As this year’s celebration of (Inter)National Crochet Month starts winding down, I reached out to several other crochet designers to ask what skills and techniques were most helpful to them in building their crochet skills. I got back some great answers that I’m sharing with you today. These tutorials and tips include things you may not have learned along the way. (I know it took me over 20 years of crocheting before I even heard about some of these skills.)
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1) Starting with a magic ring
The magic ring (or magic adjustable ring) is a great way to start projects that are crocheted in the round. It’s particularly helpful for making top down hats without a little “air hole” at the top. It also helps keep the stuffing inside of your amigurumi projects. Kristine Mullen from Ambassador Crochet shares her magic ring tutorial here.
If you’re ready to try that magic circle on a project, here are some of my free crochet patterns that start with a magic ring.
- An Unconventional Aviator hat
- Chevrons and Stripes Slouchy Hat
- Drawstring Beanie with Yarrow Flower in 7 sizes
- Triangles Beanie in 8 sizes
- Under the Bridge Hat in 6 sizes
2) Using invisible decreases
Most crocheters are not in love with decreases. While they can be necessary for your project, sometimes they just look terrible. Rebekcah Ferger from Rebeckah’s Treasures shares her tips for making invisible decreases in this video tutorial.
If you’re ready to try out your invisible decreases, try my free amigurumi pattern for the Gift Pocket Bear. It uses the single crochet version of an invisible decrease.
3) Smoothly increasing in the round
If you’ve been crocheting circles in the round, you may have noticed that when you consistently increase in the same spot, you end up with a hexagon rather than a circle. Jess Mason from Screen to Stitch shares her method for crocheting a smooth circle in this video tutorial.
Try out staggered increases in my free amigurumi pattern for the Chubby Sheep.
4) Building your confidence with freeform crochet
Many crocheters work exclusively from patterns because they are worried about “doing it wrong.” Patrice Walker from Yarn Over, Pull Through shares 3 ways freeform crochet boosted her confidence.
I did my own exploration of freeform crochet back in 2012 and I completely agree with Patrice. I took a wonderful freeform crochet and knitting class with Margaret Hubert. If you’d like to start your own freeform journey, Myra Wood offers both Freeform Crochet and Modern Irish Freeform Crochet classes on Craftsy.
5) End your projects invisibly
Hmmm, invisibility seems to be a theme here! But those finishing details can really make your crochet projects look fabulous. Kristine from Ambassador Crochet shares a tutorial for fastening off your projects invisibly.
6) Lining your crochet bags
We continue the finishing theme with a tutorial from Maria Bittner at Pattern Paradise for lining a crochet bag with fabric. Another great way to make your crochet bag more sturdy is to felt it. You can find my felting tutorial here, and try lining or felting my free Tunisian crochet pattern for the Basketweave Mini Messenger Bag.
7) Blocking your projects
I’ll admit it, I was as (or more) resistent to blocking as most crocheters. But once I actually tried it, I found that it makes my finished projects look a lot better than they did before. You can learn the blocking basics in this post.
If you’d like to try out blocking, here are several free crochet shawl patterns that will just bloom after blocking.
- A Little Bit of Bling Shawl
- Ella’s Rhythym Shawl
- Justine Shawl
- Pineapples for Everyone Shawl
- Serape Shawl
And, a few bonus tips
- Pia Thadani from Stitches ‘N’ Scraps shared that learning foundation stitches and the standing double crochet was very important. Jennifer Dickerson at Fiber Flux has a great series of video tutorials on foundation stitches in her Crochet Stitch Library playlist.
- Kim Guzman shared that learning to knit was helped her to improve her Tunisian crochet skills. Joanita Theron from Creative Crochet Workshop has been sharing a great series of guest posts on knitting basics at American Crochet called A Knitting Journey.