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First Things First -Beginners Crochet Series

Crochet hook lying on an afghan

OK, I know you are ready to pick up a hook and yarn and start crocheting away, right? Wrong. Sorry, you need to learn a little about that hook and yarn first. Two of the first things that you have to consider with a crochet pattern is the hook size and yarn weight. The next is what type of item is it? A blanket? A baby blanket? A wearable? Home Decor? All of this factors into your yarn choice. A baby blanket requires softer yarn than say a basket. So, you should really go to your local store to pick out your yarn until you have experience in all the different brands and how they feel. Crochet patterns will often have a recommendation on a brand of yarn and that is great, but what if you don't have access to that particular yarn or it is just too expensive? You need to know at least the basics about yarn weight and content before you can make an educated substitution. You have to know what yarn you are going to use before you even know what size hook you should use. There is a recommended hook size on the label of most yarns and that is where you should start.

If you are going to substitute the yarn, here are the things that you must know. First, what type of yarn was the pattern written for? Acrylic, cotton, nylon, and polyester all work up differently. If you take a pattern written for cotton and try to use a polyester yarn, you might have issues because the stretch rate of the yarn is different. You will learn a lot of this with experience, right now, just know that if a pattern is written for an acrylic yarn, use an acrylic yarn for substitution and same with all the other types.

Second thing that you need to know is what weight yarn was it written for. If you have a pattern written for a #2 fine/sport weight yarn and you substitute a #4 worsted weight yarn for it, your finished product is going to be a lot different in size and appearance. The weight of the yarn is a measurement of the thickness of the yarn, which can make an item smaller or larger. There is #1 Super Fine all the way up to #6 Super Bulky (there is a number 7 but we won't go into that right now nor will we go into thread....). The yarn weight, hook size and content are all on the yarn label:

This label is for Red Heart Super Saver and the content is actually in a different location on the label but it is 100% acrylic. The weight is #4 and it recommends a 5.5mm or I-9 hook. Most hooks are coming with the mm size on them now but if you have an older hook set, it will probably just have the size I on it. This label also shows that this yarn is machine washable and dryable but do not bleach nor iron. The bleach symbol is the triangle and of course the iron symbol is the iron. Just so you know, bleach will actually eat the acrylic ( I was in plastics sales for many years....LOL!) and an iron gets too hot, it will melt the acrylic. So, just pay attention to your labels when choosing your yarn.

I am going to do a supplement tomorrow on hook choices. There are just too many to go into, especially since this post is already pretty long since there is a lot of information.

For those of you that are already a little beyond this information, the pattern that I plan to use for this series is on the Yarnspirations site and is a free download. It is the Granny-Go-Round Throw pattern. We will start on it next week.

OK, I think I have given you enough information overload for the day. Please let me know if you have any questions so far, you can either leave it in the comment section or feel free to email me at the email in the contact section on the home page. Until tomorrow! Happy crafting sweeties!

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