Monday, June 21, 2010

Purchasing Supplies - A Guide for the New Crocheter

I suggest a multi-pak containing a G hook, and a worsted weight yarn. With these supplies, you have a variety of options as to your first crochet item.

Hooks: notice that there are different tips; 1) smoothed & elongated, resembling a shark's head; and 2) blunt cut, looking much like an ax chop to a tree trunk. I prefer the rounded tips and that is what I use when I'm teaching, lending hook and yarn to my students.

Hooks are available in a variety of materials: steel, aluminum, plastic, acrylic, wood. I am most comfortable with aluminum--plastic or acrylic hooks feel too light in my hand. There are new ergonomic models also, which have what amounts to a hand grip, and I caution against these only because the grip shortens the distance from where the grip begins to the top of the hook, and as you crochet, it feels as if your yarn "hits a wall" when it hits the grip--that is my experience. Having written that, you might also want to shy away from the lighted hooks as a beginner. Of course, as you hone your crochet skills, you may wish to experiment with different types of hooks, and the above is merely my suggestion and personal experience.

Hooks can be purchased in multi-paks of 3 or more, or as singles. Multi-paks can be a money saver, and its always beneficial to shop when there is a sale. Of note, our local Sunday papers contain fliers for AC Moore and Michaels with 40% off 1 item coupons (check their websites for coupons too). This is a great deal if you decide to purchase a large multi-pak of hooks. Again, I suggest getting a pak with a "G" in it. My motto has always been "worsted and a G" since it seems to me that a multitude of patterns are written for that requirement. In the future, if you wish to expand your "collection" of hooks and gadgets (and you most likely will want to), look for some odd lots on Ebay, but be mindful of what these would cost retail to be sure you don't overbid.

As to yarn, as a beginner, I suggest worsted weight yarn. Red Heart Super Saver or Red Heart Soft. (no. 4 on label). Some people love Caron's Simply Soft, which is worsted, but it does work up a bit thinner than Red Heart to the eye/touch and it has a different drape when worked is, however, good for scarves because of its silky drape, but I find it splits a lot when a new crocheter is working with it -- which is why my first preference is the sturdier Red Heart. Browse through the yarn section...take a look at the labels as to weight and fiber content (acrylic, wool, cotton, etc.). Look at everything, even the specialty yarns. Touch them too, and note the prices.

While you are browsing, allow yourself to imagine all the lovely things you can make in the future. You'll definitely be back to the Yarn Department many many times. :)

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