making crochet, tying knots in the clothesline
September 2, 2015 10:10 AM   Subscribe

Can you help me put together a list of crochet blogs and instructional videos that explain in painstaking detail -- like, looped super-close-up slow-motion detail -- how to a) stitch something other than Ch, Sc, and Dc and b) make some simple crocheted gifts?

After learning how to do some verrrrry basic crochet, I am now obsessed, but I'm struggling a lot with figuring out how to read patterns -- written ones and the chart-type things -- and I don't understand gauge AT ALL. I did sign up for Ravelry (I'm dbr over there, too). I'm one of those people who needs direct, hands-on instruction when I'm learning how to do anything but the current slate of in-person crochet classes at my LYS is impossible for me to attend due to my work schedule. And all of my crafty friends are knitters, not crocheters.

Some of Melanie Ham's instructional videos have been helpful, but sometimes her hands go out of frame for a few stitches and then I get totally lost. Is Craftsy a worthwhile endeavor? I'd love to figure out how to make a hat, gloves/mittens, or some cute little ball animals (amigurumi) but right now all I can do is rectangles and squares.

So far I've made one terrible Sc scarf along with ~1/4 of of a pretty good Dc scarf, and I'm about halfway done with a middling Dc baby blanket. I have a couple different weights and styles of [vegan] yarn and a few hooks but no stitch counter, stitch markers, or yarn needles.

If you're like, "Well, I would post this project, but it's written/walked through at a level that would be easily understood by a literal kindergartener," that's exactly what I'm looking for. I saw this previously but OP is already at a more advanced skill level than me and although I do have a nice pair of size 9 needles, knitting is currently beyond the scope of my comprehension.

Thank you, crocheters of MeFi!
posted by divined by radio to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I can't help you specifically, because chain and sc is the limit of my crochet knowledge too, but welcome to Ravelry! I bet you might be able to use the "nearby" function to find meetups or groups or even individuals close to you who could teach you in person.
posted by Liesl at 10:44 AM on September 2, 2015

How I'm learning to crochet is finding a pattern with a new stitch, going on youtube and watch video after video until I find one that works, then attempt. There is a surprising number of crochet tutorials on Youtube.

That said, if you want to get into amigurumi (crocheted stuffed animals!), Planet June is probably the best I've come across. She has videos and stills of each step along the way. Her magic ring explanation is gold.
posted by astapasta24 at 10:46 AM on September 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Honestly? Practice. Practice. Practice. It's the only way you'll get better at doing and reading the patterns. I crocheted for years before I could read a pattern correctly, and even now I'm "WTF does that mean?" and I have to look a stitch up and figure it out. Thank goodness for the internet! Before I'd just get frustrated and quit the pattern.

I never figured out gauge... well, I understand it logically, but I've never actually used it or paid attention to it. I usually knit/crochet things like scarves and shawls though, so I don't worry about it. If I ever get around to knitting/crocheting (I do both) actual clothes, I'll pay more attention to it.

Then there's the added complication that not all patterns are created equally, there's a lot of artistic license when writing a pattern.

I might also suggest that you join a knitting/crocheting group. You can find them on (it's free to join) and the people in those groups love to help newbies learn. And there's nothing better (in my mind) than someone who can walk you through the steps. Plus, it's not a class, and you're not obligated to show up. You can join as many groups as you like in your area and see which one fits for you.
posted by patheral at 10:47 AM on September 2, 2015

In general, Craftsy classes are really good. I have several of the more advanced crochet classes. I can't specifically recommend many beginner classes, but I did enjoy "Beyond Rectangles." It results in not-the-cutest baby cardigan, but the learning is worth it. I don't have or know any babies and I still made it.

I also made a hat from "Crocheting in the Round: Mix and Match Hats," and it's one of my favorites (even though I'm an advanced knitter and can make pretty much anything I want, I still like the plain crochet beanie).

Join us on MeFi group on Ravelry, if you haven't already!
posted by liet at 12:36 PM on September 2, 2015

I like the explanations and videos at Crochet Me - not everything has a video, but most have illustrations.

One thing to be aware of when looking at instructions is that American and British nomenclature differs.

A good technique to learn is the magic loop for things that start in the round (hats, some blankets, etc).

I never bother with gauge and haven't had any issues thus far (though I haven't made any complex apparel beyond baby booties).

I'd try making some washcloths/tea towels/potholders in different patterns. They're square/rectangular and don't take very long, so you can try out a bunch of different stitches. I'd go for (1) granny square; (2) basketweave (front post; back post stitches); (3) ripple stitch (increasing and decreasing); and (4) popcorn or puff stitch.
posted by melissasaurus at 1:17 PM on September 2, 2015

I'm no use for info about learning the stitches, but there is an app called Gaugefy (web, iPhone, android) that helps with calculating gauge.
posted by 2 cats in the yard at 6:57 PM on September 2, 2015

I really like Happy Berry - very clear tutorials. I'm teaching myself too so I feel the pain - gunge is a total mystery to me too at this point.
posted by Jilder at 8:43 PM on September 2, 2015

posted by Jilder at 9:23 PM on September 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

I don't know if I'd call them simple, but Louie's Loops blog and YouTube channel feature tutorials and patterns which could produce some pretty neat crocheted gifts like amigurumi video game and movie characters.
posted by zackfern at 6:00 PM on December 19, 2015

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