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Captivating Crocheting—Ideas, Tips & Free Patterns

Updated on September 4, 2016
Athlyn Green profile image

Athlyn Green is an avid crocheter and knitter. She designs and sells handcrafted goods.

Crocheted Centerpiece

Image: Oval Cloth Chrysanthemum and Pine Cones #23 from Magic Crochet Magazine.
Image: Oval Cloth Chrysanthemum and Pine Cones #23 from Magic Crochet Magazine. | Source

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.

Crocheted Clothing

Warm Outer Gear
Clothing
Baby
Hats
Headbands
Hats
Cowls
Earrings
Bibs
Scarves
Chokers
Nightgowns
Shawls
Bikinis
Christening Gowns
Ponchos
Crocheted Tops
Sweaters
Sweaters
Belts
Leggings
Coats
Skirts
Booties
Mittens
Wedding dresses
Blankets
Boot Toppers
Socks
Cocoons
Leg Warmers
Slippers
Mittens
Boots
Edgings for collars and cuffs
Boots

For the Home

Pretty
Practical
Extras
Lace Edgings
Discloths
Kids Toys
Doilies
Hot Pads
Sock Monkeys
Table Runners
Placemats
Christmas Stockings
Tablecloths
Bowls
Tree Skirts
Suncatchers
Baskets
Totes
Filet Crochet Pictures
Valances
Dog or Cat Beds
Tree Ornaments
Curtains
Dog coats
Window-Wall Hangings
Throws
Hanging Kids' Organizers
Floral Accents for Hats
Afghans
Halloween Candy Bags
Accents for clothing
Bedspreads
Mug Warmers
Crocheted Flowers or Plants
Area Rugs
Tea Cozies

Crocheted Window Hanging

Window Hanging Worked in Heavier Crochet Cotton
Window Hanging Worked in Heavier Crochet Cotton | Source

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.

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Wall Hanging

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?

Crocheted Wall Hanging
Crocheted Wall Hanging | Source

Oval Cloth Chrysanthemum and Pine Cones #23

Image: Crocheted Table Runner--this centerpiece lives on my dining room table.
Image: Crocheted Table Runner--this centerpiece lives on my dining room table. | Source

Note

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Themed Pattern Books

Crochet magazines can also be ordered for a certain theme, such as for Christmas.

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.

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

Image: Crocheted Valance with Crystals
Image: Crocheted Valance with Crystals | Source

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

Filet Crochet Panel
Filet Crochet Panel | Source

Which Crochet do You Like Best?

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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

Image: Beaded Crochet Large Doily or Table Centerpiece
Image: Beaded Crochet Large Doily or Table Centerpiece | Source

Beaded Centerpiece — A Work In Progress

Image: Crocheted Table Centerpiece Prettied up With Beads
Image: Crocheted Table Centerpiece Prettied up With Beads | Source

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.

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:

  • Moogly
  • Ravelry

Most of the larger online yarn outfits also include a section with free patterns, so it pays to do some checking.

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 and add to the wardrobe.

Do you crochet?

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© 2008 Athlyn Green

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    • Athlyn Green profile image
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      Athlyn Green 9 months ago from West Kootenays

      Hi Koffee Klath Gals, me too. I love how these pieces look dressed up with either crystals or beads. Glad you enjoyed this info and that it gave you fresh ideas.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 9 months ago from Sunny Florida

      I love the loos of the thin crochet doilies. They are beautiful. I hadn't thought of using beads when crocheting doilies but it does look pretty. I think I might try a white one with a few crystal beads worked in it. Wonderful hub.

    • Athlyn Green profile image
      Author

      Athlyn Green 13 months ago from West Kootenays

      Hi Sue, I just sent you some info on Volume I, which appears to be available in a current auction. If this is not the particular volume, you might try contacting the seller. Hope you find this. It's a lovely runner.

    • profile image

      Sue Unruh 4 years ago

      I saw where I could find the pattern for the Oval Cloth Chrysanthemum and Pine Cones #23 in the Purda Practical Hand

      Crafts Vol 1 No.2, on page 6.

      I am not able to find a place that carries the book (or magazine.)

      While serching for the book on the enternet, I find that the book is

      put out by Anna Purda and she has changed the title of the book or

      magazine to "Anna."

      If we could find the "Anna" magazine, perhaps there is an address

      where we could write for the Burda Vol 1 magazine and find the

      pattern. If anyone knows about the magazine and who carries it, please let me know.

      You can e-mail me at suenbethany@sbcglobal.net

      I have been trying to locate this pattern for months.

    • Athlyn Green profile image
      Author

      Athlyn Green 5 years ago from West Kootenays

      Hi Susie,

      Thank you. Yes using the finer crochet cotton and a size 1hook produces lacy designs.

      If you are having trouble with your tension, try loosening up. I used to find that my doilies would bunch and would not lay flat until I loosened up and then they were fine. Also, if you wrap your cotton thread twice around your fingers this makes for more even feeding to the cotton, which results in more even stitches.

    • susiempn profile image

      susiempn 5 years ago from Michigan

      I really enjoyed your hub! The lace patterns were absolutely beautiful. My Grandmother used to tat, some of your pieces remember of her work. I have tried crocheting, but I can't seem to master the tension.

    • profile image

      Guanaja Sharon 5 years ago

      I love the Oval Cloth Chrysanthemum and Pine Cones, #23 which Sky said appeared on Burda Practical Handicrafts Vol 1 No 2, page 6. Has anyone found this pattern? I live on an island and have no way of mailing off for the pattern. I think it is absolutely gorgeous and would love to make it. Please write me at sltmjones@hotmail.com if you can furnish me with the printed pattern or where to find it on-line.

    • carolinemoon profile image

      carolinemoon 5 years ago

      Thank you for sharing this page, very nice hub.

    • Athlyn Green profile image
      Author

      Athlyn Green 5 years ago from West Kootenays

      Hi Sky,

      Thank you for sharing where readers can find this pattern. Many requested pattern information about this outstanding table runner.

      This is one of the crocheted pieces I've made that I'm the most proud of.

      Please let me know how yours turns out.

    • profile image

      Sky UK and Australia 5 years ago

      Oval Cloth Chrysanthemum and Pine Cones, #23 appeared on Burda Practical Handicrafts Vol 1 No 2, page 6 and enclosed pattern sheet. They called it "Oval Table Mat with Pineapple Pattern" -Finest of the fine: Table mats in classic white with pineapple motif. Amazing to see this on your site as I was just looking at the pattern (again) last night with a view to make it.

    • Athlyn Green profile image
      Author

      Athlyn Green 5 years ago from West Kootenays

      Thanks for all these great compliments. Fortunately, crocheting is making a come-back. So many different items can be made for the home.

    • RNMSN profile image

      Barbara Bethard 5 years ago from Tucson, Az

      I want to do this! and in fashion or not, they are gorgeous!! I am going to try!! I dont crochet very well but I can do this I think!

    • sanathara profile image

      sanathara 5 years ago

      GREAT Hub!!Very good information..I love crocheting and I have made many purses and wall hangings and many items..You are inspiring and I'll also make a Hub and show my collection...Voted 'Useful'..

    • SKCandles profile image

      SKCandles 6 years ago from Canada

      gorgeous items! lots of great information!

    • Athlyn Green profile image
      Author

      Athlyn Green 6 years ago from West Kootenays

      Thank you!

    • craftybegonia profile image

      craftybegonia 6 years ago from Southwestern, United States

      Lovely crocheted designs, nice hub!

    • Athlyn Green profile image
      Author

      Athlyn Green 6 years ago from West Kootenays

      Hi Harry,

      If you re looking for good crochet patterns, you can order back issues of Magic Crochet from the Ebay capsules on this page.

    • profile image

      seeta harryram 6 years ago

      hi i woul like to have some of your books .how can i ?

    • Athlyn Green profile image
      Author

      Athlyn Green 7 years ago from West Kootenays

      Thank you,

      I learned how using Magic Crochet magazine because they include the drawings and graphs, as well as written instructions. Crochet is such a practical craft, such as for valances or rugs or the basket I made.

    • crochet48 profile image

      crochet48 7 years ago from Southern New Mexico

      I liked the tips you suggested-I've been crocheting for 4 years, and this craft really helps me relax while I'm making gifts for my sons and for the rest of my family.

      I have a long way to go to get to your skill level. Thanks!

    • Athlyn Green profile image
      Author

      Athlyn Green 7 years ago from West Kootenays

      Thanks so much! Yes, each time I complete a piece, it is so satisfying.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I love your pictures of chrocheting and crocheted items. The tips and information was excellent. Crocheting seems to be a lost art that is beginning to come back. Great hub.

    • Athlyn Green profile image
      Author

      Athlyn Green 7 years ago from West Kootenays

      Hi,

      Yes, it's not just for doilies; you can do so much with it and make so many neat items for the home.

      I've just completed a round crocheted jut basket: http://knittingcrochet.suite101.com/article.cfm/ho...

      I'm working on a rug now.

    • 2besure profile image

      Pamela Lipscomb 7 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      I love crocheting. I made my baby blankest and baby sets. I also am very fortunate to have a pineapple patterned tablecloth that my grandmother made.

    • Athlyn Green profile image
      Author

      Athlyn Green 7 years ago from West Kootenays

      Hi Mai Lan and others who have asked about the pineapple table runner.

      It was #23 and was called: Oval Cloth Chrysanthemum and Pine Cones. I've lost the cover to that particular Magic Crochet magazine but readers are free to use the picture of the runner if they decide to contact Magic Crochet to obtain the back issue it was in.

    • Athlyn Green profile image
      Author

      Athlyn Green 7 years ago from West Kootenays

      Hi, I've gotten a couple of emails about it so I will hunt up the magazine, the issue it was in and the pattern number. You should be able to contact the magazine and order a back issue at low cost.

      The pattern was for intermediate crocheters and I had to complete one part and then the other.

      Thank you for your comments. I loved this one, too, and finally made it. It has a place of honor on my dining room table.

    • profile image

      Mai Lan 7 years ago

      I love that crochet table runner photo you have at the top. Do you have the pattern and is it available? Thanks!

    • Morris Streak profile image

      Morris Streak 7 years ago from UK

      I've always thought of crocheted beautiful items as tablecloths, though I sometimes see them hung over windows. The images you showed here render the windows rather differently, imbuing them with character. Good info you have here. I'm into home improvement myself, which is why I found your hub.

    • Athlyn Green profile image
      Author

      Athlyn Green 9 years ago from West Kootenays

      Hi Eileen,

      Yes, I saw your Hub and read through it.

    • Athlyn Green profile image
      Author

      Athlyn Green 9 years ago from West Kootenays

      Hi Zsuzsy,

      Although I have made doilies, the runners and hangings are my preference. I like the way runners look on antiques. I'm fortunate to live in a Victorian home, so these fit nicely.

      I got the idea for the curtains when I visited a friend. She had made gorgeous pale peach toppers for all her windows and they were incredibly beautiful. I was so impressed and they looked so different.

      Hi Kat,

      Thank you for your compliments. Yes, that particular centerpiece was a more difficult project--but, hey, that's what makes them interesting!

    • Kat07 profile image

      Kat07 9 years ago from Tampa

      Agreed, Zsuzsy - the table runner above is so pretty. I used to use these when I was a kid, but no more - alas - the cats would shred them all.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 9 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      It's really unfortunate that these lovelies are not in fashion right now.

      great hub regards Zsuzsy

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