Today we are going to cover the best way to hold your yarn when crocheting and how to control your yarn tension for beginners. Tension is one of the most dreaded subjects for those just learning how to crochet. It is the reason why so many beginners give up without giving crochet a real chance. I don’t want that to be you. So let’s go over a few crochet tension tips and learn how to control your tension.
Tension is a real pain in the butt. Let me know in the comments if you agree. 🙋🏻♀️
I remember when I first started, I never thought I would be able to get the hang of it and I didn’t understand why. And if you’re a beginner you might be thinking, “What am I doing wrong? I feel like I’m doing everything right. Maybe crochet just isn’t for me” and then you grow discouraged and you start to lean closer to giving up.
Well I am here to tell you right now that you are not doing anything wrong. You’re not alone in your struggle. We’ve all been where you are.
The reason why so many people give up when they can’t get their tension right is because the most important thing you can do to learn how to control your yarn tension is to practice.
Yes, I know practicing does not sound fun. But the fact of the matter is that that’s the only way you will get better. The more you crochet, the more you’ll start to understand how to control your yarn, how to control your yarn tension, and how to recognize the mistakes you’re making.
And if you think practicing means you have to make a million squares to get the hang of it, that’s not true. Listen, you can practice with any pattern you want. The only thing you have to promise yourself is to not get upset when things don’t turn out perfectly.
Try practicing on smaller patterns that don’t have to be absolutely perfect.
Okay I’m done with my motivational rant. Let’s get into today’s tutorial talking all about the best way to hold your yarn when crocheting and how to control your yarn tension.
But first, what is tension?
Tension is the stress that we apply to our yarn as we use it. That means the way we pull our yarn from the skein as we’re crocheting.
When I explain this to my students, I tell them to think of the tale Goldilocks and the Three Bears. You don’t want your tension to be too tight, but you also don’t want it to be too loose. You want it to be juuust right.
The reason why tension is so important is because it can greatly impact the way your finished project will look.
Let’s say you’re working on a blanket that’s supposed to have the finished dimensions of 36″ x 36″. If your tension is too tight, your blanket will turn out much smaller and more stiff. If your tension is too loose, it will turn out much bigger and possibly with more holes.
Are you just getting started and unsure about how to hold your crochet hook? Read more about that here.
The BEST Way To Hold Your Yarn When Crocheting & How To Control Your Yarn Tension
Before we learn the best way to hold your yarn when crocheting, we have to first determine whether you are a tight or a loose crocheter.
Do you know which one you are?
If you’re not sure, I’ll give you a quick explanation. If you would rather see it in action, watch the video that goes along with this article.
How To Tell If You’re A Loose Crocheter
If you’re a loose crocheter, your stitches will be more loose than they should be. But if you’re used to seeing loose stitches, and you have nothing to compare, then how are you supposed to know that you’re a loose crocheter?
Here are a few ways you might be able to tell if you’re a loose crocheter.
- Your stitches/edges aren’t straight or look wonky even if you’ve counted the correct amount of stitches
- You have a hard time grabbing your yarn when you’re wrapping it around your hook
- Your yarn keeps splitting
- Your projects come out larger than intended
How To Tell If You’re A Tight Crocheter
The same thing goes if you’re a tight crocheter. You’re not going to know that you’re a tight crocheter without being able to compare your work with someone else’s.
So here are a few ways you might be able to tell if you’re a tight crocheter.
- You have a hard time working into your foundation chain
- After you pull out your work, it’s hard to see your chain stitches
- You have a hard time pulling the strand through to complete a stitch
- Your hands cramp easily
- Your projects come out smaller than intended
Okay so now that you know what category you fit into, let’s learn the best way to hold your yarn when crocheting and how to control your tension based on what we just learned.
The BEST Way To Hold Your Yarn When Crocheting – If You’re A Loose Crocheter
If you are more of a loose crocheter, you’ll need to hold your yarn in a way that automatically applies more tension.
To do this, wrap the yarn around your pinky, over your ring finger, under your middle finger, and over your pointer finger.
By weaving the yarn in between your fingers, this will apply more tension control as you’re crocheting.
Take a look at the photo below or watch this video to see how to easily wrap the yarn around your fingers this way.
The BEST Way To Hold Your Yarn When Crocheting – If You’re A Tight Crocheter
If you are more of a tight crocheter, you’ll need to hold your yarn in a way that helps you to control your tension a little easier.
Wrap the yarn around your pinky, under both your ring and middle fingers, and over your pointer finger.
You shouldn’t be weaving the yarn in between your fingers because you don’t need that added tension.
Again, take a look at the photo below or watch this video to see how to wrap the yarn around your fingers this way.
The BEST Way To Hold Your Yarn When Crocheting – If You Haven’t Found A Comfortable Position
The last way I’m going to show you to hold your yarn is how I hold mine. When I first started out, I watched many videos trying to follow the way more advanced crocheters were holding their yarn.
After trying a bunch of different things and getting tangled in yarn, I decided to just hold it how I felt the most comfortable (and that’s what you need to do too!).
The way that ended up working for me is pretty simple and it might just work for you too.
All I do is hold the yarn in between my pointer and middle finger. The rest of the yarn flows freely.
The way I tension my yarn is by squeezing my middle and pointer fingers together and lightly letting go when I pull my yarn.
No matter which way you choose to try, when you pull on your yarn it should flow smoothly. There shouldn’t be any tugging or tangling.
Try each of these methods and let me know which one works for you!
How To Control Your Yarn Tension
First, we went over how to tell if you are a tight or loose crocheter. Then we talked about the best ways to hold your yarn when crocheting based on how you crochet. Now we need to learn the most important part; how to control your yarn tension.
If you take a look at the photo below, you’ll see an arrow pointing to where your tension is being applied. This is the most important thing to look at when you’re learning how to control your yarn tension.
Make sure that this strand here is pulled nice and taut, not too loose but not too tight – just like good ole Goldilocks says. Your strand should sort of bounce back if you push on it.
If this strand is too loose, pull on your working yarn to make it tighter. If it’s too tight, let go of your yarn and try to reposition your fingers.
Because this part of today’s crochet tension tips is easier to see rather than explain, I highly recommend checking out the video tutorial that further explains how to control your yarn tension.
The BEST Way To Hold Your Yarn When Crocheting & How To Control Your Tension – Recap
Alright, because this post was so jam packed with valuable information, let’s have a quick recap.
First: We answered the question, “What is yarn tension?” and why it matters to your crochet.
Second: We went over how to tell if you are a tight or loose crocheter.
Third: We talked about 3 of the best ways to hold your yarn based on how you crochet.
Fourth: We covered how to control your yarn tension based on each one of those three ways to hold your yarn.
I hope these crochet tension tips helped you to learn the best way to hold your yarn when crocheting and how to control your yarn tension.