If you have never crocheted before, an easy and fun place to begin is an amigurumi project. These are small, often miniature, yarn animals that are made of simple stitches and techniques. It is a good way to get comfortable with single crochet and increasing/decreasing stitches. They also can be quick to make so you won’t have to worry about an unfinished project!
Recently, I bought an amigurumi pattern book for a sewing student of mine as a holiday gift. We have been going through it together and making them one by one. This is the Momma Octopus. Above, you can see I am just getting started with the single crochets in a round. The shape is made by increasing in measured increments until you get to the desired size.
Once you finish the head, and in this case the body as well, you stuff it and then crochet each tentacle arm. Then using your waste yarn, and a plastic yarn needle, sew the arms on evenly around the base and weave in loose ends.
Before finishing, I embroidered the eyes, nose and mouth. It is fun to use buttons and googly eyes, but this was a gift for a baby shower and those small notions are unsafe for babies.
If you want to dip your toe into this world of too cute tiny creatures–they make great gifts!– there is a good step-by-step intro to the techniques mentioned above and a free baby monster pattern at CRAFTYisCOOL. Once you get the basics, it is also easy to freestyle your own patterns as you go.