so, you want to learn to crochet?

by | Dec 18, 2019 | Artistic Endeavors, Popular, Yarn Crafts | 54 comments

Since I started crocheting, many readers and followers have asked me to share how I’m learning and the books and patterns I’m using, so this post is the answer to those requests!  Now, keep in mind that I have just been crocheting for a few weeks, so take all of this with a grain of salt.  If you’re an experienced crocheter and have some tips, resources, or patterns to share, please do so!

 This is just what I’ve discovered so far…

I have learned through a mix of books and videos.  I have tended to use videos when it comes to specific projects, like hats or mittens, and books to learn specific stitches.  I looked at a few different stitch books and my favorite one is the Crochet Stitch Dictionary. (You can get this book used from $2.99 on Amazon).  It has a wide variety of stitches and it feels like it’s geared towards beginners.  It doesn’t assume you know the full crochet vocabulary.

It also has pictures for each stitch and shows it with the pattern symbol and abbreviation, so you can start to learn the vocabulary…

…and each new stitch shows a swatch and step-by-step pictures.  I can go to this book, learn a new stitch, and practice it by making a dishcloth.

So, I’ve been making lots of dishcloths!  I’ve been using them for cleaning in the kitchen and I love them!  I received one as a wedding gift, but used it as a potholder instead of a dishcloth.  What have I been thinking?  These things are awesome.   I just have to get over getting them dirty!

I typically use the Sugar n’ Cream thread in Ecru for dishcloths.

The other book I’ve used a lot is the Essential Guide to Crochet.  It’s actually a magazine, but doesn’t seem to be a limited publication.  I found it at JoAnn’s.  Like the Stitch Dictionary, it has pictures, diagrams, and assumes this is a new world to the reader.  It also has a lot of cute projects in it.  Some projects in some of these magazines are definitely not my style, but this book has a lot that I would make.

I’ve been making the granny square afghan from this magazine.  Mine is going to be a chunky cotton spread and I think I’m going to put fluffy tassels on the end, but we’ll see.

I’ve only made 10 squares so far and I’m going to need to make at least 30 more to make it a decent-sized throw!  That’s a lot of yarn!

The other book I’ve enjoyed and would suggest is Easy Crochet Dishcloths. (This book also starts at $2.99 in the new/used section.)  This gives some specific dishcloth patterns that are beyond doing one stitch over and over.

One thing that’s improved my finished dishcloths tremendously is using bulb pins as stitch markers.  I mark the end of each row, so I start and end the subsequent rows in the right place.  My dishcloths are now square instead of being trapezoids.

And, I’m still figuring out the world of yarns.  There are just sooooooo many yarns out there and so many reasons why you want to use one size and material for a specific project.  It’s a lot like figuring out the oil paint brands and colors you like.  You just have to buy a skein, try it out for a project, and decide if you like it or not.  I have some fun wools and cottons in my stash to try for various things I want to make.

For specific projects, here are some video tutorials that have been helpful…

Magic Circle Tutorial

1 1/2 hour beanie 

Crochet Mitten Tutorial for Beginners

The awesome thing about crochet is that once you learn some of the principles, you can make tons of things!  Just from learning the magic circle, the treble stitch, and how to increase (from the mitten tutorial), I was able to make a cat bed without a pattern…

A few people have asked for the pattern, so I’ll make one more and make a pattern to share.  If you don’t want to wait, you can find all sorts of free tutorials for crochet cat beds online.

I’m hoping to get lots of crocheting done during the lull between Christmas and New Years.  It’s been a relaxing thing for me to do while watching TV in the evening or just hanging out around the house.  If you’ve been thinking about picking up crochet, I would encourage you to try it!

Don’t be afraid to be a beginner at something…

PS – The winners of the Magnolia Pearl Giveaway are…

Kim (heartnsoulr1)

Teresa (tsword7)

DeAnn (deanndonarski)

Linda (lattbrat)

Monica (duelleyml)

Congrats to the winners and thanks to all who played along!



  1. Amy

    The mustard seed yellow beanie and mittens are adorable. Will you be offering your handmade goodies for sale in the future? They’re much nicer than anything I’ve seen in stores in my search for a simple red beanie. And your feline assistants never fail to make me smile. They look so happy and comfy in their ‘cat nest’.

  2. Pamela Cool

    I love to crochet❤

  3. Shirley

    I’ve crocheted since I was 10 years old. I’ve knit for 30 years. The best website for both is You can get thousands of free patterns for both crochet and knit projects as well as join groups which supports both crafts. Give it a try!
    As for yarn, Aran weight or worsted weight is normally the preferred size. It is shown as “4” on all yarn wrappers. Remember that wool and cotton yarn must be washed in cold water and air dryed. Acrylic yarn can be washed and dryed in the machine.

    Hope this helps!

    • Erin

      I was coming here to recommend Ravelry as well. The amount of free instruction and help available there is unbeatable, and their pattern database is the most comprehensive out there.

  4. Vicki K.

    Your recommendation to start with dish cloths is a good one. I love to knit and crochet and have probably made 1,000 cotton dishcloths over many years. They give you an opportunity to get a consistent tension while making something useful. Plus, you can throw them in the wash with the other household laundry.

    I have been making sets of 14 dishcloths as a part of bridal shower gift baskets so that the new bride will have a clean one everyday for two weeks. And if you use darker colors – you won’t cringe at the stains. Surprisingly, black is a fav dishcloth color and lots of my friends request them.

    Marian, you have just taken off – that is fun and inspiring to see!!

  5. Brenda

    Thanks for the info! Love the picture of the cat pile. Merry Christmas!

  6. Jessica

    Ravelry is a great source for online patterns.

  7. Chris

    Between now and Christmas, crochet will be my life! I have cozy throws to complete for both of my grandkids, a sweater to finish for my dear granddaughter (age 5) as well as a hat and scarf for her out of yarn I found in the colors of “Frozen”. After the holiday, I have a blanket to make for grandchild #3 due in January.

    I also belong to a group at my church that crochets shawls and lap blankets for those that are ill, have suffered a bereavement, or just need a boost. Most of the ones made are “half granny squares” from donated yarn but I like to change it up and crochet a lacey wrap.

    Marian, have you joined Ravelry yet? If yes, what’s your Rav name?

  8. CJ

    Love your posts, this one especially as it will bring many to the art of crochet. But the ads! 😞 Oy!

  9. Kate

    My mother taught me how to crochet when I was young, but it never took off until I married. I crocheted some items for my first baby and did some items, like doilies and table runners, with fine thread. I avoided clothing because I had bad memories of my grandmother’s gifts to me and my cousins. We grew up in the 70s and received many ugly orange or green vests. She was always working on multi-colored afghans which made me shudder. They were well-made; it’s just the colors that were awful.

    A friend taught be to knit 25 years ago and I’ve been hooked on that. I second checking out Ravelry. I might pick up my crochet hooks again to knit some of those washcloths you featured. I’ve knit washcloths, but since knitting is more “stretchy” than crochet, they lose their shape quickly with the use.

  10. JennS

    I’ve never attempted to crochet but I’m very drawn to the chunky, nubby, tactical look of the pieces. I think I’m going to try to give the dishcloths a go. Hey, I was new at everything once, right? I mean I couldn’t walk until I took the first step!

    • Jenn S

      ** tactile (geesh spell check)

  11. Connie

    My grandmother taught me to crochet.. I can learn the stitches but have great trouble reading the instructions for patterns.

    • Marian Parsons

      I have trouble with the instructions, too. That stitch dictionary and the magazine for beginners have helped me with learning and videos are so much easier, too!

  12. Kerri Arthur

    Nice! I am learning too and find great free patterns and tips on Pinterest – also love Ravelry and Knot Sew Cute patterns from Etsy! I would love to know the yarn you used for the cat bed! Thanks!

  13. Laura F

    awwww….kitties 😀

  14. Vickie H.

    Ok what fun for you. Now once you feel a bit more comfortable, explore the world of really GOOD crochet hooks. I prefer the Tulip hooks or Clover Amour but also use the Furls wooden hooks. There also lighted hooks for working when your lighting is poor. I have many different sets of crochet hooks and use different brands for different yarns/projects. There is also a gentleman who has a FB page who lives in the UK and makes the most beautiful hand-turned hooks from glorious beautifully colored exotic woods: Bowltech Crochet Hooks. Truly a guilty pleasure. I have crocheted and knitted since I was 9 years old & I will soon be 67. I find it very relaxing. Good for you, taking it up.

  15. Susan

    My great aunt taught me to crochet when I was 8 and I have done it in spurts from time to time. Before we were married, I crocheted my husband a hammock with super chunky white yarn (or maybe it was fat string?) and a giant hook.
    I love your wooden crochet hooks! All of mine are metal or plastic which work fine but I’m a lover of all things wooden. Can you please share the source for those? My hands MUST have them!

    • Marian Parsons

      Yes, I’m a very tactile person and I like the feel of the wood hooks better than metal or plastic. The ones pictured are from Hobby Lobby and you can also find similar ones on Amazon and Etsy.

  16. Addie

    Those kitties are truly enjoying that bed!!! I’ve been a long time crocheter and enjoy the craft VERY much. I hope by you writing about it, it will see an upsurge in popularity… little trend setter!!! What is great, is that people will see how with a little practice you can get going and make some beautiful items quickly. AND just for a little bragging rights…ah hem!!!!…..I have many Blue Ribbon State Fair Titles!!!!!

  17. Graham

    Living in Minnesota mittens are a must. Pinterest shows some wonderful ones crocheted by someone on Etsy that have the look of a fisherman’s sweater. I swear before I die I’m going to find out how to make them! Merry Christmas!

  18. Amy

    I tried to join Ravelry today and found out I joined years ago. I don’t remember that. Just had to update my password. Looks like this group almost crashed their site today with new members. They are going to like you, Marion ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  19. Lesley Brown

    I was the same as you when someone showed me how to crochet,, I just took off and couldn’t stop, I wanted to learn it all so much, and I found it so enjoyable. I’d like to add that I am in England, and our Crochet patterns and those from USA differ in terminology, which can be somewhat confusing. I won’t enlarge on that but as you continue and start to use English and/or European patterns you will need to understand the differences and am sure you will soon progress. Also, just to say, I adore your lovely cats xx

  20. Margo

    I was excited to look into the site until I saw what’s on the site. Horrible site preaching such garbage about all trump supporters being white supremacists. I don’t care what they give away, it’s not worth reading their hate filled propaganda. I’m outraged to find this when looking for something as benign as how to crochet. Ugh!

    • Marian Parsons

      Wow…I wonder if you ended up at the wrong place? I joined after so many people suggested it and I didn’t see any of that!

      • Renee Woods

        This is from Ravelry. I also have been learning to crochet. I wanted to join but I can not support such hate and nonsense.

        New Policy: Do Not Post In Support of Trump or his Administration
        Sunday, June 23rd 2019

        We are banning support of Donald Trump and his administration on Ravelry.

        This includes support in the form of forum posts, projects, patterns, profiles, and all other content. Note that your project data will never be deleted. We will never delete your Ravelry project data for any reason and if a project needs to be removed from the site, we will make sure that you have access to your data. Even if you are permanently banned from Ravelry, you will still be able to access any patterns that you purchased. Also, we will make sure that you receive a copy of your data.

        We cannot provide a space that is inclusive of all and also allow support for open white supremacy. Support of the Trump administration is undeniably support for white supremacy.

        The Community Guidelines have been updated with the following language: “Note that support of President Trump, his administration, or individual policies that harm marginalized groups, all constitute hate speech.”

        • Marian Parsons

          This is so unfortunate. They promote their site as being all-inclusive, yet they clearly are willing to put blanket labels on people and exclude anyone who doesn’t support the people and politics they support. I wish it could truly be a crochet/knit community for everyone who was respectful and kind to others.

  21. Jenn Anderson

    Thanks for this post. I’m one of the wanna be’s with crochet. My grandmother used to do really fine crochet lace and I wish I had asked her to teach me. Maybe I’ll use the tips here to get started.

  22. Shirley

    Yes, the Ravelry owners banned Trump supporters and it was on the news all summer. I became a member when Ravelry began and was very upset they did this. Also the male owner announced that he is a transgender, they lost many of their members.

    • Marian Parsons

      Aw, it’s a shame that they are injecting politics into business. It’s a free world and they can do that, but there’s just no reason to when the community is about crocheting and knitting.

  23. Anita

    Thank you for this post! You’re giving me the confidence to keep going. I started crocheting only a month ago and have yet to really make anything. I just crochet and tear it out. I think I will start with dish cloths and move to an Afghan eventually. Tomorrow I’m making a trip to jo-Ann’s for that mag with the Afghan pattern. (The $2.99 used books on Amazon had $27.99 shipping…) 🥺

    • Marian Parsons

      Oh man! I should’ve checked the shipping on those used books. With media mail, that’s just silly! Most of my dishcloths have been wonky until recent ones, but they still work! Just keep going!

  24. Mary S

    Oh-oh… I see the kitties are already SPOILED !!! Ha! Cute picture of them in their “bed”..

    • Suzanne

      I started crocheting this year and find it very relaxing, almost like a moving meditation. My daughter gave me the stitch dictionary book and I can attest to how wonderful it is. You’ve inspired me to set aside more time for things like this!

  25. Dianne

    I am new to crochet. So far I LOVE it. I recently made a pillow cover that I just did with double crochet. A friend sent me a pattern for a double notepad that you crochet (single crochet) until the edges meet in a diagonal in the center. It really turns out nice. I also found the pattern on You Tube. Your kitties are so darling. Just a small caution, some cats will chew and swallow yarn and string. I try to remember to keep it away from them. You probably are already aware of this. MERRY CHRISTMAS

  26. Dianne

    oops,, the pattern is for a hotpad not notepad lol

  27. Mary S

    Oh… Like Anita, I went to Amazon to order these same books, and my total came out to $100 or something crazy like that! So, needless to say, I deleted my books… I’ll see what I can find at JoAnn’s. It make me wonder if I’d mada a mistake. But I didn’t complete my order. Yikes!!

    • Jenni

      I just found that our local library has this book – maybe it’s worth a look at yours too!

  28. Louise

    I think you are doing really good with your crochet and moving along fast. I’ve just started and only know a couple of stitches. . I want to try something with the chunky yarn. Thanks for your information.

  29. Terrie in Atlanta, GA

    Marian, didn’t you love Vicki’s idea about crocheting dishcloths for bridal shower gifts? Before she mentioned that, I was thinking how cool it would be for you to tuck some away for your future daughters-in-law. Antiques and even sterling may get passed along, but handmade items are treasures. XoXo


    Easy peasy pattern for dish rag. I love texture on these for scrubbing. Just chain however many for preferred width. I usually do about 22 using cotton worsted weight yarn. Then its just single crochet in second chain from hook followed by half double crochet. Repeat across. At end, chain one and turn. Next row you single in the half dbl or half dbl in the single. So say you chained 22. SC in 2nd ch from hook. Then half dbl in next stitch. Repeat across. End of row and 20 stitches should be half dbl. Now chain one and turn. Now sc into the half dbl . Next stitch half dbl into the single. When you can fold cloth over to make an even triangle your done. No worries about if you’re starting or ending on right stitch. Its always single into the half dbl or visa versa. If you want a loop for hanging just chain around 10 times and SC into the same stitch. Cut yarn about 4 inches pull through last loop. Then weave tail in. I always use white for rags so they can be bleached. These are great hostess and small thank yous.

  31. PJ

    This post came at the perfect moment for me. I am a beginner at crochet, and just this week thought I would contact you to see what resources you are finding helpful. Thank you so much!

  32. Jeanine

    Thanks for the tips! I crocheted years and years ago, making several simple items, but feel I need to relearn. This is a great place to start again! Love the little cozy for your cats. They have definitely made that their spot with attitude!

  33. Michelle Mardis

    Hello Marion,
    My question is what are the dimensions of your crocheted dishcloths?

    • Miss Mustard Seed

      They are all different. I would say they range from 8″-12″ square, though. I usually chain 28-36 stitches.

  34. Jean

    Hi, I enjoy your blog very much. I appreciate your consistency! Thanks for the posts on crochet. I have crocheted my whole life it seems. But I learn more all the time. Would love a link to the pattern for the yellow mittens. The seem different then the mittens. Keep it up! and Thanks.

  35. Miss Mustard Seed

    I actually used her pattern, but used larger yarn, so I reduced the number of stitches in each row. They turned out a little big and wonky, anyway, so I need to try again! If I hit on the perfect pattern for that size yarn, I’ll share it. I’m still experimenting and learning. 🙂

  36. Marai Ward

    Thanks so much for sharing your process of learning this new craft. This is something i have been wanting to learn and just haven’t made the time. It makes me wish that I would have learned from my Grandmothers.
    I think it’s time that I make the time!

  37. Helene

    I also crochet dish cloths and have started using variegated yarns. There are so many pretty choices and stains are much less noticeable

  38. Sarah

    Love the cat bed! Look forward to a post on it. Could you share what yarn you used/liked for it please?

  39. Marjean

    Hi Marian! You’ve inspired me to crochet again. I was wondering what yarn and size hook you are using for your granny square afghan. Love the neutral color.

    • Marian Parsons

      I am using the XXL Cotton Yarn by Yarn Bee in Almond. You can buy it at Hobby Lobby or from their website. To make a whole blanket, it’s going to be pricey, so I buy a couple of skeins at a time when they are on sale or just buy one with a coupon. I’ll finish it eventually!

  40. Donna Gelineau

    Marion; you inspired me to learn to crochet so I did over the Christmas break. A great many dishcloths have been made. My favorite pattern so far is the basket weave. I am in the process of making a corner to corner blanket. I am using Bella Coco’s you tube to learn most of the stitches as I am left handed..

  41. Shari

    I LOVE THESE!! I need to learn to crochet, thank you for all the info! Love your blog!!


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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