Tuesday Crochet Tip: Yarn Tension

You have a hook and some yarn, and now it’s time to start crocheting. One of the first things every beginner has to learn is how to hold their yarn. Before you begin, it may help to understand the purpose of threading the yarn through your support hand.

In much the same way that you thread a sewing machine to create and maintain the proper amount of tension on the thread so that stitches are even as you sew, you thread the yarn through your fingers to create even tension on the yarn so your crochet stitches have a uniformity they would otherwise lack.

This concept sounds so simple, however, in practice, I found it to be one of the more difficult aspects of crocheting to master. At first I crocheted so tightly I bent hooks. As I was trying to adjust, I then had patches that were tight and others loose, making my work look uneven. Finally, I settled into a steadier flow and my work became even and uniform.

Finding that sweet spot can present a challenge for some crocheters, but here are some tips to help you adapt.

How I hold yarn when crocheting
How I hold the yarn now
How I learned to hold the yarn
How I was taught to hold the yarn

Hold your yarn and hook the same way every time

There are a dozen ways to hold your hook and another dozen options for your yarn. I’m of the opinion that there is no right or wrong way, simply the way that works best for you. But if your way is creating too much or too little tension, try some of the other methods.

My teacher taught me to thread my yarn over my pinky, under the ring and middle finger, then over the index. But I found I wasn’t getting enough tension that way. With a little experimentation, I realized that I needed to change my methods a little to get the desired results. I now loop the yarn around my pinky so it does a full circle as it rounds that finger, then under the ring and middle, over the index. That creates a little more tension on the yarn that works for me.

Do what you have to do to accommodate your crocheting style.

Crochet with the same hook throughout a project.

Obviously you want to stay with the same size hook throughout a project (unless the pattern specifies a change for a specific reason) but even a minor change in the hook can make a difference in your stitch. Once I start a project, I don’t usually put the hook away. I simply weave it into the project or skein of yarn and leave it with the project. That way if I get busy, I don’t forget which hook I was using and change mid-project. It really does make a difference.

Sit in the same location if possible.

I know it seems insignificant, however, changing where or how you sit when you crochet can cause variations in your crocheting. A chair with armrests might have you moving slightly different than a seat where your elbows are not propped. Leaning to one side or the other can limit or alter your movement, changing your stitches. Keep the lighting consistent as well, as this seems to have an impact on some projects.

Overall, the best advice is to find the method that works best for you, then be consistent in how you crochet and that will help you achieve consistency in your work and stitches. It can take some time and you may complete a few projects before you start to feel like you’re learning to control your yarn tension. But don’t give up! Keep working at it and soon you will have beautifully smooth stitches with even tension.

Happy Crocheting!

~Lisa

Tagged , , , , , , , ,