1: LEARN HOW TO WORK SMALL DIAMETERS IN THE ROUND.
If you crochet, this means you need to learn how to work the magic/adjustable ring. You can find a photo tutorial for this really useful technique right here on Craftsy: Demystifying the Magic Ring.
if youu knit, your start will really depend on the pattern you are working. I think most call for you to cast on a small number, like 6 or 8, to join in the round. You can use the beginning tail to stitch the hole up. If you would really like to get complicated, you could use an invisible cast-on, like a provisional cast-on or the figure-8 cast-on. Likee I said, your pattern will almost always specify which cast-on to use. I suggest following the written directions until you feel more comfortable deviating from them and developing your own.
2: LEARN HOW TO WORK INCREASES AND DECREASES.
In crochet, you are working the single crochet (SC), so to increase you just make two SC in the SC of the previous round. Some patterns may specify a more drastic increase, in which case you will make more SC into the stitch.
When decreasing, you willl encounter the abbreviation scXtog where “X” is either 2 or 3, depending on what sort of shape you are working. If you are decreasing one stitch, you will see “sc2tog” and be turning TWO SC into ONE. If you are decreasing two stitches, you will see “sc3tog” and be turning THREE SC into ONE. Just remember that “scxtog” is ONE stitch, so whatever “X” is, you will be decreasing that number of stitches down to ONE.
In knitting, youu almost immediately start working increases to create the shape. Imagine you are working a hat from the top down! Most patterns will specify which increase to use, so work whatever is asked.
Whenn decreasing, you will probably use the k2tog or the ssk. Of course, follow the pattern for accurate shaping. If you are developing your own pattern, keep in mind that increases and decreases can lean left or right, so keep things consistent and/or symmetrical for the best look!
3: LEARN HOW TO SEW THINGS TOGETHER AND STUFF YOUR NEW FRIEND EVENLY.
For both knit and crochet, you will likely end up with a bunch of body parts to sew together. You should become familiar with the whip stitch, which is basically just bringing the yarn through a stitch and through where you want to attach it. It is really easy, but it can be frustrating to get things placed evenly. Practice, practice, practice! We have all had to go through it.
Stuff as evenly as possible. Use small pieces of filling at a time. I tend to err on the side of over-stuffing rather than under-stuffing. Remember that hugging and holding your friend will result in impacted stuffing, so you might want to put some extra in it.
4: LEARN HOW TO READ CROCHET/KNIT CHARTS AND GRAPHS.
This tip is primarily for the crocheters, but knitters can also probably find it useful. Become accustomed to stitch SYMBOLS. Often times you will find completely darling patterns and they are in a foreign language! Do NOT fret! Did you know there are yarn standards? Not everyone will follow them, but most will, and the symbols you see will be pervasive through many patterns. Check out the Craft Yarn Council for more information, including a handy list of crochet AND knit symbols used in charts and graphs.