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Crochet 101, Part 2 - Supplies

Welcome to part 2 of the "learn to crochet" series! If you missed the first post, you can find it here.

This post will focus on the supplies you will need. Crochet doesn't really require very many supplies; all you'll need is a crochet hook, some yarn, and a pair of scissors. Easy peasy! There are different sizes of hooks and different types of yarn (or even thread) so first I will be talking about the how's and why's of the supplies you will need, and then will give you specific instructions on what to buy for our projects.

Where to shop: The first thing to do is to find a local yarn shop. I think this is an especially important thing to do because by buying locally, you are in-turn supporting your community. A pattern maker and sewing teacher I follow, Christine Haynes, talks about how even just buying 3 spools of thread at your local shop can help to keep them open. I understand that it's easier sometimes to shop online from big corporations, but there's nothing like taking the time to go into your local store, ask questions, and find out the stories behind some of the yarns they carry.

One of my local yarn shops

Yarn: Once you've found where you will be buying your supplies, the first thing you'll look for is what yarn to use. For a beginner, I think that finding the right yarn is the most important thing to keep in mind when starting your first project. I suggest a worsted weight yarn. Worsted just means that the yarn is average, medium thickness yarn which is easier to work with. You'll want to avoid textured yarn, and choose yarn that is a lighter color because sometimes it can be hard to see your stitches with darker colors. Once you've gotten the hang of easy crochet projects, you can branch out into different yarns (and even threads!), but I think it's easier to start with what is outlined above.

Example of a yarn label

How do you know what size the yarn is? On the label of the yarn, you will see a bunch of information. Usually it will tell you what kind of fiber the yarn is made from (wool, cotton, acrylic, etc), how many yards of yarn the bundle has, washing instructions, and most importantly it will tell you the gauge (which is the number of stitches per inch) and hook or needle size needed for this weight of yarn. Not all labels tell you what gauge or hook size you should use for crochet (but they always tell you the size for knitting), so I've made up this table for you to be able to know what crochet hook size to use if it only gives you knitting information:

So, if your yarn is a number 4 - medium weight yarn - you will use a hook size of between I-9 to K 10 1/2 and 5.5 to 6.5mm. As you can see, the higher the weight number, the larger the hook size you will need.

Unless the yarn is already wound into a ball, you will need to ask the shop to wind it for you. This makes it so much easier to work with and will save you a lot of time! You'll know it needs to be wound if it is a long, skinny shape instead of in a ball. I asked my local yarn shop to wind some yarn for me and took a photo so you could see the process:

It doesn't take long at all for it to be wound this way, and makes the yarn easier to work with once it is done. You can see the bluish-green hank (or skein) or yarn sitting on her table, waiting for it's turn to be wound.

Now we can get to the details for our projects!

For the washcloth:

It doesn't matter exactly what size yarn you get, just make sure that it is at least a number 4 or larger.

  • One skein (or hank) of 100% cotton yarn

  • Crochet hook in the appropriate gauge, plus one hook that is 2 sizes larger

  • A large tapestry needle

For the scarf:

Again, make sure that you buy at least a number 4 or larger weight yarn.

  • At least 500 yards of a worsted-weight soft yarn. 100% wool is fine to use, just remember that anything other than 100% cotton will need to be hand-washed when it comes time

  • Crochet hook in the appropriate gauge, plus one hook that is 2 sizes larger

  • A large tapestry needle

The colors for these are up to you! Feel free to purchase 2 colors for each of the projects if you want to be adventurous, but one color will also look great!

Let me know in the comments below if you plan on joining in, and please leave any questions you may have in the forum so that everyone can learn from each other's questions. I'll be back next week with the patterns so stay tuned!


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