Getting Started: Hooks

It truly amazes me what can be achieved with a single, simple hook and a bunch of yarn. It doesn’t take long to go from learning how to chain (video coming soon!) to making scarves and dish cloths and blankets. Once you start learning you will find that not all hooks are created equal.

When you walk into the notions aisle of your favorite yarn store or search online, you will find many different options in various materials and sizes. Picking your first hook can be a bit tricky. Hooks are offered in a variety of metals, woods and plastics. Sometimes they come in different colors which is usually used as a way to differentiate between sizes.

I personally prefer hooks by Furls. I received my first one as a gift and have slowly replaced most of my hooks with Furls because I really like the ergonomics of their design. Someone recently asked me on Facebook if Furls can help you crochet faster. My experience is yes and here is my response to them:

“For me, Furls hooks glide through the yarn easier and I don’t have to slow down to deal with my hook slipping between the ply, snagging on the yarn, splitting, or struggling in tight stitches. The texture is definitely nice and smooth. If you like a little bit of heft, go with Odyssey. If you have smaller hands and don’t mind shorter, go with Candy Shop or Alpha. You prefer longer and lighter, go with Streamline. I’m a knife holder and like a little bit more weight so I do prefer the Odyssey design but my husband surprised me with a couple of Alphas and they fit well in my small/average hands. I also like the deeper hook and groove of the Odyssey so my yarn is less likely to slide off the head mid-stitch. I’ve played with a variety of hooks and Furls has been a worthy investment. Try one in your most used size (for me: H/5mm) and if you don’t like it, return or exchange it. They have amazing customer service and want you to be happy.”

Please know that Furls is not paying me in any way for this post. I just really love their hooks and any of my friends I have shared with has loved them, too.

They are an investment though so when you are first starting, you may want to try a less expensive option while you are getting the hang of the basics and figuring out if crochet is something you want to keep doing. Here are some popular options:

Susan Bates makes metal hooks with an indent (conveniently marked with the size) for your finger to grip. They are relatively narrow though.

Amour, Tulip Etimo and Clover Soft Touch are popular brands with a thicker, more ergonomic handle.

I have also seen hooks with a tip that lights up which is supposed to be helpful for working in dim light or with darker yarn but I have also heard more than a few people complaining of motion sickness so consider this fair warning.

I started with this set from Amazon and I have to say it is a fantastic deal at about $10 and includes a small bag to store all of the hooks, some stitch markers and a set of tapestry needles.

You will discover there is a whole world of hooks out there with lots of amazing options and clever ways to customize your existing hooks to make them work better for you. I’ve seen things like slipping on rubber pencil grips, wrapping your handle with soft polymer clay, or even wrapping a hair tie around several times to improve your grip.

Things to consider when you are looking at crochet hooks:

How does it feel in your hand? (I will discuss holding techniques in an upcoming video!)

Does it feel smooth across the length of the hook, around the head and in groove beneath the hook? If you feel any sharp points, unevenness or edges, try another one.

Do you like the weight of it?

Since in my first post I recommended starting with a medium worsted weight yarn such as Caron Simply Soft, I would suggest getting an H hook or even one more size up while you get the hang of chaining and managing your tension. You’ll see in my upcoming videos that I will use a larger hook than is called for by the yarn so you can better count and see where I am placing my hook for stitches. I will also show you how different hook sizes with the same yarn will affect the look of your stitches and how the material drapes.

Hopefully I can get down to the studio this week to record a video about yarn and hooks and to get you started with how to chain!

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