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Tips & Techniques

Tips for Tension

January 31st, 2023

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Tips for Tension

As a beginner crocheter tackling tension can often be difficult. If you crochet too tight, it can be tricky to get your hook into the loops. Too loose and your work can look untidy. It can sometimes feel a bit like you’re Goldilocks trying to get just the right tension. In my experience, it comes with practice, patience and persistence. However, there are some tips for tension that can really help you to tidy up your work and make sure you’re hooking happily.

Ready to learn my tips for keeping your crochet tension even?

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TIP #1: IT’S ALL ABOUT THE YARN

When you buy a ball of yarn, no matter who the supplier is, it usually comes in a ball. How you choose to unravel the yarn can have a big difference on your tension.

Your choices are to take the yarn from the inside or the outside to work with. Let’s have a look at both of your options.

INSIDE

A ball of dusty pink Stylecraft Special yarn sits on a white surface. The yarn is being pulled from the centre.

People who pull from the inside say they prefer it because the yarn unwinds easier and the ball doesn’t move around as much.

OUTSIDE

A ball of soft sage coloured Stylecraft Special yarn sits on a white surface. The yarn is being pulled from the outside.

Personally, I prefer to take the yarn from the outside. I think it’s quicker, easier and less likely to tangle! However, there is also another option which is by and far my favourite way to work with yarn, the cake.

CAKE IT!

A yarn cake doesn’t just look amazing, it’s also a fab way for avoiding tangles and twists. I just think it’s so much neater and well worth the time investment of winding. Plus, how cute are the little cakes? Want to learn how to make your own cake?

You can Crochet With Bella Coco

TIP #2 MAKE SURE TO UNRAVEL AS YOU GO

Keeping track of how much yarn you’re unwinding as you work can really help you improve your tension. If you’re working directly from the ball, you’re pulling as you work which can lead to too tight tension.

Take the time to unravel as you go!

TIP #3: YARN BOWLS, PRETTY & PRACTICAL

Yarn Bowl

Yarn bowls don’t just make pretty ornaments, they’re fab for keeping your yarn in one place and making sure that you’re unwinding the yarn at a steady pace!

Couple a yarn bowl and a yarn cake for pulling perfection!

TIP #4: HOLDING YOUR HOOK & YARN

When it comes to holding your hook and yarn the golden rule is that you should do what is comfortable for you. Everyone has their own unique way and that’s OK! As long as you’re comfy and can create the stitches correctly it really doesn’t matter how you choose to hold on.

The most common methods of holding your hook are:

KNIFE HOLD

Holding your Hook: Knife Hold

PEN HOLD

Holding your Hook: Pen Hold

When it comes to holding the yarn, I have a preferred way to hold it that keeps the tension even and makes sure I’m not pulling too tightly or holding it too loosely.

An image showing how Sarah-Jayne holds her yarn while crocheting.

This is too difficult to explain, so I’d suggest watching the video down below to see it in action.

It’s worth remembering that how you hold your yarn can differ depending on yarn weight. But here’s the golden rule again: hold the yarn and hook so they are comfortable to YOU.

As long as you stay consistent within the project and don’t switch how you hold the hook or yarn midway through a blanket then you’re doing it right!

TIP #5: START WITH A GOOD FOUNDATION

A series of Stylecraft Special yarn balls in DK, Aran and Super Chunky weight.  The colours are pale lilac, aqua and biscuit brown.

The foundation chain can be a stumbling block for many beginners, either the chain is way too tight, or way too loose. Having a good solid starting chain will give you a better chance of keeping your tension even throughout the whole project. So, how do you do that?

My personal suggestion is to use a hook that is one or two sizes bigger than the hook you need for the project you’re working on. It will help you keep a nice consistent chain size.

Then when the foundation chain is done, you can switch to your correct sized hook.

TIP 6: TACKLING TENSION IN COMMON STITCHES

If you want a walk through of some common tension troubles when creating basic stitches then take a look at my video. You can skip directly to Tip 6, or watch the whole thing for more info on the above tips too!

DO YOU LOVE LEARNING?

If you’re keen to boost your crochet knowledge then keep your eyes on my blog this Summer.

For the whole season I’m going to be sharing tips and tutorials to help you elevate your crochet skills and master some of the trickier techniques in the crochet world.

Twice a month on a Tuesday, there will be a Techniques Tuesday post up on my blog with a new crochet stitch to learn. Plus, there will be plenty of other posts packed full of useful tricks to help you become a better crocheter…and make pretty things!

Want to get started right away? Try one of these tutorials:

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3 Comments

  • Patricia
    August 2, 2021 at 9:02 am

    I found your tips on tension very helpful
    Thank you

    Reply
    • BellaCocoTeam
      August 2, 2021 at 7:09 pm

      You are very welcome 🙂

      Reply
  • […] Lefthanded crochet is a mirror-image of righthanded crochet. A lefthanded crocheter will hold the hook in their left hand and the yarn in the right hand. If you need extra tips on how to hold your hook, try this: Tips for Tension. […]

    Reply

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