It is easy and affordable to learn how to crochet. All you need is yarn, a crochet hook, and a little bit of instruction. That said, there are many different types of crochet hooks, and it can be confusing for a beginner to figure out which hook is the right hook to purchase. This guide offers insight into crochet hooks including size, materials, how to hold a crochet hook and more.
What is a Crochet Hook?
Let’s start with the very basics: what is a crochet hook? A crochet hook is a simple tool that consists of a pencil-shaped “stick” with a hook at one end of it. There are variations in terms of the shape of the handle as well as the hook but at its very basic level, that’s what a crochet hook is. The crochet hook is used to “hook” one loop of yarn through another, without the aid of any other tools, to create crochet fabric.
Anatomy of a Crochet Hook
There are three key sections to any crochet hook:
- The point of the hook. This is the tip of the crochet hook, which can vary from being pointy to being rounded.
- The “throat” of the hook. This is the “hook” end of the crochet hook, which can have one of two shapes: inline or tapered. This is the part that actually makes the loops of your crochet fabric.
- The body of the crochet hook. Some people call the whole thing a handle, but there are actually three different parts to the body of the crochet hook. First is the shaft, which is what holds your loops or “yarn overs” when crocheting. After that is the thumb rest, which may be very deep and obvious or may be subtle. And then the rest is technically the handle.
Types of Crochet Hooks
There are a few different types of crochet hooks including hooks for specific techniques like Tunisian crochet; these hooks may be longer, double-ended or otherwise slightly different from basic crochet books. Most crochet hooks are similar to one another, with the biggest variation being whether the hook is inline or tapered; (the difference is shown in the photo above). Inline hooks are pointier, and they have a flatter and deeper throat than the tapered design. Neither type of crochet hook head is inherently better for beginners than the other; just know that if you’re having trouble learning how to crochet then you might want to try the opposite hook head than what you are using.
What to Look for in a Crochet Hook
There are a few things that you want to look for when choosing your crochet hook including the size and the material that it is made out of.
Crochet hooks range in size from very tiny to jumbo. Size refers the the size of the hook head and throat of the hook. Typically a larger hook head will also have a correspondingly larger handle. Larger, in this case, refers to diameter, not to length; most crochet hooks are the same average length. Crochet hooks are numbered / sized differently depending on whether they are small hooks for thread crochet or larger hooks for yarn.
crochet hook size FOR YARN
Most beginners will start with yarn, rather than thread. These crochet hooks are labeled with a letter as well as a mm size number. The smaller the letter / number, the smaller the hook. A crochet hook that is size “B-1” is going to be 2.25 mm, which is significantly smaller than a crochet hook that is size “K – 10.5”, which is 6.5 mm. This mm amount is the diameter of the hook, and if you think about it, that will impact the size of the loops that you make with your hook; you’ll get bigger loops with larger crochet hooks.
The size of the crochet hook that you select needs to be comparable to the weight of the yarn that you are using. Most yarn labels will tell you the correct size crochet hook for that yarn. A beginner often does best working with a worsted weight yarn and a mid-sized crochet hook, such as a size G-6 or H-8. The Craft Yarn Council offers a chart of crochet hook sizes.
Thread crochet hook size
Crochet hooks for thread crochet are slightly different. They are labeled with numbers instead of letters, and they also have a mm amount on them, but interestingly, the larger the number, the smaller the crochet hook. So, for example, a hook size 9 is 1.25 mm while a hook size 10 is smaller than that at 1.15 mm. Note: Sometimes with the thicker thread you can use the smallest of the “yarn crochet hooks” – sizes B or C, for example.
A crochet hook may be made from a variety of materials, and the hook head may have a different material than its body.
Material of Crochet Hook
Oftentimes the crochet hook head and body are made from the same material. This is most commonly aluminum, plastic or bamboo. The entire hook – including handle – is made as one piece from this same material. People who are just beginning to crochet often find that aluminum crochet hooks are the easiest, most affordable, choice.
Sometimes the crochet hook head is made from one material and the handle from another. In this case, the hook head is typically made from aluminum or steel. Steel crochet hooks are usually used for thread crochet.
Material of Crochet Body
The body of the crochet hook may be made from the same material as the hook, as just explained. However, the handle can also be made from other materials, which is especially true for ergonomic crochet hooks. These often have a plastic or wooden body while the hook head is aluminum or steel. Crochet handles can also be made from other materials; people often make their own DIY handles from polymer clay. This is a fun way to make a crochet hook with your own unique design.
Crochet hooks may also be made from acrylic, glass, wood, rubber and even alternative materials.
Do I need an ergonomic crochet hook?
After you have been crocheting for a little while (or sooner if you already have arthritis or other hand pain issues), you may find that you want to try an ergonomic crochet hook. This is a hook that has a uniquely shaped handle that offers better grip and reduces any likelihood of hand pain from crafting. Note that an ergonomic crochet hook alone won’t solve problems of hand pain related to arthritis, carpal tunnel or any repetitive stress injuries. You might need physical therapy, hand exercises, frequent breaks, a resting pad for your wrists, ergonomic gloves and other accommodations if you suffer from one of these issues. That said, ergonomic crochet hooks can go a long way towards making it easier for you to crochet and to avoiding problems with finger, wrist and other hand pain. There are several different brands and styles. If you crochet frequently or have a reason to be concerned about hand pain, visit your local yarn store and see if they will let you try out a few different options.
How to Hold a Crochet Hook
There is no right or wrong way to hold a crochet hook. People make the adaptations that feel best to them and work well with their own style of crafting. That said, there are two common ways that people hold a crochet hook: like a knife or like a pencil. Sometimes gripping it one way works better for certain techniques than the other way, so it’s worth it to practice both and see what works best for you. You can learn more about both of these methods of holding a crochet hook from our guide for learning how to crochet.
Some Extra Tips and Info on Crochet Hooks
Here are a few more things that you might want to know about crochet hooks:
- Manufacturers aren’t always perfect on their sizing. Although every “H” crochet hook should theoretically be the same, that’s not always the case. As a result, you may find that a project worked with an H in one brand is smaller or larger than the same project worked with another brand’s H hook. The difference should be minute but if you’re a perfectionist then be sure not to switch hooks in the middle of a project!
- Susan Bates and Boye are two brands to know. There are many different brands of crochet hooks but these two brands are by far the most common affordable names. They each come in individual hooks as well as sets, are color coded by size and are aluminum are the top sellers (although the brands make other materials as well). The difference is in the hook head; Susan Bates are inline hooks while Boys hooks are tapered.
- There are also common ergonomic crochet hook brands. Clover and Addi are the two most recognized names when it comes to affordable ergonomic crochet hooks.