Write it. Shoot it. Publish it. Crochet it, Sauté it, whatever. MAKE it.joss whedon
Crocheting. We’ve all heard it characterized as a boring skill for old-timers who don’t have much to do. A lot of young people completely disregard learning the skill or it’s cousin, knitting, in favor of “cooler,” trendier talents. Many don’t even realize it’s usefulness– both in the hand-crafted industry and beauty industry. Yes, in this post, I describe the two methods of crocheting and how both can be used to either make or save money.
I started learning nearly a year back, and even now I take a bit of time out of each day to crochet a bit. It’s calming and borderline therapeutic. Not even mentioning the numerous compliments I’ve gotten on my “handiwork.” One of the pros over knitting, is that crocheting generally doesn’t take as much time, plus is much more versatile in it’s use outside the clothing industry. I mean let’s face it, you can’t knit hair.
I hope I haven’t confused you with all these hair comments. Crochet-based hairstyles have become all the rage in the African American community due to their simplicity, quickness, attractiveness, and diversity. Similar to crocheting thread or yarn, you use a specialized type of crochet hook to attach extension hair and sew (dare I say, “weave”) through the roots of your natural hair. You can crochet in anything from braids to twists to a faux twist out.
Crocheting thread or yarn allows you to produce items ranging from clothing, to [amigurumi] toys, to blankets, to jewelry, key-chains, curtains, bags, rugs, wallets, etc. Need I go on? Don’t worry, I’m about to delve even deeper into the beautiful world of crocheting. I suggest prepping yourself for a new side hustle.
Crocheting Thread/ Yarn
This is the traditional way of crocheting that most people know the term for. What most consumers don’t realize though is the diversity available in the realm of crochet materials. You are by no means stuck with traditional, boring, or uniform styles of crochet since there are hundreds of different hook sizes, yarns, threads, colors, and embroidery flosses. Each piece you create can be unique and I bet that there’s someone somewhere looking to buy a unique handmade object. Just look at Etsy. The eCommerce platform has a whole section for crochet objects.
Crocheting with crochet thread or even embroidery floss, along with a smaller hook allows you to create more precise, smaller, intricate patterns. I prefer smaller designs myself. These include earrings, bracelets, necklaces, key chains, miniature toys, and any pattern you’d like to be thin. You’ll notice that some of these objects are in top demand in the hand-made industry and are easier to personalize to your unique style of branding. My passion right now is earrings. Don’t let being a newbie intimidate you.
Simple to Learn
Crocheting can be such a stress reliever. There are plenty of free patterns available on YouTube, Google, and Ravelry.com that are simple to follow along with and beginner-friendly. They’re all I relied on at the beginning and I still use quite a bit today for inspiration for new projects. They’re posted there for you to use so don’t feel bad about “copying” someone else’s design. It’s even more fun when you tweak it up a bit since unique items sell much quicker than one’s a lot of people can make. That being said, make sure you get the basics down before jumping above your skill level.
Take the time to watch videos and tutorials for learning all the basic stitches. You’ll thank yourself later when following along with virtually any crochet pattern. Most crocheters use abbreviations (they’re really easy to understand though!) so you’ll need to understand basic stitch names and how to execute them. When I first started out, I used some thick yarn and basically the largest crochet hook I owned at size 10mm, and literally went back in forth practicing the basics on a square. It was my little practice square so I allowed myself room for mistakes and I used it for viewing the final designs offered by different crochets. This really allowed myself to familiarize myself with the motions without the pressure of following a pattern .
The basic stitches to known are the slip knot, single crochet, half-double crochet, double crochet, and slip stitch. That’s it, and the form the basis of most patterns. I suggest learning them in order of ease with slip knot first, then single crochet, slip knot, double crochet, and half-double crochet. As you advance your crocheting skills, you’ll see instructions about making “magic” rings, single crochet increases, and single crochet decreases. Those all become necessary when you begin focusing on circular or stuffed objects. They’re still super easy though and you’ll likely get the hang of them in one sitting.
Now that I’ve hopefully alleviated any feelings of capability, let’s continue on with it’s wonderful uses. Crochet items make for amazing gifts. Most people love receiving handmade presents and a crochet item is pretty unique to a lot of receivers. It shows time, care, and effort was put into their gift, and they’ll really appreciate it. I just gave my mom two pairs of earrings and a coffee mug key chain, and my dad a dog key chain last week for their anniversary and they loved them. My mom is still fawning about how well the pairs go with her outfits. Once you start making gifts for people, you’ll have others coming up to you in no time asking you for something as well. Provided your crochet item looks good, of course. So once again don’t rush into making items for others until you’re sure of your skills since those people will likely be walking advertisements.
You Can Sell for $$$
Consumers will pay good money for a unique, attractive piece, and you won’t even feel forced to limit your range of freedom. Don’t allow crocheting to feel like a task or duty. Treat it like a hobby where you can create anything you want and then try your hand at selling different items within your niche. You can see which items perform the highest and then adjust your eCommerce platform accordingly. You’ll need to some advertising, both in person and on social media but eventually you’ll be making at least a few sales. Don’t go into learning the skill though, with the sole intent of making money. That can take away from the joy and lead to high levels of disappointment when your items don’t perform like you thought they would. Give yourself time and patience to develop an online presence since consumers are a lot less likely to buy from a new shop. Patience is key little grasshopper.
You may want to try out different platforms as well. Etsy is the biggest known contender for handcrafted objects, but by no mean the only platform. You can try out Amazon, Ebay, Instagram, or other handmade eCommerce sites. Of course there’s always the whole selling-in-person form of advertising as well since there’s a more personal, intimate connection. People are always more likely to buy from artisans they know and trust. Don’t milk your friends and family for money but do encourage further interest among them, and other coworkers, classmates, acquaintance, and different people you encounter while out and about.
Alright, now on to the less known form of crocheting. Crocheting in hair extensions has become a growing DIY hair trend among the curly-haired community. And for good reason. Most extension-based styles require advanced styling expertise along with hours and hours on end to complete the look. Paying a stylist to do all your styles is so 2010.
Crocheting is an easy look to master even when doing it on yourself. The only thing you really need to know how to do is cornrow and the extension hair is generally already “styled” for you. The cornrows don’t even have to look that good since you’re (usually) crocheting hair on to cover them. The traditional form of crocheting hair requires (1)cornrowing your natural hair (2)inserting the specialized hook through the root of the cornrow (3)clasping a piece of the extension hair (4)pulling the hook and hair halfway back through the cornrow and (5) tying the extension hair around the cornrow. That’s the process in a nutshell but this is by no means a tutorial, so as always, I urge you to research the method more before you attempt the styling procedure yourself.
Any style is at your disposal when you learn how to crochet. Let’s run down the list, shall we?
You got the Jumbo Braids.
You got the Senegalese twists.
You got the baby doll curls.
You got the all-natural look.
You got the curly locs.
You got the twist-out look.
AND you got the blown-out straight look.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Can you even believe that all of those styles are based on cornrows? Since you’re natural hair is braided underneath, that means your real hair is 100% protected. Who doesn’t love a good protective style? You can take comfort in knowing that you look good, your hair is growing, and you can get ready in literally 10 minutes. You may never need to go to the salon again with a skill like this at your hands.
I guarantee you if there’s a style you want, just look up how to crochet it and there’s someone whose already done it before you. You can redo the style anyway you want once you get confident enough. You can even add in a pop of color whenever you like.
Simple to Learn
I’ve hinted at this a couple times already, but crocheting in hair is by no means a challenging task. Especially if you already have bit of experience doing hair. And if you already know how to cornrow, then girl you’re really in luck. I was able to whip out my latest crochet braid style in three hours. That may sound like a long time initially, but for anyone whose ever gotten box braids put in, you know the 8-9 hour process at the salon, or 15 hour process by yourself. Times vary by person of course.
The one thing that seems to be holding a lot of women back is the complexity of putting in certain styles. There are multiple box braid and twisting methods to grip the scalp while adding hair in, but they can really be confusing sometimes. Depending on the angle you’re reaching from, you can really have a time perfecting the tight, attractive look. Who wants loose, fuzzy braids when you just have a stylist put them in for a hundred or a few?
Put simply, if you know how to cornrow, then you know how to crochet. Plus, since the cornrows don’t have to look that great, you can still crochet even as a newbie “cornrower.” You can always go back and adjust the look to make the style look more natural. Just pull the strip out, redo it, or add in a new piece of hair. Your hairstyle can last for weeks with proper maintenance, and you can change up the style as you ride it out. The only real thing that will eventually force you to take the style is out, is new growth at the roots of your hair that will make the cornrows loose. But you got at least a month before that becomes an issue.
Saves you Money
If you’re someone who gets your hair styled often or buys a lot of products for your natural hair, then learning how to crochet in hair yourself will give your wallet the break it needs. Hairstylists typically charge a hefty penny to do your hair. (And for good reason–it is there skilled profession.) If you learn how to style your hair yourself, then there will be no reason to have them do it for you. This applies to any extension-based style by the way. When in doubt, a DIY lifestyle is the way to go.
Most naturalistas know that hair products can cost a lot of money as well. Buying the best of the best to moisturize your hair can get borderline draining on your bank account. If your natural hair is covered and protected underneath extensions for weeks on end, then you won’t need to buy any new hair products. A nice spritz of water and oil will keep your hair as moisturized as it needs to be.
You can sell for $$$
Spotting a little pattern here? Crocheting basically gives you the same benefits regardless of what form you choose. Put simply, it’s a skill that not everyone can do so there will always be somebody willing to buy it from you. As the last heading points out, getting your hair professionally styled is expensive, so if you offer a discounted price on your styles then you’ll have ladies lining up in no time. The hair industry is more lucrative than one might think.
I suggest figuring out what form of crochet hairstyles you specialize in so you can really perfect that look. Sell according to the time it takes and whether or not the client brings their own extension hair. You may even want to work on giving unique flairs to traditional styles to make you stand out from the rest of the professional stylists.
Crochet styles average anywhere from 90$ to $180– a notable wage for a one-time job. Of course don’t start charging before you actually get good but allow your own head to be your own walking advertisement. If people are impressed by your hair, then they’ll be much more likely to trust you with theirs.