By Caitríona Ní Chonaill

Given that crochet is all the rage nowadays, it seems everyone is picking up their wool and hooks and trying this craft out for themselves. If you fancy fashioning yourself some trendy items this summer, here’s what I learned from teaching myself to crochet in 24 hours:

Size matters:

Well, when it comes to crochet hooks anyway! There are different hook sizes to choose from, from teeny tiny 1mm hooks for delicate work all the way up to 6mm or bigger for chunky yarn projects. The size of your hook will make the project bigger and more spaced out, or smaller and tighter depending on what sizes you go for. 5mm seems to be the most common size of hook for beginner projects, so that’s the size hook I went with.

Slow and steady wins the race:

I’m going to tell you now – picking up a new skill takes time, effort and a whole lot of patience! Even though I have previous experience with knitting, it wasn’t of much use to me as I was trying to get used to a whole different set of loops, knots and how to hold the hook and the thread. I also found myself pausing the YouTube tutorial at every step to try and figure out where I had gone wrong… on my third attempt at trying to make just one row of crochet! I assume getting very frustrated at the lady giving the YouTube tutorial as she zooms through all the beginner steps at lightning speed is normal, right?… It took many an attempt (and a lot of unravelling and starting again) but I did eventually manage to create several lines of crochet.

Don’t give up!

Having made my few lines of crochet, however, I started trying to find easy beginner projects, so i could finally be able to actually make something and have an item to show for my hours of effort. After a bit of scrolling, it seems the easiest items to start off with are stuffed animals, granny squares, headbands, bucket hats or bags. I settled on attempting a granny square and settled myself to start into my first project.

Try, try and try again…

I feel I may have been a little overambitious in how easy I thought crochet would be. There are about 4 common crochet stitches, and they all have different names in US vs UK patterns or terms, which made it even more confusing! I got there in the end, and started off with my square, making my stitches, turning my corner, making my stitches, turning my corner….. until suddenly I realised it didn’t look very square shaped… Definitely more circular! I unravelled it (or ripped it if I want to sound more in-the-know) and tried again. It took many goes to get the square right and not have a wonky corner or a big gap in the middle, but I eventually got there!

Practice makes perfect!

What to do now with my much-stressed-over creation? Only make another! I am definitely starting to understand the appeal of crochet, as even though it takes some time and effort to master, it is easy (once you have mastered the basics) to quickly build upon your stash of crocheted items – soon you’ll have enough skill to make items for all your friends. Also, given that crochet cannot be machine-made (a new fact I learned), every item is crocheted by hand, and therefore unique!

My advice would be to stick with it, even when you feel like you’re getting nowhere, and slowly but surely you will get better and then be able to make wonderful creations.

If you crochet, what are your tips for beginners, and if you’ve never crocheted before, what are your questions? What would you like to make in the future? Let us know below!