As a beginning crocheter, crochet hooks are one of the first items you’ll need to have and understand. There are different sizes, types, and materials of crochet hooks, and understanding their differences will help you a lot in becoming the best crocheter possible.
Hooks are one of the first crochet supplies along with yarn that you’ll want to get.
What is a Crochet Hook?
First thing’s first.
If you are new to crocheting, a crochet hook is a handheld tool that can be held a few different ways. There is the knife grip, the pencil grip. I like to use a hybrid of the two, but that’s just how I thought myself. Unlike with knitting, where you need two needles, in crochet, you only need one hook.
Crochet hooks create various stitches with loops of yarn. I’ll get into the many types of stitches in another article, but at this point, you just need to know that there are dozens if not hundreds of different crochet stitches available to learn.
What Does a Crochet Hook Look Like?
There are five main parts of a crochet hook. They are the handle, shaft, grip, throat, and point.
Handle: This is where you hold the hook while you crochet. Take a look at the image above that shows all the parts of a crochet hook and what they are used for during crocheting.
Shaft: This part of the crochet hook determines the hook’s size. The size of the shaft determines the size of the yarn loops that eventually become stitches.
Grip: This part includes the thumb rest and the label indicating which size the hook is.
Throat: The part of the hook that guides yarn into the working area of the project.
Point: The point includes the actual “hook” that grabs the yarn. The point of the crochet hook gets inserted into the chains and stitches.
Crochet Hook Sizes
Most hooks have their size listed on the thumb area of the hook. The size is listed, usually in two separate formats. The first is the diameter of the shaft of the hook in millimeters, which is used universally all over the world. It is the standard way of identifying a crochet hook’s size.
The second way is a letter, which is how the US identifies hook sizes. Occasionally, you may hear these tools referred to as a crochet needle, but they are actually called crochet hooks (more on actual needles below).
Crochet Hook Sizes Chart
Most crochet hook sets will not include all of these sizes. Usually, a set of crochet hooks will include only between 8-12 sizes (anywhere from B to J). You will find that the majority of crochet patterns will use one of these “middle” sizes… so a hook set would be a great first purchase.
Here is a chart of all the crochet hook sizes available. The sizes near the top and bottom of this chart are infrequently used, but I wanted to show them here for completeness. These infrequently used hook sizes also tend to be a little different from brand-to-brand. For example, the “Q” size can either be 15mm or 16mm, depending on the brand.
I also list the old UK size, which isn’t really around anymore except for in very old British patterns.
|B 1||2.25 mm|
|C 2||2.75 mm|
|D 3||3.25 mm||11|
|E 4||3.5 mm||9|
|F 5||3.75 mm|
|G 6||4 mm||8|
|H 8||5 mm||6|
|I 9||5.5 mm||5|
|J 10||6 mm||4|
|K 10.5||6.5 mm||3|
|L 11||8 mm|
|M 13||9 mm|
|N 15||10 mm|
|Q (16 mm)||15 mm|
|S (19 mm)||20 mm|
Steel Crochet Hook Sizes Chart
Steel hooks have a smaller diameter than regular crochet hooks. They are primarily used with very fine yarn or thread. Lace crochet projects typically use steel crochet hooks. Here is a chart of their standard sizes:
|Metric Size||US Size|
|1.75 mm||4 or 0|
|1.50 mm||8, 7, or 2|
|1.25 mm||9 or 4|
|1 mm||12 or 6|
|0.90 mm||14 or 8|
|0.75 mm||14 or 10|
Crochet Hook Types
There are two main types of crochet hooks.
The first has a tapered point, while the other has a straight point (i.e. the same size of the shaft). The style of hook you use will depend on your personal preference, so most crocheters will typically try both styles out to see what they like the best.
Tapered Crochet Hooks: These crochet hooks have a rounded point with a skinnier throat. I prefer to use tapered hooks when crocheting.
Straight Crochet Hooks: Straight hooks have a deeper throat and a pointier tip with a flatter thumb rest. The purpose of this design difference is supposedly to help with tension and gauge.
Either of these types of hooks may have a rubber grip or larger handle. This larger grip makes them ergonomic. Ergonomic crochet hooks help crocheters with arthritis and sore hands crochet longer and with better tension.
There is also a Tunisian crochet hook. It still has all the same parts I described above, but is two hooks connected with a long rope or cable in the middle.
Crochet Hook Brands
There are plenty of off-brand hooks available on websites like Amazon. I’ve tried them before, and they work just fine. They are super economical, and usually are less than $15 bucks for a set of 10 or so hooks. These hooks would be great for a novice that isn’t 100% certain this is the hobby for them. Don’t spend too much at first!
However, for those that like to crochet, and crochet often, I prefer to spend a little extra and buy a good set. The ETIMO Tulip brand is my absolute favorite. Their grips are soft on my hands, yet firm enough to accurately crochet when my hands begin to get tired. Tulip hooks may be a bit pricey, but they are worth every penny for me.
Other popular brands are Clover, Susan Bates and Boye. These are well-known brands that will cost more than the bargain no-names, but their quality is top-notch. My suggestion is to go into a store like Michaels or Joann Fabrics and see how the individual hooks look and feel.
How Do I Choose the Right Crochet Hook Size?
There are a couple of ways to help decide which hook size is best for the specific crochet project you’re working on. I’m going to go in order from the best, to the least accurate.
What the Pattern Asks For. Every crochet pattern should list which hook size should be used. If a pattern doesn’t show this vital piece of information, then it’s probably not a crochet pattern you should put much trust in.
What the Yarn Suggests. The yarn skein’s label usually recommends what hook size to use with it. Most labels have a section that outlines what hook size to use in metric and us sizes, as well as the approximate gauge you should try to achieve with it.
With a Gauge Swatch. A gauge swatch helps you determine if you crochet too tight or loose – at least according to what the pattern or yarn label suggests. Patterns many times also list the specific gauge they are aiming for. Making a gauge swatch is a good way to determine what hook size is best for you. If your gauge swatch comes out larger than what the pattern or yarn call for, then you can try to use a smaller hook (or vice versa) to see if that helps.
Why Does Crochet Hook Size Matter?
Yes, size does matter. You simply cannot follow a crochet pattern without using it’s recommended yarn weight and hook size. The dimensions of the final project will come out very wrong if you don’t follow the pattern’s suggestions.
Use a too-small crochet hook, and your project will come out smaller than what was intended. Use a crochet hook that is too large, and the final project will also be too big.
Lastly, specific yarn weights (i.e. their thickness) also require specific hook sizes. For instance, you simply cannot crochet with a thick yarn weight and a small hook. The point of the small hook won’t be able to grab the thick yarn correctly.
Above, we mentioned that sometimes crochet hooks are wrongly referred to as needles. However, needles do have their place in crochet too.
Crochet needles are used to weave in ends of the yarn after you’ve reached the end of your project, the end of a skein, or a color change. These needles are larger and bulkier than the sewing needles we are all familiar with, and are also sometimes referred to as tapestry needles.
Sometimes knitting needles are also conflated with their crochet hook equivalent. However, you cannot crochet with knitting needles, and you can’t knit with crochet hooks. Knitting needles lack the hook at the end that is used to grab yarn.