Every crochet supply list, no matter the project, starts with an essential tool: the crochet hook. The crochet hook serves the same purpose as knitting needles but with two key differences—there’s a hook on the end of the shaft, and you only need one of them.
The hook part of the tool is used to pull the yarn through loops made along the handle, allowing you to create a huge array of crochet stitches. While it’s a simple process, it can become complicated if you’re not sure what kind of hook is appropriate for your project. Here’s a guide on how to choose the best one for you.
Main Crochet Hook Types
The two main crochet hook types—inline and tapered—look similar on the surface, yet they have subtle differences that can affect how you crochet.
Inline Crochet Hooks
Inline hooks get their name because their hook is the same width as the shaft. They have an angular appearance, often coming to a defined point at the lip, and the mouth is relatively deeper than other hooks.
Tapered Crochet Hooks
Tapered hooks have a lip that slightly extends beyond the width of the shaft—if you look at the hook from the side, you’ll notice the difference. They also have a rounder head and shallower mouth than their inline counterparts.
Due to their rounded features, tapered hooks may help you work faster while also minimizing the frequency with which you split your yarn with your hook. With a tapered hook, a fast crocheter could make quick and easy blankets, even churning one out in a weekend.
Other Crochet Hook Types
Tunisian Crochet Hooks
Tunisian crochet hooks are much longer than traditional hooks and often have a stopper on the end of them. These hooks are used to do a certain kind of stitch where you keep all your stitches on your hook as you go—a process similar to knitting. These are used for very specific projects that utilize the Tunisian stitch technique.
Ergonomic Crochet Hooks
Ergonomic hooks are either inline or tapered hooks with a much larger handle. Their design helps ease the wrist pain that may come with persistent crocheting. If you find yourself getting sore, consider getting one. You could also get a handle that you can slide on and off your favorite regular hooks.
Knook Crochet Hooks
Knook crochet hooks are used specifically to create crochet projects that look like knitting. At the tail end of the shaft is an eye where you thread through a nylon cord. You eventually move your stitches onto the cord to create a clever knit look.
These hooks are best for more advanced crocheters, so if you don’t have a handle on the essentials, you may want to start elsewhere.
Crochet Hook Materials
The material for a crochet hook varies greatly. You should choose your hook material based on how it will react with the yarn fiber you are using.
Wood Crochet Hooks
Wood tends to have much higher friction compared to other materials and, as a result, minimizes yarn slippage. That’s great for preventing the yarn from sliding all over the shaft of your hook, but it can also be a curse—friction can make it harder to finish stitches and slow down your work.
Bamboo Crochet Hooks
Falling under the wooden crochet hooks umbrella, bamboo hooks have all the same benefits and pitfalls. However, as you use them, their friction will lessen over time, which will allow you to crochet faster. This is a great choice for beginners who will increase their speed with experience.
Plastic Crochet Hooks
Plastic hooks have almost no friction to them, which is great for the fast crocheter. However, they can have imperfections in their molds, which can catch the yarn and possibly fray it. Also, plastic hooks are far more pliable and could break with continued use.
Steel Crochet Hooks
Steel hooks are strong and durable—you’ll never have to worry about branding or breaking them. Steel is a common material for thread crochet hooks, but you may also find traditional hooks made of steel. A downside to a hard metal like this is it can be unforgiving on your hands, leading to strain faster.
Aluminum Crochet Hooks
The most widely available crochet hook material, you’ll never have to worry about not finding an aluminum crochet hook in the right size. Additionally, they are often sold in sets and come at a very reasonable price point. While their friction is low, they also can cause the same kind of hand strain as steel hooks.
Crochet Hook Sizes
Crochet hook size refers to the diameter of the shaft. The larger the diameter, the larger your stitches will be. That can dramatically alter the size of your final product, so it’s essential to have the right size hook for a project.
U.S. hook measurements use a corresponding letter/number designation, for example G/6 or I/9. These will also include a metric measurement—G/6 is 4.00mm and I/9 is 5.50mm. Notice as the numbers get higher, the diameter increases.
How to Choose the Best Crochet Hook
With so many factors to consider when choosing a hook, it’s hard to narrow down the options. Try using this checklist.
- Comfortability: Crocheting should be fun, so there’s no sense in feeling uncomfortable while you’re doing it. Test out different crochet hook materials to find the one that feels best for you.
- Pattern Recommendation: Most patterns will have a suggested hook size and yarn weight for a project. The key word here is “suggested”—it’s perfectly fine to alter the pattern to your tastes by choosing a different hook size. If you want a chunkier sweater, switch it up.
- Yarn/Hook Match: All yarns have a suggested hook size that will get the best results—for instance, you don’t want to use a very small hook with a bulky weight yarn. If you’re going to scale up or down your hook, make sure you do the same with your yarn.
How to Hold a Crochet Hook
The best way to hold a crochet hook is however you feel the most comfortable with it. However, there are a few traditional grips you can use as a starting point.
The knife grip keeps the handle in the palm of the hand while your thumb and index finger stay close to the hook. You can place your thumb in the thumb rest on the shaft and keep a lot of control over your work.
The pencil grip points the end of the handle to the back of your hand and uses a downward motion to create your stitches. It’s like a reverse of the knife grip and just as effective. It all boils down to what feels best for you.
Anatomy of a Crochet Hook
Starting from the top, here are the different parts of a crochet hook.
- The Head: The main hook part, consisting of the lip or nose of the hook and the mouth, which is used to pull the yarn through stitches.
- The Throat: Travels down from the mouth and widens slightly, assisting with keeping the yarn in place
- The Shaft: The first place where the hook reaches its maximum diameter. This section is where you would loop the yarn over the hook.
- The Thumb Rest: A small indentation in the shaft that provides comfort while also allowing you to manipulate the hook with just your thumb and index finger.
- The Handle: The part of the hook that extends beyond the thumb rest that provides for the crocheter’s hand.
Now You’re Hooked
Whether you’re crocheting granny squares or intricate gifts for friends and family, you won’t get anywhere without the proper crochet hook. Take your time with your choice, and you’ll be a much happier crocheter.
Start Your Crochet Journey!
Modern Crochet: Essential Skills for Getting Started