All About Crochet Hooks and How To Use Them

by Doroteja

Recently, I’ve received a lot of technical questions. So I decided I will start with a new crochet journey. This time with a Crochet Lessons series. One lesson per week (I hope). We will talk about everything and start with hooks, then yarn, basic stitches, how to read patterns and how to make them. Crocheting is an endless long topic. At least for us crocheters, right?

I won’t waste any of our precious time and I will start right now!

For starters, you will need two items: a yarn of your choice and a crochet hook. With these two simple tools, you can create almost everything.

Today we will talk about crochet hooks. A crochet hook as some people call it crochet needle (I prefer first) is a tool with a hook at one end. Why? It is used to draw the yarn through the loops.

If you are familiar with knitting, you know you need two needles to knit. But don’t go to your local yarn shop and buy two same crochet hooks! You need just one. Well, not just one. Maybe two, three or whole bunch of them. Crocheting is an addiction, believe me!

1) Crochet Hook Anatomy

A crochet hook is divided into 6 sections as seen on the picture.

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2) Materials and Handles

Crochet hooks are available in various sizes and materials. Steel crochet hooks are small and are often used to crochet intricate items, such as lace doilies, with fine yarn or cotton. Larger crochet hooks are usually made from lightweight materials such as plastic, aluminum or wood.

Some hooks are made with wooden or plastic handles. Material from which the crochet hook is made should not affect the size of your final work. But it may affect your enjoyment of the process.

3) Hook Size

Like I said before, you can buy crochet hooks in different sizes. The diameter of the hook shaft determines the size of the hook and the size of the stitches the hook will make. Hooks can be sold by letters (US), numbers (UK) or millimeters. There are many manufacturers of hooks, and it is very possible that two hooks with the same number or letter can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer (that’s why the gauge is so important).

hook sizes

4) Hook Appearance

Although most crochet hooks are similar in length (approximately 6 inches) and appearance. In this variety of crochet hooks, you can also find a bit longer crochet hooks. We use them for Tunisian crochet (more about Tunisian crocheting soon). In my opinion, Tunisian crochet is more similar to knitting than crocheting. That’s why the length there is so useful.

There are two basic hook types. Inline and not in line or tapered. Their names refer to shape of the head and throat. For example, some hooks are more rounded while others are pointier. There is no rule which is better. It is a matter of personal preference. You can experiment with different brands to find the crochet hooks you prefer.

5) How To Hold A Crochet Hook

First off grab the crochet hook with your dominant hand. Your dominant hand is the hand that you hold your pen with when you write. There are two ways to hold the crochet hook. You can try both positions to determine which one suits you best.

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The most popular method is to hold the crochet hook as if you were holding a pencil. Hold the crochet hook in your hand as if you were holding a pencil. Your thumb and index finger hold the flat section (thumb grip) of the crochet hook as seen on the picture.

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You can also hold the crochet hook as if you were holding a knife. Your thumb, index finger, and middle finger hold the flat section of the crochet hook. Your other fingers can also help support the crochet hook.

The pencil method is maybe a bit more elegant but it can be a bit clumsy when you crochet very fast. Crochet hooks are not specifically for right or left-handed people, either one can use them.

In my opinion…

I own a set of aluminum crochet hooks. I bought them when I first started a few years ago. The price was very low, somewhere around 7 US dollars for the whole pack. I wasn’t willing to pay a lot for them at that point because I didn’t know if I will like crocheting or not. Now I am so used to them that I would not change them for anything. Cheap and great quality.

I also own two hooks with handles. I think the handle is great for smaller hooks 3 mm and less because they are so thin that your fingers sometimes hurt. But for bigger hooks, I personally do not need a handle. My hook stash is small. I always wanted to have a set of wooden crochet hooks, I think the pictures for blog and patterns would be gorgeous with them. Maybe someday. Hope so. Most of the time I use my 3,5 mm hook (E/4 hook) and I hold it as a knife.

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9 comments

Tracy December 11, 2014 - 19:01

well done for starting this Doroteja! When you said you were going to do this I wasn’t expecting it so soon! I look forward to the rest., Great work always!

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Doroteja December 11, 2014 - 19:02

Thank you Tracy 🙂

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Joan December 11, 2014 - 19:42

Great article for those beginning to learn crochet! I am left-handed and hold the hook in my left hand as a knife. My mother is right handed and taught me when I was young, facing me with her right hand to my left hand.

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Miriam Robbins December 12, 2014 - 01:57

I am glad to see someone else holds the hook like a knife. I taught myself to crochet years ago and had a real difficulty with the hook until I decided I was going to use it in a way that felt most comfortable and natural in my hand. I have never met another person who uses it this way, nor have I ever seen it mentioned in magazines or on blogs until now. When I knit (which is not often), I also do it differently than most, by using the Continental method of holding the needles.

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Klara December 12, 2014 - 16:51

Uau, great idea! I think I might try 🙂

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Zaneta Grauzz March 13, 2017 - 21:49

I am very impressed with your mini lesson oh crochet hooks. I have been crocheting for 40 years, and I did not know that you could hold your hook like a knife. I would like to see how to crochet like that. My hands are riddled with degenerative bone disease and osteoarthritis, so I am looking for a way to make crocheting not to hurt so much. I design patterns and just because of my hand limitations, sometimes someone else must do the crocheting for me as I design. I look forward to seeing more of your lessons. Thanks for making this so easy.

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Doroteja March 15, 2017 - 10:04

Hi Zaneta!
Yes, I hold it as a knife. 🙂 It came naturally to me from the day I’ve started crocheting.
Thank you so much for your kind comment. I am really happy to hear your passion for crocheting is so big that nothing can stop you. It’s very inspiring. 🙂

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Nicalen McCoy October 11, 2019 - 15:07

Can I use the same size aluminum crochet hook, when pattern calls for a plastic hook. What is the difference

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Doroteja October 24, 2019 - 16:49

It’s the same. The only difference is in the material. The size is important, the material not that much. 😀 Although, I personally prefer aluminium crochet hooks with cotton yarn, because they slight through stitches nicely and smoothly. 😁

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