As an ideal gateway handicraft, crochet is relatively simple in terms of materials and process. Depending on your creative goals and budget, you can use very few supplies or build up a large arsenal of tools to crochet with.
Is crochet a cheap hobby? It can be, if you opt for inexpensive yarn and a small supply of hooks. Of course, high quality supplies will cost more, and diverse project goals may demand a range of supplies. As a beginner, you’d be wise to start with the basics and invest more heavily when you know what works best for you.
What Tools Do You Need to Crochet?
At the very least, you need yarn and a hook to crochet. If you’re a crochet beginner, scarves, washcloths and small blankets are among the easiest projects requiring the fewest crocheting tools.
Of course, before long you’ll want to crochet a coaster or make cozy slippers, and things will be a bit more complicated.
In general, you’re going to need more than the hook and yarn to complete a project. Referred to as “notions,” other essential tools include scissors, needles and measuring devices. Keep this list handy as you learn to crochet.
Basic Crochet Tools for Beginners
When you’re just starting out with crochet tools and accessories, stick to what you need to get comfortable with the craft. Try different brands and varieties to find your favorites and strategize the rest of your crocheting toolkit.
Whether or not you consider it a crochet tool, yarn might be the most fun material on the list. Big box and chain stores will probably have the largest, most affordable selection and offer yarns you can buy all year ‘round. For more specialized products and services, check out local yarn shops staffed by knowledgeable crafters.
Factors on the yarn label that can influence your project include:
- Thickness (fine, medium, bulky, etc.)
- Fiber content (what the yarn’s made of)
- Weight in ounces or grams
- Length in yards or meters
- Tool suggestions (hook size)
- Care instructions
In choosing yarn colors, pay attention to the lot number as well as the name of the color. Because yarn is dyed in batches, subtle differences exist, even within the same color from the same brand. The lot number ensures you’re getting yarn from a specific batch.
Every crochet hook has a handle (where you hold on), shank (between the handle and hook head and determines the hook size) and hook head (the part that grabs the yarn). After that, the variations are endless.
The most important variation is crochet hook size, designated by letters, numbers and millimeters. The millimeters provide the universal shank diameter, and the corresponding numbers and letters reflect a measurement system unique to the United States. While you’re learning, try to use hook sizes recommended on your yarn labels.
Next select the kind of hook head you need:
- Inline hook heads are in line with the hook handle and have a deep groove (throat) to give you the most control over your yarn.
- Tapered hook heads protrude beyond the hook handle and have a shallow, more rounded throat.
- Hybrid hook heads are a middle ground between inline and tapered hook heads, and considered useful for the largest range of abilities and projects.
Choosing what your hooks are made of hinges on they type of yarn you’ll use:
- Metal hooks are either shiny (for grippy, acrylic yarns) or matte (for smoother animal fiber yarns).
- Plastic hooks are affordable but don’t work well with acrylic yarns, as the friction between the plastics creates a lag that takes a toll on the hands.
- Wooden hooks are inexpensive, high quality and work well with a range of yarn types.
Consider the ergonomics of your hooks, including handle thickness and curve and cushioning added around the hook itself. This will likely take some trial and error to see what feels best on your hands and wrists.
While any old scissors will work to snip your yarn, seasoned crocheters tend to prefer embroidery scissors. These small tools fit well in kits and often come in fun colors and designs.
You might also consider folding scissors as a safety and space-saving measure.
Tape Measure or Ruler
Depending on the project, you may need to measure your body, something in your home or the project itself. Opt for something flexible, especially for curved projects, and durable. Weaker tape measures tend to stretch and become inaccurate with time.
To weave in the beginning and ends of your projects, tapestry needles (also called yarn or darning needles) are vital. Metal needles tend to slip through yarn more easily than plastic ones, making it easier to keep everything in place.
Needles come in a variety of lengths and thicknesses. Keep a decent supply on hand so you can quickly change needles to suit any particular crochet task.
You can also choose from blunt or sharp yarn needles. Sharp needles work well with more delicate fabrics, while blunt needles are less likely to split individual pieces of yarn.
You’ll notice that some tapestry needles are curved. The slight bend makes it easier to weave in and out of your fabric, especially when crocheting something like a stuffed animal.
Other Tools Needed to Crochet
Once you’ve got the basics down, you’ll find additional crocheting tools can make your craft more enjoyable and successful.
These tiny pieces will hold stitches in place for clean edges, count chains on large projects like blankets and indicate which side of your fabric is which. In a pinch, you can use safety pins as stitch markers.
Blocking Tools for Crochet
In crochet, blocking ensures clean lines and accurate shapes for a more professional looking finished product.
Blocking involves dampening your pieces (such as a potholder or individual pieces for a blanket) and securing them to a board or mat in the shape they’re meant to hold.
Wooden blocking boards have grids of small holes; projects are held in place with rods that fit in the holes. Foam blocking mats feature dots to make squares or other shapes (such as a hexagon or triangle) and projects are held in place with small pins.
Depending on the type of yarn used, you may need to leave your project on the blocking board or mat for hours or days. It’s worth the wait when you have a dry piece holding a perfect shape.
Crochet Hook Gauge Tool
If your crochet hook collection is big enough, it’s not easy to quickly pick out one size from another. For precise work, however, the right hook size can make all the difference.
A crochet hook gauge tool looks like a rule or stencil, and has several holes of different sizes. Each hole has a different hook size, which is listed in both metric and U.S. measurements. This is handy not only for conversions, but when a hook’s size has worn off or been obscured somehow. The hook gauge tool often includes a ruler for general measuring of your projects.
Keep your projects and materials tidy and ready to go with proper storage. Consider finishing your crochet kit with:
- Hook cases: Organize and protect your crochet hooks with pockets for each individual hook.
- Project bag: Whether it’s a simple bag or a high-tech organizer, designated storage will keep your projects safe.
- Project labels: Attach a small label to each project and avoid a frustrating search when you’re ready to work.
- Yarn bowl: Keep your yarn from rolling away and getting tangled with a specially designed yarn bowl.
If You’ve Got the Notion…
Second that emotion with a crochet kit that goes beyond the bare minimum. Good yarn, a few hooks and a stock of helpful supplies means you’ll be ready to go when inspiration strikes. Happy handicrafting!
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