I've been crocheting for about a year. I'm comfortably at a Beginner / Easy level. Whenever I try something harder...it just ends up a mess. How do I teach myself the next level of Crocheting?
If there is something about a slightly harder pattern that you don't understand, you can always post in the forums here on Crochet Me when you're having trouble. It's pretty much a sure bet that someone will be able to help you!
What seems to be causing you the most grief? Reading patterns? Understanding the abbreviations? How to do a certain stitch?
I've found that it's helpful to take baby steps - don't jump from a beginner pattern to something intermediate.
Another suggestion, if you're having trouble with a particular stitch or technique, work swatches with some scrap yarn until you're comfortable with what you're trying to do.
The biggest help for me was simply taking to the internet and searching for answers that way. I've found a great deal of information that way. One thing about patterns - they don't assume your skill level or your understanding. Whatever the skill level, if you're attempting it, the pattern is assuming you're able to understand. The techniques are something you'll need to get answers for elsewhere. The pattern isn't there to teach you. :)
I found many good videos on YouTube for crochet stitches, etc. Also found why my gauge swatch of double crochet seemed to get wider and wider: after turning I was putting my hook in the wrong place. It really helps to see someone doing the stitch.
For what it's worth, I am quite certain that I crocheted a lot of 'dish cloths' when I was teaching myself how to crochet. Regardless of how they turned out, they were still great for washing dishes. And later, when I got better at it I could give them away as gifts. With my crochet students, I pretty much have them work on the same kinds of projects to learn different stitches and how the stitches themselves are structured.
To me, if you find yourself at the point where you can really see the structure of stitches, this puts you above a beginner. A large part of crocheting and what frustrates many people (besides poorly written patterns) is the question of where you put the hook. Once you "get" the structure of the stitch this question is easier to answer.
The other thing is that all the sudden you'll find yourself at a new level as you try more difficult patterns. For the most part, however, I think that many patterns that are designated as "experienced" are just patterns that are written assuming that the crocheter can guess what to do. I mean, the pattern doesn't spell things out all that well. What I've found is than many advanced beginners can do these "experienced" patterns if you just decipher the pattern for them.