Captivating Crocheting—Ideas, Tips & Free Patterns
Like the Look of Lace?
Why not crochet beautiful items for your home? A simple hook and crochet cotton are all that are needed to create captivating crocheted designs.
A Great Hobby
Crocheting is a satisfying hobby because you can create so many practical and pretty items to decorate your home with.
I've always been fascinated with the complexity of crocheted designs--fragile birds and flowers and geometric patterns crafted in crochet cotton.
Finer Thread & Cotton for Lace-Like Designs
When I want to create lighter-weight pieces, I work with finer thread and smaller hooks to produce lace-like designs. I try to incorporate different elements so that each crocheted piece is unique.
I use sizes .75 or 1.00 size hooks and use fine-to-medium weight crochet cotton.
Of course, crocheted items can be either delicate or heavy depending on the hook size and the thickness of the crochet cotton.
Yarn & Larger Hook for Sturdier Materials
For crocheted rugs, afghans, or slippers, I use a larger plastic hook and yarn. I sometimes work with multiple stands to achieve the desired thickness. Much depends on the project I'm working on.
By the time you've finished reading this page, you'll have a better idea of what you can actually make with crochet, you'll have learned some neat crochet tips, and you'll find links to free crochet patterns.
Crocheting — Not Just for Grannies
Crocheting isn't just for grannies or shut-ins. In fact, crochet has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity, with modern-day crafters (both women and men) discovering what their forebears already knew: crochet is a crafting method that can be called on to produce an amazing variety of both pretty and practical goods, it is faster than knitting, and it is affordable.
In times past, people crocheted to save money and it is no different today. So many practical items can be made for the home at a fraction of what it would cost to buy them. On top of that, one can also make clothing items and warm outwear. It's no wonder crocheters are "hooked!"
Few materials are needed to get started with crochet, which is something that has always appealed to me. I don't know about you but I'm put off by a long list of necessary materials that I have to find before I can even get started. With hooks already on hand, picking out my yarn is just so much easier.
Some crafters keep a large supply of yarn on hand, so that they can hook anytime they want. And, for those who live out in the country, yarn can now be ordered online.
From beautiful crocheted table runners and centerpieces, from unique crocheted wall hangings and attractive rugs and baskets, the number of items one can make for the home is mind-boggling.
Warm Outer Gear
Edgings for collars and cuffs
For the Home
Filet Crochet Pictures
Dog or Cat Beds
Hanging Kids' Organizers
Floral Accents for Hats
Halloween Candy Bags
Accents for clothing
Crocheted Flowers or Plants
Crocheted Window Hanging
How I Made This Pretty Crocheted Window Hanging
This crocheted window hanging was made from a pattern for a table runner, using filet crochet. By using a thicker crochet cotton, it worked up to the perfect size for a wall or window. I was so pleased with the results, I kept it, as is.
This window hanging not only provides privacy in the daytime but it is so pretty illuminated in the window at night with the light behind it.
So, don't be afraid to experiment. As I mentioned earlier in this hub, you can adjust your materials, depending on whether you want delicate/smaller or heavier/larger. Sometimes, you will see a pattern that you really like but it may not be the size or weight you desire. Simply do as I did for the runner to achieve different results.
What's Your Favorite Thing to Crochet?
Similar to a window hanging, a solid wall hanging can make an attractive decor item. This wall hanging was made by a talented crocheter in Grand Forks, B.C.
Wouldn't This be Cute in a Kitchen?
Oval Cloth Chrysanthemum and Pine Cones #23
Info About the Table Runner Above
I've had many requests for information about the table runner above. The pattern was Oval Cloth Chrysanthemum and Pine Cones, #23 and this would have been from a crochet magazine in the early 80s. I'm missing the cover and cannot find the particular issue number.
See comments section at the bottom of this page. A reader, Sky, has seen this pattern and has kindly provided information for others who would like to make this table runner.
Tips on How to Get Started With Crochet
It is so simple to get started with crochet. As touched on earlier, you do not need a variety of materials and you can get started on any project with just two items.
If you like what you have seen so far and would like to try your hand at crocheting, rest assured that crochet is relatively simple to learn, if you go about it in the right fashion.
Start With Beginner Designs: It is best to start with beginner crochet designs and then move up to intermediate and advanced. It may be tempting to attempt a pattern for an item you've fallen in love with but starting with easier patterns and working your way up can help you to avoid frustration and disappointment with your first finished piece. Also, if you build a foundation of knowledge, this can aid you as you work future designs.
Choose Crochet Magazines With Graphs: One thing I've found most helpful is crochet books that not only offer patterns but also provide graphs, illustrating the stitches and rounds you need to complete. This is very helpful, especially if you are stuck while reading the written instructions and need to actually see how something is worked.
Uh-oh! What Did I Do Wrong?
My Afghan Was Lopsided and it Ended up in a Dog House
The first thing I ever made was an afghan. I was still a young girl and my tension was all over the place. My wise grandmother had suggested I make a square to get used to crocheting but I was eager to jump right in. Not a good idea! I was proud that I went the distance and finished my first project but my afghan, while a lovely color, was extremely lopsided. It was much smaller on one end and shaped itself into a fan, as my tension had loosened. The afghan wasn't usable and for years it was hidden away in a closet. My mother finally sold it to some people who bought it as a dog blanket and said they would put it out in the doghouse. We laughed over that for years!
I Overcompensated and my Doilies Developed Waves
I always remembered that I'd "loosened up" too much with that afghan and that influenced my later pieces. When I first started crocheting doilies, I could never get them to press out flat, even though I understood and followed the instructions to the letter. As fast As I pressed down on one section another popped up. With experience, I discovered that my tension was now too tight. Once I loosened up, my doilies turned out perfectly.
A Word About Magic Crochet Magazine
Your crocheted pieces are only as good as your patterns. If you are trying to create a crocheted item using hard-to-understand-directions, it can become frustrating, to say the least.
A beginner needs crochet instructions that are clear and easy to understand.
Magic Crochet-Graphs and Stitch Guides
I always enjoyed Magic Crochet magazine because, in addition to clear instructions, they provided a picture-type graph, which took the guess-work out of each pattern.
- Their graphs were so instructional, one could work a piece by following the picture. Great for those who dislike or feel intimidated by instructions.
- I found it was a great visual prompt to mark rounds or rows on the picture graph with a pen or marker, which made keeping track of where I was in the pattern so much easier.
Magic Crochet also offered step-by-step illustrations of how to execute individual crochet stitches in each magazine. For example, say the crochet pattern called for a treble crochet and you needed to refresh your memory. You simply turned to the back of the magazine for easy instructions with pictures.
Where to Get Magic Crochet
Magic Crochet is no longer published but you can still find these wonderful crochet magazines by collecting second-hand copies.
• E-bay is a godsend if you are trying to locate back issues of Magic Crochet.
• I would suggest you pick up magazines in lots. You can buy a number of magazines for a reasonable amount.
Pattern Book Buying Tips
- Crochet Magazine Subscriptions: I like crochet magazine subscriptions because there are always new designs to try out. Receiving the latest issue of a favorite crochet magazine in the mail and checking out all the new designs can be like Christmas all over again. It's always such a welcome surprise to go to the mail and find a new magazine has arrived.
- Save Money With Back Issues: I've also ordered back issues of crochet magazines, which helps when looking for a specific design and is easy on the budget. Back issues can usually be obtained for a fraction of the cost.
- Second Hand Stores: If you are fortunate, you may discover crochet magazines at second hand stores. This is a good way to collect lots of crochet patterns for minimal cost.
- Yard Sales: Another resource for crocheting magazines is yard sales. Sometimes crochet magazines are offered for mere pennies because someone is cleaning out a spare room or has gotten away from the craft.
Themed Pattern Books
Crochet magazines can also be ordered for a certain theme, such as for Christmas.
Crochet Cotton & Yarn Buying Tips
- Buying Your Crochet Cotton in Lots: If you plan on doing a number of crochet projects, you can save money by buying your cotton in lots. Stock up on cotton for a fraction of the price.
- Thrift stores: Thrift stores usually will have a bin filled with odds and ends of yarn. Why not offer a set amount for the works? I did this recently and got a large hamper filled with both crochet cotton and yarn for only $5.00
- Yarn-Drop-Off: Tell your friends and neighbors that you will take any yarn they want to get rid of. I actually posted a notice on my front door and have had people drop off their yarn.
Hook Buying Tips
- Hook Sets: It is also very convenient to buy hook sets instead of having an assortment of odd crochet hooks lying around. It can be frustrating to want to get started on a pattern, only to discover that not one of your crochet hooks is the right size.
- Add to Your Hook Collection: If you have an assortment of hooks, make a list of the sizes you don't have and order these, then store all hooks in a container.
A Table Topper Pattern I Adapted to Make a Valance
How I Created Valances From a Table Topper
I wanted valances with a scalloped edge. I had a pattern for a lovely scalloped table topper, so I decided to work only half of it (using larger hook and thicker cotton). I made two, then I added solid sleeves for the curtain rod. Crystals finished my valances beautifully.
Same Pattern Used for Chair Topper
Which Crochet do You Like Best?
Pale Green Table Centerpiece
This was another pattern that I changed somewhat by opting to use thicker crochet cotton and a slightly larger steel hook so that instead of a doily, I ended up with a larger table centerpiece. I added beads to make it even prettier.
It's fun to get creative with your crocheted pieces.
Crocheted Table Centerpiece Dressed up With Beads
Beaded Centerpiece — A Work In Progress
How to Make Your Crochet Pieces Unique
- Colors: Incorporate different colors into your pattern. This can be done by working chosen sections in a different color or by working the final round in a pretty variegated.
- Beads: Add beads to your work. This can be done by sewing them onto your crocheted piece after it is finished, as I'm doing with the light green centerpiece or, if you are adding them to the finishing edge, you can slip these onto your cotton. If you do this, make sure that you allow enough cotton before cutting the strand. Also make sure that you choose beads that will fit over your needle.
- Crystals: Add crystals as I've done with the maroon valances. Crystals really dress up your crochet and make it unique. These usually come in strips attached to a ribbon, so you can sew these on the backside of your work. Look for crystal fringe trim.
- Crocheted Flowers: Add crocheted flowers. If you have a doily or centerpiece that you want to dress up, why not crochet some small flowers and attach these to the outside edge? This is easy to do where the work forms points or curves because you can add the flowers evenly along these.
- Contrasting Edging: if you've worked a piece in a solid color, a variegated edging can add a pretty finishing touch.
Free Crochet Patterns
All through this hub, I've given tips about how to make crocheting even more affordable by buying your cotton or yarn in lots and by picking up magazines second-hand. Another way to save money is by accessing free patterns online. Two fabulous sites are:
Most of the larger online yarn companies also include a section with free patterns, and in some cases, instructional videos, so it pays to do some checking.
- How to Make a Crocheted Dishcloth--Easy Pattern Usin...
A free pattern for a no-fuss--no-muss dishcloth for everyday use.
- Make a "Scrapghan"--Crochet a Colorful Afghan From Y...
Why not use up all those left-over yarn scraps to make a brightly-colored crocheted
Crochet Still an All-time Favorite Craft
Crocheting has earned its place as one of the all-time favorite crafts. Perhaps no other method offers such potential to outfit a home with practical and pretty items and as a means to add warm and durable items to the wardrobe.
Do you crochet?
Questions & Answers
© 2008 Athlyn Green