I learned to crochet during a childhood visit with my father’s sister, known to me as "Aunt Nancy." After that delightful visit, Aunt Nancy sent me home with a lovely gold-colored size G crochet hook, along with several balls of acrylic yarn.
I crocheted with that hook, and that hook only, for years. It did not even occur to me that I could, or should, try hooks in other sizes or brands. I knew other sizes existed; Aunt Nancy had given my sister a hook in a larger size, but I didn’t borrow hers often. I liked mine!
The yarn available to me locally at that time was mostly limited to worsted weight acrylic, so even if I had purchased other hooks, the selection of materials with which to use them was dismal.
Later, when I was in college, I grew interested in expanding my horizons. I wanted to try crocheting with a wider variety of yarns and threads. I bought other hooks in a variety of different sizes and brands.
At that point, working with different hooks was a challenge. I was so accustomed to my beloved size G that I had difficulty adapting to any of the other hooks I tried. Larger hooks felt fat and clunky in my hands. Steel hooks felt so tiny that they were difficult to grip onto. Anything other than my size G felt "wrong." My newly-purchased hooks made my hands feel tired and ache-y in comparison.
Persistence was the only solution to those problems, and I almost gave up before I adapted. In hindsight, I am glad I didn’t give up. My creative growth was greatly hindered by my inability to use other hooks. By overcoming that hurdle, I was able to break out of the rut I’d settled into. There were other benefits as well.
A Solution I Was Unaware Of:
My early crochet work was too tight. I eventually solved that problem through constant practice.
I could have solved the problem more easily, and faster, by switching hooks early on. Since I was only a child, perhaps six or seven years old, I didn’t know that. Even if I had known, at that young age I didn’t have the resources to buy another crochet hook. So I persistently used that one hook, even though a larger hook would have been a better choice for many of my projects.
Nowadays, I find that I often prefer a size H for use with worsted weight yarn, although I’m easily able to use a size G as well.
- Using only one hook limits the range of materials you can use successfully.
- Using only one hook limits your options for solving tension problems.
- Using only one hook will hinder you from discovering hooks that could give you better results.
- Using only one hook can stifle certain aspects of creative growth.
- Using only one hook will hold you back from achieving complete mastery of crochet.
Hook Preferences Are Sometimes Based on Early Habits
I’ve spoken with many crochet enthusiasts who've expressed strong preferences for one brand of hook. When asked "Why that brand?" one typical answer is "That’s the brand I used when I learned how to crochet."
When you’re new to crochet, you probably have no idea what the "best" crochet hook is. Yet, your first hook might become your preferred hook by default, unless you make a conscious effort to try others and decide which hooks you really like best. Habits formed early on can influence the rest of your time spent crocheting.
What I’d Advise Beginners to Do Differently Than I Did:
- Own a complete range of hook sizes, from the smallest steel hooks on up through the largest sizes you can get your hands on.
- Learn about your options. If your budget permits you to do so, try using several different brands of hooks, including ergonomic hooks if possible. Form your preferences (and habits) based on what actually works best for you.
Takeaways for Experienced Crocheters:
Ask Yourself This: When you choose a hook to use for any particular project, are you choosing it based on a habit you’ve formed? Or are you choosing it because it’s absolutely the best hook for the project at hand?
If you’re relying entirely on habit, I’d encourage you to experiment with different hooks. Realize that they might feel "wrong" at first, but give them an honest chance.
You might discover that you’ve been using the "best" hook all along. That would be a terrific discovery!
On the other hand, you might discover that you’ve been missing out on a hook that would work better for you :
- There might be a hook that would fatigue your hands less.
- There might be a hook that would feel better in your hands.
- There might be a hook that could help you to improve your tension, or help you overcome a tendency to split yarn, or help you to improve some other aspect of your crochet.
Then again, there might not be. Either way, you’ll never know unless you’ve tested various options.
Achieving mastery of any craft requires knowledge of, and experience with, the tools used for the craft. Learning about various hooks and their properties is one aspect of mastering the art of crochet.