Margaret Kavanagh

These Newbie Tips Will Save You Hours of Frustration

crochet patterns beginner tips

Thinking back to when I was a beginner crocheter, there are a few things I wish I’d known that would have made my crochet journey a little easier. They weren’t big things, but they were insights that come with experience. So, I’ve compiled this list of 11 tips you should know as a beginner crocheter.

Tip 1: Dye Lots Do Matter

When you buy yarn for a specific project, buy all the yarn you’ll need for it at the same time with the same dye lot numbers. What is a dye lot number? It’s a number on the yarn label that indicates the manufacturer’s yarn batch and all yarn from that batch is exactly the same color/tone/shade because it was dyed together. If you run out of yarn in the middle of your project, you may not find the same dye lot, and that may mean you could end up with color variation within your work. Take note of the dye lot number whenever you’re buying yarn for a specific project. (There’s a lot of important information on the yarn label that the beginner crocheter should get to know. For more information about yarn labels, check out this article. ~Editor)

crochet patterns beginner tips yarn label

The dye lot # is 4685 on this label. Be sure to get enough of the same number if using it for a single project.

Tip 2: There is No Wrong Way

This is an important tip for every beginner crocheter to know. No matter what anyone else tells you, there is no wrong way to hold your crochet yarn or hook. If your method is comfortable and not causing you any pain, then it works for you. Yes, there are “traditional” ways to hold both yarn and hook, but you can decide what works best for you and go with it. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.

Tip 3: Learn To Read Patterns To Open Up Amazing Possibilities

If someone is teaching you to crochet, lucky you! It’s the way many people have passed down their love of crochet. However, if you learn to read patterns, charts, and graphs, you’ll be able to gather and make so many more pieces, you’ll wonder why you didn’t learn earlier. Or, you’ll wonder what you can do to turn off the faucet of crochet patterns that is now turned on! (Learn how to read stitch charts from this article! ~Editor)

crochet patterns beginner tips chart

This is a simple stitch chart for a pattern. Understanding the symbols means you can read the pattern, no matter what language the text is in.

Tip 4: Crochet Hooks Vary

A few weeks ago, I did a very interesting experiment to see if the hook heads’ difference made a gauge difference for me. It turns out they do! I also found that I prefer “tapered” heads to “in-line” heads and that everyone has their preference. If you’re just starting out, I would recommend buying one of each type of hook in the same size and working with them to see which you prefer. (Understanding crochet anatomy is essential, and not just for the beginner crocheter! To learn more about hook differences, read this post. ~Editor)

crochet hooks beginner tips

Various brands of crochet hooks may cause you to crochet differently and can even be more or less comfortable in your hand.


Tip 5: Frogging is Normal

What is “frogging?” It’s what we call the act of pulling out stitches or rows of a project we’ve worked on that isn’t turning out as needed. Why do we call it frogging? Because what we’re doing as we go is to “rip-it, rip-it, rip-it,” which sounds a lot like frog conversations.


Tip 6: Not All Yarns are Created Equal

Yes, not all yarns are created equal. Even when made of the same materials, they vary greatly. Every beginner should make sure that you use an appropriate yarn for your crochet project. For example, don’t use acrylic yarn for something you’d like to make to absorb water; that won’t work. Ensuring you’re using the appropriate yarn will go a long way to making sure your project looks and feels great!

Tip 7: You Will Hoard Yarn

You may not think you will, but what you’ll soon find out is this: Yarn is addictive. A trip to the craft store or local yarn shop (LYS) will never be the same because you’ll always have a project looming. Having a “yarn stash” is not a requirement (or even a problem) unless it takes over your living space. I don’t have a solution for this except to try not to shop for yarn match. Other than that, I’m in your boat — let’s create together! (We have a few storage solutions for your yarn collection here. ~Editor)

Tip 8: Start With Light-Colored Yarns

There are a lot of beautiful yarns to choose from when considering your first crochet projects. My advice is to select smooth, light-colored yarns to begin your crochet journey. If not, you’ll grow frustrated, angry, and you may even give up. Why do I say this? Because darker, textured, specialty and variegated yarns make it difficult to see individual stitches. When you can’t see stitches, you lose count and have the potential to get irregular edges and skipped stitches. Start with a light-colored yarn until you feel comfortable, then move up to darker and specialty yarns. Your fingers will gain muscle-memory and seeing every individual stitch won’t be so important as you master crochet skills.

crochet beginner tips stitches

Dark yarn makes individual stitches hard to see, while lighter, brighter yarn helps them stand out.

Tip 9: Pick Easy First Projects

I know the temptation of choosing to start with a pattern that makes an exciting object. But if you get frustrated and confused because it’s a difficult pattern, you may lose interest and never go any further than your first project. Please choose a project that will help you practice the basics and gradually build upon them. Doing so, you’ll confidently move forward with your skills. (We have SO MANY Beginner-level projects for you to start your journey with at Happily Hooked!)

Tip 10: Don’t Be Afraid to Grow

Once you get those scarves, cowls, and shawls made, don’t shy away from making more complicated projects. Push your skills forward by learning additional crochet stitches and even other types of crochet so you can continue to enjoy your new skills. Many crocheters feel they aren’t skilled enough to make some items, but the truth is, many patterns are more manageable than you may think. You can do it; I know you can! (We have projects for every level of your journey at Happily Hooked!)

Tip 11: You Will Untangle a Lot Of Yarn

You may as well get used to it because it’s going to become a regular part of your life. Yarn will tangle, and you will need to untangle it. The Zen of untangling is something you’ll come to learn to almost appreciate. You’ll try not to do it often, but when it is inevitable, just sit back and enjoy the process. (Sometimes, it comes out of the middle of the skein tangled. We lovingly call that “yarn barf.” ~Editor)

beginner tips crochet patterns


When You Know Better, You Do Better

There you go: 11 tips that will help you if you learn them early rather than later. Crochet is great fun, but some aspects can be frustrating. Hopefully, this can take a bit of the edge off for you, and too many surprises won’t sidetrack you.

This article by Sedruola Maruska was originally published in an issue of Happily Hooked Magazine. If you aren’t a subscriber, you’re missing out! Visit our main website to learn more! The support in our Facebook group is phenomenal! There’s nothing like it anywhere else.

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Blog Manager & Columnist Coordinator at | + posts

I've been crocheting since my mother taught me as a little girl. I'm lucky to be working with Happily Hooked and I can't wait to share everything yarny and hooky with you! Yarn over, peeps! Yarn over!

Margaret Kavanagh

I've been crocheting since my mother taught me as a little girl. I'm lucky to be working with Happily Hooked and I can't wait to share everything yarny and hooky with you! Yarn over, peeps! Yarn over!

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