Some tips for the trade.
There are many new to the crochet world and I just wanted to express the bond between a hooker (and I mean a crochet artist) and their yarn. If you enjoy the craft, you will become a "yaddict" as my father calls it. I fully confess that I have an addiction to yarn and an addiction to crocheting. Yarn is always out and about in my house. Before I really get off topic, I wanted to give some tips to the people who are relatively new to the glorious world of yarn.
For dealing with patterns, I can not express how much you need to trust that the pattern is correct. There are times that I feel like I'm almost "testing" the pattern and making myself believe that it is actually inaccurate. If something doesn't look right on paper or on my hook, I have tended to blame the pattern. However, this shouldn't be the case. Unless you do, rip apart and do over a few times, you can not be sure that it IS the pattern. I know making booties, that I haven't trusted the pattern, but, when I finally got down to it and really read every single line word for word, I realized--IT WAS ME! Me!?!?!?!?! The pattern was just something that I wasn't used to. With that said, I state again, trust the pattern! We crochet geeks know what we are talking about (most of the time)
Again with the whole pattern scene: read the pattern and see if you know how to do certain stitches. Most patterns will tell you what stitches are going to be used and if they are difficult ones, MOST of the time it's going to tell you how to do it. Also, you can look on youtube (wonderful invention, by the way) for directions and instruction that are easy to follow.
Second, more yarn is better than not enough. Honestly--it really is. Normally, if I think a blanket it going to take 5 skeins of yarn, I get two more additionally, just in case. Now, for a pattern, you don't really have to do this because people have tested it out. In this case, it would only be necessary if you were using a larger hook or if you were going to make the item bigger than the pattern has said. More yarn is better!!!
Next--when making items for babies from a pattern for a child or toddler (sometimes adult), if you want to make it smaller--use a smaller hook. For even smaller--use a smaller hook AND a different size yarn like sport yarn. The same goes for if you want to make something bigger-but in reverse. If you want to make something bigger, use a bigger hook and bigger sized yarn. It seriously is THAT simple. This is something I didn't know until I really got into crochet and started doing my own patterns.
For handling your hook. If you are brand new at this, you want to figure out how holding the hook is most comfortable for you. That goes for the yarn as well. People hold things differently. I knew someone who would hold the yarn over their pinky for more control. That gives me the creeps because I don't really like the inside of my pinky touched, but hey, it's YOUR position. Mine, I think people would think is weird, too.
Start out with easy yarn like 4 ply cotton. You don't want to confuse yourself with hard to use yarn like Homespun. Start simple--move up!
Lastly, don't get discouraged. We all make mistakes. I am constantly ripping my work apart because I don't like the shape, I missed a stitch, I counted wrong, etc. It happens!
Have fun hookin' everyone!