Crochet is something that takes a whole lot of time and yarn (two resources that are unfortunately very limited).
And, when you crochet, you want every minute and yard spent to produce something that you love and are proud of.
So it can be really frustrating to see that oh-so-perfect crochet project that you can’t wait to make, followed by a series of mishaps that keep you from creating the same thing: the yarn doesn’t work, the fabric isn’t right, the size is all wrong, and before you know it your project looks nothing like that picture you loved.
That can feel terrible, and may leave you wondering…
How do you get good at crocheting?
How can I make my crochet projects look professional?
How long does it take to become a good crocheter?
I can help!
Tips from a professional to help you crochet like one too
I’ve worked as a professional in the crochet world since 2009, and in that time I’ve learned things that you can do today to help you start thinking and crocheting like a professional too.
If you’re wondering who I am and where this advice is coming from, you can read more about me and find my resume RIGHT HERE.
You can also listen to my interview on this subject with the Yarn Life Show:
In short, I’m happy to share what has worked for me after 35+ years of crochet experience, including 13+ years of professional development.
While there is no end to the crochet tips you can get, I have five simple strategies that have help me to intentionally and thoughtfully build my skills from a hobbyist to a professional.
If you give them some time, effort, and attention, you’ll be able to build your crochet skills too – just like a professional!
Tip #1: Know Your Yarn
Yarn is fundamental to crochet – it’s the thing we need to create the stitches and fabrics that become our finished projects.
Yarn is also complex and complicated.
Because we use yarn to crochet, we might already feel like yarn experts – right?
But spending a lot of time with something does not mean we understand it or use it to its full potential.
There are lots of characteristics that define yarn that can be confusing to understand and make proper use of, like: Weight, fiber, texture, color, feel and look.
Just looking at or feeling a yarn may not give you all the answers you need from it: limitations, pros and cons, drape…
To get to know yarn better, here are some resources:
Tip #2: Understand Gauge
So many people equate gauge to a tedious concept that can be ignored; just dive in and follow the pattern – your project will be what it will be… no big deal, right?
But gauge doesn’t have to be a really complicated math equation; it’s just a measurement of the stitches and rows worked in a pattern.
In comparison, your gauge is a measurement of the stitches and rows you crochet – which will differ depending on the yarn you use, hook size, and stitches you create.
So if you’re making things where size is crucial (like a medium sweater, or a 20” hat… boy, does gauge matter then), the size of your stitches and fabric should match the size of the stitches and fabric listed within the pattern so that you can create a specific size, intentionally.
When you are able to match your personal gauge to the gauge in a pattern (by creating the same stitch and fabric size), you’ll be able to crochet any item you want (and, it will look more like the example picture).
And that’s why this is a professional tip; when you can control the size of the stitches and fabric you create, there will be very few boundaries to the types of things you’ll be able to create in crochet.
To understand gauge better, read this:
Tip #3: Create Swatches
Do you feel like swatching is just a waste of your time and resources?
If you’re skipping the swatch because you’d rather be spending your time making your actual project, that can be a huge mistake.
Swatches are not just about understanding and perfecting your gauge and tension – that’s part of it, but not the whole picture.
In fact, there are lots of other important reasons to become a serial swatcher!
Swatching gives you experience, and answers questions you may not even be asking to help you make better decisions about the materials you use and the projects you’re working on.
Do you have dozens of unfinished projects that you dread finishing?
Got regrets about that one project you started with that yarn you now hate?
Do you have piles of projects that you want to completely frog?
You might have avoided all those projects you don’t love and haven’t finished… if you made a swatch first.
When you take time to create a swatch, you’ll be:
- prepared for working with a new yarn, pattern, technique or stitch.
- able to try out a stitch or fabric on a small scale, before you start a big project.
- practicing and perfecting new stitches and techniques.
- checking if your yarn substitute meets the gauge and size you need.
Swatching just helps you to practice, and the more you practice the more precise, uniform, and confident you’ll be.
To understand swatching better, read this:
Tip #4: Make what you love
When you crochet, there will always be someone who wants you to make them something.
And, whether crochet is your hobby or profession, it’s exciting to be commissioned to do what you love!
But, what if the project is not something you love.
While it can be totally fun to expand your limits and try new things, crochet should always be enjoyable.
So don’t weigh yourself down emotionally with yarns, projects, stitches or techniques that you’re not excited and happy to work with.
Definitely don’t lose your sense of crochet adventure, but pay attention to your feelings: Do you feel drained, or driven?
If you feel drained, then the yarn / project / stitch / technique you’re spending time on might not be the best use of your time. Feeling drained is not the path to perfecting your craft, because feeling drained doesn’t add anything of value to your skill.
If you feel driven, then you might be onto something new that you love: a yarn, project, stitch or technique that you can continue to work on to perfect!
When you’re loving what you create, you’ll be able to fine-tune and hone in on your own crochet specialties and build your expertise.
Do more of that!
Not sure what you love to make yet? Here are some free patterns to try:
Tip #5: Practice makes perfect
Well, practice makes progress and progress can lead to perfection!
We equate perfection with expertise because focusing on the flawlessness of every stitch and technique we produce will help to build professional looking fabrics and projects.
Crochet is a muscle memory exercise, and it will get better the more time you spend doing it.
When you take a look at your first project and your fiftieth project, there will (hopefully) be a noticeable difference.
The more time you invest in yarn, stitches and techniques, the less time you’ll spend struggling on any one of these things individually within a project.
Practice the things that you love so that you can focus on perfecting them.
Not sure what to practice next? Watch 30+ crochet stitch & technique tutorials:
Peace + Love + Crochet