If you have ever wanted to take up a calming craft, I highly recommend crochet. I have been crocheting for several years now and am pretty advanced in this yarn craft, and I can tell you from personal experience that crochet is great for reducing stress. There is even evidence to back up that crochet and knit can help reduce stress and anxiety! Crochet is such a passion of mine that I have a crochet blog, though I haven’t updated that blog in a long time and it needs a serious overhaul. Hence why I’m not naming it here. But I thought that as someone who talks a lot about self care and mental health, that I ought share my knowledge of this calming craft with you. So essentially, this post will be a tutorial. But better, so keep on reading!
Crochet vs Knit: What’s the Difference?
Crochet is better. Kidding, but there are differences between these yarn crafts. Knitting uses two pointed needles, and while you are working with the yarn, the stitches on the needles are all left open. In crochet, each stitch is closed before beginning a new stitch. It also uses a single hook and thus, many (myself included) find it much easier. There are structural differences in the fabric created by knit and crochet, and knit can much easier to unravel as the project is dependent on the stitches below it. Drop a stitch and the whole piece might fall apart. No thanks, that sounds nightmarish and extremely frustrating to me. Crochet cannot be unravelled unless you unravel it from the active (working) stitch. With crochet, you’ll only ever need one hook. In knit, you’ll need at least two needles–possibly more depending on what kind of project you are doing. I’ve seen knitters use as many as four, though I think circular knit needles have made these more complex projects easier.
Crochet Stitches Explained
When I was younger, I learned to crochet from my aunt, who had obviously been taught by someone herself, but she knew only the basics. Hence, all I could make was scarves and blankets. However, with the advent of the internet, I later taught myself how to read crochet patterns, as well as more stitches and stitch patterns. Now, I can crochet anything I like–if I have the patience! I prefer written instructions when following a pattern, as opposed to chart patterns, and photo tutorials have helped me a lot as well. I relied on those before I stumbled onto Youtube videos.
How to Crochet
You will start any crochet project with a foundation row of chain stitches. Chain stitches (ch) are often the trickiest to master but once you do, you have the knack of crochet so don’t give up immediately. Start with a slip knot, or circular knot and insert your hook into the loop created. Bring the yarn to the back of the hook and then pull it through the loop on the hook. That is a chain stitch. Keep doing this until you have a length of stitches required. Say, fifteen for a practice piece. Be sure not to twist this length of chains. If the chain stitches are twisted, you can’t crochet into them and will need to start again. The chain should look as pictured, like a row of Vs.
Next, you can try the single crochet (sc) which is often used in crochet patterns. Remember, if you have mastered the chain stitch, you have the know how to learn and master all the other stitches in this calming craft. To create a single crochet, bring your yarn to the back of the hook (remember in crochet we always bring the yarn to back of the hook) and insert your hook into a chain stitch. Yarn over, draw the yarn through the stitch and then yarn over again and draw the yarn through both loops on the hook. Single crochet complete!
Bear in Mind, it Gets Better
Learning is going to be the most frustrating part. But once you do, you can quickly acquire new skills in crochet. And once you have have the basic stitches down, you can create so many wonderful pieces–from colourful blankets to hats and shawls and even things like purses and stuffed toys. There is no end to the creativity of crochet, and this is a calming craft that is very restful on the mind and soul soothing. At least, I find it so. There is nothing I like better to keep my hands busy than my latest crochet project. And over time, you’ll find yourself trying trickier patterns and even inventing some projects of your own design!
There are TONS of crochet resources out there, so in this case Google is your best friend. For tutorirals and free patterns, I’d start off with Bhooked, and the other great blog I used to go to for learning stitches is Hopeful Honey. You can also find many books such as stitch dictionary, or crochet patterns of baby blankets, mandelas, and colourful afghans. There is nothing you can’t do with this calming craft–bright boho pieces or soft minimal projects. I’ve often been captivated by the beauty of crochet and I’ll be talking more yarn later.
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