Crochet Hooks- Everything You Should Know

  • Elena Hunt
  • February 4, 2014 12:18 pm

Everything you should know about crochet hooks

Loving the art of crochet and my favorite hooks!!!

Any day I have the chance to crochet is a very good day!!!  I love everything about it… Shopping for the yarn, designing and creating new projects, the feel of the fiber in my hand and holding my favorite hook!!  I’m not really sure what I have more of… a giant yarn stash or a large collection of crochet hooks!  Over the years I have acquired quite a variety of hooks… I have every size made, a variety of brands, styles and different hooks made from different materials…

Here are just a few from my treasury…

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As you can see I have several types… And this is just the beginning of my collection!  I use all of my hooks from one time to another… Although I do have my favorites!!  So, I was wondering about the history of Crochet Hooks… Where they originated, the different styles and what hooks are typically the favorite!

A Little Crochet History…

Some of the earliest written documentation about crochet comes out of Europe in the late 1700’s, but it is felt that some form of crochet was used much earlier and the origins go back to earlier art in Iran, China and South America.  According to Wikipedia, the word “Crochet” is a French word meaning Hook.  Many ancient Crochet Hooks were made from Bone, Wood, and Fine Metals.  And some Archaeologists believe due to certain materials used to create some of the oldest crochet hooks, they would not have been able to stand up over time and we would not have record of those early Hooks.

As time has passed, Crochet hooks were more commonly made of metal, wood and plastic. Depending on area and economic standing, many crochet artists throughout history used their talents to earn extra money to help their families survive during hard economic times, while wealthy women in our history used Crochet Hooks made from fine metals and beautiful wood and some of their hooks were adorned with jewels and other expensive materials.

Modern Crochet Hooks

Today we have the privilege of having Crochet Hooks readily available!  We can purchase a hook for less than the price of a gallon of gasoline or we can find some highly decorated or specialty hooks for much more.  We can find them online or in our local craft stores. Some talented artist decorate them with beautiful polymer clay handles, carve unique hooks out of wood or we can even find crochet hook sets in an array of beautiful colors along with fancy cases to keep them all together.  The possibilities are endless when it comes to the types of hooks available in our modern time.

Recently on my Facebook Page and my Blog, I asked fellow crocheter’s which hooks they were currently using and which type of hook they would most like to try.   Metal hooks were the top choice for current use and at least 80% of my viewers were using metal hooks on a project they were currently making.  Wooden hooks were the top choice for the hook they would most like to try.  Personally I love wooden hooks and my favorite hooks are made from Palm Wood!

The Anatomy of a Crochet Hook

anatomy of hook

There is actually a lot that goes into a great Crochet Hook. So let’s break it down!

The Tip:  As you can see, different hooks have many styles of tips.  Some are more pointy, while others are rounded.  This is personal preference, but a pointy tip can work better when your stitching is a little tighter or when you are working through a stitch that has several layers.

The Hook/Lip:  This area can be very important in the ability to catch your strand of yarn and hold onto it as you pass it through a stitch. If the hook/lip area is too short or too rounded this can be the source of a lot of frustration!

The Throat:  There are many styles of throats when it comes to crochet hooks, some have a more rounded shape and others are have more of a grooved area.  Also, the throat can vary in length.  I find that a more grooved, deeper throat works best for me; this style keeps the yarn in place while working more complicated stitches.

The Shank:   When it comes to different hook brands, the main difference in shank areas is the length.  Again, this is personal preference.  Depending if you have longer fingers or more petite hands this area will be something you will want to experiment with for comfort.  The fit of the hook in your hand will effect your comfort, especially if you crochet for long periods of time.

The Thumb Rest:  This area is key to comfort while crocheting!  You can see in the above picture the different styles of the thumb rest.  Some crochet hooks have no area designated for a thumb rest, while others have quite a bit of contour.  Without the correct fit for your hand, you may experience some discomfort if you crochet for long periods.

The Handle:  The handle of a crochet hook is where many companies make their mark.  Some use this area for decorative purposes, while others use it to make their hooks more ergonomically correct.  Many crocheters’ find a larger handle (which can include the thumb rest) makes them more comfortable when crocheting for long periods.

Get a grip!

When it comes to holding our hooks, there are two styles to choose from.  Pencil Style and Overhand/Knife Style.  Either style is correct.  I am an Overhand/Knife Style holder; this seems to be very comfortable.  I have a sister-in-law that is a Pencil Style holder and she is a crochet whiz… Neither is faster or produces a better end result. It seems the way you learn is what determines your style.

hold hook

Hook Sizing

There are three standard types of measurements for crochet hooks, Metric, US and UK.

For American sizing, steel hooks come in 0.4 to 3.5 millimeters or they are labeled from 00 to 16. Steel hooks are generally used for fine thread work such as doilies. Then you have the standard hooks used for yarn and heavier fibers, these are generally labeled with letters and range from B-S in the American market or by metric measurements they range from 2.5 to 19 millimeters.

For the UK the steel hooks are numbered starting with 6 moving to 00 as the size increases and for the standard hooks they start at 14 and move to 000 which is the largest hook. Most yarn companies list the desired hook size right on the yarn label which is very helpful for creating great projects.

Whatever hook you use… Happy Hookin’!!!!

Elena Hunt

Elena Hunt

Blogger/Crochet Designer at Beatrice Ryan Designs

I am just a small town girl… well, woman! I was born and raised in Mt. Shasta California and have raised my three children, a son 30, two daughter’s 29 and 17 here in this mountain community. I have the pure joy of also having two beautiful grandchildren.

When I was 10 my grandmother taught me to crochet. A Granny Square pattern was my first project. Her name was Beatrice Ryan Ramshaw, a tiny Irish powerhouse! All my memories include her crocheting… tablecloths, slippers, doilies and blankets. As a young woman the bug got me… I began crocheting and haven’t stopped! 40 years of crochet experience and many beautiful projects under my belt….

Join me in this journey… passed down from generation to generation… keeping alive the skills and beauty of Crochet!

Elena Hunt

Elena Hunt

Elena Hunt

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21 Comments
  1. Thanks for the information. I was taught to crochet using the pencil grip, I also wrap the yarn around my little finger. I learned both from my Grandmother, who was from Switzerland, When I was about 10 years old. I found out much later in my life that my paternal Grandmother also crocheted. She had passes away when my father was a teenager. He used to watch me crochet, but never mentioned that his mother also crocheted. His sister(my Aunt) gave me a hand crocheted bedspread that she remembered her mother making. I have a family history on both sides, who would have guessed.

  2. Enjoyed your article on hooks. Up until a couple of month ago I thought all hooks were the same and over the years just picked up whatever hook was available where I was shopping. After reading articles, I realized I hold my hook knife style and that I also prefer Boye . Last month I signed on as a Follower of your blog and Facebook and have enjoyed both very much. As an added note we lived in Cassel, Ca for ten years and loved Mt.Shasta city about 50 miles away. Thank you for this article.

  3. Crafty Nana… That is so cool… I was taught by my grandmother too!

  4. Betty Lou~ I started trying different hooks a few years ago…I really love my Palm Wood Hooks!! And..Great to have you over on my blog & FB!! Small world!

  5. Elena, love to see you on the Yarn box. Your collection of hooks is just as big as mine. I should take a photo one day.

  6. Sara,,, Thank you so much!!! I have several jars full of hooks! It’s addicting!

  7. vonI says:
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    What do you all do, I have carpal tunnel, fibromyalgia and RA, any ideas as I am still trying to do what I can in crocheyihg etc.

  8. So sorry to hear Voni.. I have some of that too… Just take your time, short periods of crochet… try some stretches and plenty of water! Some of the best medicine for these problems is to have movement and also joy! So try to make your crochet joyful!! If it brings any stress…Just set it down.. Good Luck!

  9. Mary Doukakis says:
    Posted February 7, 2014 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the article on hooks! There’s a few high-end hooks I’d like to try 🙂

  10. Krysta says:
    Posted February 9, 2014 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    I’m a pencil grip crocheter, but I’ve learned that overhand is supposed to be less strenuous on your hand and wrist. I never can get the hang if it though. I would also like to try the wooden hooks!

  11. Krysta… It would just take some time to get use to a new grip. If your wrists start hurting it may be worth a try. And…I do love wooden hooks!

  12. Love this article, great information you provided! I personally find Aluminum hook with deep-cut throat and pointy head is easier for beginners to handle their yarn.

  13. transplantedtexasrose says:
    Posted February 13, 2014 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    I started crocheting when I was 6 and I’m left handed and would stand behind my mom and do it backwards. That being said she could never help me finish anything. . I’m now 52 and I still love it. I used to hold my hook pencil grip but now I use the knife hold, because I also have been diagnosed with RA. I can tell you the knife hold is easier on the hand, and I have even gotten some of the spongy pencil grips and put them on the tips of some of my favorite sizes of hooks . Movement helps keep the hands limber, but you do have to pace yourself. I loved the article.

  14. Krista says:
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 12:13 am | Permalink

    Voni I too have fibromyalgia, I work on projects almost everyday for your at a time. My hands go numb all the time with daily use. I have found that th more I crochet the less I have numbness. I cannot change up my hooks an when moving up or down a couple hook a size I will have a lot of numbness. Try to stay with th e same hook as much as possible 🙂

  15. I recently bought a whole set of bamboo hooks as I had heard good things about them. So far I don’t think I can use them as fast as the metal ones I was using since the lip/hook part is more round and short. (I totally know what you mean by getting frustrated by this!)The one thing I do love about them though is the tip seems pointer, which makes it easier to get into the stitches of the project, especially when I have made them tighter.(There also fairly light) I had honestly never though much about the design of hooks until I noticed this and will definitely pay more attention to these details when I buy any new ones in the future.

  16. Shirley Carlson says:
    Posted March 4, 2014 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    One item of interest i why the pencil grip came into vogue. During Victorian times when ladies would sit and crochet together after dinner while the men smoked and drank, the pencil grip was the preferred style because it made the ladies’ hands and arms more beautiful.

  17. Denise Miller says:
    Posted March 22, 2014 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    I know what it is to have tired hands when you crochet, I recently discovered Furl’s hooks. I wish I could buy them all, I now can crochet longer, with no pain. Everyone should have a least one of these hooks for their most used size.

  18. Carolyn Bowles says:
    Posted October 3, 2014 at 3:50 am | Permalink

    thank you for the information. It was very interesting and informative! Thanks again!

  19. Terry Roemer says:
    Posted November 28, 2014 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    i hold my hook like I hold my fork when eating. Is that pencil style or just the way I taught myself? I was a medical transcriptionist and seamstress all my life so I am best friends with ganglion cysts and carpal tunnel. I am so blessed to be able to crochet and I love it. Thank you for your information on hooks. I love knowing the history of what I’m doing/the tools I use.


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