Here’s a collection of crochet tips to make your crocheting easier and more productive. Some of them are about the crocheting itself, but many 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!
I divided these tips into two sections – “crochet tips” and “the ‘don’t’ crochet tips”, which is further down the page.
- To keep balls of yarn from falling out and rolling, put them in a washed, repurposed cylindrical handiwipe container. The yarn comes out through the same hole the wipes came through.
- Here’s a method for softening cheap, scratchy yarn.
- 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.
- 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.
- How to make a center pull ball, with pictures and instructions.
- To mark your rows, stick a bobby pin, safety pin, or paper clip through them, and close or twist.
- …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.
- 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.
- 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.
- …or put your pattern down in a plastic sheet protector and use a dry erase marker to mark off rows on the plastic. Use a binder clip to make sure the pattern is secure enough not to move a row up or down from your marks.
- …or if your printer does copies, just copy the pattern and mark off rows right on the copy.
- To convert grams into ounces or vice versa, just use a search engine. Type in a phrase like this: “convert 10 grams to ounces.” The search engine will give you the answer.
- 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. (Who knew there was so much math in crochet tips?)
- 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.
- 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.
- …or use your scraps to make granny squares as soon as you finish a project.
- …or make bracelets from the scraps. Also great as gift items.
- …or stuff pillows with your scraps. Probably the easiest of all crochet tips!
- To avoid buying colors of yarn you won’t be able to finish using, use a white washable yarn for everything and dye it.
- 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.
- How to make a slip knot – instructions and pictures.
- How to make a foundation chain – instructions and pictures.
- 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.
- To make your hooks easier to handle, use Fimo or Sculpey modeling clay. Mold them around the handle, impress your grip on them so it’s customized for your fingers, then bake them according to instructions.
- …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.
- …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.
- When traveling by plane, take a sharp pair of nail clippers instead of scissors, and you can keep your crocheting with you.
- 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.
- To hide stitches: take the end of the stitch and crochet it into the other stitches a couple of times.
- If your stitch has several loops, pull them up very loosely so drawing through them will be easier.
- 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.
- 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.
- Sheet protectors are a great way to store patterns in a three-ring notebook.
- 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.
- To save web patterns to your computer, use the built in “print to PDF option” in Mac and Windows 10 to save the web page as PDF.
- For projects using homespun yarn, metal hooks are better than plastic.
- 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.
- The zipper bags that sheets and bedding come in are great for storing yarns and unfinished projects. so are backpacks.
- Foldable sewing scissors are great for snipping ends, and they won’t snag anything in your bag.
The “don’t” Crochet Tips
Of course, sometimes knowing what not to do is just as important as what to do.
- 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!]
- Don’t let your crochet work give you repetitive motion stress. Here are some tips for preventing it.
- And here are some tips on avoiding hand fatigue.
If you’ve got more crochet tips, please feel free to put them in the comments below! Thank you.
Originally published Nov 18, 2011