Pretty often, people will ask me how much it will cost to start crocheting. They don’t know what supplies they need, and whether it’ll fit their budget. Luckily, all of them have been pleasantly surprised at how inexpensive it is to start crocheting!
The cost to start crocheting can be as little as $5. All you need to start crocheting is a crochet hook ($2) and yarn ($3). You can buy these at your local big box craft store, and you can learn how to crochet online for free. If you’re resourceful, you may get your supplies even cheaper, or for free.
There are some things you can hold off on getting until after you’ve learned the basics of crochet. After you learn, you can decide whether or not you want to continue this hobby.
Your dollar can go even further if you’re patient enough to shop around at different stores, or buy online. We’ll share how you can get some of these supplies for free, or heavily discounted. And, we’ll tell you where we’ve found the best deals.
What do you need to start?
You’ll need a crochet hook and yarn. Both hooks and yarn come in different sizes. You’ll need the right size, so first you’ll need to understand what the sizes mean.
Crochet hooks are sold individually as single hooks, or as part of a set that contains many different hook sizes. A set of hooks is usually more costly than a single hook.
You don’t have to run out and buy a whole bunch of different hooks, though. You can start with just one hook size, to get a feel for whether or not you like crocheting.
Hooks come in a variety of materials and styles. They can be made out of aluminum, bamboo, wood, plastic, and even ivory. Some are ergonomic with more comfortable handles.
As a beginner, you don’t need to get hung up on what material or style. You can pick any type. Once you try out a few different brands and types of hooks, you’ll learn which types you prefer.
Different sizes of hooks are used for different projects. The size of the hook can influence how the resulting crocheted fabric will look and behave (which means anything from how it drapes, how stiff the fabric turns out, what it can be used for, or how warm it is.)
The size of the hook indicates how wide the hook is at the shaft, in millimeters.
Hook size will also impact how large the finished item comes out. If I make something with a small hook using a certain type of yarn, the end result will come out smaller than the same item made with a larger hook, and the same yarn.
Because of how crochet works, the item may also come out slightly stiffer when made with the smaller hook. This can be good if you’re making crocheted toys, because then it’ll hold its shape better. However, if you’re making clothing or a blanket, you may want the project to be softer or drapier.
The hook you want to get will depend on what sort of crocheting you’re trying to do. There’s regular yarn crocheting, then thread crocheting.
Most crocheters are interested in crocheting with yarn, which produces hats, scarves, sweaters, blankets, washcloths, or toys. For these, you’ll use yarn and a yarn crochet hook.
Thread crocheting is much more niche, and is done with very thin crochet thread, and small steel thread hooks. This produces lacey items, like doilies. We don’t recommend for beginners, because of how difficult it is.
Assuming you’re going to start learning regular yarn crochet, we’d recommend getting a size H hook.
Hook size names vary based on country. Here’s a chart that shows what crochet hook sizes are called in different systems.
|Crochet Hook Size Conversion Chart|
A size H hook is also known as a 5 mm hook in Metric, or a size 6 in the UK, or a size 8 in US.
Generally, the size of the hook is written on the handle. The hook’s package should also tell you what size it is.
A size H hook is very versatile, and is suitable for anything from hats, scarves, sweaters, blankets, dishrags, wash cloths, and toys.
In our latest update of this article (June 2020), a size H hook was going for $1.99 from Michaels, $5.48 from Amazon, and $6.08 from Walmart.
The next thing you’ll need is some yarn.
Yarn comes in different sizes. We call these different sizes of yarn: “yarn weights.” Yarn weight indicates how thick the yarn strands are.
Yarn weight should not be confused with how much the yarn weighs (as in, if you were to put it on a scale to see how many pounds or grams it is.) It can be a little confusing at first because the same word is used to describe two different facets of yarn.
How much a skein of yarn weighs is generally written on the label in grams or ounces. But for the sake of clarity, in the rest of this article, when we say “yarn weight” we are talking about the size of the yarn, not how much it weighs.
Yarn weight is indicated on the yarn label, with a word and a number. Most of the time, it’s shown in the form of an icon or symbol that contains both the word and the number.
Here’s a chart of different yarn weights, and the corresponding symbols.
|Yarn Icon||Other Names||Hook Size (metric)||Hook Size
|Thread, Cobweb, Light, Fingering, 1-3 ply||Steel or regular hook:
1.4 – 2.25 mm
|Steel: 6, 7, 8
Regular hook: B/1
|13 – 3 Steel|
|Super Fine, Fingering, Sock, Baby, 4 ply||2.25 – 3.5 mm||B/1 – E/4||13 – 9|
|Fine, Sport, Baby, 5 ply||3.5 – 4.5 mm||E/3 – 7||9 – 7|
|Light, Double Knit, DK, Light Worsted, 8 ply||4.5 – 5.5 mm||7 – I/9||7 – 5|
|Medium, Worsted, Aran, Triple Knit, Fishman, Afghan, 10-12 ply||5.5 – 6.5 mm||I/9 – K/10½||5 – 3|
|Bulky, Chunky, Craft, Rug, Double Double Knit, 12-14 ply||6.5 – 9 mm||K/10½ – M/13||3 – 00|
|Super Bulky, Roving, 14-16 ply||9 – 15 mm||M/13 – Q||00 – 000|
|Jumbo, Roving, 16+ ply||15 mm and larger||Q and larger||—|
For yarn weight 4, also known as medium, you can see that the symbol for it says both “4” and “medium”. In addition to “medium,” this yarn is also called “worsted”, “aran”, “afghan”, or “12ply.”
You’ll also notice there are recommended hook sizes on this chart. Yarn labels will often contain a recommended crochet hook or needle size for that weight of yarn. Here, you can see that worsted weight yarn calls for a 5mm hook.
The hook size recommended on yarn labels is just a general guide. You can definitely use other sizes of hooks with yarn weights that aren’t recommended on yarn labels. In fact, patterns often call for a hook size other than what’s recommended on the label.
We recommend getting worsted weight or size 4 yarn. This is a good size to work with for beginners, and is usually the most widely available and cheapest weight of yarn in big box craft stores.
Yarn also comes in different materials, which can affect the cost. Cotton and acrylic are generally the cheapest, at $2-4 per skein at a big box store. Higher quality acrylic yarns and wool will be a little more expensive, going for $4-10 at big box stores.
You can also find more luxurious, fancy yarns made with materials such as bamboo, silk, alpaca, and angora from local yarn stores. These tend to be pricier, and sometimes demand greater levels of care such as hand drying. Such yarns can cost anywhere from $10 a skein to upwards of a few hundred dollars a skein.
Local yarn stores tend to be a little pricier, but you get a much wider selection of luxury or higher end supplies, and you’ll be that local business, and possibly local animal fiber farmers and hand dyers.
As a beginner, you’ll probably want to pick cotton and acrylic yarn. Yarn made of these materials are pretty affordable and durable, and can be used for crocheted toys, clothing and accessories, blankets, and washcloths.
They are also easier to care for and often can be machine washed. These generally come in the widest variety of colors.
One important thing to note is that acrylic can melt, so if you’re planning to make a potholder or something that’ll have to withstand very high heats, avoid acrylic. Go with cotton, instead.
Try to get a yarn that’s lighter in color if you’re just starting out. Even for seasoned crocheters, crocheting with dark or black yarn can be challenging because it’s tough to see individual stitches in dark yarns.
In our latest update of this article (June 2020), acrylic yarn was going for $2.78 a skein at Walmart, and $3.69 at Michaels.
If you can’t find worsted weight yarn, you can buy the next closest weight of yarn that you can, and get the corresponding hook for that size yarn.
How Much Does It Cost to Learn to Crochet?
You can learn how to crochet for free, online, from YouTube videos and hobby sites.
Check out your local library, too. Most libraries will have a few books about crochet. Books like these often teach you how to crochet and contain patterns.
Patterns are the instructions you’d use to make a specific item. Tutorials teach you techniques, or skills.
Think of it like the difference between a recipe and a cooking class. Like a pattern, a recipe teaches you how to make something specific. A crochet or cooking class or tutorial would teach you techniques that can be applied to many recipes or patterns.
If you prefer, you can also purchase books that teach you to crochet. You can find these at your craft store or bookstore, ranging from $10-$20.
Patterns can be found for free online or at your local library. Sometimes, craft stores will have printouts of patterns for free, found in the yarn aisles. Many yarn labels include free patterns you can make using that yarn.
You can also purchase patterns from designers on Ravelry and Etsy.
One of the biggest values of a paid pattern is that it’s likely to be free of errors. Generally, designers will have their patterns tested and tech edited to ensure it’s free of errors or confusing instructions.
That being said, sometimes you can find high quality free patterns, and occasionally, a paid pattern will have errors and still be confusing.
Beginners to the craft might want to stick with more popular, free patterns for their first few projects. Popular projects like these are more likely to have updates to fix errors.
Also, if you run into a confusing or tricky part, and the pattern is really popular, it’s likely another crocheter will either have posted clarification or advice. Or, they would have publicly asked the author for clarification.
Some of the most popular patterns will even have YouTube videos showing how to crochet that item, which makes it easier for a beginner to succeed.
Other Supplies (Which You Hold off on Buying Until Later)
If you’re sure you’ll like crocheting, you can get these supplies now. But if you’re not sure and would like to try crocheting first, you can buy these later. They’re not necessary to get started.
Other crochet supplies you’ll want if you choose to stick with this hobby are: scissors, stitch markers, tape measure, and a yarn needle. And of course: more hooks, and more yarn!
If your plan is to make crocheted toys (also known as amigurumi), you’ll also want to buy stuffing, and either safety eyes or buttons
You most likely already have a pair of scissors at home. For most people, multipurpose office scissors will do just fine. I do have fabric scissors that I use just for cutting fabric that are super sharp, but I’ve never needed them to cut yarn. I always just use very basic scissors.
I actually keep a pair of tiny scissors from a cheap travel sewing kit in my bag of crochet hooks. I actually use these most of the time for convenience, since I tend to crochet on the couch, or on the go, and they cut yarn just fine.
Stitch Markers ($5-$10)
Stitch markers are basically things that help you keep your place. Think of it like a bookmark, except instead of keeping track of a location in a book, they keep track of a location in your project.
When you work on more complicated projects, sometimes you’ll want to make note of where a particular stitch is. You use this when you want to revisit an area of the project later, based on what the pattern instructions call for.
A word of caution: You’ll want the type that can open up, like a diaper pin, or the type that is always open, and can’t close. Stitch markers for knitting are often permanently closed loops that cannot open up. You won’t be able to use these for crochet, because you can’t fasten them to the stitch and remove them later.
In the store, they may not be specifically marked as for knitting or for crochet, so you’ll need to take a look at the stitch markers themselves.
Stitch markers can be purchased at a big box craft store, or online.
Tape measure ($3-$5)
Crocheters may need to measure their work very often. If you’re making something where size is important, such as a piece of clothing or a wearable accessory, you’ll need to measure your work to determine how many stitches to make.
If you’re making clothing for yourself, you may need to use a tape measure to take your own measurements to determine which part of the pattern to follow, as clothing crochet patterns often include directions for every size.
When you’re making items like a blanket, you may also need to keep close measurements. That way, you can be sure that the afghan you’re making for your queen bed will be just the right size, not too short or too wide.
Size matters a little less when it comes to toys, but it can still be helpful, especially if you deviate from the yarn weight and hook size recommended by the pattern. Otherwise, a small handheld toy may end up as big as a pillow!
Another big use for tape measures is determining your gauge. Gauge is a measure of how many stitches per inch (or centimeter) are in your work. It’s based on the size of the hook you use, the type of stitch you’re making, and the weight of the yarn you’re using.
Gauge can also differ based on how tightly or loosely you are working. Some days, you may even find yourself crocheting more loosely or more tightly than others.
If I work loosely, my stitches may end up larger, which means if I follow the same pattern for a sweater that a tighter crocheter follows, my sweater may end up larger than hers, even if we used the same size hook and yarn.
Gauge is important when you’re making items that need to come out a certain size. To find your gauge, you will need to work up a small piece of fabric according to the pattern’s directions. Then you can measure it, and do some basic division to calculate your gauge, which would be how many there are per inch of the fabric you made.
You can likely get away with using a ruler until you get a tape measure.
Yarn Needles ($1-5)
Yarn needles are used to sew in loose ends of yarn. This secures your work so that it won’t become unraveled or undone. It also results in a cleaner look.
If you’re crocheting something that involves multiple pieces coming together, such as a granny square blanket or a toy, you may use a yarn needle to sew them together.
Yarn needles are also called darning needles or large-eyed needles. They are usually larger than the needles you’d see in a sewing kit, (so that the eye of the needle is big enough for a piece of yarn to pass through. They’re also generally blunt tipped and not as sharp as those needles.
You don’t technically need a needle to crochet functional things. Your projects will just have yarn ends hanging out because you won’t be able to hide them away with the needle. But if you’re on a tight budget, you can delay buying this until later.
Added up, the above extra supplies end up costing $15 to $26.
You’ll likely want to eventually invest in different sizes of hooks, so that you can make a variety of items with them, and try out different styles.
Ergonomic hooks with soft, comfortable handle grips generally cost more than simple plastic or aluminum hooks with no handles.
You can grow your collection of hooks by buying individual hooks, or you can buy a whole set.
Generally, I find that buying an entire set is the most economical option. You can find entire sets on Amazon for less than $10.
The very first crochet hooks I bought came in a purple case, and it contained 22 hooks. An entire set of hooks with a case goes for about $8-$20 on Amazon.
My set of 22 hooks allowed me to try a wide variety of yarns and patterns.
I quickly realized I use certain hook sizes more often than others. I invested in very comfortable, durable ergonomic hooks for these, at about $5 a hook.
There are also some very luxurious brands of hooks out there, that go for $20 a hook. A set of these may go for anywhere from $50-$100. But like most hobbies, there are luxurious premium options, but you won’t need to buy those if you’re just starting out.
More Yarn ($3 and Up)
Crocheters and knitters alike often joke about the ever expanding size of their yarn stash.
You’ll likely want to start off with just buying the colors you need for your next project. Eventually, you’ll likely develop a respectable collection of yarn in numerous colors and materials.
The sky’s the limit. But don’t fret, you wont need to buy too much just to start out.
Stuffing for Toys ($5-$15)
If you plan to make crocheted toys, you’ll want to buy polyester fiberfill stuffing. These can cost anywhere from $5 to $15, depending on how much you want to buy.
You can find these at big box craft stores in half pound bags to 2 pound bags. Generally, the more you buy, the cheaper it is per pound.
Eyes for Toys ($3-$10)
Another thing you may want to buy if you plan to crochet a lot of toys is safety eyes, or plastic buttons you can use for eyes.
Safety eyes come in two parts. A washer, and a screw-like piece that has the actual eye on it. You insert the eye into the fabric, and snap the washer on. This holds it in place.
These eyes are very difficult to pull off, but they are not recommended for toys that’ll be given to children 3 and under. There’s a small risk the entire eye can be pulled through the stitches, and this can pose as a choking hazard.
Another popular way to make eyes is to use buttons and sew them onto the toy’s face with sewing thread. A pack of buttons may go for $2-$3 from a big box craft store.
This can also pose as a choking hazard for children under the age of 3. A safer alternative is to crochet eyes out of yarn, or even cut shapes out of felt to use as eyes.
Other Miscellaneous Items
Here are some other supplies that are often included in crochet starter sets, but that you can hold off on getting:
- A hook size measuring tool ($4) – These help you determine what size a crochet hook is, in case it’s no longer written on the hook
- Gauge ruler($4) – These sometimes come with a hook size measurer. A gauge ruler helps you determine your gauge, which is the number of stitches per inch or cm. A ruler or a tape measure are a practical substitute for this
- Row counter ($8) – These help you keep count of what row you are up to in a pattern, but you can keep count with a pen and paper by making tally marks, or, you can use a web or mobile app
- Crochet journal ($9) – These help you keep track of your projects, but you can use a site like Ravelry.com, a regular notebook, or a simple text document on your phone or computer
- Yarn winder ($20) – A tool to help wind your yarn into a neat ball where you can pull the working yarn out of the center, without it tumbling around. This can help you tidy up your yarn skeins when you organize your yarn, or turn your hanks of yarn into something you can crochet with without a mess. Some crocheters never even buy one of these, because you can wind your yarn by hand or organize your yarn in other ways.
- Crochet hook case ($18) – You can use a pencil case, makeup bag, or even crochet your own crochet hook holder. You can find other creative substitutes. I used a decorative chocolate tin to hold my hooks and notions for years, before I replaced it with a pretty travel makeup bag. When I’m not traveling, I put my hooks in a simple glass jar on my desk.
- Crochet project bags ($8) – A tote or purse would work just fine.
Holding off on getting these miscellaneous items would save you around $71.
Where to find the best deals on supplies
If you’re on a tight budget, but still want to get things new, you may want to shop around.
Keep your eyes peeled for coupons. Most big box craft stores will have daily coupons up to 40% that you can find online. I usually just search the name of the store, and the word coupon.
The first result often takes me to a page with the barcode for the coupon. I present this to the cashier, and they can scan it right off my phone.
Hooks sets are usually cheaper from Amazon than from big box stores. I’ve seen hook sets from craft stores go for $50. Similar hook sets will go for about $10-$20 on Amazon.
I knew I’d want to stick with crocheting before I first started, so I spent $10 on an entire set instead of just $2 for a hook.
I’m glad I did, because when I fell in love with the craft after my first project, I didn’t need to run out to buy more hooks, or order them online and wait days for them to arrive. Years later, I still use that same basic hook set today!
Individual hooks can be cheaper in craft stores than on Amazon, especially when you use a coupon. Some craft stores have their own store brand for hooks, which can be very affordable.
For new yarn, I’ve found that Walmart tends to have the cheapest acrylic yarn. They also recently started carrying their own store brand of yarn, which is cheaper. You do get what you pay for, though, and selection at Walmart tends to be limited.
Those yarns tend to be scratchier, but for toys or practice projects, they’re a nice inexpensive option.
If you’re going to make a blanket or a sweater, you may want to pay more for different yarn, like premium acrylic or wool. You can find these at your local big box craft store.
Local yarn stores tend to be more expensive when it comes to yarn and other supplies, but they are also selling higher end products. The selection and quality from a local yarn store almost always beats even big box craft stores.
Stitch markers, needles, safety eyes, buttons
With notions, it can be hit or miss. Stitch markers, safety eyes, buttons, and needles are usually cheaper on Amazon. You may even find these cheaper on eBay. Walmart sold buttons cheaper than I could find them at craft stores.
I’ve found that stuffing varies widely in price. Walmart often carries them very inexpensively, but some stores don’t have it. Craft stores always have it, but they often vary significantly in price. I usually use my daily 40% off coupon for this.
Where to get these supplies for free (or close)
If you’re patient and resourceful, you can find many of these supplies for free.
Instead of buying stitch markers, you can use paper clips, or even pieces of yarn
Family members may have some old crochet hooks lying around. When I first started crocheting, my mom had offered to dig out some of her old hooks. I didn’t want her to spend her time digging around in the attic, so I declined and bought a complete set instead.
Over the years, I’ve joined many knit and crochet groups that met weekly. Fairly often, members would come in with supplies they no longer needed, or replaced with more comfortable ergonomic pieces. They’d give away their old crochet hooks or knitting needles.
We met at our local public library. Any unclaimed crochet hooks or knitting needles would be kept in a box at the library, free for anyone to take. Newcomers to the group would often help themselves to a few hooks to start off their set.
You can also find hooks and yarn sold very cheaply at garage or yard sales, or on Craigslist in the US, or on Kijiji in Canada.
Sometimes estate sales will have entire garbage bags full of yarn or craft supplies that they’re willing to sell for just a few dollars, just to get it off their hands. You can also find bulk sales of yarn like this on Craigslist/Kijiji.
Thrift stores can be a great place to find yarn. Often, they’ll sell numerous skeins of yarn in one bag for a low price.
Occasionally, the labels may be missing, and you may not know what brand it was, but for practice or learning, it can be a bargain.
Just be aware that if you plan to crochet potholders, acrylic yarn can melt. If you don’t know what material yarn is, you may not want to use it as a potholder.
You can even shop online at some thrift stores. Goodwill has an online store that always seems to be selling yarn. They’re usually sold about 10 skeins to a bag. You don’t get to pick what goes in the bag, but you get to see a photo of it. Sometimes, it’s new yarn, too! It often works out to less than $2 a skein, which is a steal.
Another way to find yarn at thrift stores is to reuse the yarn in a sweater by unraveling it. Animal fiber yarns such as wool, alpaca, and angora can be very expensive.
Finding a sweater with these fibers and unraveling it is a great way to get this yarn very cheaply. You can find tutorials on how to do this on Youtube.
You can also make yarn out of old t-shirts, towels, and sheets, and a pair of scissors. These yarns can end up so thick, that you can use your finger instead of a hook to crochet with them. Bigger yarn like this is great for making rugs or bath mats.
You can even make yarn out of plastic bags and scissors. This type of yarn is called “plarn.” It’s a good way to keep disposable plastic bags out of the landfill. You can use plarn to make a reusable shopping bag. Some charities around the world even use plarn to create sleeping mats for the homeless.
You can find tutorials for how to make yarn out of these materials on Youtube.
Project Cost Depends on Type and Size of Project
Bigger projects tend to cost more in materials, because they take a lot more yarn.
If you’re making a scarf out of basic acrylic yarn, you may only need one skein, which may cost about $3.
You can also make 2 small washcloths out of a $1.99 ball of cotton yarn.
A crocheted teddy bear may only cost you $6 of yarn in two colors, two safety eyes out of a set of 100 safety eyes that you paid $8 for, and just a fraction of the stuffing out of a $10 bag. So the total cost may have been $24, but you’ll have a lot of safety eyes and stuffing left over for other toys.
A blanket can take up to 6 skeins of yarn. So $4 for a skein of yarn may sound reasonable, but if you need 6 for a blanket, you’re looking at $24 just for the materials. If you’re using premium yarn at $6 a skein, your blanket will now take $36 of yarn.
But, if you’re making a sweater out of premium merino yarn that’s sold in small balls (of 97 yards) at $6 each, you may be spending $100 on the yarn alone!
Keep this in mind when choosing a project. You’ll want to figure out how much yarn you’ll need, and if that fits in your budget before taking on larger projects.
Reusing these supplies for other crafts
If it turns out crochet is not your thing, you can reuse many of these supplies for other crafts.
If you take up knitting, you can use the yarn, the yarn needles, the safety eyes, the tape measure, and the stuffing. You can even use crochet hooks to repair mistakes in knitting.
If you pick up macrame, you can use the crochet hook, tape measure, and scissors.
If you get into sewing or quilting, and you can reuse the yarn, stuffing, and tape measure for that.
You can reuse the stuffing to repair toys or re-stuff flat, used couch cushions.
You don’t have to break the bank to start learning to crochet – it’ll only take the cost of a coffee to see if it’s something you’ll love, so why not give it a try today?