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Guidance for Wanna be Crocheter


LeftCoastLurker
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Hi Everyone! I'm thinking about taking up crocheting, but I want to do the "lace/thread"(?) kind. Love the scarves and shawls, etc.. I need something to keep my hands busy when I'm just hanging out. I crocheted many, many years ago, but it was just simple granny squares made of yarn. I also sew and do cross stitch and fabric piece work (quilt tops only...hate the actual quilting part), but ironically I don't LIKE the look of either, just like the mechanics of doing it.

So, I need recommendations for books, videos, patterns, materials, advice (such as...you're insane!) to get me going.

Can anybody help?

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Yes! I love lace crochet!  My advice:

1) To learn the basic lace stitches, try making a doily. Grace Fearon has some gorgeous free doily patterns with detailed photo instructions. Probably easier than trying to figure out the blocks of text that you see in some other patterns. EDIT: Actually this might be her only one that has a full phototutorial. https://gracefearon.com/lorelai

2) When you do get a text-heavy pattern... print it out so you can mark off stitches as you do them, take it one step at a time, and remember that designers use a sort of mathematical grammar where things inside parentheses or brackets go together.

3) Charts aren't as scary as they look! Most of the symbols pretty much look like the stitches you're making. Just remember that you will work one row across and then work back from the other side in the next row (unless you're working in the round).

4) Before you start working with lace yarn, try working some lace patterns in sock weight yarn or size 3 "fashion" thread. You will have to go up a few hook sizes (probably a 3.5 or 3.75 mm) and your final project will obviously be larger, but with flat objects like scarves and shawls the increased gauge shouldn't otherwise matter.

5) BLOCK EVERYTHING. Don't give up just because the thing you're working on looks like hot garbage right now. When people talk about how their lace didn't turn out or it doesn't look like the designer's photo... it's almost always because they didn't block properly. Soak your finished project in lukewarm water for a few minutes, then press out some of the moisture with a towel. Stretch it out until it looks nice and pin it in place on a mattress, foam board, or cardboard using thumbtacks and let it dry.

Edited by NachosFlandersStyle
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OK, a few more things because I love talking about crochet.

Tamara Kelly has tutorials, both photo and video, for just about everything.

Here's a pretty good introduction to reading charts.

Doris Chan designs a lot of funky garments that use lace crochet motifs but are made with heavier yarn. Free ones are here.

You really don't need to pay for patterns when you're just getting started, but once you feel like getting really fancy, some of my favorite scarf/shawl designers are Lily Go, Bernadette Ambergen, and Katia Novikova. Lots of cool projects on their pages if you want inspiration.

Edited by NachosFlandersStyle
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Get a good hook that feels comfortable in your hand and encourages good technique (I absolutely love the ergonomic Addi Swing hooks). I find these hooks help me to keep good technique even when I’m tired and my hands hurt much less than when I use a regular hook. 

Ravelry is a wonderful site, not just for the pattern search function (by yarn weight, by hook size, item, difficulty, whatever you can think of to browse lovely patterns) but also for the community. There are crochet-along groups, technical advice, general chatter, etc. Really fab. 

Otherwise I have very little to add to @NachosFlandersStyle‘s excellent advice!

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  • 10 months later...

For free patterns and stuff, I can't go past Ravelry.com if you haven't already been there. I've gotten lots of patterns from there, and generally you can find links to tutorials and information as well.

 

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