Crochet toolkit for beginners
For a beginner crocheter, having the right tools for a range of projects is essential. It’s easy to get carried away and purchase a bunch of tools that you think you may use before knowing what types of projects are best for beginners and what materials are required for completing them. At the same time you don’t want to be limited by what tools and materials you have readily available.
When I first started crocheting I purchased a lot of tools that I haven’t used or needed because I thought they would come in handy at some point or just because they came in a pretty colour :). I ended up with a ton of yarn I haven’t found any use for and a bunch of hooks and materials that I used once or not at all.
For some, it may not be an issue to go through some trial and error with what you buy and use when starting out, but if you’re on a budget and storage is at a premium, you may want to check out the list I’ve suggested below in an effort to not waste time, money and space!
1) Double-ended crochet hook set: This set by Knit Picks is only $4.99 and comes with four, double-ended crochet hooks ranging from 2.5mm to 6mm and two yarn needles. The brass coloured hooks are comfortable to use and have been my go-to set for the majority of my crochet projects. The case is sturdy and doesn’t take up much space and the hooks and needles fit neatly in slots along with a couple of extra hooks and a small pair of scissors.
2) Large crochet hook (11mm): For projects that use bulky or super bulky yarns it may call for a larger crochet hook. I’ve found that the 11mm hook is my go-to size for thicker yarns. I purchased one from Michael’s for approximately $4. It’s plastic which I find works well for projects of different gauges and the plastic hook slides easily through tight stitches.
3) Scissors: This seems like an obvious one but I’ve learned that having a good pair of sharp scissors is important when crocheting. If you need to sew up the sides of a pouch for example, it’s much easier to thread a needle onto a nicely cut yarn end than one that is frayed and splitting because of a dull pair of scissors. I purchased a small pair from Romni Wools on Queen Street in Toronto for a few dollars and I’ve seen them at sewing stores and in the craft section of Wal-Mart.
4) Sewing needles, thread and pins: Thread is necessary for projects that require you to insert a lining, add a pendant or brooch or for sewing on buttons. Since you’ll likely be crocheting with a variety of bright and fun colours, purchasing a mini sewing thread sample kit could be a good place to start or purchasing a few spools in neutral colours as pictured below has worked well for me. Sewing needles and pins you can get for a few bucks at Michael’s or Fabricland.
5) Measuring tape: A measuring tape is handy for determining gauge for a project or for measuring dimensions of a granny square to determine consistency when blocking. I picked up a miniature one at Fabricland for $2.
6) Buttons: I always keep a healthy stock of buttons because I like to add notions to my crochet projects. Although Fabricland has a wide variety of buttons I often find that they are all quite generic and mostly plastic. Michael’s has a very small stock so I’d suggest keeping an eye out for unique buttons at antique markets, specialty yarn stores by the cash register or using the stash of buttons you’ve saved that came attached to clothing that you never had to use.
7) Stitch counters a.k.a. paper clips: I “borrowed” some from work to use as stitch counters for crocheted projects such as hats or sweaters. They work just as well and are less expensive.
8) Blocking tools: Knit Simple Mag has a great web page on blocking techniques and tools. I’ve always used the steam blocking technique on crochet projects. I’d suggest purchasing a foam piece or one of those foam mat puzzle pieces that are often used for children to use for blocking larger projects. Make sure to get pins that don’t rust and don’t have plastic or they will melt with the use of the iron.
9) Notebook and pen: When you begin to experiment with your own patterns, you will need a place to jot down instructions and notes. Having a notebook and pen handy to write down a list of materials to use when out shopping is also handy as is jotting down names of patterns or web pages that had interesting ideas for later reference. When I have some time to relax, I take out the notebook and look at what I’ve recorded and begin to develop the projects further. Now that I’m blogging and using social media for crocheting, I often make note of writing or photo ideas.
10) Yarn: This is all dependent on the types of projects you are going to start off with but I’d recommend not going out and buying a bunch of yarn without having a specific project or pattern in mind. I went a bit overboard with a Knit Picks order when I first started out and ended up with a bunch of fingering-weight yarn that I have attempted to use multiple times because it’s very pretty and delicate but then end up realizing that I don’t really know what I want to do with it and it gets stashed away. Crocheting can be an expensive hobby if you continually purchase yarn that you don’t really need so I’d recommend picking a few patterns that interest you and that match your skill level, then go out and get the yarn you need.
11) Yarn storage: This might seem insignificant but when I first purchased storage for the ridiculous amount of yarn I had I made the mistake of buying plastic tubs with lids that are inaccessible when stacked. Finding specific yarn and figuring out which bin it was in was very annoying. I also forgot half of the stuff I had in the bins. I then inherited a wire bin storage system with sliding bins so that I can see what’s in each one and I don’t need to go through the same trouble. It also helps to record what you buy (see #9!)
12) Yarn spinner and swift: Wait for these to go on sale. I got them for almost half price around Christmas time on the Knit Picks’ website. They aren’t necessary when you first start out but will become important when you want to purchase skeins instead of balls of yarn which opens up options. The knob to secure the swift is a fairly flimsy wooden screw and it lost its ability to tighten and secure the frame of the swift after a couple of uses so I ended up purchasing a large screw that looks a bit funny but does the trick. Keep in mind that the wooden swift is quite delicate so handle with care. I would also advise that you watch a few YouTube videos on how to spin the yarn properly…it’s not easy the first few time!
For the seasoned crocheters, your list may vary but this is just what I found helpful for starting out. I do think it’s important to do a bit of research before starting your purchasing.