These are the things I use most often while crocheting. Becoming familiar with these things will help you understand the difference between yarn and crochet hook sizes.
3 crochet hooks (sizes F/5-3.75MM, K/10 ½ -6.50MM, and N-9.00MM) Small pair of craft scissors Yarn needles Bread bag ties or trash bag ties Yarn (Type depends on project. I’ll explain.) A binder and page protectors
Hooks: The smaller the number/letter, the smaller the hook. These three hooks give me a very wide variety of projects to work on.
If you’re interested in making lace stuff or even very tiny doll clothes you’d probably need a smaller crochet hook and a type of yarn that resembles thread, but I don’t work with things that small. I find I can make things as small as Barbie clothes and finger puppets with the smallest (size F) hook.
I make average projects, such as blankets and hats with the middle (K) hook.
When I am impatient I use the large (N) hook and chunky yarn. I have made many hats with this and blankets simply fly by in bulky/chunky yarn. I can’t seem to get this large hook to work out interchangeably with other yarn types, though, like I do with the first two hooks.
Yarn: I get all my yarn from Wal-Mart. Sadly, however, not all Wal-Marts have large craft sections, so I can go to the one in town for regular yarn but have to go to one twenty five minutes away to pick up chunk yarn.
Small Yarn: I don’t work with the super tiny thread stuff, but like I said, if you are wanting to make something smaller and smaller, go for it. I wouldn’t suggest starting with it, though.
When I make small things, such as the doll clothes and finger puppets, I get the Caron Simply Soft 6 oz Medium (4) yarn. It says on it, if you look at all those little pictures, that you should use a 5MM hook and it should be able to make some kind of blah blah sized blah…yeah. I never paid any attention. I just experimented. It all seems to be the same size to me, just different colors, so find your brand of yarn that is this size at your favorite store and use it accordingly. I find that all the Caron yarn at Wal-Mart seems thinner and works really well to make small things. Also, when I want to make a fancy, rich, soft afgan or shawl I will use my medium hook to go faster, but use this yarn instead of the next yarn I’m going to tell you about. Baby blankets out of this turn out super cute, but I get too impatient most of the time to do anything with the small yarn and hooks except small projects. Don’t say I didn’t warn you if you decide to make a queen size blanket and it takes you thirty years. Okay, so maybe it wouldn’t take that long, but still. That’s what it feels like to me. (Changing the color up sometimes helps break monotony when using small yarn for large projects.)
Medium Yarn: The medium yarn I use says it’s the same size, but it’s a different brand and I think it feels a little rougher. It’s the Red Heart brand. It’s not unpleasantly rougher, it just doesn’t look as rich as the Caron Simply Soft and the Skeins (The thingy of yarn) is bigger but cheaper when compared to the Caron. It says it’s supposed to be used with an I 5.5MM hook or something of that nature, and that it is medium 4. I use my middle sized hook (K) hook with this and make everything from hats to blankets. This is what I consider the average/regular/normal/medium projects equipment. Lion Brand Yarn makes this really soft, fuzzy Homespun stuff that says it is Bulky (5), but I don’t believe them. I don’t use the large hook with it because for me it works out the same as medium yarn so I use that hook instead.
Large Yarn: I said earlier that some Wal-Marts carry this kind and others don’t, though I notice most all carry at least a few of the top two or three yarn-types. Chunk yarn will say chunky or bulky on it. It’s just really fat and huge, like the N hook I use on it. I think Homespun makes the Hometown USA bulky 6 yarn that I use, but I threw away the paper from around the last bulky yarn I used. So, here’s a link to that other yarn you’re seeing in the pictures next to the other Homespun yarn. I make hats and blankets out of this and it goes. Really. Fast. Beware, though, if you try to cheat your way through mittens or smaller projects with bulk yarn it may not work for you, haha. Like if you make a little baby blanket it will be so thick the baby will scowl at you for trying to make him/her, or the blanket might even be so thick it will look more like a billboard than a floppy blanket. A doggy sweater in chunk yarn would suddenly make your dog look like a fat, matted sheep. Your kid would force on that sweater and then be stuck in a starfish pose, having to turn sideways to walk through doorways.
Bread bag/Trash bag ties: Patterns are always telling you to mark a stitch, which is just inserting some kind of ’thing’ into a certain stitch so that if you’re working in circles or rounds you remember where you started and where you want to end. It can save you a lot of trouble in case you lose count because you can go back to the marker and start counting your row where it really began. You don’t have to get a fancy thing-a-ma-jig to do this. I use those twisty-ties, which also make it much easier to secure them ‘cause they just twist. Besides, it’s not like I really put them back on the bread. I just twist it and stuff it under the loaf; and who takes the time to twist those onto your trash bag instead of just creating four corners and tying them together, really? You could even just use a little cut of yarn and loosely tie it. Just use a different color than the yarn you’re working with or you might get confused.
Scissors and Yarn Needles: You know what you’ll need scissors for; waving them at your house plants and demanding that they stop sucking up all the air you’re breathing out faster than you can inhale what they’re exhaling. Oh, wait. I mean you’ll use them to cut the yarn.
Yarn needles are big, fat needles. You might want to add eyeballs to a doll you make or something of that nature and yarn needles are great for this. Sewing needles just fail at helping you with yarn. They fail. Now the biggest, most helpful thing I’ve ever learned is that when you weave in your ends, (which means at the end of a project you have all those little tufts of yarn that you’re supposed to tuck in and hide), I use a yarn needle. I leave the yarn long enough to attach a yarn needle and then use that to weave it in until it disappears. Before I started doing this I could NEVER successfully use my hooks or fingers to weave in and hide the yarn efficiently enough.
Binder and page protectors: I quickly began accumulating patterns that I printed out from free pattern websites online, which I’ll share later in another post. I also create patterns of my own all the time. Another thing I will do is put my favorite patterns from crochet magazines and ones that I buy online in there too so I can keep them nice and organized. A very helpful tip is to print out (or tare out from the back of one of those magazines) a long list that describes how to do all kinds of different stitches that you don’t always memorize. Sometimes I’ll even have a brain fog and suddenly forget even the most basic thing I do all the time. Keep that handy to remind yourself how to do all kinds of different stitches. Also, all those free pattern websites you find and that I’m going to list? It will be worth it to create an account for yourself on each of those to keep up with your favorite patterns. Make a page for yourself that lists each website, your user name, and the password you chose, ‘cause those get confusing really fast, even if you use the same one ‘cause you’ll find you will sit there for hours browsing through them and adding them just to forget your password or user name later and that is not cool…
You may wanna take pictures of the projects you complete and put ‘em in there too. Why not? You worked hard for this. Keep it ready to show off when you take a little tote to the doctor’s office to wait on a loved one and sit there crocheting and someone says, “Now is that crochet or knitting? My (mom, grandma, friend, sister) does that and I’m jealous. That is so pretty…” Then whip out your binder and show them the picture of what you’re working on, and then other stuff you’ve done. They’ll try to run away and wonder what in the world they got themselves into, but it’s too late. You get to show off now. Then tell them to come to this site and learn to crochet and they’ll read this part about what happened to them and it will be funny.
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