Crochet hooks…what’s the deal with them? Surely a crochet hook is just a crochet hook right? Well, actually there is a little bit more to crochet hooks than that.
First of all let’s look at what a crochet hook actually is. A crochet hook is essentially a longish stick with a hook on one end of it. They come in all different sizes, which affects the size of the stitch, in different materials, which makes a difference in the control the user has over the hook in the hand and there are also differences with the shape of the hook, this means that you may need to change the way you grab the yarn. Some of these differences such as the material of the hook or the shape of the hook are all down to personal preference which is important when shopping for and choosing hooks
The basic anatomy of a crochet hook is the same. There are 5 main features, the head, the throat, shank or shaft, the thumb rest and the handle.
There are 2 factors to consider when it comes to the head of the crochet hook. The first aspect is the shape of it. Some of them are pointy and some are blunt. So how does this affect the way it works? There are positives and negatives with both, the pointier hooks go through the spaces in the crochet work much easier but they can often split the yarn which can be frustrating. The blunter heads are the opposite, the don’t tend to split the yarn but it often requires more effort o slip the hook through the crochet work.
The second factor to consider when it comes to the head on the crochet hook is to whether it is an inline hook or a not inline hook. An inline hook means that the head does not protrude at all, there is just a notch taken out of the throat, whereas the not inline hooks has a slightly protruding head. This affects how you grab the yarn and is all down to personal preference. Some people prefer one over the other, whilst some find they cannot crochet with one or the, personally I prefer the non inline hooks.
The throat is where the yarn slides over with each stitch, it is where is taper from the shank to the head. Throats can be longer or shorter, it all depends on the brand. You may also find that the inline hooks tend to have a sharper taper whereas the non inline hooks tend to be a more gradual taper.
This is a really important part of the crochet hook. This is the bit that determines the size of the stitch. It is the diameter of this which is the actual size of the hook. So a 4mm hook will have a shaft diameter of 4mm, whereas a 2.5mm hook will have a diameter of 2.5mm
This is where many crocheters place their thumb, however, this is not essential. You place your thumb wherever it feels most comfortable for you. It all depends on the handle of your crochet hook too, if your hook is a hand made one with a polymer clay handle it may not have a thumb rest. If your hook is a basic aluminium or plastic one you may find that this is also where the manufacturer puts the size of the hook.
The handle is where you hold your hook. It should feel comfortable to hold. Many people enjoy using a hook which is the same material all the way down, however, some feel that they are uncomfortable especially when crocheting for long periods of time. This where hooks with handles come in handy. You can purchase hooks with a variety of handles, including wood, rubber or polymer clay. You can also get ergonomic hooks which are shaped. Personally I prefer a rubber handle which isn’t too thick.
Now we can also think about the hook materials. You may see from the very small selection of my rather extensive collection that there are several variations of hook, there are aluminium, plastic, wood, steel and bamboo. Again, there is a degree of personal preference although some hooks are better suited for certain types of yarn.
Aluminium and plastic are amongst the most popular. They come in a fab range of sizes and are relatively cheap to purchase too. Just be aware that plastic hooks tend to drag certain types of yarn.
Wooden hooks can be made using many different woods and there are some absolutely beautiful ones out there, just be aware that these may have a rather hefty price tag attached to them too.
Bamboo hooks are a great alternative to wooden hooks and are much cheaper too. They are quite flexible and offer a warmth in the hands.
Steel hooks are often found in the smallest of hook sizes which are used for crocheting thread. They offer a real smoothness and allow the yarn and cotton thread to glide over hook quickly
If you are using a double knit yarn, go for a 4mm or 4.5mm and if you wish to learn using a chunky yarn try to use a 6mm.
So now you know, there is just a little bit more to crochet hooks than you originally thought but what is best to begin with? As a beginner I would always suggest you try out a few different hooks, go into the yarn shop and ask if you can try out a few if you can. Feel the weight of them in your hand. You do not need expensive hooks. My first hook was one from china with a rubber grip and funnily enough it is still my favourite one now