Stepped attacking to learn
Of four hashes I'm working against, I've created one just to test results. It doesn't crack (12 characters, none 'special'). Since everything looks so equally intense to me (attack types, table creation, etc.) I've merely downloaded a few new dict's and even made one from an ARS article.

1. The question YouTube and Google doesn't answer is, what's the next step in adding options to make my current attacks with my current wordlists more effective but easy enough that I understand what's happened?


2. The most important hash to crack might include a number between two ordinary words - a pattern already used. How would I tell hashcat to test "1" between and after all words with and without spaces?

(I know, it's two questions. The answer to either would help me learn. I believe hashcat is a very relevant tool that serves legitimate needs. I'm trying to move beyond 'weekend warrior' by understanding it more fully. Baby steps.)
1) This is something you pick up as you go. There is no magic attack, just lots of guessing and analysis

2) You need rules