I've been teaching a lot of new crocheters lately and I've received a number of requests to share some general information that would be useful reference material for folks in the beginner stages of crochet.
There will be a video(s) to go along with this series and I will link to it/them when they are posted on my YouTube channel.
What are notions?
Alright, you've got your yarn and hook but, unless you sew or knit, you may have no idea what notions even are, let alone which ones you need to get.
Notions are the small items you need to complete a project. This may be tools you need as part of the process of making (like pins in sewing, or a cable needle for knitting), but also includes items you need as accessories for your project (buttons, hook and eye closures, pom pom makers, for example).
For a beginner crocheter there are really only three notions you definitely need to invest in.
The best scissors to get are small, portable and easy to store with your project. Travel scissors, embroidery scissors and snips are all good options. Here's some examples:
- Small, plain, functional, embroidery scissors like these Acme Westcott ones
- If esthetics are important (and there's nothing wrong with that!) and you want something both pretty and functional, these ones from Fiskars are cute. Etsy is a great source for ones that have a vintage look.
- Snips are also an option. Like scissors, you can get these in either heavy duty practical designs or lightweight, fun ones.
You will need a yarn or tapestry needle for attaching pieces of a project together and for weaving in your tail ends. My favourite tapestry needles are metal (not plastic), have a nice, wide eye, so yarn is easy to thread and a rounded, bent tip. These ones from Clover are ideal.
Locking stitch markers
Fancy, cute, hand made stitch markers are fun but if you decide to get some, make sure they lock. You will likely need a lot of stitch markers for your projects, especially because they are easy to lose and you may end up with a number of projects on the go at the same time. Beyond the obvious use of preventing your work from unravelling while its in progress, these are useful for:
- Marking the beginning and ending stitch in a row. Beginners often inadvertantly lose and/or gain stitches - this makes it easier to keep track.
- Breaking up long rows. If you're working on a scarf, shawl or blanket, you may need to create long rows with hundreds of stitches. Marking stitches in groups of ten or twenty makes counting easier, as well as ensuring you get the correct stitch count for each row.
- If you're working in the round, especially continuous rounds, marking the first stitch in the round helps you keep track of where you started and where you need to finish.
It's a great idea to get a big pack of brightly coloured, plastic, locking stitch markers, like these from Knitter's Pride as you will use them more often than you think.
Where to buy
As usual, the best place to start is your local yarn store (LYS). Here's why:
- you're supporting a local small business
- the folks who work at your LYS are makers too. They can recommend the tools they use and explain why they like them.
- People who work at yarn stores are often multi-craftual makers. If the LYS doesn't stock what you're looking for, they may know of a local needlework store that would.
As you will have gathered if you read my previous posts in this series, my go-to LYS is Handknit Yarn Studio (disclosure, I teach crochet workshops there). If you're in the Hamilton area I highly recommend their bricks and mortar store - I've bought tapestry needles and stitch markers there in the past that proved to be exactly what I needed. They also stock scissors by Kelmscott Designs from Saskatchewan - these scissors are adorable, I have a pair of the Oxbow design myself.
If you want to purchase any of the above items online, from Lovecrafts or Amazon, then if you click on the link I will receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you.