Learning to crochet: Advice from a newbie

"If I were able to leave you with only one piece of crochet advice, it would be to always have fun. Learn the basics, but then just go crazy with your crafty self!"  – Twinkie Chan

The craft of crochet, which literally means 'small hook' in French, has been around for a very long time; since the 19th century! However, the stereotypical image that normally comes to mind with crochet is of your grandmother sitting in her chair making granny squares with her crochet hook.

 While crochet certainly remains a popular hobby for retirees, and especially women, crochet has been undergoing a renaissance in recent years. This 'crochet resurgence' started around 2015, and has been continuing to gain popularity (especially with women) since. Gone are the days where crochet is seen as an outdated and obsolete skill our grandmother's attempted to teach us as kids (though in my case, this was knitting). It is now widely popular with people of all ages, although still mostly women and girls, and has become 'trendy'.

Learn to crochet granny squares

As a millennial who failed several times at learning how to knit (sorry Oma!), I thought to myself recently, "why not give crochet a go?"  I had seen some really cool stuff that people I know had been making (especially some adorable amigurumi), and I really like the patterns you can make with crochet. So, with the help of an amazing colleague, I borrowed some crochet hooks and library books and started learning how to make my first stitches. 

Despite only being a few weeks in, I'm loving it! It's very therapeutic, and once you get the stitch you're learning into muscle memory (which, surprisingly, didn't take too long) you can do it while watching TV. My next step is to learn some new stitches, and how to decipher the seemingly encoded crochet patterns.

There are lots of ways to learn the craft. I started with crochet websites and YouTube, as well as the library books I found on the shelf. There are also some opportunities for some more social hands-on learning, with knitting and crochet groups. 

A number of our libraries have Knit 'n' Yarn sessions, which are free drop-in sessions for knitters and crocheters to come and chat, create, and teach and learn from each other. You can find the Tūranga Knit 'n' Yarn sessions on Tūhuratanga | Discovery, Level 3 in the comfy chairs in front of the lifts every Thursday from 6-7:45pm. 

Also, Knit World have a knitting and crochet group on Tuesday afternoons, and they can even help with lessons.

It's never too late to learn and create; happy crocheting!

Crochet 'Crash Courses'

Here are a combination of the library books I've used over the last fortnight to learn crochet, and the ones I have yet to crack into, but look amazing and useful for crocheters of all skill levels.

This is the very first book on crochet I checked out. It's very simply written, which is nice, and the whole first part walks you through tools, pattern abbreviations, and some basic stitches. However, I found that as a beginner, this one was simultaneously too basic while also being too hard for a beginner to do the patterns.

This is the second book I've checked out for learning crochet, and man is it comprehensive! This would be a great one to have a forever copy of if you really get into crochet; it makes a great reference book because it goes into great detail for beginners, and also has new and more difficult things for veterans to learn too.

Crochet flowers make an adorable addition to so many accessories, be it baby headbands, to blankets and beanies. This book takes you through the steps to make a variety of lovely little crochet flowers to make your project look pro.

Learn how to make creative and yummy-looking crochet accessories for your home in crochet designer Twinkie Chan's new book.

Much like crochet, shawls have come back in a big way. You can make stunning shawls using crochet, and you can find some beautiful patterns to try your hand at here.

View Full List

Find a Knit 'n' Yarn group at a library near you. 

Want to find more books on crochet? Find more in our catalogue

There's also a useful selection of crochet eBooks.

Access Simply Crochet magazine anytime with your library card, using RBDigital Magazines.

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