Loticians and dreadlock wearers use crochet hooks to create and maintain dreadlocks. The dreading community is split on the benefits of crocheting dread locks versus its drawbacks. Crocheting allows you to form tight, mature dreadlocks the same day you decide to adopt the dreadlock hairstyle. However, crocheting causes the hair to break, making it impossible to remove your dreads later and salvage your hair. Approach crocheting with caution, and always use a light touch to minimize breakage.
Separate a square section of hair. The size of the section is up to the wearer. Working with large sections of hair covers the surface of the head faster, but large sections are more difficult to make into tight locks than small sections of hair.
Back-comb the upper three inches of hair toward the scalp.
Hold the knotted section of hair near the root with the index finger and thumb of one hand.
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Insert the tip of a 1 mm crochet hook through the knotted hair at a downward angle toward your thumb.
Pull the crochet hook back through the hair at a 90-degree angle to the hair.
Repeat steps 4 and 5 in rapid succession, twisting the dread slightly to tighten it up and bind loose hairs around the entire surface. Push and pull the crochet hook through the hair gently to minimize breakage.
Work down the length of the knotted section of hair until all loose hairs are incorporated into the dread.
Repeat steps 2 through 7 down the length of the section of hair. Always work with small sections of back-combed hair to create tight dreads.
Do not wash newly formed dreadlocks for at least two weeks to allow them to matte naturally. To maintain tight dreadlocks, use steps 4 through 7 above, and only work on sections of the dread that are loose or have a significant amount of frizz. Crochet mature dreads once a month, or less often to minimize breakage. For beginners, a 1-mm crochet hook will be easier to hold. However, as your technique improves, switch to a 0.6- or 0.7-mm crochet hook to create tighter locks and minimize the appearance of holes in older dreadlocks.
Transplanted Yankee Erin Watson-Price lives in Birmingham, Ala., and has been writing freelance articles since 1997. She worked as writer/co-editor for Coast to Coast Dachshund Rescue's newsletter, "The Long and the Short of It." In 2007 she obtained a certification as a copy editor. Watson-Price holds a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.