Crochet tips, tricks and resources

Here’s a collection of 42 tips to make your crocheting easier and more productive. Some of them are about the crocheting itself, but most are about keeping your supplies organized and in good order, and avoiding common problems and pitfalls that happen in crochet work. I hope they help you out!

Crochet Tips, Tricks & Resources

Crochet Tips

  1. To keep balls of yarn from falling out and rolling around, put them down in a washed, repurposed cylindrical handiwipe container. The yarn comes out through the same hole the wipes came through. If you don’t have those, any container with a plastic lid you can punch a hole through will work, too.
  2. …or use a tied-off paper bag with a hole punched – simple, cheap and environmentally friendly. You can also repurpose plastic grocery bags for this, but if you find the bags get sticky after a while, you may need to sprinkle a coating of baby powder or baking soda in the bag so the yarn gets coated in that as it rolls around. This won’t happen with paper bags.
  3. If you tend to get frustrated with tough projects and burn out, keep an easy, fun project on hand at all times so you can work on it until you’re ready to face the more difficult one again.
  4. When a pattern has several color changes a short distance apart, you can carry the color you’re not using across the previous row and crochet over it, then start using it again when you reach the next area where it belongs.
  5. To mark your rows, stick a bobby pin, safety pin, 1″ clipped pipe cleaners or paper clip through them and close or twist.
  6. …or stitch a contrasting colored piece of yarn into the valley of the first stitch. You can just pull it out later when you’re done. If this doesn’t work for you, or if you want to be able to jot down more details, use a sticky note.
  7. How you store hooks is a matter of personal preference. Store your hooks in a pencil box, a jewelry box or traveling toothbrush holder, or hang them on a thin piece of wood (for smaller hooks, you can staple fishing line to the wood and hook them on it). You can also repurpose many used food and snack containers for this.
  8. Map out your pattern in Excel. Print it off so you can mark off your rows as you go. This helps you remember where you were when you get interrupted. You can also make the pattern print larger for less eyestrain. And you can color-code the cells by filling each of them in with a color. You can use Word to make a table with cells and rows, if you prefer.
  9. …or put your pattern down in a plastic sheet protector and use a dry erase marker to mark off rows on the plastic. Make sure the pattern is secure enough not to move a row up or down from your marks – a binder clip will keep it in place.
  10. …or if you have access to a photocopier, just copy the pattern and mark off rows right on the copy.
  11. To convert grams into ounces or vice versa, just use your Google search box. Type in a phrase like this: “convert 10 grams to ounces.” Google will give you the answer as the top result.
  12. To figure out how much yarn/thread you’ll need for a project, see how many rows you can get out of one skein/ball, then figure out how many rows your project needs. Divide the project’s number of rows by the number of rows the skein gave you, and you know how many skeins/balls you need to buy.
  13. A simple way to make a pom pom: wind the yarn around piece of cardboard about 40-50 times, depending how full you want it to be. The cardboard should be about 3-4″ wide. Slide the wound yard off and tie a piece of yarn around the center of it. Cut both looped ends of the yarn. Holding it by the string of yarn you tied it off with, shake the pom pom out and use scissors to trim it until it’s round. The string you tied it with can also be used to tie it to your project.
  14. Pom poms are a great way to use up the ends of a ball of yarn after your project’s done. Make pom poms and keep them on hand to use as gift wrap bows.
  15. …or use your scraps to make granny squares as soon as you finish a project. Keeps things tidier, and later on you can make an afghan or give them to someone who wants to make one.
  16. …or make bracelets from the scraps. Also great as gift items.
  17. …or stuff pillows with your scraps.
  18. To avoid buying colors of yarn you won’t be able to finish up using, you can use a white washable yarn for everything and dye it.
  19. To fasten off your project, use a yarn needle instead of a hook to weave the ends back through. This secures them better and reduces the chances of raveling.
  20. How to make a slip knot - instructions and pictures.
  21. How to make a foundation chain – instructions and pictures.
  22. Carina shows you how to crochet a Granny Square. This is a great basic skill to have in your repertoire, because Granny Squares are so versatile. Once you learn the technique, you can whip one out to use as a doily, pot holder or coaster in no time, or you can meld a bunch of them into a blanket or throw.
  23. If you’ve heard that it’s a great idea to put yarn and thread clippings into a mesh bag and hang it from a tree for birds to use as nesting material, it’s not! Birds have much more sensitive respiratory systems than most other animals, and tiny fibers can be inhaled and cause damage – which could even be fatal. Do not leave yarn or thread where birds can get hold of it. [Thanks to reader Janie for pointing this out!]
  24. To make your hooks easier to handle, use Fimo or Sculpey – modeling clays you bake in an oven. Mold them around the handle, impress your grip on them so it’s customized for your fingers, then bake them according to instructions.
  25. …or use a foam hair curler. Bore the hook through the middle of it carefully (so you don’t make the hole too big) until the curler is right where you grip it. Makes a cushy grip that’s good for keeping hands from aching.
  26. …or use an Ace bandage. Fasten one end of it to the hook with glue or tape, then wrap it around as many times as you like. Wrap it tightly enough that it won’t slide around, but loose enough to make the bandage squishy in your grip.
  27. Since planes don’t allow you to travel with scissors, take a sharp pair of nail clippers instead – works just fine and (at least for now) you’re allowed to keep them with you. Safety scissors – the ones with rounded ends made for kids – may also be acceptable.
  28. Another tip for crocheting on planes: plastic hooks to avoid metal detectors.
  29. If you can’t stand to be without your crocheting, keep a project in a travel bag that’s ready to grab and go at all times.
  30. To hide stitches: take the end of the stitch and crochet it into the other stitches a couple of times.
  31. If your stitch has several loops, pull them up very loosely so drawing through them will be easier.
  32. When your yarn doesn’t want to go through the eye of a needle, dip the end of the yarn in clear nail polish and twist it tight while it’s drying. Now it’ll go through easily, and you can clip that end off later. This also works for putting the yarn through a small bead hole that you can’t get a needle through.
  33. Ironing isn’t always great for crocheted projects. Instead, mix equal amounts of water and starch, spray the project with it liberally, and leave it to dry on a flat surface.
  34. Sheet protectors are a great way to store patterns in a three-ring notebook.
  35. When you get interrupted suddenly, just make the loop on your current stitch really big. That way, if it gets jostled (or played with by pets or kids), the stitch won’t  be lost.
  36. To save web patterns to your computer, use CutePDF in Windows or the built-in Mac option to save the web page as PDF.
  37. When you save patterns to your computer, .pdf, .html, .mht, etc, save a separate version of the picture in the same folder. Then name it exactly the same as the directions. (You can do this as long as the file extension is different.) The files will automatically be grouped together if you have your folder set to ‘arrange by name’. Then you can surf through by opening a picture in (windows picture & Fax viewer for example)and either hitting the arrow keys on the keyboard or the little forward key at the bottom of the window. This way you don’t have to open the whole thing to see if you want to make the project.
  38. For projects using homespun yarn, metal hooks are better than plastic.
  39. To prevent carpal tunnel or RSI, take lots of breaks. Really simple advice, but very important. If you work near your computer, you can use a program called WorkRave to remind you to take breaks.
  40. Keep an index card with you that lists all the types of hooks and yarns you currently have. That way when you shop, you won’t buy stuff you already have.
  41. Make Project Shopping Sheets for your patterns, especially the ones you reuse. List all the hooks and yarns you’ll need for that project and mark off the items you already have before you go shopping each time.
  42. The zipper bags that sheets and bedding come in are great for storing yarns and unfinished projects. so are backpacks.
  43. Foldable sewing scissors are great for snipping ends, and they won’t snag anything in your bag.

Comments

  1. Debi Cavagnaro says

    Found you on Pinterest. Thank you for your tips. Excel will help so much when making baby shoes or booties.

  2. Kim says

    You can so travel on a plane with scissors! The blades simply need to be under 4″. I bring my crocheting with me every time I fly, and my scissors are always in my travel-on bag. I’ve never had a problem.

  3. Lisa says

    I would like to add that I sometimes use pencil grips on my crochet hook to help grip it better and for hand cramps :)

  4. Izzie Lomas says

    Love all your tips. Thank you. Another little one you might like to add – spare plastic curtain hooks make great stitch markers, or stitch holders if you are changing between different colours. They are easy to hook on and off. I always keep a few with my crochet.

  5. Cindy says

    Thanks so much for these helpful hints! I’ve just gotten back into crocheting again and while I already use a few of the tips, I now have many more to help me stay organized. Thanks again!

  6. Gloria says

    Great tips. A trick that I like is to write the hook size on the wrapper of the yarn. I usually have several projects going so if I forget the size of hook it is on the wrapper.

  7. Diane says

    Although they are a bit more pricey, WOODEN hooks are a good alternative for planes too! They say they’re nicer on arthritis too, since they don’t get cold and “chill” your hand!
    Some are also pretty enough to be used as a hair accessory!!! That’s right, dual purpose while traveling!!! Just use them just like any other hair pick. LOL
    Also, I’ve never heard of them objecting to the folding scissors…since, even open, they’re pretty small.

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