10 Ways to Take Crochet to The Next Level
By Kathryn Vercillo of Crochet Concupiscence 
One of the greatest things about crochet is that it is an accessible craft that almost anyone can learn to do. Learn a few basic stitches and you can make a variety of items for the rest of your life. Because of this, though, it can be tempting to get lulled into the rhythm of always making the same types of things. This is a shame since there are also so many different variations on crochet and ways that you can advance your technique, expand your creativity, and push yourself to learn more in the craft.
Dare yourself to try something new with these 10 ideas for expanding your crochet world today:
1. Learn a new stitch.
The basic crochet stitches are functional and beautiful but there is a whole world of advanced stitches out there that can greatly expand your work. For example, learn how to crochet the picot trellis stitch, a lovely openwork stitch that can be used to make a variety of different items. Another great advanced stitch that you could learn is the bullion stitch.
2. Learn a new technique.
There are stitches, like the hdc stitch , and then there are techniques, such as working the hdc stitch in the back loop only to create a ribbed fabric. Expand your crochet experience by trying a technique that is new to you. Another example of a technique is learning how to add embellishments or make changes to your finished items; for example you could learn how to add buttons  to your work or learn how to make an invisible join .
3. Learn a new type of crochet.
In addition to stitches and techniques, there are also a lot of variations on crochet and niches in the craft to explore. Just a few examples would be Tunisian crochet , broomstick lace , hairpin lace , filet crochet,  tapestry crochet  and bead crochet . Make a list of all of the types of crochet you’ve never tried before and challenge yourself to try them soon.
4. Attempt a type of project that you never try do to.
Are you someone who never makes motif-based project because joining motifs intimidates you? Take a risk and try working on our graphic granny afghan  pattern designed by Katherine Eng to get comfortable with motifs.
Or perhaps you are frightened by trying to put together too many colors  in one project? Start slowly by working on the Cheshire Blanket  pattern by Ellen Gormley, a project that incorporates four different colors in the same area of the color spectrum.
Trying things that you never tried before is scary but remember that crochet is a safe place to explore and take risks!
5. Make an item that you’ve never made before.
Do you always make scarves, cowls and other accessories but never go for larger garments? The Annie Hall Wrap Sweater  by Mari Lynn Patrick is a good one for getting adventurous with garments.
Do you often crochet blankets but have a secret desire to make a stuffed animal? Bookmark Michele Wilcox’s pattern for the Circus Seal Toy  to try when you feel brave enough.
Maybe you always make stuffed animals and now you want to try crocheting a rug for the home? Linda Cyr’s Easy Stripes Rug pattern  from our July/ August 2011  issue offers a good place to start.
6. Crochet with a yarn you have never used before.
Each yarn has its own pros and cons, its own strengths and weaknesses. Explore your own creative preferences by trying a yarn you haven’t tried before, like Red Heart’s Rigoletto yarn. Find videos here  for learning how to work with it.
7. Crochet with a yarn alternative.
Yarn isn’t the only thing that you can crochet with. You can crochet with thread, wire, rags, t-shirts, newspaper, other paper, plastic bags and more. You can crochet with almost anything; Yvette Kaiser Smith has even crocheted with fiberglass !
8. Try a new hook and see how it feels.
You can try a different brand. You can try a different material, like these bamboo ones from Susan Bates . Or you could even just explore what it is like to crochet with a very different size of crochet hook.
9. Crochet an art piece.
Many people who crochet are used to creating functional items. Expand your personal creative world by attempting to crochet an art piece. It can be as simple as crocheting a few granny squares and then matting, framing and hanging them. Or it could be a more involved effort like going yarnbombing  or contributing to a public art project. Need inspiration? Check out the work that’s produced each year for the annual International Freeform Guild art show .
10. Take a crochet class.
A crochet class  offers a great opportunity to learn new skills in the craft. Even if you’re taking a class about something you’re familiar with, though, you can learn new tips, ideas and approaches to the craft through the unique style of the person teaching it. Crochet classes are available at conventions, yarn shops, fiber farms, local colleges and even online.
Do you dare to try something new? You can get new inspiration every week in your inbox by signing up for our newsletter  today.