When I first ventured into the world of crochet I had no idea that it would take over my life! My Facebook timeline, my Instagram feed and various Pinterest boards are all fueling my creative streak and I totally blame everybody else for the 6 WIPs that I have at the moment!
Since joining this crafty crochet community, I have learnt so much and I thought that I would share some of the little titbits that I have picked up on the way…
- It’s not all wool! The very first question that I posted on a crochet Facebook page was asking what “wool” people used for a certain project. I was inundated with replies saying that they didn’t recommend using wool but try a cotton mix or acrylic. It took me a while to realise that I used the word wool as a universal term for anything wound in a ball, not specifically meaning wool from a sheep. I now know that “yarn” is the umberella term I should have used and wool is a fibre, along with alpaca, cotton, acrylic etc. Now I know!
- WIP, UFO, FROGGING and HOTH. Huh? Yep, the crochet terminology baffled me too. I had to google it in the end. Now I am frogging away with the rest of them. Below are the terms that I see most often. WIP: work in progress. UFO: unfinished object. FROG: if you have to frog something it means you pull it apart. Rip it rip it ribbit! Get it?! HOTH: Hot off the hook. YARN BARF: this is my favourite term. It describes a tangle of yarn, most often used to describe the clump of yarn you sometimes get when you try to centre pull a ball. HOOKER: no, we are not ladies of the night! We just prefer to use a crochet hook rather than knitting needles. BISTITCHUAL: Someone who can crochet and knit. PHD: project half done. AMIGURUMI: This is a Japanese word to describe crochet 3D stuffed projects, often animals or dolls and usually made in the round. CAL: crochet-along. When a pattern is released week by week and people join together either in real life of on social media and work on their projects together, chatting and helping each other as they progress.
- To centre pull or not centre pull? This is a question that I ask myself every time I start a new ball. I didn’t even know that you could centre pull yarn when I first started but it has its advantages. If you have a ball that can be centre pulled then go for it! By using the yarn from inside out then your ball sits happily next to you rather than skirting around the floor as you use it, the label stays on so you know what you are using, it’s tidier and very satisfying. Although it does have its problems too. Mainly yarn barf! Finding the end can be tricky and you will inevitably get a little barf to deal with at the beginning. The end can be tricky to deal with too when you are left with a delicate shell that will collapse any minute. Not all balls are intended to centre pull and it can be more hassle than it’s worth.
- BALLS, HANKS AND CAKES! Already in this post I have mentioned “balls” of yarn, but not all fibre is sold in balls. To demystify the terms I have tried to find examples below… HANK: a looped twisted bundle. These are often found sold by smaller companies and individual spinners and dyers. They look cute and allow the purchaser to see the colours and quality of the yarn better than they would if it was wound tighter. These do need rewinding before they can be used though. SKEIN: this most commonly is used to describe the big brand yarn that comes in neat oval balls with a label wrapped around the middle. Be aware though that it is also a generic term for a quantity of yarn. I.e. “It took three skeins of yarn” meaning it took three units to make, these units could have been hanks or cakes of doughnuts! Confused? Sorry. DOUGHNUTS: These are flat balls and work well if you like a centre pull. BALL: you dont typically buy yarn in ball form, I guess they are not very easy to display. These are the hand wound oddments you find in your stash. CAKE: these are round with a flat top and bottom. They are wound on a yarn winder and centre pull well. Some companies sell their yarn in cakes to show off long colour changes. CONE: these come on cardboard liners and usually hold more length than other types of yarn presentations.
- UK v US terms. I have no idea why, but crochet stitches have different names depending on which side of the pond you are from. Back in the day when patterns came in magazines or pamflets this probably wasn’t too much of an issue, but thanks to the Internet, the crochet community is an international one and patterns are shared all over the world. Luckily the physical stitches are the same, just the names are different. Checking the terminology should always be the first thing you do on a new pattern.