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  • Writer's pictureLucy Duffy

Hooked on crochet: A Beginner's Guide to Essential Tools & Notions

Updated: Nov 28, 2023

Have you decided that you're ready to dive into the wonderful world of crochet? Great, then you're in the right place!


When I first learned to crochet, I remember buying multiple books, all the yarn, hooks & tools I could think of - the whole nine yards & it turned out that I really only needed a few basic things to get started (& some of those things I bought way back when, have never seen the light of day 🫢). So, to avoid you making the same mistake - I thought I would put together a shortlist of the basic tools & notions that you really need, to have you crocheting like a pro in no time.


This post may contain affiliate links. As both a lovecrafts Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This means that if you make a purchase from those links, I will receive a commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your continued support!


Patterns, Books & Tutorials


So, before we get to our shortlist, first you're going to want to give some thought to what you want to make, after all you wouldn't attempt a new, complicated recipe without a recipe book would you? The same goes for crochet.


It might be an idea to invest in either a good beginner's guide, crochet magazine or if you find it easier to work along with someone, then think about following some online tutorials (my YouTube channel contains a number of tutorials for beginners), looking for a local class or crochet group that you could join, (if you are in the UK then findacraft.co.uk is a great place to start) or if you know someone who crochet's already, you could ask if they could show you the basics. Trust me, you'll thank yourself when you're not unraveling hours of hard work because you misread a pattern 😵‍💫


Various crochet pattern & instruction books.
Invest in either a good beginner's guide, crochet magazine or try an online tutorial

So, to the shortlist ...


The Crochet Hook - Your First Essential tool


First up has obviously got to be the crochet hook. This is your conductor of creativity, the tool that transforms a simple ball of yarn into a work of art.


Crochet hooks come in various materials, sizes, & styles to suit different preferences and project requirements. Some common types of crochet hooks are:


Aluminum Crochet Hooks:

  • These are lightweight & have a smooth, comfortable grip.

  • Available in various sizes & colors.

  • Ideal for a wide range of yarn types.

Steel Crochet Hooks:

  • Typically smaller in size than aluminum hooks.

  • Used for fine crochet work & thread crochet projects.

  • Suitable for creating delicate lace and intricate patterns.

Plastic Crochet Hooks:

  • Lightweight & affordable.

  • Great for beginners as they are gentle on the hands.

  • Come in a variety of colors & sizes.

Wooden Crochet Hooks:

  • Offer a warm, natural feel in the hands.

  • Smooth & lightweight.

  • Good for people with hand pain or arthritis due to their ergonomic design.

Bamboo Crochet Hooks:

  • Similar to wooden hooks but made from bamboo, which is a sustainable material.

  • Lightweight & comfortable to use.

  • Provide a natural feel & are often favored for working with delicate fibers.

Ergonomic Crochet Hooks:

  • Designed with comfort in mind, often featuring soft grips or handles.

  • Reduce hand fatigue during extended crocheting sessions.

  • Available in various materials, including metal & plastic.

Interchangeable Crochet Hooks:

  • Sets of crochet hooks with interchangeable tips & cables.

  • Allow crocheters to customize the length of their hooks.

  • Useful for projects with changing stitch counts or different sections.

Don't get overwhelmed with the variety of sizes & materials available. For beginners, a simple ergonomic hook made of aluminum or plastic is your best friend. It's like finding the perfect dance partner – comfortable, easy to handle, & ready to waltz through your stitches 😉


When choosing your crochet hook, consider the type of yarn you'll be using, the size of the project, & your personal comfort preferences. Trying out different types (Is that a local craft store I hear calling..) can help you find the one that works best for you & your specific needs.


Five different types & colosur of crochet hooks.
Choose your hook, depending on your own personal needs.

Yarn, Yarn, Yarn!


Let's talk yarn. It's the heart & soul of crochet. For beginners, it's best to start with a medium-weight yarn, (DK or Aran weights are perfect) in a light color. Why light? Because you'll want to see those stitches as your masterpiece comes to life & it's much harder to se your stitches when you use a dark coloured yarn.


As for the type of yarn, go for something smooth, easy to work with & practical. Fancy textures & fuzzy fibers might be tempting, but save those for a later project.


My favourite ranges are either Paintbox yarns simply aran or Stylecraft special DK both of which are 100% acrylic making them easy to care for whiilst still feeling lovely as you work with them, (or wear them) & importantly, they are both reasonably priced.


For a more in depth look at the various types of yarn available, check out my "Let's talk about yarn" blog post.


Tapestry Needle


The humble tapestry needle, also known as yarn needles or darning needles, are essential tools for weaving in yarn ends, seaming, & finishing your crochet project. These needles come in various shapes & sizes, each serving a specific purpose.


Straight Tapestry Needles:

  • These are the most common type of tapestry needles.

  • Have a straight, elongated body with a blunt tip.

  • Ideal for weaving in yarn ends & seaming.

Bent Tapestry Needles:

  • Similar to straight needles but have a slight bend near the eye.

  • The bent design makes it easier to navigate through stitches without splitting the yarn.

  • Useful for seaming & weaving in ends.

Blunt-Tip Tapestry Needles:

  • Feature a rounded, blunt tip to prevent splitting yarn fibers.

  • Suitable for working with loosely spun or delicate yarns.

Pointed-Tip Tapestry Needles:

  • Have a sharper, pointed tip.

  • Useful for working with tightly spun or thicker yarns.

  • Allow for easier insertion through dense or tight stitches.

Jumbo Tapestry Needles:

  • Larger-sized needles designed for use with chunky or super chunky yarns.

  • Ideal for projects with thicker fibers where a standard-sized needle may be too small.

Tapestry Needles with Large Eyes:

  • Feature a larger eye, making them suitable for working with thicker yarns or multiple strands.

  • Helpful for those who struggle with threading standard-sized needles.

Chenille Needles:

  • Have a large eye & a sharp point.

  • Suitable for working with yarns of varying thickness, including chenille and bouclé.

Tapestry Needle Sets:

  • Sets often include a variety of needle sizes & types.

  • Useful for different projects & yarn weights.

When choosing a tapestry needle, consider the yarn weight, project type, & your personal preference. Having a variety of tapestry needles in your tool kit allows you to select the most appropriate needle for each specific task, ensuring a neat & polished finish to your projects.


Four differnent tapestry needles & a perspex tube.
The humble tapestry needle

Scissors


Now, don't go grabbing those rusty old scissors from your junk drawer. Invest in a decent pair of sharp, dedicated craft scissors. These don't have to break the bank, all you need is a simple pair of embroidery or craft scissors or even very basic snips.


A pair of red handles craft scissors & a white set of snips with a blue lid.
Craft scissors or snips are perfect

Tape Measure


When it comes to crochet, size does matter. A tape measure is your secret weapon for ensuring your creation turns out just the way you envisioned it. As a beginner, you might not need it for every project, but you will need it to check your gauge swatch - yes, I do recommend always making a gauge swatch - it will also come in handy when measuring your final pieces.


There are lots of cute novelty tape measure's available online but a basic flexible tape measure is all you really need, just remember to check & replace them every so often as they do tend to stretch over time.


Two tape measures, one blue & one white.
Flexible tape measure

Stitch Markers


Imagine trying to navigate a new city without a map – sounds pretty chaotic does'nt it? Well, think of stitch markers as your crochet map. These little guys are a game-changer, helping you keep track of your stitches. Whilst you msay not think they're absolutely essential as a beginner, stitch markers are like having a Sat Nav for your crochet journey – optional, but highly recommended 🙂



As you can see, stitch markers come in many forms, each serving different purposes. Here are some common types:


Split Ring Stitch Markers:

  • Circled in the first image above, these are small, closed rings that can be easily placed on the stitches.

  • They can be opened & closed, making them versatile & reusable.

  • Useful for marking individual stitches or a specific point in the pattern.

Locking Stitch Markers:

  • Circled in the second & third images, these are also known as safety pin markers, they have a small clasp that allows them to be easily attached to the stitches.

  • They are handy for marking the beginning of a round, decreases, or increases.

  • Come in various colors & materials, making it easy to differentiate between different markers.

Clip-On Stitch Markers:

  • Also known as lobster claw stitch markers (circled in image four), these markers have a small clip that can be attached to the stitch.

  • They are easy to move & remove and are great for marking stitches or sections.

Bobby Pin Stitch Markers:

  • Simple bobby pins can be used as makeshift stitch markers.

  • They are readily available & can be a quick & easy solution in a pinch.


When choosing a stitch marker, consider the type of project you're working on, the size of your yarn & hook, & the specific purpose of the marker in the pattern. Having a variety of stitch markers in your toolkit can be helpful for different projects & techniques but as a beginner, just buy (or borrow) what you need for the pattern you have in mind..


Row Counter


This nifty gadget is going to help you keep tabs on your rows - I know, the clue is in the name 😂 but seriously, there is nothing more frustrating than working your way through a pattern & suddenly wondering whether that was row 11 or 12 you just finished!


A flowery pen & a selection of crochet row counters on a piece of white paper.
Keeping track of your rows is essential if you want to avoid unravelling your masterpiece

Think of the row counter as your crochet memory, helping you complete your masterpiece without any "oops" moments. This is a tool that can be kept really simple, from a pen & paper to a digital counter.


Storage


Picture this: you're on a creative roll, & suddenly you can't find your crochet hook. Nightmare, right? You need to keep your tools organised - it's just practical, but as a beginner something like a simple pencil case is all you need for now. Save those cute little crochet bag's & case's until you're sure that crochet is for you - your lovely craochet friends may even start gifting them to you once they hear that you have taken up crochet too!


Three different styles of crochet pouch.
A crochet pouch will help to keep your tools organised

Comfy Chair & Good Lighting


Last but not least, create a cosy corner for your crochet adventures. A comfortable chair & good lighting are your stage, & you are the star. Trust me, you'll probably be spending hours here, so make it a space you love. It's about setting the mood for your crochet masterpiece & making sure you can enjoy the process.


An open bag with crochet tools & notions on a sofa with an ongoing crochet project..
My comfy corner (Stuffed toy optional) 😂

This is where I do most of my crochet, as you can see I have had to invest in a flexible light (the joy of living in the northern hemisphere), you may find that the lighting you already have is adequate for you though. 😊


So, there you have it – your beginner's toolkit for crochet success! Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day, & neither are those gorgeous crochet creations. Take it one stitch at a time, enjoy the process, & soon you'll be crocheting up a storm. Happy hooking, my fellow yarnys!


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1 comentario


Invitado
27 nov 2023

Thank you for a nice simple guide, makes life a lot easier on deciding what to get.

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