Common questions for crochet beginners include 'what's the easiest thing to crochet?' 'Which is the best crochet stitch?' 'How do you crochet a shawl?' and hopefully I can shed some light on the answers for you by showing you the best shawls and stitches for crochet beginners.
1. Is a shawl the easiest crochet project for beginners?
I would argue that a shawl is an easy beginner project. A shawl might seem fancy or out of your reach but let's break it down:
- It's a straightforward shape, whether it be a rectangle, triangle, half circle or full circle.
- There's no seaming up (usually).
- It eats up stash yarn no problem and gives purpose to a pretty yarn cake or a hand dyed skein.
- You can make a shawl in any weight of yarn and still get something wearable.
- You can make an entire shawl by using only one type of stitch, making it great practice for beginners.
2. How do I crochet a shawl?
There are many ways to make a shawl. You could start from one corner and work your way to the other with increase and decreases, start small and end big by increasing only or chain a long chain and make a rectangle shawl.
For beginners, aim for a shawl that uses one of these stitches:
- Double crochet (UK treble)
- Half double crochet (UK half treble)
- Triple stitch (UK Double treble)
These stitches are recommended because of how quick they grow. They're also taller than the single crochet stitch (UK double) so you will be less likely to get tired of the shawl after a couple of weeks.
3. Remember your increases and decreases.
Depending on the shawl, you may need to know how to increase or decrease. For example, the Daphne shawl starts at the yoke (the small semi circle) and grows out widthways.
To increase, simply make the stitch (in this case it is the double crochet stitch) twice into one chain instead of once.
If you'd like something a little easier, the Aurora Nox shawl uses only one type of stitch after you've set up the yoke. It also has no edging, meaning you can just focus on the stitch pattern.
Again, it looks more complicated than it actually is! You can read more about the shawl and the featured stitch pattern here.
To decrease, you can either skip a stitch, or join stitches together. Unless otherwise specified, the decrease will usually be called "dc2tog" or "hdc2tog".
Example for double crochet stitch:
1. Yarn over and insert hook into the chain. Yarn over and pull through. 2 loops on hook.
2. Yarn over and pull through 2, leaving 2 loops on the hook.
3. Yarn over and insert hook into the next chain. Yarn over and pull through. 3 loops on hook.
4. Yarn over and pull through 2, leaving 2 loops on hook.
5. Yarn over and pull through 2, leaving 1 loop on hook.
You will see that the 2 stitches have been joined together to make one stitch.
There are several ways to make a rectangle shawl. Here is the Lost and found wrap which is made by simply making a long chain and working side to side until the end.
This shawl pattern calls for 4ply (fingering weight) yarn but you could easily use a DK or worsted with a larger hook to speed up the process.
The Titania shawl
The Titania shawl is similar in concept but combines double crochet stitches to make v stitches. You start in the centre of the shawl and work your way out.
The double crochet stitches in this shawl have been combined to make V stitch and double v stitch. I have a tutorial for each of these stitches on my Youtube channel as well as a tutorial on the basic beginner crochet stitches.
A one skein beginner shawl:
The Disturbia shawl is perfect for crochet beginners for a number of reasons:
1. It requires only 1 skein of yarn.
2. You can practice your crochet increases.
3. It only uses 1 stitch throughout.
4. You can practice joining pieces together, whether it be seaming or a slip stitch join.
The Disturbia shawl was designed for knitters in particular who want to try their hand at crochet and for crochet beginners who want to practice creating a triangle shawl shape.
Trouble managing your tension? read about how to fix it here.
Is checking for gauge important? read about it here.
Can't remember the stitch names? Here is a handy chart.
Practice your stitches here