yarn selection

12 Common Crochet Mistakes : My Illustrated Guide


There are lots of mistakes that can be made in crochet but my 12 common crochet mistakes listed below should help you when starting out. I hope that they encourage you to continue with your crochet. If you follow my list below it should help you in avoiding these mistakes and make your crochet journey much more fun!

If you’re new to crochet and you’re just starting out then it’s probably inevitable that you’re going to make some mistakes. But we all need to make mistakes for us to learn and to improve. When you do make mistakes don’t let it put you off your crochet journey because you will be really pleased with yourself once you’ve mastered this wonderful craft.

When I started to crochet, and I was completely self taught, I made lots of mistakes whilst learning. So I thought I would share with you the 12 most common crochet mistakes that you may come across and how to avoid them. If you are brand new to crochet then read on ……

No1. Not Using The Correct Hook Size

When you start a project and you are following a pattern, then you need to use the hook size that is recommended. You can’t just use any size hook as this will not give you the correct tension and your work will not turn out as described in the pattern and you will feel very disappointed or even frustrated and this may make you feel like giving up before you even start.

magic-circle-crochet

Crochet hooks come in all sorts of sizes and so if the pattern states use size 4mm then this is the hook to use. So when you choose your next pattern and before you plan your project make sure that you have the hook size stated. I like to use the Tulip Etimo Crochet Hook Set, which has all the sizes you need in a compact pouch.

No2. Ensure You are Using The Correct Weight Yarn

This is similar to point 1. above. There are lots of different weight yarns, from 4ply upto super chunky and lots in between and you need to be aware that these yarns vary in thickness. So if your pattern calls for DK and you use Chunky, then your work is going to be far too big and look totally different to what you expect.

Therefore before you start on your project you need to ensure that you also have the correct weight yarn that the pattern recommends. See my free pdf pattern here, it shows you what you will need and it’s free to download too!

jam jar cover pdf

I know this may seem obvious to some, but if you have never used yarn before and are totally new to crochet it is a very important point to consider.

No3. Walk Before You Can Run

As with any new hobby or skill you are trying to learn, it’s always best to start out slow and practice with the basics until you feel confident to move onto more technical stitches. There is nothing worse than buying expensive crochet hooks and yarns only to end up in a tangled mess and throw your work in the bin.

Yarn can be expensive so don’t be tempted to spend lots of money on designer yarns and instead go for the more basic acrylic yarn which is much cheaper. I like to use Stylecraft Special DK Yarn, it’s super cheap and there are lots of shades to choose. Also you get a lot of yarn for your money, 100gms, and it’s perfect to practice with. You can then practice as much as you want without worrying that your wasting your best yarn. You will almost certainly end up in knots to start with. Then you won’t mind if you have to start again.

stylecraft-special-dk

When I began to crochet I scoured the charity shops for hooks and balls of yarn which were super cheap and great for practicing with. In fact I still have those hooks today which I still use. You could also ask friends and neighbours if they have any unwanted yarns and hooks that they don’t need anymore.

At this stage it doesn’t really matter that your yarns and hooks are basic because you are just practicing. When you feel confident with the basic stitches and are ready to tackle a pattern then you can think about choosing nicer yarns and comfort handle hooks. But until then stick with the basic tools.

No4. Miscounting To Count Your Stitches

When following any pattern instructions …. like my Peter Pan Crochet Collar …. it will tell you how many chain stitches to start with. This first row of stitches will determine how many stitches you need for the following subsequent rows. If you don’t keep a count of these stitches you may find your work begins to lose shape.

peter-pan-crochet-collar

There is nothing worse than happily crocheting for rows and rows only to find that you either dropped a stitch 10 rows back or increased a stitch 10 rows back. Your project is not going to be right and you won’t get the look that your wanting and you’re going to be disappointed. So it’s very important that you count your stitches at the end of each row and if you have made a mistake at least you’ve only got one row that you need to pull out.

So when you’re beginning your next crochet project it is really important to make sure you have the right number of chain stitches at the beginning. And to count your chains at the end of every row just to make sure that you still have the correct numbers that you need.

No5. Always Use A Stitch Marker

I love using stitch markers like these ….. they are brilliant for keeping track of the beginning and ending of your rows. If you are new to crochet and just learning the stitches then I would highly recommend you use a stitch marker. Once you’ve made your first stitch of your row insert your stitch marker and then again insert your stitch marker on the last stitch of your row. Then when you turn your work you can see accurately where the stitches are. By not using the stitch markers those stitches at the beginning and end of the rows can easily be missed and that’s where the problems can arise.

They are very useful especially when working on larger projects for example an afghan throw. When counting your chains at the beginning I like to use them at every 50 stitches stitches so when you’re counting your stitches you know they are in blocks of 50. Again when you’re starting out in crochet you don’t have to buy stitch markers you can simply use a strand of wool or a paperclip. These work just as good as the stitch markers.

However, when you’re more confident in your crochet, you can buy a pack of stitch markers relatively cheaply. I also use them if I am following a technical pattern as it keeps track of where I’m going.

No.6 Don’t Give Up Too Soon

When you starting out in crochet you are going to make mistakes everybody does but don’t be disheartened. By making those mistakes you’re going to then learn how to avoid them the next time.

You will end up in a tangled mess and knots and probably feel frustrated. But don’t give up. You may feel all fingers and thumbs and think this is probably not for you. But if you’re prepared to practice and keep on going then you will be rewarded.

If you find that you’re struggling there is lots of useful information and tutorials to help you. You can check out my tutorials on YouTube for visual assistance. Click here to subscribe to my channel.

It could be something really simple in the way that you hold your hook or the way that you hold the yarn. Take some time and play about with the way you hold your hook. Some people like to hold a hook like a pencil and other people like to hold a hook like a knife. Once you’ve found a comfortable way of holding your hook then you are halfway there.

There is no wrong or right way of holding the hook it’s purely what makes you comfortable. Practice with the chain stitch over and over until you feel comfortable holding the hook and the yarn. Once you feel happy with this plain basic stitch then you’re ready to move on to the next stitch. Don’t be disheartened and give up too soon.

No.7 Block Your Work

Once you finished your project I think it’s always good to block your work. Blocking is a process used to shape your finished work or project with water or steam. I find that if I’ve spent a lot of time working on a project it’s also worth spending that little bit extra time at the end blocking you work. It gives your project a professional and finished lock.

You can either spray your work with water and shape while damp and leave to dry. Or you can use the steam from an iron to relax the yarn fibres to also put into shape. When working with large projects like jumpers or blankets I like to use the spray water method. I do have a full tutorial on my YouTube channel explaining both methods.

When using the spray water method I like to pin my work into shape on a foam mat and spray with water. By pinning the work it keeps in shape until the project is dry. I usually leave it to dry overnight.

If you use the steam iron method then similarly you pin your work onto a flat surface and you use the steam from your iron. You must ensure though that the iron does not touch the work. As this may result in damaging your project or even the iron. You simply hover your iron over your work and let the steam relax the fibres. Do take care though when doing this method that you don’t burn yourself on the steam.

Both methods are good but if you’re new to crochet again I would recommend the spray water method first.

No.8 Don’t Confuse U.S with U.K Crochet Terms

Although the stitches are exactly the same in the US as in the UK and Europe we do have different names for the stitches. So for example the double crochet in the UK means single crochet in the US. So when you’re following a pattern please read carefully to see what terms the pattern is using. I use the UK crochet terms but sometimes if I’m using a US pattern obviously I need to be aware of that. And remember not to mix the two terms up as this would end in crochet disaster. All my patterns include both UK and US terms. Visit my shop for all my PDF Patterns here.

Use this table to convert from UK Crochet Terms to US Crochet Terms of vice versa.

UKAbbrev.USAbbrev.
Slip StitchSSSlip StitchSS
Double CrochetDCSingle CrochetSC
Half Treble CrochetHTRHalf Double CrochetHDC
Treble CrochetTRDouble CrochetDC
Double Treble CrochetDTRTreble CrochetTR
Triple Treble CrochetTTRDouble Treble CrochetDTR

No.9 Don’t Fail To Make a Stitch Gauge

It is worth taking the time before you work on your next project to make a stitch gauge. Everybody has a different way of crocheting and that can result in different tension.

My crochet tension tends to be quite tight. So even though the pattern may say use a 4mm hook and double knit yarn I always make a tension gauge. More often than not I have to increase my crochet hook to 4.5mm or even a 5mm hook sometimes.

crochet-stitch-gauge

I would always suggest you take the time to measure a sample gauge that you’ve made to see that it matches what the pattern suggests. If your tension swatch is smaller than the pattern then you may need to increase your hook size.

Alternatively if your tension swatch is bigger than recommended then you may need to decrease your hook size. If you don’t take time to do this at the beginning of the project then your finished work will either be too big or too small. Which is going to be so disappointing after you have spent so much time working on it.

No.10 Misunderstand The Pattern Instructions Before You Begin

This may seem obvious but if you’re like me, very impatient, and just dive straight into a pattern without reading fully to the end. Sometimes by doing this I have missed out some important information. This usually results in me having to pull out my work.

So I would recommend before you start any project that you read the pattern from start to finish. And ensure that you know exactly what the pattern is asking from you. Ensure you have all the correct tools, crochet hooks and correct yarn. Also double check that you are following the correct size if required.

Also make sure that the pattern does not contain any stitches that you’re not sure of. If so then take some time to practice that stitch. Also check the measurements against who you’re making the item for to ensure you are doing the right size.

By doing all these checks first you are avoiding having to pull out your work. When you’re confident with the pattern in front of you then off you go.

No.11 Don’t Forget To Leave a Long Tail of Yarn

When you begin your foundation chain or your project you must leave a long enough length of yarn. This length of yarn is then what you use towards sewing up your item. If you don’t leave a long enough tail then you can’t sew in your ends properly and they may untangle in time.

Usually about 10 to 12 inches is long enough. Also when you finished your work you need to leave a similar length at the end too. These ends can then be sewn in to your work once it’s complete.

crochet yarn tail

No.12 Practice, Practice, Practice

This is one of the most important points in crochet. It is also one of the 12 common crochet mistakes that newbies make. If you spend some time at the beginning to practice, practice, practice, then you will reap the rewards. Crochet can seem quite daunting at the beginning and you may find yourself in a tangled frenzy. But it’s worth it in the end.

Many people just give up straight away and throw it all in the bin. But don’t give up. If you take the time and practice as much as you can on the very basic stitches you will find it all fits into place. Then you’ll be feeling much more confident and then you’ll want to learn more complex stitches.

There are lots and lots of useful crochet hints and tips on the Internet. You can follow my YouTube tutorials for visual assistance as well. Crochet is a brilliant hobby. You can create So many wonderful things with crochet. From blankets and home accessories to hats and jumpers and beyond.

There is so many wonderful patterns for you to choose and create. The vast array of fabulous yarns and colours is just amazing now. So once you’ve mastered the basic stitches just think of the wonderful things that you can then go on to make for yourself, friends and family.

I love this Cygnet Boho Spirit Yarn which is a DK weight and has the most amazing array of colours to choose from. It’s a colour changing wool and I used when designing one of my crochet designs ….. the Rainbow Dreams Poncho Wrap. It is a stunning yarn! Just think when you are more confident to follow a pattern the fun you will have choosing what yarn to use.

rainbow dreams poncho wrap
Rainbow Dreams Poncho Wrap

I love the shade that I used …. Cygnet Boho Spirit Horizon ….. it is stunning! Check out all the shades available here ….

Be kind to yourself and if you make a mistake then simply pull it out and start again. After all it’s only yarn and a crochet hook. It’s not the end of the world and you can just try again. Don’t dwell on your mistakes just simply look at it as a way of learning. Eventually your mistakes will get less and less and you will be whizzing along in your crochet. So practice, practice, practice.

I do hope that my list of 12 common crochet mistakes has helped you and also encouraged you to continue in your crochet learning journey. I have lots of crochet tutorials and Vlogs on my YouTube channel if you need further help.

Happy crochet!

loopy mabel