Tutorial - Crocheting 101 - Part 1
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    Default Tutorial - Crocheting 101 - Part 1

    Below you will find the first of many posts on Crocheting 101 . In the list of supplies is one 3 1/2 ounce skein, we are not actually going to be making a project out of this but swatches of different stitches that you will save for future reference. So if you have some on hand, use that, remember we are a frugal village! .

    If you have any questions I will be starting a separate thread for them, please do not post to this thread. You can also pm or email me with any questions you have. I have added my email address to my signature for anyone that needs it.

    I hope you all enjoy crocheting as much as I do!

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    Here is a list of supplies you will need.

    * one 3 1/2 ounce skein knitting worsted weight yarn in a light color (it is easier to see your work than when using a dark color)
    * one size H aluminum crochet hook
    * one size 16 steel tapestry needle
    * pair of scissors

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    Let’s talk about yarn.

    Yarn comes in many sizes, from fine crochet cotton used in making doilies and lace to bulky mohairs used for afghans and sweaters. The yarn we are going to use is worsted weight sometimes called 4 ply. It is available just about everywhere. I would suggest using RedHeart or Caron brands, they seem to be the best and are not too expensive.
    You should be able to pick up a skein of yarn for anywhere between $1.50 to $3.50 depending on the prices where you live.

    Always, always read your yarn labels! There is a multitude of information on them.

    * How much yarn is in the skein or ball, this will be by ounces, grams or yards.

    * The type of yarn it is (i.e. 2 ply, 3 ply, 4 ply, which means how many strands of yarn are twisted together to make each different weight of yarn and also the type of material the yarn is made out of i.e. acrylic, wool, wool blend, or cotton etc.)

    * It’s washablility. This is very important if you are making a child’s hat, sweater or even and afghan You want it to be machine washable and dryable.

    * Dye Lot - I can’t stress this one enough! A lot of yarns are now sold with no dye lot, but if there is a dye lot, you have to make sure you purchase enough yarn to complete your project with the SAME dye lot. If you do not do this and run short, take
    one of the yarn labels with you back to the same store and see if you can purchase another skein. If not, I would not purchase another skein of the same color, it may look visually the same to your eye, but when worked up into your project it will be slightly off in color and will be VERY noticeable. In this case I would consider using a contrasting color if it will be a finishing border around an afghan for example.

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    Tapestry Needles

    These are very inexpensive, blunt pointed sewing needles with a large eye that is big enough to carry the yarn for weaving in the ends and sewing seams. We will be using a size16 tapestry needle. You can purchase big plastic needles called “yarn needles” but they are not as good as steel ones, mainly because they bend too much. You will have your steel tapestry needles for years. They run about $1.00 for a package of different sizes in Wal*Mart.

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    Crochet Hooks

    We will be using aluminum crochet hooks, at the bottom of this post is a list of sizes available. The first size is U.S. with the metric conversion after it like this: B-1/2.25 . This is so the ladies that are in Canada or Europe can also learn if they would like to.

    Crochet hooks, come in many sizes, from very fine steel ones used in crocheting doilies and lace, to great big fat ones that are used in making bulky sweaters, fast and easy afghans or rugs.

    The hooks you will use most often in making sweaters and afghans are made out of aluminum. They are about 6” long and are sized alphabetically by letter from B (which is the smallest size) to K. I have said earlier that we will be using a size H hook, but everyone crochets differently and it may be wise to purchase 3 different hooks, sizes G-6/4.00, H-8/5.00 and I-9/5.50. You most often can purchase these in 3 packs with just these same sizes. A three pack runs about $4.00 to $5.00 and individual hooks run about $1.25 to $3.00 each depending on the size, smaller ones are usually cheaper. Don’t quote me on the prices, it has been many, many years since I have had to purchase any hooks. I have had most of mine 25-30 years.
    Aluminum Crochet Hook Sizes

    B-1/2.25, C-2/2.75, D-3/3.25, E-4/3.50, F-5/3.75, G-6/4.00,
    H-8/5.00, J-10/6.00, K-10 1/2/6.50, N/9.00/, P/10.00, Q/15.00.

    Now the N-/9.00, P/10.00, and Q/15.00, in the U.S. usually are made out of plastic, but I have seen them in aluminum. I do not know what they are made out of in other countries. If you have inherited a set of hooks from your grandmother, they may be made out of bone. Cherish these!! They are very hard to come by and are heirlooms.

    In the photo below is a picture of a crochet hook. I am using a size K-10 1/2/6.50, this is so you can see the different parts of the hook easier.

    (A) is the hook end, which is used to hook the yarn and draw it through other loops of yarn called stitches. (B) is the throat, a shaped area that helps you slide the stitch up onto...(C) the working area. (D) is the fingerhold, a flattened area that helps you grip the hook comfortably, usually with your thumb and third finger.
    (E) is the handle, which rests under you fourth and little fingers, and provides balance for easy, smooth work.

    It is important that every stitch is made on the working area, never on the throat (which would make the stitch too tight) and never on the fingergrip (which would stretch the stitch).
    The above is quoted from “Learn to Crochet in Just One Day” by Jean Leinhauser.

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    Reading Patterns (abbreviations, symbols and terms)

    Crochet patterns are written in a special language full of abbreviations, asterisks, parentheses, and other symbols and terms. These short forms are used so instructions will not take up too much space. They may seem confusing at first, but once understood, they are really easy to follow.

    Abbreviations

    beg ............................................... begin(ning)
    bl(s) ..............................................back loop(s)
    ch(s) ................................................... chain(s)
    dc ........................................ double crochet(s)
    dec ........................................... decrease(-ing)
    Fig .......................................................... figure
    fl(s) .............................................. front loop(s)
    hdc ................................ half double crochet(s)
    inc .............................................. increase(-ing)
    lp(s) ...................................................... loop(s)
    patt ...................................................... pattern
    prev .................................................... previous
    rem ................................................. remain(ing)
    rep .................................................. repeat(ing)
    rnd(s) .................................................. round(s)
    sc ................................................ single crochet
    sk ................................................................ skip
    sl .................................................................. slip
    sl st(s) .......................................... slip stitch(es)
    sp(s) .................................................... space(s)
    st(s) .................................................... stitch(es)
    Tch ................................................ turning chain
    tog ....................................................... together
    trc .......... (or tr) triple crochet (or treble crochet)
    YO ....................................................... yarn over

    Symbols

    * An asterisk is used to mark the beginning of a portion of instructions which will be worked more than once; thus, “rep from * twice” means after working the instructions once, repeat the instructions following the asterisk twice more (3 times in all).

    + The dagger identifies a portion of instructions that will be repeated again later in the same row or round.

    : The number after the colon at the end of a row or round indicates the number of stitches you should have when the row or round has been completed.

    ( ) Parentheses are used to enclose instructions which should be worked the exact number of times specified immediately following the parentheses, such as: (ch 3, dc) twice . They are also used to set off and clarify a group of stitches that are to be worked all into the same space or stitch, such as: in corner sp work (2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) .

    [ ] Brackets and ( ) parentheses are used to provide additional information to clarify instructions.


    Terms

    Front loop is the loop toward you at the top of the stitch.

    Back loop is the loop away from you at the top of the stitch.

    Post is the vertical part of the stitch.

    Work even means to continue to work in the pattern as established, without increasing or decreasing.

    Wrong Side: Wrong side of the work - the side that will not show when project is in use.

    Right Side: The side that will show.

    Right-hand Side: The side nearest you right hand as you are working.

    Left-hand Side: The side nearest you left hand as you are working.

    Right Front: The piece of a garment that will be worn on the right-hand side of the body.

    Left Front: The piece of a garment that will be worn on the left-hand side of the body.


    The above is quoted from “Learn to Crochet in Just One Day” by Jean Leinhauser

    NOTE: I do not have the dagger symbol on my keyboard, I had to use the plus sign. I looks like a cross.

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    Gauge


    I cannot stress gauge enough, it is the single most important thing in crocheting!

    If you don’t work to gauge, your crocheted garments may not fit correctly, and you may not have enough yarn to finish your project.

    Gauge means the number of stitches per inch and rows per inch, that result from a specified yarn worked with a specified size hook. Since everyone crochets differently - some loosely, some tightly, some in between - the measurements of individual work can vary greatly when using the same size hook and yarn. It is your responsibility to make sure you achieve the gauge specified in the pattern.

    Hook sizes given in instructions are merely guides and should never be used without making a 4” square sample swatch to check gauge. Make the sample gauge swatch using the size hook and yarn and stitch specified in the pattern. If you have more stitches per inch than specified, try again using a larger size hook. If you have fewer stitches per inch than specified, try again using a smaller size hook. Do not hesitate to change to a larger or smaller size hook if necessary to achieve gauge.

    If you have the correct number of stitches per inch, but cannot achieve the row gauge, adjust the height of your stitches. This means that after inserting the hook to begin a new stitch, draw up a little more yarn if your stitches are not tall enough - this makes the first loop slightly higher; or draw up less yarn if your stitches are too tall. Practice will help you achieve the correct height.


    The above is quoted from “Learn to Crochet in Just One Day” by Jean Leinhauser

    NOTE: Ladies this is why I said you may want to purchase a 3 pack of hooks or 3 separate hooks. For this tutorial I am using a size H-8/5.00. If you crochet too tight you would try using a size I-9/5.50, and if you crochet too loose you would change to a size G-6/4.00 to obtain the correct gauge.

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    Now get comfortable in your favorite chair and let’s start crocheting!

    NOTE: All instructions are for right handed crocheting, please reverse for left handed.

    Starting your skein of yarn.

    First you will have to find the end of the yarn in the skein. Sometimes it will tell you on the paper label how to start the skein, other times it has been started for you and is under the paper label, possibly wrapped around the skein under it. Pull out enough (3 or 4 yards) to start. You always want your yarn free flowing. If you are tugging on it while trying to crochet, you will not only get frustrated, you will end up with very tight stitches.

    One note of caution, if you have kitties, dangling, moving yarn is a GREAT toy!
    Many a time I have been crocheting along only to come to a wet chewed through end of yarn!

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    Slip Knot

    In the following photos we are making a slip knot. This is how you will start every new project. Holding the end of the yarn in your right hand, twist into a loop as in the photo below.

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    Next take the loose end of yarn and bring up behind the loop.

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    Now pick up your hook, go under and then up and pick up the yarn that is behind the loop.

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    Now draw it up to make a knot.

    With your left hand, hold the tail end of the yarn and pull down. You want to snug it up to the hook.
    You do not want it too tight.

    If you look closely, I have about an 1/8 inch play in the loop with the hook.

    Congratulations!! You have just made a slip knot!


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    I apologise ladies, these are a little out of sync. I forgot to post how to hold the crochet hook.

    In the following photos I will be using the photo below to tell you the placement of your fingers.

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    How to hold the crochet hook.

    In the following photos is shown how to hold your crochet hook. Now I am self taught, so use this as a guide. Hold your hook however is most comfortable for you.

    The first set of photos is the way most people I have seen hold their hook. The second way is the way my grandmother held hers. She was born in England and raised in Canada, so this may be the way she was taught. Alas she never had the patience to teach me.

    This first pic is of right handed from the top.

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    This photo is of right handed from the back side.

    Note the placement of your fingers. Your index finger is on B the throat of the hook. Your thumb and middle finger are on D the fingerhold of the hook (this is the flat part). And finally your ring finger and pinky are on E the handle of the hook.

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