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If you enjoy creating different types of crafts, you might want to learn to crochet. Crocheting involves using one hook to loop yarn into a patterned fabric. You can create many different things with crocheting, such as blankets, necklaces, stuffed animals, and boxes. In this article, we'll discuss the benefits of crocheting and the basic crochet supplies you need to get started.
Benefits of learning to crochet
Learning to crochet has many health benefits beyond just being a great way to create different things.
Some of these benefits include:
It helps with insomnia. Focusing on something that's easy, repetitive and soothing can help calm the mind and body enough to fall asleep.
It reduces stress and anxiety. If you're feeling stressed and anxious, take some time for yourself and pick up one of your crochet projects. Allowing yourself to be creative with crocheting helps take your mind off things that might be bothering you. Focus on the repetitive movements and counting rows, and your mind will relax and be free from anxious thoughts and feelings.
It can help ease or relieve depression. When we do something we like, our brains release dopamine, which is a natural antidepressant. Scientists now believe that working on crafts like crocheting can stimulate dopamine release and help us feel happier and better about ourselves.
It can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by 30-50%. Engaging in cognitive exercises stimulates your mind and helps slow down or prevent memory loss. Whether you're learning a new stitch or working on a pattern, you're reducing your risk of Alzheimer’s.
It builds your self-esteem. We all need to feel productive and useful. When you work on a project to give as a gift or sell at a craft fair, you can do that. Though you shouldn't craft just for the compliments, a little external validation can help boost our self-esteem.
It can be a great form of group therapy. If you like to work in group settings, crocheting can be very useful. It helps take the focus off the patient and on the project, which provides all the benefits mentioned previously. In addition, since you're working in a group you also have a sense of community and togetherness. People in the group can relate to one another, and it can be a great icebreaker for more serious conversations.
It puts you in control. When you feel out of control because you're a caregiver struggling to take care of someone else, or you're working with your own health problems, crocheting can put you back in control of something. You're in full control of everything - the hook, the yarn, and the type of project you choose.
You only need a few tools to get started crocheting. There are a few others that can make crocheting easier, but these aren't required.
Crochet hooks - These come in many different sizes, which are shown with both letters and numbers. The lower the number, or the closer the letter is to the beginning of the alphabet, the smaller the crochet hook is. They range from B-1, which is 2.25 mm, up to U, which is 25 mm. The smaller number hooks are used for thread, while the larger hooks are used for different thicknesses of yarn.
Yarn - There are many different types of yarn you can use to crochet your projects. They can be made out of fibers like acrylic, wool, and cotton, among others. If you're working on a project, the instructions usually tell you which type of yarn you'll need. The yarn will usually show what size crochet hook you need for it on the label. If you're a beginner, it's easiest to work with worsted weight yarn, which is usually indicated as #4 on the crochet label.
Things to consider when choosing yarn:
● When you're just starting, choose a smooth yarn instead of a textured yarn, and choose a lighter color rather than a darker color. The smoother yarns are easier to work with, and the lighter colors make it easier to see your stitches.
● Yarn prices can vary greatly from one type of yarn to the next. When you start, choose more affordably priced yarns until you get the hang of it.
● Yardage - Every ball of yarn has different yardage amounts. This can also relate to price. If you find two balls of yarn that are the same price, look at the yardage to make sure each ball has about the same amount.
● Yarn color - If you're working on a large project, you'll want to make sure all the colors match, assuming you're using the same color or color scheme through the entire project. To make sure all the balls of yarn you get are going to be about the same color, look at the dye lot number to make sure it's the same on every ball you purchase.
● Washing considerations - Different fiber types will require different washing instructions, which is important if you're crocheting something to wear. For example, you can use superwash wool, which is ok to put in the washer and dryer. If you use regular wool, it will have to be hand washed and dried flat. The yarn label will provide this information.
● Yarn ethics - If you care about animals and the environment, you might want to choose vegan yarn or organic yarn. Be sure to read up on these types of yarns when choosing the yarn you want to use for your project.
Scissors - You'll need these to cut the yarn when you're finished with your project, or when you need to change colors in a project.
Darning needle - This is a large needle that you use to finish off your project.
Optional but helpful accessories:
Stitch markers - These make it easier to tell where one stitch ends and the next begins. You can buy them, or you can use things like paper clips or safety pins to mark your stitches.
Row counter - This can help you keep track of your rows. There are row counters that mount right on your crochet hook, and you can also buy electronic row counters that fit on your finger.
You can often find all these accessories, including the optional ones, in handy sets.
That’s what you need to know about the benefits of crochet and information about the materials you need. In the next post, we’ll talk about how to make the basic stitches.