Extra Curricular Crochet

Here are some things you can make with basic crochet stitches.

I wanted to put together a guide to basic crochet techniques for my lovely colleagues at the college where I work. A small group of us are going to spend our “well being” time getting to grips with some simple stitches and projects. The whole idea is to relax and have a bit of fun. So I thought I’d put this out there for the benefit of all beginners.

As my mum likes to inform everyone and anyone, I was not very good at falling asleep when I was little and “It was a blessing when she learned to read.” In fact, before I started reading myself to sleep I remember sitting in bed with a bobbin doll (knitting dolly) producing long wooly tubes. I also have clear memories of learning embroidery stitches from an ancient craft book which I still have today. I kept all these bits and bobs in a shallow cardboard box which fitted on my lap and a bag of wool hung permanently at the bottom of the bed.

I originally taught myself to crochet as a child with this ladybird book, “Learnabout … Crochet”. I’m sure you can get hold of a copy on ebay, but watching a YouTube video is much less effort. I like the videos by Bella Coco Crochet. They are clear and well paced. I have referenced them below.

I love the images that Leticia Wilson uses in her basic crochet videos and am curious to know where she found them. This image uses American crochet terminology.

If you prefer diagrams to videos, the ones on Renate Kirkpatrick’s site rensfibreart.com are good.

Skills covered in this blog

  1. Hooks and yarn
  2. Slip knot and chain stitch
  3. Double crochet (US = single)
  4. Half treble crochet (US = half double)
  5. Treble crochet (US = double)
  6. Crochet in the round and slip stitch

1. Hooks and yarn

You will need a crochet hook and some yarn. I would recommend a 5mm or a 4mm hook (some people call them crochet needles), although it often works out more economical to buy a multisize pack. For yarn you can’t go wrong with some cheap and cheerful DK acrylic. Both hooks and yarn are available on Amazon, at Hobbycraft or in shops like Paperchase and the Works. Fred Aldous and Abakahn have physical and online shops if you want to stay local to Manchester.

To make a simple dishcloth, like the one in the picture at the top, you can buy cotton dishcloth yarn for under £2 a ball. Knitted dishcloths cost £8 for two in Unicorn, so it’s a thrifty project. If you want to make a scrubbie, jute yarn is great, but you’ll need a bigger needle.

2. Slip knot and chain stitch

This video from Bella Coco Crochet covers hooks, yarn, slip knot and chain stitch.

3. Double crochet (US = single)

This video from Bella Coco Crochet covers double crochet in rows.

4. Half treble crochet (US = half double)

This video covers half treble crochet.

5. Treble crochet (US = double)

This video covers treble crochet in rows.

6. Crochet in the round

This video shows how to crochet in the round, in this case a circle.

I prefer to start a circle off with a magic circle, as it allows you to completely close the hole in the middle and gives a better finish. This video, also from Bella Coco Crochet shows you how or you may prefer this one from Knitting with A.

Mosaic crochet

You probably won’t believe me, but with the stitches you just learned you can now do mosaic crochet. Take a look at this wonderful tutorial by Tinna Thorudottir Thorvaldar. I’m not sure what is most impressive, the mosaic crochet or her name.

Footnote: crochet and wellbeing

Crochet can be really soothing! I find the repetitive movement almost meditative and it’s easy to pick up when you have a spare moment. There are no rows as such, just stitches, so it’s just as easy to put down again when you get interrupted. It’s very compact, so you can pop it in a bag and take it down to the park (or a cafe now they’re open again) if you want to escape from the house and/or your loved ones.

The Craft Yarn Council talks about yarn crafts and wellness, although they do have a vested interest in promoting knitting and crochet. They’ve even made a video about it.

Kathryn Vercillo has written some interesting articles about this subject on the Lionbrand blog.

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