Making The Best Crochet
One of the great things about crochet is that there are constantly new tips and tricks to learn. I’m always completely bowled over when I stumble upon a new crochet technique, pattern, or colour combination. Actually, I think what astonishes me most is that crochet, or more to the point, how we crochet, always has the ability to surprise!
As part of this, it’s important that, when upping our crochet game, we embrace new skills, news skills that can really elevate crochet and make yarny projects the best they can be.
Top Crochet Tips and Techniques
I learned to crochet six years ago (Nanna tried to teach me when I was little; I didn’t get on with it). After six years I still LOVE crochet and I still love it when it teaches me something new. A lot of it is probably my childish pride but I don’t care, it makes me super happy. It makes me squee when I accomplish something that’s new to me. I’ve found a hobby that continually delights.
And that’s the point here. Many of the crochet tips below are now part of my everyday hooking repetoire but they might be totally new to somebody else. We’re lucky enough that these crochet tricks and techniques get shared, for us all to discover and enjoy.
Anyway, I thought it would be a really good idea to collate some of my favourite crochet tips together in one place. Some are more common than others but I didn’t know them at one time, maybe you don’t either? There are probably loads more I have yet to try as well. Let me know what you think, and tell me if there are some awesome crochet secrets that I’ve missed.
1. The Standing Start – Alternative to “Chain 3”
Check out Moogly for how to replace the “3ch” and seamlessly start a crochet project. Wrap new yarn around your hook twice and then insert the hook into the first stitch before completing what is effectively the first US dc / UK tr stitch. It is just one method that’s an alternative to the 3 chain at the beginning of rows / rounds. I like this technique for starting rows when changing colour.
2. The Chainless Foundation. Or Foundationless Start
I love this crochet tip! Love LOVE love it!! Find my video tutorial for a foundationless start HERE. In the tutorial I demonstrate the technique for US sc, hdc and dc starts. Beginning crochet projects has never looked so neat and tidy. Plus, there’s more elasticity with this method and you don’t end up with a twisty tangle of a foundation chain.
3. Stop your Chains Twisting!
If you do still want to chain the old fashioned way, here’s how to stop the twist! It is perfect for a project like an infinity scarf. Sometimes the old method is a good method, especially if you’re all fingers and thumbs with the foundationless start. This is the one where you pop the end of the chain onto your hook whilst you whip up the rest of your chains, then slide it over at the end to create a big ol loop.
4. The Invisible Decrease
Planet June has great amigurumi tutorials for techniques that create wonderfully neat crochet creatures. The invisible decrease is ace; it’s one of my favourite amigurumi secrets. It does what it says on the tin, it’s a decrease that’s invisible! Other decrease methods can be seen in the tight stitches of amigurumi fabric, so this one is a doozy.
5. Finishing off your Amigurumi
This top crochet tip saved me from having lots of stuffed toys with ugly bottoms! Quite literally for this fawn (not that you can see his bottom in the picture below).
Have a look here for this easy method for closing the little whole left at the end of an amigurumi pattern. Even with the invisible decrease, I reckon you can only decrease so much with amigurumi before the stitches start looking a bit overstretched. This is normally near the final round or two. So rather than struggling to squeeze them, I like to finish by using a needle and thread.
6. A Smooth Crochet Circle
If you add uniform increases when working a crochet circle, the final item can actually look more hexagonal. It’s all about mixing up the stitches. Bascially, you don’t have to work every increase in a formulaic pattern. Be a bit more random with the placemnt of the increases and it smooths out the rounds.
7. Work under the Bumps
This one, I learned near the beginning of my crochet obsession and I still think it’s fab. Many patterns never seem to state whereabouts in a chain you should work and, when I was a learner, this confused the heck out of me! I used to go into just the one loop of each chain, never really knowing if this was the right thing to do. To be honest, it looks a bit of a mess doing it this way. What someone should have told me was to work in the back “bumps” of a foundation chain. Check out this beginner friendly method here: under the bumps tutorial. Unless, you know, Foundationless…!
8. Tidy Crochet Edges for your Border
I only found this one a few days ago so I haven’t tried it yet. It looks great! My edges tend to look messy even when I make an effort to be extra neat. Felted Button has a great tutorial to rid you of unsightly borders.
Another crochet tip I picked up for creating a neat and tidy border is to make sure you colour match where you can. If the first round of a border matches the main body of you project, you disguise any potential quirky stitch placements.
9. Lose the Granny Square Twist
Why are my Granny’s twisty?! Cherry Heart will tell you! Sandra’s post has lots of useful crochet tips relating to the ubiquitous granny square. So simple, yet I never thought of trying any of these at first. All hail experienced crochet experts!!
10. The Continuous Join as you go
Not to be confused with the Join As You Go method, which still results in lots of ends to sew in (but is useful when using different rounds of colour), The Continuous JAYG has only two ends to sew in and it’s really easy! Honestly, if you haven’t done this before, it’s life changing. I’ve tried a couple of different methods and the one over at Patchwork Heart is the best.
This is one that’s easy once you have seen a demonstration. I tried to make it up once and got in a right pickle!
11. The Fancy Continuous Join as you go
I really really want to do this. You can save time and be pretty! It’s the Continuous Flat Braid. Same as above, but fancy!!
12. The Neat Granny Border
If you’ve gone to the effort of stitching all your granny’s together, the least you can do is make sure they get a beautiful border too. Too many clusters around the edges can cause a bit of a ruffle. Pop over to Bunny Mummy’s guide for how to crochet a flat border.
And that’s it for now but I reckon I’ll have to do a sequel one day. Crochet tips like this really can help create beautiful work and I’m always on the look put for more ways I can improve my crochet skills.
Once again, please do let me know if you have your own favourite top crochet tips and tricks. I’d love to hear from you. Cheers!