Are you telling me there is a right and a wrong way?
Nope…that’s not what I’m saying at all! You need to find what works best for you, but I’m here to give you a little guidance…feel free to play around with it a little bit and do what feels right to you. Now that you have gotten your yarn and hooks, we are going to go through some of the different ways you can hold your hook and your yarn. (Read my previous post to freshen up on some more basics of crochet). Holding your hook one way or another really won’t change your finished project; however, holding your yarn different ways WILL change your finished project. How tight you pull your yarn will determine how tight your stitches will be. You also want to hold it in such a way that it “feeds” easier…doesn’t get caught and doesn’t require you going through muscle failure as you crochet.
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Haven’t gotten your yarn yet…take a look here! They have a beautiful selection to choose from. I highly recommend buying a “worsted” or “medium” weight yarn, and Acrylic yarn offers the softness and versatility you will love to work with!
Are you still hoping that the perfect hook, or hooks, will fall into your lap? Well…here they are! So comfortable to work with and the most popular, and most used, sizes.
Let’s start with holding your hook~
I am right handed, so my pictures show me holding the hook in my right hand. My dominant (right) hand holds the hook and my non-dominant (left) hand will feed the yarn. For lefties…your dominant (left) hand will hold the hook and your non-dominant (right) hand will feed your yarn. Here are two different ways you can hold your hook. One is almost like holding a dinner knife to cut your steak, and the other is more like holding a pencil (almost). Notice that my thumb is resting on the “thumb notch” (I don’t know if that is a real term, but I’m running with it), and the hooked portion at the end is facing me.
I prefer to hold it like the first picture. I feel like it gives me a better range of motion in my wrist as I crochet. I have tried the other way, but only last a few stitches, as it feels really weird to me. Experiment with both ways before settling on one…it will become habit after a little while, so make sure whichever way you choose is comfortable to you.
Let’s make a quick slip knot so we can experiment holding our yarn…
Do you want to hear a funny story? Don’t worry…it’s short! I learned to crochet using books, at first, and then through YouTube videos. I started learning the basics from books that I would buy at WalMart or check out from the library. For this reason…the only way I know how to make a slip knot is the way they showed me in the book. I have to lay the yarn on my lap, table or the arm of my chair and do exactly as they showed me in the book. But it works! So I’m sticking with it! No shame in my silly technique…although I had some crochet friends laugh at me. That’s ok, I can laugh at myself too. We are going to make a “pretzel”…pay close attention to when the yarn is “over” and when it is “under”.
In the first 3 pictures, everything has been “over”…now, as in picture 4, you are putting it “under”.
Lay your hook “over” the right side of your pretzel, under the one loop in the middle, and then over the left side of your pretzel. Holding your two yarn ends, start pulling to tighten your loop on your hook. Make sure your “tail” is about 6 inches long or longer (but not crazy long).
Now, looking at the two pictures above: The end that is attached to your ball, or skein, of yarn, is called your “feeding” or “feeder” yarn. The six inch piece of yarn is called your “tail”. Leave a six inch tail so you can later sew it into your project.
Feeding your yarn…YUM!
Now that you have played around a little with holding your hook, let’s play around with holding the yarn. There are many ways that you can hold your yarn…remember that your yarn will be in your non-dominant hand. For me, a regular ole’ righty, my yarn is in my left hand. The trick to holding your yarn to feed your project is…you want it taunt but not too tight.
These first two pictures above are similar…with one minor difference. In the first picture, I have my yarn over my index finger, under my middle and ring fingers, and over my pinky…leaving the feeding yarn to hang. How tight the yarn is pulled with this technique, is controlled by how tight you squeeze your fingers/hand together. In the second picture above, I have the yarn over my index finger, under my middle and ring fingers, over my pinky…but I’m holding the feeding yarn with my thumb. This technique holds the yarn very taunt and may require more effort to pull the yarn, since it is meeting so much resistance having to weave through so many fingers.
The yarn holding technique in the above two pictures is how I, personally, like to hold my yarn. I simply looped the yarn over my index finger, with the feeding yarn laying in my palm. I control the tension by squeezing my index finger and middle finger together. I have found that this way feeds the yarn smoothly and offers a consistent tension, without too much resistance. This allows me to crochet faster because I’m not fighting the resistance of the yarn.
Got it now? Ready to roll? What’s next?
So far, we have gone through the basics of reading yarn labels, choosing the correct hook for the weight of the yarn you are using, how to hold your hook, and how to “feed” your yarn. We will be talking about keeping proper tension on your yarn, chaining your yarn, and some SUPER important tips in my next post. We are so close to working our very first project! Stay with me!
**Note: I would love to thank Scrapbook.com for the wonderful scrapbook paper that I use as the backdrops for my photos. What a wonderful way to dress up the background of your photos…the choices they offer and the fabulous prices, make it easier for me to feel great about my photos!**