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Is it hard to micro crochet? Top tips to get you started.

by Laura Eccleston

06 May 2024

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Is it hard to micro crochet? Top tips to get you started.
How hard is it to micro crochet? but most of all, what is it used for and why do you do it? These are some of the main questions I get asked when it comes to sharing my micro crochet projects on social media. So I thought I would share the reasons as to why I do it, what it can be used for and some top tips to getting started with working on your own teeny tiny crochet projects!

What is micro crochet used for?
Lovers of anything miniature will not need an excuse to micro crochet if they have the crochet skills to begin with, because tiny things are crocheted really for the love of the art form, just like any artistic creation. Micro crochet, like art, is simply beautiful and fascinating to look at. That said, micro crochet is primarily made for doll houses as it is perfect for making to scale tiny blankets and clothes for dolls. I micro crochet to a miniature scale of 1:12, which is the most popular dolls house scale.

What sets micro crochet apart is its incredible level of detail. In the old days it would have been called lace making and in fact, most of the tiny hooks used will be called lace hooks, but despite working on a miniature scale, crocheters can create intricate replicas of animals, plants, objects, anything that can be crocheted at a normal scale, but achieving such detail will require precision, patience, and a steady hand.



Materials
Micro crochet is all about using extremely fine threads and tiny crochet hooks that are so thin they can be prone to snapping if not looked after carefully so they often come with protective caps to protect the tiny hook at the end. Something often not seen with normal crochet hooks.

The size of hook I use the most is a 0.5mm crochet hook, but they can be as small as 0.4mm or as large as 1mm. Unlike traditional crochet, which often uses thicker yarns like wool or acrylic, micro crochet employs threads as thin as embroidery floss or cotton sewing thread such as that used on a sewing machine.



How hard is it to micro crochet?
Managing tension and having good visibility is the key challenge with micro crochet. With such fine threads, it's crucial to find the perfect balance to avoid creating a stiff or sloppy fabric. If you work too tight, your thread will snap (or even your hook!) and if you work too loose, your crochet will be almost un-recognisable as crochet. So micro crochet requires a lot of practice, experimentation, and a willingness to start over when necessary.

Micro crochet is definitely not for crochet beginners so it will require a lot of crochet experience at a normal scale first. Micro crochet should come late in your crochet journey because sometimes you will need to just feel those stitches, rather than be able to see them. You will need to trust your hook!

Holding that extremely thin thread can also be hard on the hands so be patient with yourself when starting out, but if you're an experienced crocheter looking for a new challenge or a patient beginner eager to try something different, micro crochet offers endless possibilities. From miniature animals to dollhouse accessories to wearable art, it's really is a captivating and rewarding creative pursuit that allows you to express your creativity on the tiniest of scales.

My top 10 tips for micro crochet

1. Good Lighting
It won't matter what time of day it is, you will need some excellent lighting over your shoulder, spot-lighting your crochet. 

In the evening I like to use my BenQ reading lamp (not sponsored), which I can't recommend enough for micro crocheting, and during the day I will either use the same reading lamp or sit by an open door if the weather is nice or by a bright window.  As many people often comment, having good eye-sight at close range is required, so good lighting will absolutely help with this.



2. Magnification
Using magnifying tools like magnifying glasses or magnifying lamps can also help you to see your work more clearly. Some even come with lights built in making them even more useful. 

Magnification tools can play a vital role in micro crochet especially if your eyesight is not the best for seeing tiny details as they can offer enhanced visibility and precision when working with such fine threads and tiny hooks.

3. Choose Simple Stitches

Don't over complicate your micro crochet projects in the beginning. Choose simple stitches and patterns that you can do in your sleep on a normal scale, such as the traditional granny square. This is because you will often struggle to actually see your stitches so if your pattern is too complicated this will add to your woes. If you know a pattern well, you will know what to expect with your stitches. 

Using a traditional granny square will also allow you to start and stop frequently with individual small squares to join at the end, so if you do make any mistakes, it won't matter so much.

4. Block Your Work
As someone who NEVER blocks their crochet projects, micro crochet will definitely need blocking so even I have to succumb to this chore, but it is a fun part of the process I promise as it will really finish off your project piece nicely. 

To block my work I like to give my crochet a little bath in some soapy water, rinse, squeeze and then pin to some foam board. I make sure to catch all those picot edges and I check to make sure I have the final shape I would like, then I let it dry completely over night. This will give you time to start on your next micro project!



5. Practice Good Tension Control
Maintaining consistent tension is essential in micro crochet as it is with normal crochet, but especially more so due to working with such thin yarns, so try to avoid pulling too tightly, as this can distort your stitches and make your work stiff. Conversely, working too loosely can result in uneven stitches and a fabric that looks very messy. 

Practice finding the right balance by experimenting with different tension levels and focus on keeping a relaxed grip on your hook and thread, allowing the yarn to flow smoothly. Regularly check your tension as you crochet, adjusting stitches as needed as you crochet them to maintain a consistent gauge throughout your work. With practice and patience, you'll develop a feel for the right tension.

6. Try scaling up first
When you first start micro crocheting it can be a good idea to try a scale level up before attempting the really small projects. For example, start with a 1mm crochet hook with a normal cotton crochet thread and see how that feels first. If you master that and feel confident in going smaller, move on to the really thin threads and tiny hooks.

When finally going micro opt for fine threads such as embroidery floss or even thinner, cotton sewing thread. Choose a 0.4mm or 0.5mm for cotton sewing thread, a 0.5mm to 1mm is good for embroidery floss or a 1mm to 1.5mm for crochet thread.

7. Take Breaks and Rest Your Eyes
Working on tiny projects for extended periods can strain your eyes and your hands. Take regular breaks to rest your eyes and prevent fatigue. Look away from your work, blink frequently, and focus on objects at a distance to give your eyes a break. 

Micro crocheting can take its toll on your fingers as well. If it's not cramp in your tension hand, it will be your finger being stabbed multiple times by that pointy tiny hook so rest when you can, be patient and purchase a rubber thimble if need be.

8. Use One Colour
When starting out with micro crochet I recommend working on projects that only use one colour. This is because you won't have to change threads along the way, reducing any chances for mistakes and you'll also have a lot less tail ends to sew in at the end. When you get more confident and patient with your micro crochet, you can start to adopt different thread colours.



9. Be Patient and Persistent
It's annoying to hear it, but yes, micro crochet requires some serious patience and persistence. Don't get discouraged if your first attempts don't turn out perfectly. Mine were awful in the beginning, even with years of normal crochet experience. I was also using the wrong tools because I was impatient to get started so make sure you have everything ready before beginning your micro crochet journey so you know what you are doing is right and where you are going wrong. Keep practicing, experimenting, and refining your skills. With time and practice, you'll improve and create stunning miniature creations.

10. Join Micro Crochet Communities
Connect with other micro crocheters online or in local crafting groups by searching for hashtags relevant to #microcrochet for inspiration, guidance and tips to encourage you. This is a great way to learn from each other's experiences. Joining a supportive community can provide encouragement, motivation, and valuable advice as you explore the world of micro crochet!


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