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Carlinda

Teaching tension, best way?

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Hello,

 

I gave my first ever private crochet lesson this afternoon to an absolute beginner. She had never picked up a hook before.

 

I taught her chains, sc, dc, and how to turn. It was an hour class so feel we got quite a bit done.

 

However the hardest thing for me to help her with was tension. She was either way to tight or way too loose with her stitches. I know that probably comes with time and practice, but is there anything that can make this easier to learn?

 

Thanks in advance for any advice or help!!

Carlinda :dog

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I had that problem when I was teaching myself from the computer. I just crocheted square after square until I felt comfortable with that stitch. And with the practice my tension started to even out. I would give her homework. Like do so many practice squares so many stitches long in sc, or dc. I practice still to this day on new stitches, before I do a project.

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Practice.

 

One thing that you could do is have her make scarves. Pick a stitch and work longways on it. By the time the scarf is done she should have achieved her tension. If you do it in a variegated yarn then you won't notice the difference in the tension nearly as much. Also, she'll have the feeling of accomplishment from finishing a project.

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I would suggest that she crochet "Swatchies". I can't remember where I saw the pattern. (Here, Crochet pattern central, or Ravelry) Crochet small swatches, put two swatches together, adding arms, legs, eyes, etc. You have a toy to show for it when you are done.

 

http://www.crochetme.com/media/p/88825.aspx Here is a how two sample.

Edited by dragonlady
added pattern site

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Tension is mainly something you "feel" while you are physically crocheting and it can be difficult to teach initially. For me, I like to teach it by having them physically "see" when all the stitches start looking alike. Tension can be seen, before it is felt, in beginners.

 

Let them experiment with different ways to hold the yarn and the piece they are working on. You can make examples of irregular tension and show them what it looks like and then have them try and mimic it, but let them "play" with the way they hold the yarn and hook and piece they are working on.

 

Making face scrubbies or pot scrubbies is a good beginning project for them to practice/ learn tension.

 

Remember, there is really no right or wrong way to hold a hook or yarn or piece you are working on. Some ways are better than others, but not everyone will hold things the same. Let them know it is okay for them to figure out what feels the best in order for them to physically make the stitches consistent.

 

P.s. --- Yes, I do believe technique has a place... but when we focus too much on "the right way" or the "most resourceful way" or even "the most logical way", it can take away from the fun and love and enjoyment that crochet is designed to offer the person learning.

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I have been crocheting since I was a little girl and I have notice my tension has always been loose :ohdear. I noticed the bigger the project for example a blanket my tension is even looser :eek. would it help if I went down a size in hook :help?

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Yeah, probably. Trying different hooks is how you make gauge.

 

Is it possible that you're mentally trying to make the pattern go faster by using bigger stitches?

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I always teach the single crochet and nothing else until they get a good feel for the tension and get comfortable holding the yarn.

 

Doing swatches or a washcloth is a good way to start.

 

I have found if I try to teach more than the single crochet in the first lesson the student gets frustrated and wants to quit.

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I recently started to teach my best friend how to crochet as she has always been interested. As lovely a girl she is, she can tend to be a little slow in picking things up. My nan taught me to crochet around 12 yrs ago so I have always known the basic granny square. I subscribe to The Art of Crochet magazines and have learnt a lot more since receiving them, when I first subscribed they sent out a learning to crochet pack which included a dvd and everything. Most of the stuff on the dvd i had already known and learning how to hold the hook and wool seemed pointless to me as i already had my own way of doing it. I leant the dvd, the getting started pack and the stitch guides for the stitch she wanted to learn to my friend and sat down and watched the dvd with her while showing her at the same time (as the dvd was too fast). I started her out with simple chains to get her tension even. Several days later when we caught up she was still focusing on the chains and had done enough to run the length of my house (we laid it out) and looked at the difference from when she started to where she was then. I remembered that when I was first learning my nan got me to do this as well. From there she has been making a scarf in trable crochet with 15 stitches. As she wants to learn granny square I thought it would be best to teach her the stitch first, get her tension for this down pat while also teaching her to count her stitches and to keep the same number on each row. As she progresses I plan on forwarding her further issues of my magazine including patterns, stitches, Q&A as well as other things to help her learn.

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