Crocheting “Extras”

Now that you are sitting in your most comfortable chair and are surrounded by a pile of wonderful yarn just itching to be crochet into something special, take a moment to review the following items that I think will make your yarning experience much easier and more convenient.  These are some of my favorite crochet “extras”.

Having a crochet case to organize all your hooks by specific size will save you a lot of time and frustration.  When I first started crocheting, I would just place my hooks in a Ziploc bag and would have to rummage through them all to find the specific hook I needed for my pattern.  With the case, I just quickly slide my hooks into their own slot by number/letter size.   There are a wide variety of styles available.  I personally use a zippered style case because I can also enclose some of my other accessories with my hooks to keep them all in one place.

Another great accessory to have are some stitch markers.   I like the split lock markers that look like plastic safety pins.  They are light in weight, easy to use and colorful so you can select ones that will stand out when you are crocheting.  Budget constraints an issue, you can also use a different color of yarn and tie it in the stitch where the pattern calls for a marker to be placed. Works the same, just takes a little longer to tie and untie the yarn marker.

For me, a must have “extra” is a row counter.   I use to make pencil marks on a piece of paper to count my rows, which, believe me, is a very time-consuming way for counting.  Now with a counter sitting on the arm of my chair, one click and I’ve counted my completed row and can tell at a glance how many more rows I need to do.  I like the style that has a locking mechanism so my counter never loses its place, especially if I have to put my project away and all my rows haven’t been completed.

You’ll find that a necessary accessory is a tapestry/yarn needle.  They have a very large eye which makes quick work of threading your yarn through the needle.  There are different kinds of needles, ones with a straight tip or you can purchase a style with a curved tip.  It is nice to have both types of yarn needles in your crochet stash.

Of course, a small retractable tape measure and 4″ embroidery style scissors are needed too.  

A crochet tote or lovely basket is a great way to store your supplies and/or yarn.  Place it by your comfy chair and have everything right at hand when you decide to work on your project and looks great too.  *TIP:  one way to keep your working skein of yarn readily available is to seal it within a plastic Ziploc bag, cut a small hole in the corner of the bag itself and have your yarn come out of that opening.  Helps to keep the ball of yarn contained and tangle free.

An Ott Lamp or Daylight Lamp to work by is most helpful and helps reduce stress on your eyes.  Also, comfort grips which slide onto your hooks or comfort grip hooks themselves will help you with fatigued hands and wrists.

Of course, you will be able to locate some of these crocheting accessories at your big box sewing/craft stores.  But don’t forget to check out some websites like Knitting Warehouse and for a wide variety and unique crocheting “extras” too.

Hopefully, some of these suggestions will lend themselves to giving you a great crocheting experience!!!



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The Hook Says it All

What exactly is a crochet hook?  They have been defined as a needle with a hook at one end used for drawing yarn or thread through knotted loops.  Whereas in knitting, you use two needles to complete a project, in crocheting you basically use only one hook to make your stitches.

The size of a crochet hook is measured by the thickness of the tool’s shaft which will ultimately relate to the size of the stitches created.  So in a nut shell, the larger and thicker the crochet hook, the larger and thicker your stitches will be. With that in mind, you will more than likely need a thicker yarn when crocheting with a larger hook.

You will find several different systems used to determine the size of a crochet hook.  The American (letter/number system), Continental (metric system) and UK system.  Check out Crochet Hooks You for a very informative crochet hook conversion chart, click on sitemap and then click on chart.   Most of the time, the more common aluminum hooks are imprinted with both the letter/number size and the numeric metric size.  This is useful because some patterns say to use a size G or specify a 3.25mm crochet hook.  Just remember, the higher the number or farther down the ABC ladder, the larger the hook.  Oddly enough, steel hooks are really the opposite.  The higher the number, the smaller the hook.

Karp Styles Crochet & Knitting is a wonderful website giving you intricate details about various hooks and their qualities.

I know it is important on some patterns for you to be exact when it comes to your hook size and yarn weight so that your gauge matches with the pattern requirements and your crochet project fits perfectly. However, depending upon the pattern and the outcome you want, it can be fun to experiment using different size hooks with different weights of yarn.  Keep in mind, if you take a thread pattern and want to use a 3ply yarn even if you use the recommended hook size, you will probably need to purchase more yarn than what the pattern calls for.  Don’t be afraid to crochet “out of the box”!!

Crochet hooks are available in a wide variety of materials too; aluminum (probably the most common and readily available), plastic, acrylic, steel, wood (bamboo, rosewood, birch, and other exotic woods). Laurel Hill Online has a wide selection of handmade crochet hooks.

If you are a beginner or are wanting to teach a child how to crochet, probably a large sized aluminum hook (N – 9.00mm) would be a good one to start with.  They are light, have a large tip for grasping the yarn, and the yarn will work off the hook with minimal effort.

However, if you’re a crochet “junkie” like me, then maybe it is time to treat yourself to an exotic wood crochet hook or put that request on your wish list.


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