Don't waste your time or your yarn on the wrong pattern. Thinking ahead to prepare for your crochet project will assure that you pick the design that's right for you.
Step 1: Decide between free or store-bought patterns Decide how you want to search for your pattern. Many patterns can be found online for free and others can be purchased from craft or yarn stores.
Step 2: Find a pattern matching your crochet skill level Think about your crochet experience and look for a pattern that matches your skill level -- most patterns are rated as Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced.
TIP: Master the chain stitch and the double crochet stitch. These are the stitches most commonly used with filet crochet.
Step 3: Understand filet crochet pattern schemes Learn how schemes are displayed in filet crochet patterns. Typically, empty squares represent open mesh spaces, and a square with an X is used to represent a filled space.
Step 4: Understand pattern abbreviations Understand the most common crochet abbreviations to make reading patterns easier. Consult crochet books or web sites to help you interpret abbreviations.
Step 5: Crochet a swatch to test the pattern gauge Crochet a small swatch of approximately 10 by 10 stitches using the crochet gauge given in the pattern. Use the yarn and crochet hook specified in the pattern instructions.
TIP: Beginners should start crocheting with heavier yarn and smaller patterns. Stitch at least 10 rows to get past beginners' hurdles.
Step 6: Check the gauge and measurements Check the gauge and measurements of your swatch against the pattern. Make sure that the stitch count is consistent and that the outcome will be the size you want.
TIP: Adjust your hook to make your stitches match the pattern. Use a smaller hook if you have too few stitches, and a larger hook if you have too many.
Step 7: Start crocheting Start your crochet project and check your gauge as you go along to make sure that you are staying on track. Feel confident knowing that you're using the right pattern to get the product you want.
FACT: In the 1760s, James Hargreaves invented the Spinning Jenny, a machine that allowed a weaver to spin eight threads at once -- greatly increasing the speed in which yarns were made.