Monday, 7 May 2012

Tools for Crochet: Hooks

(my hooks: grey ones from LYS, Brittany birch turned handle, the darker wood is my Surina turned handle, and the gold coloured ones are my Clover Soft Touch hooks, with some more boring grey ones and finally two bamboo hooks)

The title for this post has given me a headache, tools for hooking, hooking tools, tools of the trade etc... but I couldn't help but wonder what my humble blog would come up as on google! Oh well, onwards we go...

Crochet wouldn't happen without either yarn, or a hook.  I always say to my bloke, you cannot screw a screw with the wrong type of screwdriver, when he rolls his eyes at me searching for a certain sized hook, the same goes for inferior screwdrivers/hooks, if they bend or don't insert properly it can drive a person mad! (He works in the car and engineering trades, he understands screwdriver analogies better than me moaning about hooks).  There's a variety of hooks available out there, well online mainly, local shops around here are kinda limited.  So here's a quicky review of the hooks I've tried since I first began to crochet, the good, the bad and the ugly.

Metal, these are the most common, the ones my local LYS sell are aluminium coated in boring grey paint.  They do the job just fine to be fair, they just don't look like they can whip up a delightful colourful piece of crochet that will be treasured for years to come.  The smaller sizes are steel, those are mainly for thread crochet - something I have yet to play with.  The only issue, that isn't a problem for some, is that a while into using one of these they can cause hand cramp as they're so thin in the hand.  The brands I have are mainly Prym.

Acrylic - I'm going to sound like a bit of a snob now, but I will never work with plastic if I can avoid it.  Yes it is light, but it feels horrendous.  I've had to capitulate with knitting needles in large sizes (10mm etc), but I hope never to need a crochet hook that is plastic.

Bamboo - I absolutely cannot stand working with these.  I'm not quite sure why I bought them to be honest as I don't like bamboo for knitting with either.  Bamboo is lighter, warmer to the touch and some people genuinely prefer it.  I find it cumbersome to use, the hooks aren't pointy enough, and the grabby part isn't deep enough to grip my yarn to my satisfaction.  I become the clumsiest, slowest hooker with one of these in my hands.  Maybe there are better bamboo ones out there (I think my brand was Elle), but I don't care to try.

Wooden hooks, you can get a variety of different types of wood hooks, I have only two of them, a Brittany Birch hook, and a Surina hook.  The Brittany has similar issues to the bamboo, except that I like the feel of it in my hand (nothing to do with the pretty handle, honest), it is an 'in-line' hook which means the hook only has a little depth before it is the same width as the rest of the hook - I find this makes larger crochet stitches such as treble (DC in US) a nightmare.  The Surina on the other hand, has more depth behind the hook, is pointier at the err, point, and much nicer to use, it's just a shame I ordered an 8mm hook as I don't use that size very often.  Surina is smooth, shiny, beautiful to look at and nice to work with.

Hooks with handles - there are actually quite a few available online, even Prym hooks with handles, hand decorated polymer clay handled hooks, etc.  The ones I own are Clover Soft Touch hooks.  They're actually ugly, and I think the finish on the actual hook could be smoother as the paint is satin and just not as smooth as glossier paints.  However I still find the comfort the handle offers me to make them well worth using.  I haven't found my perfect hook yet, but these are the closest I have.

(beautiful hook sold on Etsy)

Now that I am crocheting more, I find myself wanting to try out other hooks, in particular Susan Bates Silverlume hooks.  I do kinda own two of them, I have two Tunisian hooks ordered from the US, I can't really judge them as they are so much longer (35cm) but the hooks themselves are perfect.  If I buy more hooks, they will be these, either plain or with polymer handles (off Etsy, if I have the spare cash).

My conclusion is this, if I were to buy a gift for a hooker, I'd happily buy them a Surina, or handcrafted polymer handled Bates hook off Etsy, if getting hold of either was an issue then I'd go for a Clover Soft Touch.  If I was given any of them, I'd be a very happy girl so I wouldn't be embarrassed to hand them over - in fact, I have recently taught two friends to crochet ;) I also taught three of them to knit (including the two happy hookers), so it opens up a whole world of possible gift ideas lol.

Right, well I am off back to pattern writing - I'm attempting my own pattern for some of those flip top mittens for the whole family.  I must be nuts.  The whole sofa is a mess of notepads, pens, yarns, needles, and measuring tapes.  Oops.  If it turns out to be any good, I may be brave and share it here on the blog with you.

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