I have been crocheting all my life and in this post I like to share some of the crochet questions I have been asked and give some tips to keep crochet fun. Please keep the questions coming, because we all can benefit from each other, but only if we network and share.
I invite your comments or e-mail your question, so I can address them.
Check back often as I update this post. The newer questions be posted first, so you don’t have to reread everything.
Question: I want my patterns to be published and make a profit from my work.
I be glad to help you publish and sell your patterns on my website and only take a small portion for my expenses. Here are some practical guidelines for you what to do BEFORE you go public with or without me :
1.You have to emphasize for clarity and accuracy. Not every person understands the same , nor is able to follow directions. So please use universal crochet terms.
2.Write the pattern outline or design before you start working on the item. As you execute the pattern be very accurate and write it down RIGHT AWAY. Mistakes will make your customers upset. Writing patterns is a slow process of putting into words a step by step explanations of what you did to make the item. To back track is more complicated and at time impossible.
3. Once you have the pattern written down and the item finished, make the item once more exactly as you wrote it. You will find you need to revise and reword often- at least I always can improve on my original. Better is to have a independent friend to do it for you, since that way at least 2 people understand the pattern.
4. List the materials, the gauge, the size and finished size, the stitches used. Also list when to fasten off, eventual color changes occur, sew in threads and all eventualities such as place markers.
You can publish your pattern on the internet anywhere. It will be found by people google for that item eventually. It is important to tag the item with keywords, so they CAN find it in the vast array of items.
In my opinion it is better to have many patterns grouped together. It also allows you to follow up with the customer and offer more choices later on. You will sell better by association with someone that already is selling patterns.
I scrapbook all my patterns, which make them easy to read and follow. That is a lot more effort, but it makes the patterns unique and collectable, because with each pattern you give a lot of time, thought and a big part of your mentality which encourages the crocheter along the way to finish the project- at least that is my ulterior motive for my patterns.
Question: Where can I sell my crochet items?
Many people sell their items at bazaars, craft shows, but also in flea markets and garage sales. I wrote about 5 blogs about what you need to know before you start:
You always have to match what you offer to the desires of the customers and you will be in great shape.
But you also can sell your items online. In my estimation Etsy.com is the best market. But there are also many other outlets:
and so many others. All of which you have to promote. Just listing your products is not going to work, since nobody will know you are out there. So whereever you list your art, face book, pin, tumble, tweet your heart out.
Question: How do I get started on learning to crochet?
All depends how organized you are and how much you want to spend. I am very much for saving money and that is why I would suggest you start just with one hook and matching size yarn (on the label it tells you what is the correct hook size). Get a free You tube tutorial such as this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6CY4woCU9E. You have to know not all tutorials are created well and there are many short cuts and tricks, you can not learn from a tutorial. You need practice and have to get a good flow of stitches going. Once you find out you like crochet, I would suggest you take a class either on line or even better by DVD like this:this:http://www.anniescatalog.com/detail.html?prod_id=101191&cat_id=344 it helps to go to a local meet up, where people gather to crochet and show you tips and hints for you to learn to crochet efficiently. The reason why I recommend a personal coach is, because once you learn things the wrong way, it is hard to relearn things the right way and you probably want to produce items instead of just occupy your time with the activity of crocheting. Only a personal coach, who observes your way of doing things can help you become the best you can be. But be careful: In our country are soooo many people , who go to college, seek knowledge and pay big bucks for that. Realize this: You can only get to be as good at something as your teacher is. NO teacher can teach you more than they know themselves. Hope this helps to get you started. You will see: It is really fun. After you understand the little bit of basics, the sky is the limit: You will be able to crochet ANYTHING!
The next step is to find the ideal hook, you can work with. A matching hook helps you to crochet faster with the least amount of fatigue. I can not help you with this too much, because every artist is different. But I suggest again: Go to a meet up, a group of crocheters and exchange your hooks, find out what others use and try out their equipment. I myself have not found one company that makes ideal hooks in every size— yet. May be there is one out there by now. I have not looked, because I have all my hooks from when I started to crochet as kid in Germany.
Follow up question from beginners: Hints to prepare for a project:
My suggestion is: Before you start read through the entire pattern first. Often instructions are give within the text, because there is no other way to explain it. The pattern will unfold better as you work it.
Make sure you have all the material specified on hand. Good idea is always to have a little extra of everything mentioned, since we are all different. Use only yarn from the same dye lot. Some things you need are not necessarily mentioned in the pattern, like scissors, tapestry needle, stitch markers…. Also a good thing to have handy is either your computer’s stickies for taking temporary notes or count stitches and rows/rounds or a piece of paper and pencil.
Question: Can I substitute yarn, if I can not find was is specified in a pattern?
Absolutely! It is YOUR project and you make one of a kind. Like with any art you produce your hands have the special touch to make things YOUR way. That is the beauty of creating. If you want the EXACT item on the pattern, you might as well ask the originator to make it for you. A pattern is developed to produce a certain item with logical progression, steps towards a finished product that looks similar to the original design. NO way can you expect to have the exact item like on the picture. You need the practice and your second item will improve much over the first item, because you disrupt the flow of a pattern, by constantly reorienting yourself according to the pattern. You start and stop and your flow is different throughout. next time you make the pattern, you will be more familiar and your stitches just …flow…. Example the more hats you make, you will already know the size the amount of stitches you need and so on. If you follow a hat pattern to the T you might find your head is a little smaller or bigger and hence you have to adjust, may be even rip out, which damages/ crinkles your yarn and such, which all are ways to prevent an outcome as to what the designer’s picture looks like. Should you be discouraged by this: NO way. Just practice and you probably be a better designer than anybody very soon with very little need for patterns to follow- just create as you go. Following patterns when you first learn to crochet will teach you how many things go together and each in each pattern you will learn something new, which you can utilize later.
Question:What is the difference between rounds and rows? What are joined rounds?
A row has a beginning and an end, goes back and forth to produce the crochet fabric.
A round goes around and around like a spiral continuously. You will have no seams and no breaks. It gives an even finish to your piece. if you work in rounds you will carefully mark the first stitch of each round to keep track of your work. Hats, dolls, Amigurumi are usually worked in rounds.
The exception is a joined round. A joined round is a round that gets slip stitched to the starting point of the round. Joined rounds work best, when you want to change color in a striped design.
Question: How do pattern makers determine beginner, intermediate and advanced?
The differentiation crochet patterns makers come up with is generally defined in 3 levels: Beginner, intermediate and advanced.
Beginner needs to know only the basic stitches of ch, sc, dc, and may be hdc and tc.
Intermediate level will use all the basics, but may be some color changes, or stitch combinations. It might mean you work from a graph or with one brackets, where a combination of stitches are explained.
Advance level are complex patterns with many steps to accomplish the final result. You might have square brackets within round brackets with stitch combinations. You might work in layers of crochet or with double opined crochet hooks.
Question: How best to add a new thread/Skein of yarn to your work/ changing color:
Be sure to leave the ends long enough to weave in later . Consider to easy thread it in the tapestry needle.
The best place to join a new thread is the beginning or the end of a row or round. If you see you will not have enough thread/yarn to make a row, just start a new thread at the beginning of the row. You can weave in the ends in the seam unobtrusively. That is what I would recommend for the beginner. If you want to you can do it mid row like this: Finish an entire stitch. Yarn over with the new thread, hook through the previous row and loop off through the new thread. For single crochet it might get a little unsightly, because you do not have a yarn over. Just hook through the previous row and pull new thread through. When you fasten the yarn/ thread with the tapestry needle be sure to first go WITH the stitch flow. After that you can fasten it anywhere you like it hiding the yarn/ thread end in the fabric.
Question: Is there a right side to crochet?
Crochet worked in rows has no specific right side, because both sides look alike. In some designs ( example my beige pocket book) the right side is determined by what the designer wants to acomplish with the design. The pattern changes dramatically and is not repeated on the return row. Then the design will have a right and wrong side, which is easily determined.
When working in rounds you work only from one side of the piece, so that “outside” most likely will be considered the right side.
Question: What to do when you get confused with complex patters?
Often one looses the place in a pattern. That is why I developed scrap booked patterns, which left on the IPad or computer easily hold your place, where you left off. The lay out reminds you what pat you are working on. Yet since i am the only one , who makes patterns like this , one does loose their place.
One thing you can do is use a ruler to gently nudge along as you work. if you work with patterns that have a lot of brackets, you can take a piece of paper and a pencil and make a tally make every time you completed a bracket or step. You can also keep track like that for rows and rounds. One can use a stitch marker, office clip or safety pin to make the spot. Since I am KNOWN to be impatient and hate to fool with unimportant stuff, I use a nylon thread with a knot on one end, which I lay between the stitches to be marked. When done I pull it out. The thread is long enough to make all the spots in one row. The knot on one end makes sure it will not pull out prematurly.
Question: Getting confused when working with many colors?
When I work with lots of colored thread, one great help to me is to write the color code on the skein label. If I do not have a skein label, I take a sticker write the color code on it and stick it on the yarn . For easy reference, I write on a piece of paper the color and the code. Sometimes colors are very close. Then I snip a piece of thread, tape it to the paper and write the code next to it and also lane the skein accordingly.
I will add to the questions and tips as time allows. So check back soon.
If you have a question I might help with , drop me a line and let’s see if we together can’t brainstorm the answer. If we all work together, we all will have beautiful projects to share.
Looking froward to hear from you.