You surfed the net and fell (not badly!) in awe of crochet creations. An amigurumi here, a crocheted raffia bag there… These crochet patterns make you want to get started, as we understand you! You say to yourself: why not me? But yes, why not you? You too can join the community of beginner crocheters! But, hop hop hop, before you start, we have to tell you something: there are all kinds of hooks! Size, material, diameter, shape… Difficult to make a choice, especially if you are a beginner!
DID YOU SAY HOOK?
Knitting requires the use of 2 knitting needles (in principle). But to crochet, you only need one hook! However, these 2 yarn art techniques have one thing in common: it is essential to choose the right material (hook or needles) to make beautiful DIY creations.
Before giving you our advice for choosing the right hook, let us introduce you in detail to the one with whom you will experience great creative adventures. Yes, get to know the one you will be holding by the hand… This way you will know if you are made for each other to make beautiful crocheted models together.
Your partner, Monsieur Hook, has his head not on his shoulders but on his rod! Indeed, a hook is composed of 3 parts: the head, the rod and the handle.
Here is a detailed description of each part and their specificities. So you can shine, not around the coffee machine, but during your afternoons with girlfriends passionate about yarn art.
The hook has a hard head
Let’s start at the beginning… The head of the hook!
It consists of 2 elements:
- The tip of the hook . This is the end of the hook. It allows stitching in a stitch. If it is pointed, you will stitch more easily in a tight stitch. If you want to crochet lace, choose a flat head pattern, it will save you from snagging the threads.
- The Hook Throat . This opening is located just after the tip. It is used to hold the thread… or not! Indeed, depending on the model, the thread tends to come out and you are forced to crochet your stitch again. An advice ? Prefer a hook with a deep groove. Called the lip , the curved part above the throat can be rounded or bevelled.
You have probably already noticed that the head of the hook can be aligned with the shank (“inline” hook) or the lip can protrude (“tapered” hook). To gain precision, it is advisable to use a hook with an aligned head.
The stem of the crochet to make pretty stitches bloom
This part is located after the throat and before the handle.
Depending on the hook models, the shape and length of the rod may vary:
- It can be more or less short or long.
- It can have a uniform diameter over the entire section or flare up to the handle.
It is the shank that determines the diameter of the hook and therefore the size of the stitches.
If you are new to crochet, choose a pattern with:
- A rather long stem. It will be easier for you to crochet certain stitches (shells, decreases in several double crochets, etc.) which require storing several stitches on the hook shank.
- A straight rod. You will find it easier to crochet regular stitches. A flared stem is aesthetic but it may complicate your task..
Hook: with or without an ergonomic handle, that is the question
In terms of sleeves, you will find everything!
Different finishes are possible depending on the model. There are hooks:
- With discreet ergonomic handle
- With an imposing handle
- With a thumb rest.
The best choice ? It all depends on how you hold the hook!
Some crocheters with joint problems will appreciate the presence of an ergonomic handle while it will hinder others.
One criterion to take into account is the weight of the hook in the presence of the handle : if the handle is too bulky, the hook will also be heavier and therefore more difficult to handle. This is particularly the case for the brackets above number 6.
As far as possible, it is best to test the type of handle that suits you best for use!
HOW TO CHOOSE THE DIAMETER OF THE HOOK?
If you knit, you won’t be out of place! The principle is the same for choosing the diameter of knitting needles and that of a hook.
Like a knitting needle, a hook has a number: it corresponds to its size. For example, a #6 hook has a diameter of 0.6 cm. So the higher the number, the bigger the diameter of the hook (and vice versa!).
In general, it is recommended that beginners use a number 4 or 5 hook, which is ideal for practice, as it is neither too big nor too small. But, as in knitting, the diameter must also be chosen according to the yarn or wool to be crocheted and the indications of the model .
A little advice before you start crocheting your snood or your amigurumi: make a sample ! It is a square of crocheted stitches of 10 x 10 cm in general. What is it used for ? It is the guarantor of a crocheted work at the right size.
Explanations: we all have a different way of crocheting, more or less loose. We sometimes use our favorite yarns or wools, and not those recommended… Once the sample is finished, you can check that the number of rows and stitches crocheted corresponds to that of the pattern. If there is a difference, then it will be necessary to take a hook of a larger or smaller diameter to obtain a match between the sample of the model and yours. Otherwise, you risk crocheting a sweater that will make you a dress or that can only be worn by your baby!
Good to know: if the diameter varies, so does the size! There are between 12.5 and 20 cm, but if you are a beginner, opt for a 15 cm hook (the most common size). An ideal happy medium to learn to “master the machine”!
CHOOSING THE RIGHT HOOK: WHICH MATERIAL TO CHOOSE?
Wood, aluminium, bamboo, plastic, steel… There’s no shortage of choice!
The criteria to be taken into account are:
- The price. A plastic hook is often cheaper. So if you’re just starting out and aren’t sure you want to continue, this might be a good choice.
- Crocheted works. Some hooks are not available in all diameters. Depending on the type of creations, you will have to choose a bamboo hook (large works) or a steel hook (fine works).
And precisely, here are our recommendations according to the models you want to crochet:
- To crochet in finesse like lace, adopt a steel hook (finest diameter).
- For doilies that require great precision, choose an aluminum or wooden hook, available in small diameters (#4 or #5).
- For sweaters or hats crocheted with thick yarn, use a bamboo or plastic crochet hook, as their diameter is generally larger. For example, plastic hooks have a minimum diameter of 0.6 cm (#6).
These indications already allow you to get an idea of the material to choose according to the use of the hook .
OTHER MATERIALS NEEDED TO START CROCHETING
We have taken a look at the elements to take into account to choose the right hook .
But before you rush to the haberdashery or an e-shop to buy hooks and crochet threads, perhaps you could take the opportunity to acquire some additional accessories that will make your crocheting easier…
Here is a brief summary of the materials recommended for crocheting :
- A yarn needle . It’s the same needle you use if you’re into knitting! In metal or plastic, it allows you to hide the end of the threads in your work for perfect finishes.
- Yarn markers . Available in different colors, they allow you to identify specific places on your work, such as where you need to increase or decrease. You can replace them with safety pins or paper clips, although this is less practical.
- A dedicated pair of scissors . Even if there are no special scissors for crochet (as there is for embroidery), the principle is the same. It is better to always use the same pair to cut yarn or crochet wool.
- A tape measure . Does it need to be specified? You surely have one in your sewing box, but you never know… It will be useful for you in particular to check that the size of your work corresponds to that of the model.