Tips to crochet faster
Are you are rushing to complete a gift, or maybe an order, or a holiday item? you may be wondering, How can I crochet faster? I have a few tips for you here that may help you actually be able to crochet faster! If you are a knitter, these tips apply to you too!
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Tip 1, familiar tools
Use the tools that you are most familiar and comfortable with. If you are trying out new tools, even if it’s something small like a crochet hook of a different style, aka in-line, or not, it can impact your speed.
Remember how your hands felt so clumsy at everything when you first took up crochet? That’s because your brain and body had not yet developed muscle memory. Once you have practiced at crochet a lot, your body can perform those movements with very little mental effort.
That muscle memory will be most efficient with the tools that you are most used to using. If you switch to a hook with a different hook style or made of a different material, the differences will be slight, but your body will have to work a bit harder at performing all the actions correctly. It may manifest in how many times you accidentally miss a loop, or snag your yarn.
Tip 2, metal hooks
Use metal crochet hooks. Metal crochet hooks put less friction on the yarn, allowing you to slide in and out of loops more quickly. If your usual tools aren’t metal, then you’ll have to decide if the trade off is worth it.
Tip 3, thick handles
Use hooks with extra thick handles.
Now, this may go against tip #1 if your usual hooks don’t have extra thick handles. However, extra thick handles typically provide a crochet experience that puts less strain on the muscles and tendons in your hand. This means that you can usually crochet for longer periods of time in greater comfort, thereby needing fewer breaks to rest your hands.
Ashley Stallsworth of A Crafty Concept recommends Clover Amour crochet hooks. These have extra-wide handles with metal tips. They are a good choice to satisfy tip #2 to use metal hooks as well as tip #3 to use hooks with bigger handles. But if they aren’t your usual, I wouldn’t start using them when you really need to be quick. You’ll need time to get used to them before they can be your go-to hooks when speed counts. But sometime when you’re in a lull, they would be an excellent investment. Start using them, get used to them, and then you’ll be able to use them very efficiently.
Tip 4, a comfortable yarn hold
If you need speed right now, then this is not the time to change the way you hold things. However, in the future, when you are in less of a hurry, I suggest you develop a method of holding and tensioning your yarn that doesn’t strain your hand.
For the same reason as tip #3, you need to reduce strain on your hands as much as possible if you want to be able to crochet faster and take fewer breaks.
Instead of curling a finger around your yarn or gripping the yarn between two fingers, I suggest wrapping the yarn around one or more fingers. This works because you increase the contact between the yarn and your fingers, thereby increasing friction or drag, and that creates more tension on your yarn. Experiment with wrapping it around different fingers, or different numbers of wraps, until you find a configuration that works to provide tension. Then, relax your fingers and let friction do that work for you.
I usually have my yarn coming over the top of my index finger for tension, but if it’s flowing too freely, I wrap it around my index finger again to give it greater tension.
Another trick to increase tension without gripping is to put lotion on your hands. If your skin is a little more moist, you increase tension.
Tip 5, upbeat music
Listen to upbeat music while you crochet! Many runners use upbeat music playlists to help themselves maintain a faster running pace. Our bodies naturally want to move to the beat of the music, so it makes sense that if you listen to upbeat music while you crochet, you will probably crochet faster than you otherwise would.
Tip 6, yarn bowl
Use a yarn bowl or other bowl to hold your yarn while you work. I’m sure we’ve all experienced our yarn ball/cake/skein winding up on the floor and rolling away from us as we work. Every time this happens, you have to get up to retrieve and settle back into your seat before you can continue.
Now, maybe this is a good thing if you want to get up and move around every so often for the sake of being a little active. However, if you’re trying to crochet fast, this cuts into your pace a lot.
In addition, sometimes when you need to tug a little bit to get a snag out of your yarn, having the rim of the bowl to pull against can help your yarn pull out more smoothly. I have a ceramic yarn bowl with the spiral notch in it, but I actually don’t use the notch. I’ve found that sometimes my ball/cake/skein gets snagged on the point inside the center of the spiral. I usually turn my yarn bowl around with the spiral notch away from me and just pull my yarn out over the rim of the bowl.
So it doesn’t have to be a yarn bowl, but I suggest you use a bowl with some weight to it so that you don’t pull the bowl along with your yarn when you tug.
Tip 7, cakes or balls
Kirsten Holloway of Kirsten Holloway Designs pointed out to me how much quicker it is to work from a center-pull cake that you make on your own ball winder at home. I agree! Center-pull cakes and balls you pull from the outside are the quickest yarn bundle configurations I’ve ever worked with. However, if your yarn doesn’t already come configured in one of these two ways, you’ll have to decide if it is worth the time to change it before you begin crocheting.
If your yarn comes in an unwound hank, as many luxury yarns do, you’ll have to reconfigure it before using it anyway, unless you want to work next to your yarn swift at all times. You can wind a center-pull cake by hand without a ball winder as in my tutorial here, but a ball-winder and swift will speed up the process tremendously, thereby saving you time. I recommend the Basic Winding Station from We Crochet, which includes a wooden swift, a ball-winder just like my own, and a wooden yarn bowl, so you’ll have tip #6 covered as well!
In short, if your yarn comes in a hank, your best bet is to use a ball winder and swift to make it into a center-pull cake. If it comes already wound into a skein or ball, you decide if it’s best to work with it as is, managing the tangles when you come to them, or reconfigure it into a ball or cake, dealing with all the tangles at the get go, for faster use while crocheting.
Tip 8, one at a time
Bernadine Graham of Me N My Hook suggests that you just do one project at a time. I know. I know how hard it is to settle on and stick with one project only, but you will definitely be able to crochet faster if you follow this advice. Once you are rolling on this one project, you are familiar with it, and you know what you are doing and where you are headed.
If you put it down for a few weeks because you see something exciting to start instead, you’ll have to take the time to refamiliarize yourself with the project when you pick it back up. So if speed is the goal, then monogamous crafting is a must.
The only exception I would make to this is if you are making several of the same thing. In that case, you could do something like an assembly line by doing the same part of each one of them at the same time. So, say you are making my Ramona Scarf for three people. Make ALL the granny squares first. Then do all the seaming at the same time. Then add all the striped sections one after the other.
Tip 9, gather supplies
Elspeth Barriault of Papio Creek Crochet suggests that you gather all the supplies before beginning. Read over the intro material of the pattern and gather everything you will need at once. That way, once you are rolling, you won’t need to pause to order a new size of crochet hook or another skein of yarn.
Tip 10, tutorials
Look over the pattern before beginning and seek out any needed tutorials, says Arunima Goel of Knitter Knotter. Are you familiar with all the stitches involved? If not, find the tutorials you need and learn the needed skills now. Save the tutorials to a Pinterest board, a YouTube playlist, or save the links to a document or spreadsheet in case you need a refresher when you get to that part. That way you won’t have any excuses to put the project down and forget about it.
And there are your 10 tips to crochet faster! Which of these have you tried before? What helps you to crochet faster?
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