NaBloPoMo 7: A Happy Hooker

I think my ‘jetlag’ from yesterday is still ongoing today. It took me a full 2 hours to figure out that maybe the reason I was feeling dopey and grumpy is that there was no sign of the sun rising over Oxford today. At all. The sky was solid clouds, with only the occasional break when it decides to drizzle on us as well. So I’ve had my daylight lamp on all day, and it’s kick-started my brain at least a little

As a result, I’m not as happy a hooker as I could be today, but writing a nice long post about crochet cheered me up a bit. It usually does.

I spent a large portion of Saturday sitting in a room crocheting, which therefore involved a lot of explaining crochet to people. And while, of course, my ideal would be for you all to come to one my beginner’s classes here in Oxford, even I realise that that’s not really possible. So through this week, I thought I’d do a sort of ‘crochet basics’ series, not necessarily covering how to make crochet stitches – there are hundreds of excellent videos on YouTube, and I really do recommend getting to a class at your local yarn shop if you can – but how to get started. It’s a mixture of things that helped me, and things that come up at every single crochet class I teach, so hopefully it’ll be useful to you as well.

Let’s start with the basics.

This is a crochet hook.

And so is this

And this

Oh, and this one too

As you can see, there are lots of different styles of hooks, and they all offer different things. Then you have Tunisian hooks, which are about the length of knitting needles, and you can also get hooks made of glass and precious metals. (As an aside, if you’re looking for the perfect present for me for Christmas, I wouldn’t say no to one of these. Just sayin’).

Most beginners start with a basic Pony hook, and I generally suggest going for a 4.5mm one. That’s partly because they’re pretty good for most people using DK-weight yarn (more on that tomorrow), and partly because they’re the biggest hook you can get before the hooks are made of plastic.

There’s nothing wrong with plastic hooks in principle, but personally I find that the yarn sticks to them much more than metal, which can make things very difficult for beginners. On the other hand, if you’re using a terribly slippery yarn, you may actually prefer a plastic hook to give you a little traction. As with everything, it’s a case of choosing the right hook for the job.

Bamboo or wooden hooks can be great, as they’re smooth without being slippery. Personally, as I’m a very tight crocheter, I don’t get on with them very well. To me, they feel too fragile, as though I’m just about to break them all the time. But I keep one in my kit, because you never know when the right yarn might come along, and I’ll be glad I’ve got it.

These are my hooks of choice at the moment, Tulip Etimo hooks. They’re definitely an investment, but worth it if you decide that crochet is the craft for you. These are the full-size set, but they also do a set of steel hooks. That’s the name given to tiny little crochet hooks, usually used for thread – if you’ve got a crocheted doily at home, that was probably made with a steel hook.

One thing that’s always fascinated me about crochet is the lack of standards. Not that we’re all sloppy stitchers (although I have my moments), but the difference in terminology between countries is vast, and that applies to hooks as well. And then to confuse things again, steel hooks have different size names to larger hooks. Personally, I just refer to everything in millimetres, and most patterns will give you that alongside other sizing, but if you do come across a pattern that calls for a ‘J hook’ or ‘size 4’, there are some handy conversion charts here and here

Having said that, I have yet to find a chart that has this hook on it.

Isn’t it cute? It was a birthday present from my mother. The text reads:

For even more information about hooks, I really recommend a series of posts at Fresh Stitches, which you can get to by clicking here and looking for the Ultimate Crochet Hook Review posts. There’s more there than you ever knew you needed to know!

Hope that was at least vaguely interesting to some of you. Tomorrow, we move onto a subject that’s SURE to make me a happy hooker: YARN-O-RAMA, baby!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s