Is crochet hard to learn?

Yes. Totally!

Crochet is a skill requiring both hands to work together to make fabric, even though each hand is doing something very different. 

Your brain is focused on looping and counting, your arms are held at an angle, and you have to be sitting for long periods of time. 

Crochet is mentally and physically taxing, and it takes a heck of a lot of practice.

As a beginner, you have to understand how much work is involved in building up knowledge and skill. 

Crochet is repetition.

So yes, crochet is hard… but you can do it!

hands holding crochet

Muscle memory takes hours and days and weeks to build up before you actually feel comfortable crocheting stitches and fabric.

When you accept all of that, you’ll be able to overcome the tricky beginner phase where you feel awkward and slow, and your stitches and fabric are uneven. 

You have to keep practicing.

If you’re using the internets and the googles to find out:

What is the first thing a beginner should crochet?

What do I need to start crochet?

What is the easiest thing to crochet?

I can help. 

I learned how to crochet at the age of five and I haven’t put my hook down since (I’ve got over 35 years crochet experience so far)!

You can say crochet is my lifestyle.

Crochet meme: when I meet someone new and they crochet too.

I consider crochet skill and ability to be a journey, so I see myself as a lifelong learner who works to assure crochet is passed through the generations in better hands than we found it. 

After teaching professionally since 2009, I’ve learned some beginner-friendly tips that actually work.

I hope these will be your guide in learning how to crochet (for real this time, even if you’re an absolute beginner)!

What is the first thing a beginner should crochet?

Even though I started at a very young age, crochet was not an easy skill to pick up because I was taught very little about it. 

In fact, my first project was a granny square.

Hot take… granny squares are not beginner-friendly. 

Crochet Meme: Granny squares are hard.

If you’re teaching beginner crochet lessons that involve granny squares, please stop. Seriously. 

You can try to debate me on this tip, but, keep reading to see if I actually change your mind.

If you are giving crochet lessons, or you’re thinking about teaching crochet, here are some success tips you should start using today, RIGHT HERE!

While you might have heard terms like “advanced beginner” in crochet, there are actually only four terms universally recognized with crochet skill levels (and beginner is one of them). 

Read more about crochet skill levels, and get a cheat sheet for all four, RIGHT HERE!

Through my years of learning and teaching, I found a specific way of breaking down crochet fundamentals in the most basic form, and it truly helps most people learn how to crochet, at the beginner level, without the guessing and frustrations that I went through.

Beginners are at level zero. 

They’re beginning with very little (if any) knowledge on a subject, therefore…

The first thingS beginners should learn to crochet are basic stitches and techniques in this particular order:

1: Slip knot

Learn this first! It is tricky and takes a bit of practice, but it truly is the first thing you should learn in crochet.

Click the link for a video tutorial, or watch right here: 

Take your time to get this one right.

2: How to hold your crochet hook and yarn

After you learn the slip knot, you’ll need to attach it to your crochet hook. Click the link for a video tutorial, or watch right here: 

Get comfortable holding your hook in one hand, adding the slip knot, then controlling the yarn in your opposite hand. 

Just holding your hook and yarn will feel awkward, and it will take a lot of practice. 

You may actually find that you start holding your yarn and hook one way then naturally change the position to something entirely different. 

There is no one right way to hold your yarn, hook, or crochet. As long as your fingers are not cramped, and you’re not adjusting after each stitch, you’ve found a comfortable hold!

You’ll find your comfort zone!

3: Chain

This is the first action you’ll take in crochet involving your hook and yarn together. 

Click the link for a video tutorial, or watch right here to learn how to work a chain of 10. Practice working this at least 10 times. 

These chains of 10 will help you learn the slip knot, how to hold your hook and yarn, how to chain, and how to fasten off.

It’s great practice!

4: Half Double Crochet

Once you’re comfortable making a slip knot and chaining, move on to the half double stitch. 

Click the link for a video tutorial, or watch right here to learn how to work a swatch of 10 stitches over 10 rows. Practice working this at least 10 times.

This is where you’ll learn to work in rows that turn, so be sure to include a stitch marker to mark the top of each stitch in each new row of work (scroll down to learn more about stitch markers).

If you “know how to crochet”, but are wondering why your edges are uneven, you probably never learned how to use stitch markers. 

Just like learning the chain, here you’re practicing much more than a stitch: making a slip knot, how to hold your hook and yarn, how to chain, how to work a half double, how to work in rows, how to identify and count individual stitches.

Practice is key!

5: Double Crochet

Once you’re comfortable working the half double, move on to the double stitch. 

Click the link for a video tutorial, or watch right here to learn how to work a swatch of 10 stitches over 10 rows. Practice working this at least 10 times. 

Here you’re still practicing how to make a slip knot, how to hold your hook and yarn, how to chain, how to work a double, how to work in rows, how to identify and count individual stitches.

Practice builds muscle memory!

6: Single Crochet

Once you’re comfortable working the double, you can finally move on to learn the single stitch. 

Click the link for a video tutorial, or watch right here to learn how to work a swatch of 10 stitches over 10 rows. Practice working this at least 10 times.

If you noticed that the single crochet is the last to learn on this list, that’s not a mistake.

The single crochet is the smallest stitch, but that doesn’t mean it’s the simplest or easiest. 

You see, this stitch is small so it is very dense and difficult to identify when you’re a beginner. 

When you’re learning how to crochet, you have to learn how to differentiate between the most basic stitches so that you can identify them, count them, and recreate them.

Beginners, you need a solid foundation of the absolute basics to really learn crochet. 

The stitches listed above are what you should learn first. 

PS: In crochet, a swatch is a small sample of a stitch, fabric or pattern. You can learn more RIGHT HERE.

What tools do I need to start crochet?

Now that you know what to crochet first as a beginner, you’ll need some supplies to get started.

After a quick Google search, or trip to your local craft store, you can easily get overwhelmed with all the gadgets, tools, yarns and resources dedicated to crochet. 

In crochet, the yarn options alone can startle you!

Listen to me: Don’t buy all the yarn… yet.

Crochet Meme: Happiness is the smell of new yarn.

How many times have we needlessly spent time and money on things that turn out to be a terrible fit or are completely unnecessary (this is why I abandoned scrapbooking – why did I buy all of the stamps?!?).

When you’re a beginner, the absolute basic tools you need to start crocheting are: hook, yarn, stitch marker. 

Here’s more on each one:

Crochet Hooks

The basic anatomy of crochet hooks are the same, but every brand will have a slightly different style and feel. 

Before committing to a full set of hooks, try crocheting with a few different brands and styles until you decide which ones are the most comfortable for you.

To find your best fit, consider how a hook feels in your hand when you crochet, and how comfortable you are with the following aspects:

  • Material: Wood, metal, plastic. 
  • Head: Round or pointed. 
  • Lip: Long and pointed or short and round.
  • Groove: Deep (inline) or shallow (tapered). 
  • Handle: Long or short
Crochet Hook Cheat Sheet

There is a large range of sizes hooks are made in, but beginners who are learning basic stitches can start with just a few, like: 

  • I-9 (5.50 mm)
  • J-10 (6.00 mm)
  • K-10.5 (6.50 mm)
Crochet Hook Size Chart

Crochet hooks can be inexpensive, so try a few different styles in lower price ranges before you commit to buying entire sets. 

I suggest using each of the styles below to see if you notice a difference.

Example 1: Susan Bates

  • Metal, 
  • Pointed head, 
  • Long and pointed lip, 
  • Deep (inline) groove

Example 2: Boye

  • Metal, 
  • Round head, 
  • Short and round lip, 
  • Shallow (tapered) groove

Yarn

Yarn may be the reason you want to learn how to crochet. 

I get it. 

Yarn is exciting!

But yarn is also really complex, and each type has a lot of characteristics to consider: 

  • Weight or size of yarn
  • Fiber content
  • Colors (solids, stripes, heathered, marled…)
  • Construction (how the fibers are twisted into shape)
  • Feel (soft, scratchy, sturdy, stretchy…)

I bet you didn’t even think about some of these characteristics, but each is important when choosing which yarn to use for the crochet projects you work.

Don’t let this overwhelm you.

Yarn weight and size alone is a big subject, but you can learn a little more and get a cheat sheet RIGHT HERE!

What yarn should you get to learn how to crochet?

Don’t buy all of the yarn, or get totally overwhelmed by seeing all of the options. You can start to crochet with just one simple, inexpensive type of yarn.

Yep, just one.

As an absolute beginner, your focus is learning basic crochet stitches: chain, single crochet, half double crochet, double crochet.

To learn each one, you’ll be making quite a few swatches (I stand by this recommendation), so choose a yarn that is economical, just to start learning.

I suggest Red Heart Super Saver, or something comparable. This classic brand has been around forever and is usually available anywhere yarn is sold.

Red Heart Super Saver

  • Weight 4
  • Acrylic
  • Solid 
  • Sturdy

Stitch Markers

Using stitch markers when you crochet, especially as you’re learning basic stitches, is essential.

This is not just something beginners use. 

When you learn how to place stitch markers in crochet, you’ll actually become more skilled in stitch counting, recognition, and placement.

Don’t crochet a single stitch without them (yes, I’m looking at you).

These little gadgets help to do so many things, including:

  • Mark the top of your first or last stitch in each row or round (no more adding or skipping stitches, no more uneven sides)!
  • Hold your place (instead of leaving your hook in your work)
  • Mark complicated stitch and row repeats (helps to give a better visual of what you’ve done and need to do)
  • Track stitch and row counting (especially for larger projects with lots of stitch and row or round counting)

There are two main styles of stitch markers to consider:

Example 1: Locking Stitch Markers

  • Plastic, flexible
  • Economical (pack of 50 for about $5)
  • Locking feature helps keep markers in place 

Example 2: Split Ring Stitch Markers

  • Plastic, flexible
  • Economical (pack of 50 for about $5)
  • Open feature makes design easy to slip in and out

Here are some additional tools I’ve hand-picked that can make your crochet start even more comfortable: 

While you can shop for crochet hooks, yarn, and notions anywhere you’re comfortable, I felt Amazon was a great place to get all your essentials in one stop (affiliate links are provided).

What is the easiest thing to crochet?

After you get all the right tools (yarn, hooks, stitch markers…), and you’ve learned the basic crochet stitches (chain, single, half double, double), you’ll be ready to crochet your first projects.

But don’t just jump into your first amigurumi doll, sweater, or blanket for that next baby shower. 

A few more basic crochet skills you should learn are:

  • Working in rows
  • Working in tubes
  • Working in joined rounds

When you choose small projects to learn each of these, they can be the absolute easiest things to crochet for a beginner!

And, focusing on each one will help you learn how to crochet anything.

Yes, anything!

At the most basic level, anything you want to make in crochet is either worked in rows, tubes or rounds.

That’s it.

Here are some patterns that will help you learn and practice each one:

Rows of crochet: Easy Texture Washcloth

Tubes of crochet: Chevron Tube Scarf

Rounds of crochet: Triple Stitch Tote

What’s next? 

Is there more to crochet?

Totally. 

So much more!

Like…

  • Reading crochet pattern instructions
  • Reading crochet diagrams and charts
  • Finishing techniques: weave, sew and knot
  • Working complex stitch and row repeats
  • Working continuous rounds (not joined)
  • Changing colors, adding new yarn to a project
  • Understanding gauge, tension and size

When you’re past the beginner phase and ready to fine-tune your knowledge and skill, take some structured lessons.

Information can be found everywhere, that’s true, but…

When you’re ready to follow a precise journey to learn, and you don’t want to waste time or yarn, give this series a try: 

Learn How To Crochet: A Complete Guide For Absolute Beginners

hands holding crochet

What do you think?

Let me know in the comments or CLICK HERE to start sharing in our community!

Peace, Love & Crochet –

Salena

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