I'm sorry if you stumbled upon this post looking for some actual lessons on crochet. I'm not the person to look to, as I have only just recently completed my first non-hat crochet project. And it turned out. Sort of.
I found a book at Michael's with crochet projects for baby. Baby boy is, of course, the motivation for crochet/any projects I've thought of as of late. My goal was a sweater. A pattern in the book claimed to be easy...but how can it be easy if you've never read a crochet pattern before? So for me, I'd list the pattern is "intermediate."
Either way, I completed the sweater mostly as described in the pattern. I had some issues with the yoke, so I improvised. It looks like a sweater. The sleeves are proportionate to the body, and it looks like it will fit a child.
Except I never checked the gauge of my crochet skills and the hook listed in the pattern. Eager me just started crocheting. I followed the directions to make a sweater for a six month old. It'll probably fit a one year old. Which is fine, I just won't get to use the sweater as soon as I had hoped.
Yesterday, I started a cardigan for the boy as well. I dove right in without checking the gauge and wondered why, again, was this sweater (meant for a 6 month old) turning out to be so huge?! Luckily, I was only four rows in before I realized that maybe the crochet pattern writers were on to something with gauge-checking. So I crocheted my 12 stitches with the hook listed in the pattern. Twelve stitches should have been four inches. In my case? Six.
Well, there ya go. Tried the same with a smaller hook: twelve stitches, four inches. I was set to go. And now, four rows in to this sweater? It looks like it'll fit the average 6 month old.
Someday, I'll learn to just follow directions. Until then, I'll continue to learn from my little mistakes!