In this episode of B.Hooked TV we’ll talk about crochet tension specifically and how you can improve the look of your stitches by maintaining a consistent tension throughout your project.
Yarn used in this episode | Red Heart Dreamy
Hook used in this episode | Tulip Etimo
hosted by Brittany
About B.Hooked TV
Some topics are best explained one-on-one. Since Brittany can’t be right there with you, B.Hooked TV is the next best thing. You’ll find some of the most helpful tips for improving your crochet and knitting skills in a relaxed and conversational way. It’s a little change of pace from the usual tutorial.
Hey there and welcome to episode 3 of B.Hooked TV. I’m so glad you’re joining me today. I can’t wait to dive into this topic to be honest. This is one of those topics that I just know so many of you have a lot of questions about. And if you could just figure out this one thing I know it would really improve your crochet projects. So what am I talking about? tension.
Now before we move on to today’s episode about tension, please go ahead and subscribe to the show if you haven’t done so already. I make a new video every single Monday and I would love to see you here for the next one. So many of you have reached out to me directly and said, Brittany, I just, I need help with tension. I can’t get it. My stitches look uneven. My work looks messy. How on earth do I fix this? So have you ever looked down at your project, and really just wasn’t happy with what you saw? Maybe you saw some holes in your work or your stitches were different sizes and different areas? Maybe sometimes they looked really tight and sometimes they looked really loose. If you said yes to any of those things, you’re probably having some problems with tension. A lot of people define it as the tightness of your yarn as you have access to your hooks as you’re working through your stitches. That definition, I agree with 100%. But I like to take it one step further because there’s something else that comes into play too and that’s your crochet hook and how you’re working your stitches. So those are the three things we’ll cover in today’s episode: how you hold your yarn, how you work your stitches, and what type of hook you have because those three things are really what made me figure it out, just one day I got it. My stitches looked even and uniform and it’s because I sort of made tweaks to all three of these areas.
So first, let’s address how you’re holding the yarn. Now if you’re right handed, then your left hand is controlling how tight the yarn is right? It’s controlling the tension on the yarn as you’re working through your stitches because that’s the hand that the yarn is flowing through. Now opposite to that if you are left handed, then your right hand is controlling the tension on the yarn. Now I like to think of it this way, the perfect and the right way to hold the yarn in your non dominant hand. Well, that’s in the eye of the beholder. Basically, whatever works for you is the right way, and taking it one step further, what works for you, is what gives you the result that you want. And in this case, you want more even stitches, you want a more consistent tension. So however you can achieve that, that’s what works for you. That’s the right way for you. I’m right handed so I like to run the yarn around my pinky under the middle two fingers and then over top of my index finger. What that does for me is allow me to control the tightness through my pinky. Basically, my pinky works as a bumper, almost because how often does the yarn flow through your hands in the same way? Sometimes you have to pull a little bit tighter because maybe you’re unraveling the yarn as you go or maybe the yarn ball kind of jumped off the couch and you have to pull a little bit tighter. So working in around my pinky like that, that acts as a bumper so my pinky is really getting those in consistencies, and not what’s going to my hook. For me, wrapping the yarn over top of my index finger gives me really good and easy access to that yarn from my hook. And because that access is the same, every single stitch every single time I crochet, my stitches are consistent, and they have a good tension.
Honestly, it doesn’t matter how you hold your yarn, as long as you have three things every single time you work project for every single stitch. And that is how steady your grip is on your yarn. The speed at which the yarn is flowing through your hand, and then the access of the yarn to the hook. If you can nail down a comfortable way to work through all three of those areas, then I think you’ll see a big change in the consistency of your stitches.
Alright, so as I mentioned at the beginning, how you work with your hook really does make a difference in your tension and the overall consistency of your stitches. I’m sure you’ve probably heard before that I crochet tighter or I crochet more loosely. These are unique qualities and each of us and I personally have a tendency of crocheting a lot tighter, but because I’m always consistent with how I work those stitches, that’s why my tension looks good or looks on point.
One thing I want to make sure you have clear is that tension isn’t necessarily having tight stitches, right. It’s just being consistent in how you make those stitches. So when I’m working on my stitches, you probably seen this in some of my tutorials, I keep my yarn really close to my hook because the hook is a certain measurement for a reason. And I like to use the hook not only as a tool to make the stitches, but a tool to make sure my stitches are all the same size. So I keep my yarn the same tightness around the hook as I’m working those stitches. And I don’t pull up very far as I’m finishing things off doing those yarn overs and pulling through two. But you will find a lot of crocheters, that as they’re working their stitches, they’ll pull up quite a bit more on their hook. And again, this isn’t a wrong way, it’s not a right way. It’s just a unique way of working the stitches. But when you’re looking at projects from crocheters who have this tendency to work their stitches a little more loose, as long as those stitches are uniform you won’t see a problem with it, and you might hardly tell the difference between somebody who crochets more tight and more loose.
So I really want to hit home with this statement here. Tension isn’t about having tight stitches, or loose stitches. It’s about the consistency in those stitches. So let’s talk about the hook a little bit more because this instrument is so important and really it was again part of that A-ha moment for me. I started out with a tapered crochet hook. That’s just what I had available when I bought a hook for the first time. I had no knowledge that there were even different types of hooks. I just saw a metal hook. It was cheap. I bought it. It ended up being a Boye tapered hook and because I started with that, it felt comfortable for me to work with. I sort of learned how to do the stitches with that particular hook and if I tried to change to something different, it felt really different. And my stitches We’re a lot more inconsistent as a result of that. So I used this particular set, my husband actually bought me a full crochet hook set for Christmas that year and I used it for a long time before I started experimenting with different hooks. So I didn’t really know there was a problem until I started experimenting a little bit more. You’re probably in a different boat, you’re watching this video because you noticed a problem and you want to improve on your tension.
If you’re not using the right hook for you that might be why your tension isn’t the way you want it to be. So I saw a lot of people using these really fancy ergonomic crochet hooks with the pretty colorful handles and I really just wanted to experiment with that and see what it was like. When I bought that first ergonomic hook, and by the way, that was a Clover Amore hooks, I noticed a huge difference. The hook itself is a lot more shallow than my Boye hooks that I was used to working on and because of that, at first, the yarn fell off my hook all the time. I dropped the yarn I dropped the stitch all the time. So that was really frustrating, but the grip was comfortable. So I worked through that.
Once I got through that initial change that sort of shock from one hook to another, I realized that 1: I was able to crochet a lot faster because the hook was a little bit more shallow. Once I got used to that and got into a rhythm, the stitches just flew off my hook. But then I noticed the look of my stitches too and it looked a little bit more neat and tidy. So I’m not saying that an ergonomic hook or that the Clover Amore hook is the perfect hook for you but it could be and the bottom line here is that you just experiment with different types of hooks.
Once you figure out what hook style, what material you like and what works for you, when you deviate from that, you’ll have to make some adjustments again. And it’s not because you’re not good at what you’re doing, it’s because things are different. Now like before, the perfect crochet hook is in the eye of the beholder. So if you think maybe you don’t have the perfect hook right now or you feel like your experiences subpar, just not as good or as fun as it should be, I would look at the hook. If you feel like you have a comfortable grip, you feel like you’ve got your those motions down, you’re not pulling up really high on the stitch and you’re just overall consistent with everything else and you’re still not getting the results you want, we may look at the hook next and try to experiment with different types of hooks and different materials of hooks.
You don’t have to go crazy, you don’t have to buy a ton of different crochet hooks. That can get really expensive, right? Just experiment with one or two at a time. Maybe work one full project with a new hook and that’s actually what I did with those Clover Amores. I told myself, I would work one entire project, and it was a tree skirt, a Christmas tree skirt, so it was a big project but I wanted to make sure that I had a really good idea of how it was going to work out. So know that as soon as you transition to a new hook, it’s going to feel weird and you’re probably not going to be great at it, but give it a little bit of time. So if you’re switching from maybe wood to metal, or plastic to wood or any combination of those, it’s going to feel really weird and you have to give yourself a little time to adjust.
So what I want you to do now is look at how you’re holding the yarn and figure out if there’s any improvements that you can make. Can you add maybe wrapping it around one of your fingers to act as a bumper? Could you be a little bit more consistent in how that yarn is flowing to your crochet hook? Maybe you use something like a yarn bowl, or yarn dispenser or something like that, because maybe the problem isn’t with your grip. Maybe the problem is where the yarn is located, and you’re not able to get a steady or consistent pull on the yarn and that’s just sort of setting you up for failure right at the start. So look at your grip, see if there is something you can do to make adjustments there. And if there’s not, then the next thing I would look at is how you’re working your stitch. Do you know that you crochet more loose? Do you know that you crochet more tight? Zero in on the consistency there. Do you always make your stitches tight? Or do you sometimes make your stitch a little bit more loose? Another thing to note, if you get your hook really loose, and you sort of have that last loop more loose on your hook, when you pull through to finish that stitch, that’s going to create an opening that’s a little more loose than the rest. You may not notice it on this row, but you’ll definitely notice it on the next row, you may have a hole or a gap where that one loop was a little more loose than the rest. If you can’t find an issue with your stitches, how you’re making them, maybe you’re doing all right there, again, take a look at your hook next.
Alright, so give those things a try. Alright, that’ll do for today’s episode. Thank you so much for your time and attention. It was a real joy to teach you a thing or two about tension. I wish I had seen something like this when I was trying to figure it all out and I hope if nothing else, you have one takeaway, one little thing that you can tweak in your projects, to make it a little bit better. I’ll see you next week.