What are the materials for crocheting?
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Crochet Materials for Beginners
You only need a few materials for crocheting to get started: yarn and a hook. When I started, I only had two hooks, a couple of yarns, and a half kilo of polyfiber fill since I started with amigurumi the first time I tried learning crochet. And I actually think that amigurumi is easier than crocheting clothes because, in amigurumi, you just need to know how to do basic crochet stitches.
Now, I have a whole set of hooks from 0.8mm to 10mm, 2 adorable artsy scissors, a drawer full of yarns, doubled the amount of polyfiber fill and a hook case. I got 8 pieces of the fine hooks as a Christmas gift from my husband along with a Japanese-inspired silk hook case. And then, the 12 Aluminum Crochet Hooks sizes 2.0mm to 10mm are the ones I bought for myself just because I wanted to have bigger hook sizes for some home DIY projects.
Although you only actually need a yarn and a hook to start your crochet journey, here are still some other crochet materials you might need if you plan on joining the crew of crochet lovers. And let me tell you, it is addicting. You won’t even know it until your cabinet is already filled with all kinds of yarns and a couple of yarns here and there in your house.
There are a lot of different yarn fibers in the market: acrylic, wool, cotton, etc. Each one has its own pros and cons and is best used for different projects. For example, a lot of people would use wool for crocheting garments. If you’re not sure what to use, you should be safe if you will follow the kind of yarn fiber and the thickness suggested in crochet patterns.
As for crocheting toys and dolls, most patterns will just need the medium-weight worsted acrylic yarn. It’s inexpensive and easy to use. One of the affordable and famous brand yarns is Super Saver from Red Heart. You can also check Lion Brand Yarn.
For me though, I usually use the light-worsted weight yarn because I like to make my stuffed toys smaller than it should be.
And if I’m making my tiny ones (2-4 inches) that can be used as a key-chain, I use a mixture of acrylic and cotton yarn. Its texture is soft and smooth – soft because it is partly acrylic and smooth because it is partly cotton. The yarn texture is definitely different than if it is just only 100% acrylic or cotton.
I like that the amigurumi toy will be firmer after. Plus, the shine from the cotton material just makes the toy look more appropriate for decorative purposes.
Where to buy yarns?
If you’re interested in purchasing yarns, you can check out some online yarn stores such as Knit Picks and LoveCrafts. They sell yarns, crochet hooks, knitting needles, ready-to-use kits and books. You get free shipping, which is the reason why I like them, for orders of $50 or more. Free shipping offer is different for US and EU residents. They have yarn sales regularly and offer loads of free crochet and knitting patterns. You can also check out my own free pattern to start crocheting amigurumi now.
o Crochet Hooks
Choosing the right hook size for the yarn you are using is very important. The appropriate hook size for the yarn is written in its package. You can approximate how big or small your finished product is going to be by knowing the hook size needed for the project. Smaller hooks are usually used for crocheting doilies. Bigger hooks such as 4mm and above are used for home decors such as pillows.
As for the type of crochet hook, there are different materials found in the market: steel, aluminum, plastic, and wood. Steel hooks have the smallest sizes and are intended for crochet thread. Crochet thread are usually used for making doilies. The aluminum and plastic hooks are smooth and lightweight. Some of these are with rubber handles which are soft for the hands especially for those people who crochet for hours in a day. Clover and Tulip are the more well-known brands that offer hooks with rubber handles.
Bamboo hooks are one of the best crochet hooks for beginners since they start out with some light friction, which means the yarn doesn’t easily slide off, then beginners won’t get overwhelmed with yarn sliding off the hook all the time. And as the skill of the beginner crocheter improves, the bamboo hook also becomes smoother ergo can go faster.
There are also crochet hooks that have LED light integrated. They are very helpful for those who have bad eyesight and those who like to crochet even in the late hours of the night.
There is a lot you can choose from. Think of the pros and cons, your style in crocheting and pick the best one that suits your taste.
o Darning, Chenille, and Tapestry Needles
Now don’t be overwhelmed. Although there are different kinds of needles, you probably will just need one type depending on what type of crochet products you’re planning to make. Tapestry needles are also sometimes called yarn needles. Don’t be confused because they are both the same. They have different needle sizes.
On the other hand, darning needles, which look similar to tapestry needles, are a bit longer. Both of them are blunt with a big eye. With its large eye, it can fit fibers larger than the usual sewing thread so it’s very convenient in crocheting and knitting to weave in yarn ends, and sewing two different parts together.
Chenille Needle also has a blunt eye and has the same length and diameter with Tapestry Needle. The only difference is its sharp point, which is very useful in adding some details to embroider artwork in garments, or if it’s in amigurumi dolls, to embroider the eyes, nose, cheeks, etcetera of your work.
o Ballpoint Pins
These are sharp, long pins with ball heads made of plastic or glass. This is very useful when you’re sewing the crochet parts in place. If you’ve already tried doing amigurumi, you might find that sewing the parts together is the hardest (such as myself) since this is the time that you have to make sure that the parts are proportionate to each other.
Don’t use the silk pins with amigurumis because they will just get lost in your work. You don’t want any pins hiding inside your amigurumi, do you?
I have two tiny, sharp scissors that I carry with me all the time when I’m doing my amigurumi. Having it tiny is very handy since I do my amigurumi almost anywhere… in the car, at work, in the garden, in the kitchen… I just bring my small bag filled with crochet tools and off I go.
o Stitch Markers
I don’t use this before just because I don’t know where to buy them in my country. I just used the starting tip of my yarn to make a mark of where my starting point is. Then, I just move it every time I know that I’m going to make a complicated row. As for beginners though, I do recommend buying a stitch marker since looking at crochet stitches at first is really confusing. Plus, it will just hurt your eyes to keep counting again and again if you’re not going to use any stitch markers.
Now that I have the opportunity to buy some as I now live here in Europe, I’m so happy that I’m able to use them. Since I don’t count my stitches and just memorize the pattern for each row in my head, knowing where the starting stitch is very helpful.
o Tape Measure
If you’re going to crochet garments, then it’s best to have a tape measure. Since sizes matter in garments even if you’re following a crochet pattern, measuring your work every now and then is essential to have accuracy in your crochet project.
There are a lot of factors that can change the size of your crochet work such as gauge, the yarn material and hook size you’re using, and the tightness or looseness of your stitches. Gauge is the number of stitches per inch and rows per inch. If you’re crochet gauge is different from the designer’s gauge, then a change in size of your crochet project is inevitable. Best rule is to check the gauge first; then make changes if it’s different like changing the hook size.
I usually use a different yarn from what the pattern mentions. It’s hard to have the same yarn since sometimes the brand recommended cant even be sold in my country. It’s hard to buy some US brands here in Europe and vise versa, I assume, if you’re in other countries.
Therefore, I must measure the gauge first all the time when I’m making crochet apparels. But for my amigurumi dolls, I don’t since I don’t really care if it will turn out small or big.
o Hook Case
This is not important for now if you’re just starting and you only have a couple of hooks. once you have a lot of different sizes of them, a hook organizer or case is very handy to keep your hooks organized.
But if you’re serious about crocheting, you can easily buy a hook case plus all the other crochet supplies. A lot of crochet kit can be bought online, which already includes crochet hooks, stitch markers, line counters, tapestry needles, a tape measure and hook organizer.
Now for extra tools for crocheting amigurumi:
o Polyester Fiberfill
It’s made up of a mixture of various synthetic fibers that are loosely spun to make it soft and lightweight. It is the most commonly used filling for stuffed animals and pillows. This is also the one I’m using. I fluff up the dolls as much as I can to make my 2 to 4-inch toys to be as stiff as it can be so it can hold its shape. If you don’t stuff it enough, it will soften over time. For my bigger toys, I stuff just enough, not too soft but not too stiff as well, because I still want it to be huggable.
Some alternatives would be rice – but there’s a possibility of decay over time – old stuffing from your stuffed toys, yarns scraps, plastic bag cuttings, and nylon or wool socks.
o Safety eyes
As for me, I usually just use the solid black. But if you’re planning to make your amigurumi for toddlers, it’s better to just crochet or embroider the eyes. And when I was starting, I did not have any of these eyes (I did not know where to buy them) so I just crochet them. I just make a magic ring with 6 single crochet stitches for each eye and then sew it on the amigurumi doll.
Other resources about crocheting
With all that information, you can start learning crochet. Learn first some basic crochet stitches and common abbreviations used so you can understand reading some patterns. I would recommend starting with making amigurumi since you usually only need to know the basics. Check some free patterns here for amigurumi toys. For intermediate crocheters, I recommend checking Yarnspirations for advanced crochet techniques.
If you’re interested in buying crochet books, check out this link here for some of the best how to crochet books out there.