My dear newbie yarn benders,
I love you. You’re wonderful and fabulous and energized about seeing a cool project on the inter-webs and have finally said “yes! I think I could do that! This is the one that will get me into knitting/crochet” With all the excitement and joy in the world you go to the craft store, grab the coolest looking yarn (in the best color, duh) and the cheapest needles/hook you can find (If if needles are too intimidating, you opt for the knitting loom. It comes in a 3 pack! score!). You follow the instructions as best you can with dreams of your project turning out exactly like the professionally taken photograph. Oh my naive, beautiful newbie yarn bender, you are on a craft high. Head so far in the clouds that you don’t realize what has happened until it’s done. We’ve all been here at some point, no matter how skilled a person is.
My lovelies. Please learn from the mistakes that have already happened. Take the time to learn about gauge and value the materials needed. I am most definitely NOT saying buy the most expensive stuff. I am saying that skien of yarn that is one dollar more will likely make you enjoy the finished product bounties more than the value of one dollar.
Take the top picture. This was most definitely made on a knitting loom. Im personally not a huge advocate of these. They’re great for learning how knitting works. Not great for endless feats of creativity. You’re limited by the size of the loom which limits you to the size of the yarn as well as the size of the object you make. For something that will not ladder (the long horizontal bits between the “V” stitches) you need yarn thick enough to touch the stitch next to it when wrapped around the loom. In the case of the photo, yarn far too thin was used.
The next picture looks like it could be arm knitting. Which was a fad I loved. Can we bring this back instead of those pony tail hats? The larger the needle, in this case your arm, the larger yarn you need. The original appears to have multiple yarns being used. Perhaps our newbie knitter didn’t realize that’s an option? Lesson here: Larger needles, larger yarn. Smaller needles, smaller yarn.
The last picture. This crocheted hippo went through the stretcher! oh no! This is a case of right yarn, wrong size hook. When your needle/hook is larger than your yarn and you put it under tension (in this case, stuffing it) the created fabric will stretch (more-so demonstrated in the first picture). Amigurumi is also hard as shit. The people who do it very well are incredible talented. We should all bow before their prowess. Please don’t try an amigurumi (small figurine knitting/crochet) as your first or even 5th project!
General rule of thumb: if you don’t want holes in your work look for yarn and needle/hook approx same size in diameter.
Alas, you have returned for the craft store. Heading the advice you’ve gotten complimentary yarn and needle/hook. TIME TO START THE CRAFT JUICE!
“but whyyyy?” you whine
Because we must first test the yarn.
“But tests are boooooring” says the yarn.
I agree, talking yarn. Tests are boring and terrible and holy crap tell you if you’re doing something right or wrong. This is useful information to know before creating something beautiful with your HANDS.
Also my dear newbie yarn bender, practice makes a better yarn bender. Resist the urge to pump out something fast. Pinterst lied to you. It’s not going to take 1 hour. It will take at least 3 hours and two trips to the craft store. Accept this now. Knitting/crochet is slow ASF. Accept this now. Or find a different hobby.
So loop on some stitches and knit or crochet your joyous heart out. Then measure it once you get around 5 inches. Count the stitches horizontally and vertically. Then refer to the chart above and make sure everything agrees. Got 12 stitches per 4 inches and using DK (3) yarn? Time to change needles sizes or get your gorgeous self some bulky yarn. Or get yourself some bulky yarn anyhow. Treat yo’self.
i love you newbie yarn benders! Go forth and create and learn