Starting out on the road to crochet success? Avoid common pitfalls with this sound advice from LGC Knitting & Crochet editor Elaine Bennett
Using the wrong hook
Experiment with different kinds of hook before settling on the best one for your project. If your yarn is loose and has a tendency to split, a more rounded hook will be best. A hook with a sharper point is better for tight cotton yarns. You may find it easier to work with a wooden hook when using slippery silky yarn, rather than a metal one.
Not tensioning the yarn
When holding your hook and yarn, you want to try and maintain an even tension to ensure your stitches are as even and regular as possible. Try looping the yarn around the little finger of your left hand, under your two middle fingers and over your forefinger. Use your middle finger and thumb to hold the stitches you’ve made.
Not bothering with a tension square
Although not entirely necessary with toys and homewares where size is not vital, before starting a size-dependent project such as a hat, cardigan or baby garment you should always work a tension square. Your pattern will tell you how many stitches and rows a certain size square should contain. After making your square and blocking it, you need to measure it to check it matches the instructions given in the pattern. If you have too many or too few stitches, change your hook size and try again until it matches.
Getting UK and US abbreviations muddled
UK and US stitch abbreviations differ, so make sure you know which set of abbreviations your pattern is using. A good tip is to look out for ‘single crochet’ as this term is only used in American patterns. Here’s a handy list of differing terms to guide you. (US) SC = (UK) DC; (US) HDC = (UK) HTR; (US) DC = (UK) TR; (US) TR = (UK) DTR
Not using stitch markers
When working in the round, it’s easy to lose track of where the beginning of the round is. Fasten a piece of coloured thread to the first stitch, or use a stitch marker, to make it easy for yourself.
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