Below you will find my definitive guide to all things Crochet Hook. Which one to use? What type will suit you? Find out here…
Unfortunately, having Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, I have to think about my crochet hooks more than the average Joe. If you’re like me and suffer with a similar ailment, including arthritis, carpal tunnel, etc. thinking about your crochet hook in advance can save you a lot of bother in the future.
The word ‘Ergonomics’ is used quite often, but what does it actually mean? Well, in a nutshell, it’s the science of designing and producing tools that improve a worker’s efficiency while reducing discomfort, fatigue, and risk of injury.
More often than not, in the crochet world this means that ergonomic translates to ‘bigger handle’ or ‘comfort grip’. But why would this make a difference?
Basically, larger handles allow fingers to wrap comfortably around your hook in a grip which prevents slippage and reduces stress and impact on your hands, fingers and wrists. When we say ‘larger’ we mean in diameter AND in length!
The palms of your hands are full of pressure-sensitive nerves and blood vessels, and in order to avoid damaging them it’s also really important to make sure that the handle of your hook is long enough that the end won’t press into your palms. So if you’ve dropped your hook and snapped the handle off- it’s time for a new hook!
PS- did you know that 50% of your hooking/gripping strength comes from your ring and pinky finger?! Not bad for the smaller two digits!
What about a “comfort grip”?
Squared off, sharp-angled handles do not match with the naturally curved contours of the hand so look for something curved that fits your hand and feels comfortable. A handle that does not fit your hand will quickly lead to fatigue and increases your chances of long-term injuries like arthritis.
As finger size and placement differs from person to person, avoid using hooks whose handles have built-in finger grooves. When fingers don’t naturally align with grooves, excessive pressure from the raised groove edges can cause discomfort and injury. Grooves defeat the natural strength of your pinky and ring fingers! Luckily you don’t see many of the popular brands using finger grooves, but you can still stumble on them in the handmade polymer-clay market.
Hook handles should be covered in a soft material, like foam or flexible plastic. Cushioned handles are not only comfortable for long hours of hooking, but they provide a much firmer grip and cut down on slippage.
If you already have a favourite hook that’s causing you discomfort because of its handle, you can quickly and inexpensively convert it by just adding a sleeve. Find one here.
In-Line vs. Tapered Hooks
Moving up the handle to the actual working part- there are pretty much two different types of hook that you’re going to find: in-line or tapered.
In-line hooks get their name from the fact that the hook is in line with the handle of the crochet hook- a characteristic that makes them great for beginners. They have a deep groove that helps keep the yarn in place on the book and the sharp head can help you insert into your stitch much more easily (provided you don’t split your yarn in the process).
You’ll spot an in-line hook in the wild by their straight edge that does not taper nearthe hook.
This is the opposite for a tapered hook which narrows (or tapers) at the top of the hook. This means that if you’re a tight crocheter you should ideally avoid this kind of crochet hook as it means your already tight working loops will get even tighter as they slide down the throat onto the shaft.
What about hook material?
This one genuinely is a matter of personal preference. Hooks can be either plastic, metal, wood or even glass! Each different material will feel different depending on what fibre you crochet with! I find plastic hooks a nightmare to use with acrylic yarn because of the horrific squeeeaaaakkkk I get when hooking.
I personally prefer the versatility of metal hooks (although they can leave a metallic tinge to your finger and sometimes you work- although this does what off/out)
Don’t forget to break
As tempting as it can be to hook on through the night, you should regularly stop to rest. Not only for the benefit of your hands, but also your eyes. Focusing on one area for an extended period of time can cause eye strain.
Try taking a break and making yourself a cup of tea. I can be hard to tear yourself away but your hands and eyes will thank you!
When it comes to hooks, unfortunately it genuinely is a matter of trying out what works best for you. Trial and error. Buying hooks in store is a lot better way of test driving a new hook before investing in a whole set online. Try attending a local Knit and Natter or Stitch and Bitch and ask your fellow hookers if you can try one of their hooks to see what works.
For me, I’ve found that my ideal hook style is the Knit Pro Waves set.
I like that the handles are also colour coordinated depending on size so you can easily spot the hook you need without pulling out a pair of glasses to read the tiny size stamped on the side. Being metal, I like that they slide well through any fibre, and I partially like that the smaller-average size hooks are comfortable to use over a long period of time (anything over a 7mm I start to get a hand cramp and have to stop)
The hooks mentioned in this article are:
In summary, the things you need to consider when buying your next hook, are:
- Hook material. What fibre are you crocheting? How do you feel about a squeak?
- Handle style – a large diameter only gets you so far- you need to consider length too!
- Crochet hook style – are you a tight crocheter? Are you a beginner? Beginners and tight crocheters should go for the in-like variety
- Crocheting time- the longer you hook, the more breaks you should take to stretch your hand out.