Crochet Hooks are Indespensible for Crocheters, and it’s MORE than worth it to have one that works well for you. Here’s the overview you need about your most important tools.
Crocheting is a hobby that pretty much anyone can enjoy. In fact, part of the magic of this craft is that you need very, very few things to learn it and to get started. Crochet hooks are one of those essential and thankfully, they can be purchased very inexpensively and are very easy to find. Unfortunately, there are so many crochet hook sizes and types that it can be confusing when you just get started.
The goal of this article is to give you ALL the information that you’ll need on hooks for a LONG time. Beyond just giving you a hook size comparison chart(although that’s super helpful!) you can read below about how to pick the right size and how different hook types can influence your final result.
Let’s dive in:
- Crochet Hooks are Indespensible for Crocheters, and it’s MORE than worth it to have one that works well for you. Here’s the overview you need about your most important tools.
- Crochet Hook Sizes
- How to Choose the Correct Hook Size
- Different Hook Shapes
- Crochet Hook Materials
- Less Common Hook Types
- How to Hold a Crochet Hook
- Final Thoughts
Crochet Hook Sizes
The Importance of Hook Size
Occasionally, I will see a question from a fellow crocheter about whether or not hook size even matters. Sometimes this may be coming from a beginner who is wondering how much they even need to concern themselves with this concept. Other times, I get the impression that the asker is actually a more experienced crocheter who has simply been in the habit of using one hook or hook size for a variety of different projects. Is changing your hook size really going to affect the final result that much?
Yes. Yes it will. In fact, the crochet hook size that you pick matters quite a bit.
The reason that hook size is such a big deal has to do with gauge. Now, gauge is a concept that often feels intimidating to knitters and crocheters alike, though it doesn’t have to be. Simply put, crochet gauge simply refers to how many crochet rows and stitches fit into a certain amount of space.
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The size of hook that you use as you crochet is one of the main factors determining how your gauge will turn out. So, without going into the ins and outs of gauge here( you can read this post if you want to dig deeper) the main point to remember is that since your hook choice will affect the size of your stitches and your overall gauge, it will have a huge influence on how your stitches look. Plus, if you are following a pattern it is important to choose a hook that will give you the right results, which we will come back to in a bit.
So with all of that in mind and with so many hook options out there, here is a basic comparison chart of hook sizes:
Crochet Hook Size Chart
Below, you can grab the hook size chart that I made for my own use. It’s basic, straightforward, and uses the US hook sizes(if you want more information on UK sizes as well, check the next section for a link to another resource that will give more support for that.)
US and UK hook sizes compared
Crochet hooks sizing can differ based on where you are in the world. US and UK sizing can differ, and systems in other countries may follow one or the other or even have their own variations in sizing. In fact, sizes can even be different in letter and/or number sizing depending on the hook brand!
As a US-based crocheter myself, I am most familiar with seeing US sizes in letters and/or numbers. The chart above reflects what I find to be the most common in the US, as well as my research
Obviously, it’s not ideal to be unsure about how to size your hooks. So, if you find yourself wondering how you would size crochet hooks that aren’t labeled or how to be sure about sizing in general, measuring in millimenters is the answer.
Check on this page if you’d like to look into these hook size differences in more detail.
How to Choose the Correct Hook Size
Ok, so once you’re sure that you know how to size your hook(s), you may still be asking “How do you know which crochet hook to use?”
Well, there are three places where you can look for direction on what crochet hook size to use. Two are very straightforward, and the other is a concept that we’ve already mentioned which can help you decide for yourself which hook size would be best.
Let’s look at these one at a time.
Method 1: Find the Recommended Hook Size for Your Yarn
A great place to look for the recommended hook size is on your yarn label. Most commercially sold skeins of yarn will have a recommendation somewhere on the label (along with recommended needle sizes for the knitters.) Often this will be listed in mm in addition to perhaps giving a hook size that’s based more on your country’s standards.
Method 2: Find the Recommended Hook Size for Your Crochet Pattern
The next place that you can look for information on which crochet hook size to use is on your crochet pattern. If you are planning to make a specific design, you can expect it to include this near the beginning of the pattern, either in some kind of notes section or in the “materials” list.
Method 3: Using Gauge to Decide on Your Hook Size
However, the third and BEST way to be sure that you have the right choice of hook for your project is to do a gauge swatch!
Creating a gauge swatch will actually give you more information than just how your hook size performs with the stitches and yarn that you’ve chosen for your project. It will actually clue you in to how well you’ll actually be able to follow the pattern and get good results.
This is simply because gauge, and the relationship between your chosen hook and yarn, creates the finished size of whatever you are making. In some projects this is a lot more crucial than others(such as when crocheting a sweater) but it’s ALWAYS useful to know.
How to measure a crochet hook
If you run against the inconvenience of having a hook that isn’t sized, or which had a size that became worn out somehow, there are a couple of ways that you can measure it yourself.
The important thing to remember here is that measuring in millimeters is the best way to measure your hooks. Not only is it the only standardized way, it is also very easy to check yourself in the event you need to.
Now, you can do measure your hooks with a simple ruler, but if you get through reading this without one, please put it on your wish list to grab one of those nifty tools with different sized holes in it just for checking your hook(or needle) size. I personally have the one from Susan Bates and appreciate it often, but there is also one of these tools included in the newer Knit Kits, and that’s a favorite too.
With that little plug out of the way for these tools, here’s how to really DIY this size check if all you have is a simple ruler:
- First, take your ruler(or tape measure, or protractor thingy, whatever works) and lay it flat. Confirm that it has markings for millimeters as this is what we need.
- Take your hook and lay it as precisely as you can to the right of where a new centimeter starts. Sometimes I find that a well-used measuring tool can have more wear and fading on the first centemeter, which is why I’m saying to start with any new centimeter. The goal is to make the hook size easy to see.
- Now, look at the hook from straight above and count the number of millimeter marks that you can see on the left side of your hook. Since the millimeter size of hooks reflects the diameter of the hook handle, and not the circumference, measuring in this simple way actually does show you pretty closely what the size is.
Different Hook Shapes
Knowing what size of hook you’re working with(or need to work with) is the most practical thing to figure out. However, as you work on projects and become more dedicated to improving your skills, you will mostly find that you develop some preferences for the tools that you work with. Below, let’s look at the basic anatomy of a hook and talk briefly about some different styles that you can consider.
Parts of a crochet hook
Just in case you’ve ever wondered, the different parts of a hook do actually have their own names. Let’s go down a hook from the actuall “hooky” part, all the way down to the other end:
- head-the whole hook end
- point-the top of the head, which first sticks into your yarn. The point can actually be pointy or it can be rounded
- lip/nose-the point of the hook
- Throat-the deepest part of the hook, where the yarn is actually held
- Working area-the first part of the straight part of your hook.
- Thumb rest-the flat area on the handles of some hooks
- Handle-the rest of it!
Standard hooks can be considered inline or tapered. The only difference here is how the hook angles down from the working area to the throat. If it makes a very straight slant down and the throat is neatly “cut” into the head, then you have an inline hook. If both of those things are a little more gradual and curved, then your hook is tapered.
Crochet hooks do not have to be just straight! There are a variety of ergonomic crochet hooks out there that may be more comfortable for you or even reduce pain that can come from crocheting often or for long periods of time.
My absolute favorite comfort hooks are the Clover “Amour” line. But, there are an infinite number of choices out there, and many “fancy” hooks as well if you simply want something special.
Crochet Hook Materials
Crochet hooks can be made out of a variety of materials, including:
- bamboo or wood
- carbon fiber
- silicone and similar materials(for comfort grips and some ergonomic hooks)
- and more
Out of these materials, hooks are most commonly made out of aluminum, bamboo or wood, and plastic. While none of these are right or wrong, I would recommend that you stay away from any plastic hooks that are flexible, as these bend during use and are not as easy to use. As you practice crochet and become more skilled, you may develop a preference for certain hook materials and shapes. You may also find that as time goes on, it’s beneficial to have hooks with more of a “comfort” or ergonomic grip such as clover amour hooks or furls.
Less Common Hook Types
Tunisian Hooks and Knooks are some tools that you will need if you end up getting into more “niched” types of crochet. While these are two different things, both of these use much longer handles than standard hooks, and are used to hold multiple stitches at at time.
How to Hold a Crochet Hook
While crocheters can hold their hooks in whatever way works for them individually, beginners might be at a loss for how to get started.
There are two common ways in which hooks are held: the knife hold and the pencil hold. Both are named to give you a pretty clear picture about how that specific hold works.
In a knife hold, the index finger is placed straight on the top of the hook to provide a stabilizing downward pressure. The thumb is place on the size of the hook(often on the “thumb rest” portion of the hook handle if there is one). The other three fingers curl around the hook on the far side. This is fairly identical to how a steak knife is traditionally held, hence the name for this technique.
In a pencil hold, the crochet hook is held the way that you would normally and “properly” hold a pencil. In this hold, the thumb presses more upward on the near side and the index and ring finger hold the hook steady on the opposite side. While the other three fingers aren’t actively engaged on the hook with this method, they can often be used to stabilize the work or the yarn at the same time.
Crochet hooks are one of the most important tools in a crocheter’s arsenal. Hopefully, this overview has given you the information you need to reference hook sizes and understand all the elements of this tool that you might need to make a good choice.
Knowing how to pick a hook, size it if necessary, and hold it are all fundamental skills that will serve you well whether you are trying crochet for the first time or looking in to the more “technical” details of crochet hooks as you get more advanced.
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Keep the Crochet Delightful,
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