Don’t Make These 9 Beginner Crochet Mistakes
Save yourself time, money and a whole lot of headache by avoiding these 9 beginner crochet mistakes.
None of us are born knowing how to crochet.
We all have to take the time to learn this wonderful craft, but do yourself a favor and learn it correctly from the beginning.
As a Certified Crochet Instructor through the Craft Yarn Council, I had to unlearn a few things. As a self taught crocheter, I had picked up a few bad habits and I’m glad that I corrected them earlier rather than later.
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9 Beginner Crochet Mistakes
Don’t fret if you are making some [or all] of these beginner crochet mistakes.
Most of us learn how to crochet from family, friends or the internet and sometimes they aren’t the most reliable resources.
I tried to choose mistakes that make crocheting more difficult and less enjoyable. Yes, there are technical points about how to make certain stitches that are important. There are even important topics concerning hooks and yarn.
But the purpose of this post is to help you get the most out of crocheting and not burden you with technicalities right away.
If you focus on these 9 Beginner Crochet Mistakes and how to correct or avoid them, you will be giving yourself a big head start.
Not Learning Crochet Abbreviations
One of the best things you can do for yourself is to learn the crochet abbreviations.
In the beginning it feels like a big confusing code, but once you learn it, you will be well on your way to crocheting gorgeous projects with ease.
There are a lot of good crochet abbreviation charts out there and here is mine in case you would like to have it.
Only Use Video Tutorials
Video tutorials are a great way to learn how to crochet (providing you are learning from an experienced professional).
But they aren’t a good thing to rely on for long.
I know that there are many people who call themselves “visual learners” and only want to crochet from video tutorials. But in my humble opinion, they are limiting themselves.
There are so many wonderful written patterns out there and by solely using video tutorials you will be missing out.
Plus, you can miss small details when you you’re watching a video. Sometimes they move too fast, don’t explain things well or the video quality isn’t the best.
Not Learning How to Read a Crochet Pattern
By not learning how to read a crochet pattern, you are ultimately limiting yourself.
There are so many amazing patterns out there from garments, to home decor, amigurumi toys and everything in between.
Learn how to read a crochet pattern and an entire new world opens up to you.
Learning how to read a crochet pattern really is just a form of code and once you learn those crochet abbreviations from above you will be half way there.
Check out my post: How to Read a Crochet Pattern
Learning How to Crochet From Anyone
I want you to be really picky about who you learn to crochet from.
As a Certified Crochet Instructor, I tend to get a little cuckoo about people teaching beginners. Learning how to do things the right way, in the beginning, saves you time and a big ole headache.
Check out my post: How to Become a Certified Crochet Instructor
There are lots of great crochet instructors for beginners out there and I want to share two of the best with you. They are both on YouTube and know exactly what they are doing:
- TLYarn Crafts: Toni is the incredible creator behind TLYarn Crafts and she will teach you not only how to crochet, but do it correctly. You will also be so inspired by her designs that you won’t be able to help feeling inspired and excited about crocheting. Check out her Video: Learn to Crochet (for real this time) | SLOW Step-By-Step How to Crochet Tutorial
- BHooked: Brittany is the amazing woman and instructor behind BHooked. You will be in good hands with Brittany’s tutorials and patterns.
Not Experimenting Holding Your Hook and Yarn
There are two different ways to hold your hook and yarn. Experiment with what works for you.
Don’t be afraid to switch things up and try a different technique.
- Knife hold: this style is an overhand hold. It is similar to holding a knife to cut food up with. This is my preferred method (but that is just a personal choice, one is not better than the other).
- Pencil hold: this method is exactly what the name implies, hold the crochet hook like a pencil, with your index finger on top and thumb to the side
I started out with the knife hold and mostly use that method. But I also like to change up how I hold the hook from time to time to ease sore muscles [sometimes just to shake things up – live on the wild side].
Not Taking Tension Seriously
Tension is critical to your crochet success and it is one of the most common beginner crochet mistakes.
And as a newbie you are likely struggling with tension.
You might be crocheting too tightly or way too loosely.
Take a deep breath. It’s ok. It just takes practice.
Thankfully Sigoni from the YouTube channel Sigoni Macaroni has a fantastic playlist to help you with your tension. Sigoni is one of my most trusted crochet buddies and she will steer you in the right direction [and get your tension fixed in no time].
Check out the Playlist: Crochet Tension Tips
Only Relying on Free Patterns
Free crochet patterns are great…most of the time.
If you are absolutely sure that the person who wrote the pattern is a knowledgeable crochet designer, you will be in good hands. Many good crochet designers publish free patterns on their websites and blogs.
The problem is that when you’re new to crocheting you may not know if the pattern is well written or not. You don’t know if the designer has had the pattern tested or tech edited to check for mistakes.
A poorly written pattern can leave you feeling like you’ve done something wrong, when it was the pattern all along.
I get messages from people who have found a free pattern on the internet, bought yarn to make the project and became discouraged half way through. They send me a photo of the section they are trying to work on and I can’t make heads or tails of the pattern.
It’s either riddled with mathematical errors or written in a way that no one can understand.
Free patterns aren’t bad, but unless you are sure they are from a reliable source you could be setting yourself up for success.
Two good resources for free patterns are:
- Yarn Companies: large yarn companies offer free patterns to draw people to their website (and they are hoping to make a sale). But they typically have the patterns tested and tech edited before they are published. Plus most of their designers are true professionals and mistakes are rare.
- Published books: Most published book patterns have gone through a rigorous process of testing before they are presented to the world. Many local libraries will have a large selection of crochet pattern books to choose from.
Crocheting Without Breaks
This is a big beginner crochet mistake.
I know you’re excited about your new found
obsession…I mean hobby.
You wake up excited to crochet and can’t wait to get home from work to pick up that crochet hook.
I beg you not to make the same mistake I did.
You need to take breaks. Every thirty minutes or so, put the hook down.
Walk around. Do other things. Don’t crochet every single day.
I learned this lesson the hard way.
Read More About: 10 Ways to Stop Pain from Crocheting and Knitting
Not Focusing On Posture and Stretching
Not only should you take breaks, but focus on your posture and stretching.
This is another one of the biggest beginner crochet mistakes. Correcting this now, will pay off in the long run.
Make sure that you are sitting with your back supported. If you’re on the younger side, this may not seem important, but I promise it will as you age.
If you’re on the couch or bed, have a firm pillow or cushion behind you to support your back.
Using support underneath your arms can also help so that you aren’t always having to hold up your work. Be careful about how tall your pillow or cushions are because you don’t want them to cause tension in your shoulders.
When you’re taking breaks make sure to stretch your neck (make circles with your nose in both directions).
- Neck: When you’re taking breaks make sure to stretch your neck (make circles with your nose in both directions). Tilt your head toward each shoulder, holding for 20 seconds, each side.
- Shoulders: roll your shoulders forwards and backwards.
- Back: lay on the floor and do a supine spinal twist. This is great for your entire back and hips.
- Forearms and wrists: take your left hand and stretch your right fingers up to the ceiling, creating a bent angle with your wrist. Now reverse the stretch and point your right fingers down, bent at the wrist using your left hand to gently stretch. Repeat on the other side.
Don’t Make These 9 Beginner Crochet Mistakes
I hope that these tips and tricks have helped you on your journey to becoming the crocheter of your dreams. It is my sincerest hope that you will enjoy this craft for many years to come.
The only thing I would not fully agree with is that it is free patterns you need to be aware of. I’ve used many excellent free ones while had issues with some very badly written purchased ones. Some free pattern one writer I know even get them tech edited – they go up on a monetised blog and she is a good person who wants them to be right. The beginner does assume the pattern is right and they are stupid for not getting it.
Books can be full of typos or edited so they leave out useful info. I think successful you-tubers sometimes get to write books and include poor info (goes for all crafts). However, a good book is my number one useful tip for general reference. Beginners need to know, more than anything, the standard amount of turning chains to use, how to keep the edges straight (usually beginners don’t recognise that very last stitch, so work gets smaller and smaller, or they don’t understand when chains count as a stitch and when they don’t). A big part of crochet is putting your hook into the right place. Patterns are not always good for this and a good basic grounding is very useful. We need to know what is standard so we understand when it is not. Sometimes rules need to be broken for excellent reasons and better results, but standard understanding is a good place to start.
Your last two points (the most likely to be ignored!) are v important. Just one time knitting like a mad thing to get a cowl finished, even while it was hurting a lot, resulted in a severe issue with neck and shoulders, not fully recovered 7 years later. (I knit as well as crochet). We don’t need to rush from one project to another either. I see so many people with injuries on ravelry who see it as a badge of honour to keep on going, It really isn’t.
I love to watch people crochet and learn more advanced techniques, or interesting ways of doing standard things more aesthetically but yes you seriously limit yourself if you can’t read patterns. I learnt how from the back of an old book years ago
Found this a really good list of things you put together. I still like my work to be as good as I can make it though, but I make things like borders work if a stitch count is slightly off. I do undo my work if I don’t like it though and check as I go along. I never knowingly leave a mistake in there, but I don’t mind frogging. Mistakes do lead to greater understanding though, as they help you read your work better and learn for next time. I make and fix plenty!
Thanks for your channel and a great list – lucky people who get you as a teacher.
Thank you so much for sharing your experience! I so appreciate your input!