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Crochet Hook as a Nuanced Tool

I've known for weeks that issue #71 would be about crochet hooks. Not the usual Bates vs Boye debate, or pencil vs knife holds, or product reviews. I want to go beyond what's already been said about crochet hooks. 

Forgive me if this issue seems to go all over the place. I've tried to be highly selective with a lot of interesting material I came up with and I don't want to hold up this issue any longer. Lots of news in the sidebar at right.

To write about crochet hooks, I really needed to have a basic sketch labeled with a few terms I'd be using. I went a bit crazy with that, though! See below. It includes terms I found in several different sources. I'll turn it into a PDF and post the link to it in the next issue for those of you who also like the technical stuff.

I also noticed as I mulled this issue and recovered from a bad cold that crochet hooks are constant companions. Consequently each crocheter has rich layers of stories. Stories of our grandmother's hooks, for example. Once I starting jotting down my stories, more kept coming! Try it. I discovered that my thinking about crochet hooks has changed dramatically in unexpected ways. I started a draft of this issue with just the stories. Stories fill up a newsletter too fast, though.

Here's a sample from that draft: "...The more I noticed mm hook sizes, the weirder things got. My mom had a third G size (4.25 mm) that I used a lot, but pattern publishers wanted me to avoid designing with it. In the early 2000’s I discovered non-US crochet hooks on the internet. Filling gaps in my US sizes with them was really fun. For example, my sparkly gold Addi (German) 7 mm hook is neither a “K” (6.5 mm) nor an “L” (8 mm). It sure helps close that US size gap! I also love the way the Japanese aluminum hook sizes 2 mm, 2.5 mm, and 3 mm round out US sizes B (2.25 mm), C (2.75 mm), D (3.25 mm)."

For the first 35 years I crocheted I didn't know that the actual number of crochet hook sizes one could own is infinite. Perhaps it’s because the standard American hook sizing system uses letters B through Q or S (not including steel thread hooks). The Craft Yarn Council lists only 20 US sizes.

Three Best Hook-Related Things I've Done

1. Switched from thinking in letter sizes to the millimeter (mm) sizes. Instead of "H hook" I think "5 mm hook."

2. Watch carefully where I hold loops on the crochet hook as I make new stitches. I use the straight shank, not the tapered throat. 

3. I threw out needle gauges (the kind with holes) and only use a slide gauge. See the Lacis link at the bottom of the right sidebar. Then, because I know where on the hook I make my stitches, I know where to measure the hook with the slide gauge. That gives me the true size of the hook for me

When I did this with all of my hooks, I found out that about a third of them were not the sizes I thought they were.

That's it for #71! If you know someone who would enjoy this kind of newsletter, please forward this to them so that they can subscribe. (Click here to subscribe: ) If you have any comments or suggestions, please email me. Thanks!      --Vashti         Helpful links:
Crochet Hook Stories
I tried this "heat map" for fun. Each crocheter's hook heat map could look very different. 

For example, some crocheters' hands are too big for many hook handles, so a short handle would be a deal breaker.

I learned how to crochet in the 1970's with the hook on the left. On the right is the hook I use today. The green hook has 3 deal breakers for me: the throat never stops tapering, so my stitches are tight but with loose tops, ugh. The "chin" sticks out, and the mouth or "bowl" of it is too big.
Special thanks to Nancy Nehring.

DesigningVashti News
New Pattern! Free in September with purchase of a ball of Jelly Yarn Fine.
Vashti's new crochet pattern: Moonglow Pillow with Hidden Pocket
I love the effect of glow Jelly Yarn® surface-crocheted onto a simple crochet spiral! Click image to see pattern in the shop, or see it in Ravelry

New Z-Bombes: One-pound cones of our Lotus yarn 
New Z-Bombes: one-pound cones of our Lotus yarn!
Available in most colors. These sold out in our show booth! 

I've been dreaming of this for years: crochet hook sets in my shop! Four added so far. Click image to see the charming Tulip "Classic" series.

New Section in the DesigningVashti Shop: Japanese Crochet Hook Sets
Crochet hooks available singly too in a good range of sizes.

This is the Sky and Surf Shawl in progress. Designed by 10HoursorLess with our Lotus yarn.Cover of Surf and Sky shawl pattern at 10hoursorless.comHere's the Sky and Surf Shawl in progress to show the fun way it's crocheted. Uses 1 ball each of Crystal Blue & Teal Glimmer; 2 Snack balls of Sapphire. (If you omit fringe, 2 Snack balls of the Teal instead.) It's one of three designs that feature our Lotus yarn. Thank you George!
Links I Enjoyed This Week

Lacis has an "Open" or "Slide" hook gauge: item #LH66 "Slide-On." Type hook gauge in the search box. 
- Nancy Nehring's blogsite—link goes to crochet blog posts.
- CGOA Hook Collector's Group
Like Vashti's Crochet Inspirations #71: Beyond Crochet Hook Debates on Facebook
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Subscribe to this newsletter. Vashti Braha is a professional crochet designer & teacher who resides in Florida (USA). She writes 100% of each issue and emails it to subscribers
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