|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: