo)

which can all be extremely confusing!

image from

Two: Crochet hooks, like knitting needles, come in all shapes and sizes and materials.  I prefer metal hooks to plastic but that’s just me.  These days they come in all colours and even have padded handles for a softer grip.  They can be bought online or at your local wool or craft shop.  However, hook sizes again are different across the globe.  There are International sizes, British Old sizes and American.  The best way to find out conversion sizes is to google it!  First one on the results list is Yarn Forward and it does what it says on the tin!

Most crochet hooks bought in the UK use the international sizing in mm.  Some older hooks will have both mm and the british size.  Very old hooks will only have the British size.  The conversion chart is invaluable when using American crochet patterns.

I have a number of crochet/knitting books and also get books out from my local library.  For the beginner some of these books can be inspiring and daunting in turn.  Inspiring because there are some wonderful patterns and materials to use, daunting because the patterns, stitching and language used seems complicated.  The best book I have come across is the wonderfully named “Funky Chunky” by Jan Eaton.  The book concentrates on 5 easy to make patterns and then shows you loads of different ways to customise them.  The items are bags, hats, scarves, mittens and slippers.

ISBN 978o715324356 available from Amazon.

It has all the basics and the best photographed “how to” section I have seen.  Close up photos of a real person handling the hook and yarn. The photos are very clear and well explained.

My favourite in the book is the bag.  There are many different ways to vary the pattern.  I particularly like the felted bag options with a wooden button pattern sewn onto the finished article.  With a heavy duty lining this would be great for work.  I just need to track down the wool.

So there you have it.

Crochet is quick and simple, once you have mastered the basics.  Heed the warnings and may all your creations be outstanding.

Good Luck 🙂


3 thoughts on “Crochet

  1. Pingback: Popping my crochet cherry | Joeyanne Crafts

  2. Helen Saunders

    Oh, what a shame I won’t be at Library Camp! Crochet is one thing that passed me by, because many moons ago my grandmother (then youngish) impaled herself on a crochet hook, passed out, and was eventually found unconscious by someone. End of her crochet career, and she thus never showed my mother how to do it, so my mother never showed me. I do have a tiny bit somewhere that I did once under the guidance of someone else. I ought to try again!

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