Friday, January 21, 2011

Crochet Basics - Tools

Crochet is basically a very simple craft that needs relatively few tools, the most basic of which are Hook and Yarn. Once you have these two then you're pretty much ready to stitch!

The Hook
Crochet hooks come in different sizes and make. Some are made of plastic, aluminum, steel, and wood with intricate handle designs. There are also Tunisian crochet hooks for Tunisian type of crochet. It doesn't matter what type of crochet hook you use, what's important is the size of the hook since it determines the stitch size and gauge of your work. Below is a list of hook sizes in Continental (European), U.S. (American) and U.K./Canadian systems.

The Yarn
As important as the size of the hook, you must also use the right type of yarn for your project. Yarns are classified by its weight and size, and in general, are separated into six distinct groups.
  • Super Fine yarns, also known as fingering or sock weight yarn is the thinnest of all yarn types. It is commonly used in making delicate and lightweight garments for babies.
  • Fine yarns, or also called sport weight are medium weight yarns that are used for a wide variety of projects including scarves, shawls, and also baby garments.
  • Light yarns, also called double knitting (DK) yarns or light worsted yarns are slightly thicker than fine yarns. They are a common type of yarns used for slightly heavier garments.
  • Medium weight yarns, also called worsted weight yarns are the most common type of yarns which are readily available and are used in many projects.
  • Bulky weight yarns, also called chunky, craft, and rug yarns.
  • Super bulky yarns, also referred to as roving if they haven't been spun into a recognizable size of yarn.
There are also Novelty yarns which is a general term used to describe yarns that have special styles on them such as shimmers, bulks, fur, bumps, or dangling and wiggling threads.

Other Tools

There are also other additional tools that might come in handy when doing your crochet project, one of them is a pair of scissors. Of course, you'd always want to cut your yarn with scissors and not with other means like um, teeth!

You might need some pins and tapestry needles. The pins can be used to secure your work when you stitch your crochet pieces together using the tapestry needles. Choose needles that have large eyes and blunt points, like the ones used in cross stitch projects.

Rulers and tape measures may also come in handy. They can be used to measure your work as you go along with your project and as you measure your finished product, and most importantly, to check your gauge.

Stitch markers are also quite necessary especially when you feel the need to mark an end row or a specific stitch of your work. You can purchase stitch markers but you can also conveniently use safety pins, paper clips or small scrap yarns that have contrasting colors.

Depending on the pattern or type of project you are making, you might need other materials and tools such as buttons, pliers, and some fancy beads, among others.

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