(estimated reading time: 5 min)

Here’s a recap of what I’ve learned to crochet over the past six months, after starting from zero experience and spending about 240 hours crocheting / $500 on yarns and tools. Most of this work, together with the patterns used, can also be found on my art instagram account.

Table of Contents

  1. How I started: Amigurumi
  2. Month 1: Coasters
  3. Month 2-3: Coaster, but Better
  4. Month 4: Placemats
  5. Month 5-6: Accessories
  6. (Very General) Advice for Beginners
  7. 2024 Crochet Goals

How I started: Amigurumi

I started by purchasing two beginners’ kits for Amigurumi (crocheted or knitted stuffed toy), and finished both within a weekend (12 hours).

The end results were surprisingly nice, except for some small mistakes due to inserting the hook in the wrong place. This is a common problem for beginners starting with fluffy yarns, since it’s hard to see the shape of the stitches.

a chunky pink penguin and a yellow cockatiel

I made a few more stuffed toys the following week, but struggled a fair amount with (1) dealing with color changes and (2) sewing pieces together without screwing up their shapes.

a long white and pink kitty and a small grey-blue cuddle fish
two white and pink kawaii kitty

Month 1: Coasters

I was meeting a lot of old and new friends throughout the summer, so decided to bring everyone I met a small, crocheted gift. Making a stuffed toy for everyone seemed impossible at the time, so I started making small coasters.

I didn’t yet know how to adjust the pattern based on yarn weight to make sure things stay nice and flat, nor had I discovered the concept of blocking. As a result, most coasters I made weren’t perfectly shaped, as evidenced by the photos below.

an assortment of crochet coasters, in various style and color

Having nothing better to do during my post-graduation summer, I spent an average of 30+ hours a week crocheting—which caused lot of hand pain—and handed out dozens of gifts over a couple weeks. I was crocheting very slowly: for example, the filet dinosaur below (25cm/10in wide) took me maybe 15 hours.

a 10in by 10in red filet dinosaur

Month 2-3: Coasters, but Better

I slowly got better at understanding and adjusting patterns to suit my needs, and started making more complicated coasters/placemats, or nicer simple ones.

a set of large beige and brown placemats, and an assortment of smaller coasters

I also found a flower coaster pattern, which became my go-to choice for making quick (~2hrs each) gifts for friends. I made at least a dozen of these during this time (and even more later).

flower coasters in purple and pink

Busy with other aspects of my life (e.g. having started working full-time), I didn’t make much aside of the above.

Month 4: Placemats

I decided I now had enough experience to make some nice sets of gifts. I used the same flower pattern, but adapted it to multiple sizes. Below is the result after 30 hours of work (the large placemats are 35cm/14in in diameter):

a set of rose-colored flower placemats

And of course, I made more smaller coasters on the side, a subset of which are shown below. I really like the jasmine stitch coasters on the left, but making them was quite demanding for my hands due to how dense the stitches are.

an assortment of smaller coasters, including four variations of jasmine stitch coasters

Month 5-6: Accessories

After dozens of coasters and placemats, I finally wanted to try something new. Over the next two months, I made two shoulder bags, a jewelry box, a scarf, and another more complicated set of flower coasters. They all turned out well—I considered them aesthetic enough to post on my instagram.

on the left: a beige alpine stitch shoulder bag with a sakura bag charm; on the right: a pink tulip stitch shoulder bag
on the left: a heart-shaped cake box and a light grey scraf; on the right: a different set of flower coasters in pink and red

I spent an estimated 50-60 hours on everything above (20 of which goes to the scarf). Considering that I was also working on other craft projects, I was pretty satisfied with my output.

(Very General) Advice for Beginners

  • Choose a good first project:
    • Start with something small and fun so you are more likely to finish it.
    • Avoid thick, fluffy, or black yarns, because it’s much harder to see the stitches and learn where to insert your hook.
  • Take regular breaks and do stretches, unless you want to collect hand, wrist, arm, shoulder, neck, and back problems like pokemon.
  • Use stitch markers generously—they make it much easier to see if you are making the right number of stitches in the right places.
  • Ergonomic crochet hooks are absolutely worth it if you are going to keep crocheting (I use Prym and love it).

2024 Crochet Goals

Next year, I plan on crocheting mainly apparel, and I have at least two large pieces I’m looking to finish.

For one, I want to make nice and durable clothes for myself (and have fun during the process). Additionally, I want to limit myself to only one large project at a time, so I have more time and energy to explore some other hobbies on my list.

I will be posting all my projects—crochet or others—regularly on my art account, and a recap blog post every now and then. Stay tuned!

Special thanks to TheNumbat for editing.