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.
People who pull from the inside say they prefer it because the yarn unwinds easier and the ball doesn’t move around as much.
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.
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?
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 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:
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.
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
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!
Want to get started right away? Try one of these tutorials:
- Knotless Foundation Chain
- Crochet End Cap | Knotless Finish
- Invisible Slip Stitch
- Invisible Decrease
- Magic Circle // Magic Ring