Are you one of many crocheters who is hesitant to work with thinner yarns, like lace and sock yarns, or crochet cotton thread? These yarns can make crocheting in the warmer months much more pleasurable, and they can be used to create intricate and beautiful projects. With these four tips, you’ll be ready to play with thinner yarns in no time.
Many crocheters worry about hand strain when switching from their preferred hook size for medium weight yarns to use smaller circumference hooks for thinner yarns. Today, there are so many comfort hooks to choose from that you don’t need to worry about the transition to thinner yarns. Comfort hooks have a wider circumference at the center of the hook, allowing you to maintain a similar grip regardless of the hook size. Choose a comfort hook with a similar point and throat to your favorite standard crochet hook to make the transition to smaller circumference crochet hooks even easier.
Some of my favorite comfort hooks to use are Tulip Etimo and Clover Amour. Crocheters who prefer inline hooks may like the Susan Bates Bambo handle hooks.
Tulip Etimo comfort hook.
Shop for Tulip Etimo hooks at your favorite retailer! Jo-Ann | Amazon
Shop for Susan Bates Bamboo Handle hooks at your favorite retailer! Jo-Ann | Amazon
Choose the right hook size
Keep in mind that many sock and lace weight yarns include recommended needle sizes for knitting, but not all include recommended hook sizes for crochet.
To keep your crochet stitches from getting too tight, select a hook two sizes larger than the recommended knitting needle size. For example, if a yarn recommends a US Size 1/2.25 mm knitting needle, choose a US Size D/3.25 mm crochet hook.
Start with an easy pattern
Since it may take you a little while to get comfortable working with the thinner yarns, start with a simple pattern. Choose a stitch you are comfortable with from another project, or try out my Beginner’s Triangle Shawl, available with a subscription to I Like Crochet digital magazine, or for sale as a PDF pattern on Craftsy, Etsy, and Ravelry.
Beginner’s Triangle Shawl.
If you feel more confident in your skills, you may one to try one of these four beautiful free crochet patterns for lacy shawls in sock or lace yarn.
All photos were used with permission of the respective designer.
Learn how to block
Blocking helps “open up” lacy designs and allows your project to be adjusted after you finish crocheting. Many times, crocheters avoid blocking when working with thicker yarns. With lacy patterns and thinner yarns, the true beauty of your work may not be apparent if you don’t block.
It’s that time of year where crocheters (and knitters) are starting to think about holiday gifts. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing some reviews to help you find the right gifts for other crafters (or yourself!) for this holiday season.
Let me start by saying that I’ve seen the Furls hooks showing up on many blogs, so I was interested in seeing how they worked. I tried out the Purpleheart wood crochet hook in US Size E/3.5 mm.
What I like about this hook:
It’s packaged as a gift. This makes the hook feel like a wonderful indulgance when you buy one for yourself, and as though it’s “worth it” when you buy one for someone else.
It’s very smooth. The finish does’t “grip” the yarn and allows you to crochet quickly.
The large grip diameter allows a comfortable, relaxed grip.
It has a beautiful design and is a great conversation starter!
The website makes it easy to customize your own hook by choosing one of seven types of wood (each with a sample image), and one of 15 sizes from US Size D/3.25 mm through US Size Q/15 mm.
It comes with a note about care instructions, which would be helpful for a first time user of a wooden crochet hook.
The hook’s price remains the same across different sizes and types of wood.
What might take some getting used to about this hook:
Like many wooden hooks, it doesn’t have the company name or the hook size on the hook. If you have several sizes in the same wood finish, it might take you a moment to choose the right size.
The shorter shaft of the hook may make it challenging to quickly create stitches with multiple yarn overs, like bullions or puffs.
Crocheters who prefer hooks inline hooks may find it harder to pull the yarn through their loops with the tapered throat of this hook.
The comfort shape of this hook may take a few uses to adjust to.
Wish list tip: While the site is very easy to navigate, the customization options may be too confusing if someone is trying to buy you a Furls hook as a gift (especially if they aren’t also crocheters). Not too worry – Furls also offers gift cards.
The Furls Heirloom Wood Crochet Hooks (Alpha Series) hooks currently sell for $79.99. You can find more Furls crochet hooks, yarn bowls, and other products on their website.
Full disclosure: A crochet hook was provided to me by Furls as a giveaway prize for the Picnic Basket Shawl Crochet-a-Long. Although I accept free products for review, I do not accept additional compensation, nor do I guarantee a positive review. My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions.
Today is the last in a series of weekly (Inter)National Crochet Month posts where I feature an artisanal crochet hook maker, share a review of the hooks, and offer up a giveaway where you can win your very own hand crafted crochet hook necklace!
Craftwich likes to add a touch of mystery to the packaging.
Left: My custom Craftwich hook. Right: The giveaway prize!
All images in the interview are copyright Craftwich Creations and used with permission.
Underground Crafter (UC) How did you first get started working with wood?
Monica: I tried making my first hook a few years ago, and boy did it SUCK. HA! I used an oak dowel, which was so hard to hand carve with an Xacto blade. But I really got the hang of it after taking a class on hook carving with Jimbo (of Jimbo’s Front Porch) at Crochet@Cama four years ago. Once I started, I couldn’t seem to stop, and soon my husband was asking me WHAT was I going to do with all those hooks? Worked out how I liked to make my hooks, what worked best for me, and a business was born.
Craftwich Creations Studio.
UC: What initially inspired you to make handmade crochet hooks?
Monica: In my crafting, I always have enjoyed the process more than the finished piece. It’s always a bit disappointing when it’s finished, no mater how cool it is. SO, when I moved to the Pacific Northwest, and was able to stay home with the kids, it was a natural progression to first wanting to know how to make my own yarn, and then my own tools. I want to know my craft from the beginning to end.
Craftwich Creations shawl pins, crochet hook necklaces, and other and accessories
UC: Do you crochet yourself? If not, who tests out your new hook designs?
Monica: I crochet every night, on the couch, with my Ott light and my pillow, LOL! I’m a more advant-garde hooker, so I like unusual designs, and since I tend to have crafting Short Attention Span, I like to make shawls (asymmetrical are my faves) and other patterns with a variety of stitches. I do like to have anyone I see in person test my hooks – one can never have enough feedback.
Craftwich Creations knitting needles.
UC: Many crocheters have never owned a handmade hook before, and you prefer to make custom hooks. Talk us through the process of working with a customer to create a great hook.
Monica: Well, my goal with my business is to make a piece of art for everyone, that is a useful tool also. If I don’t make something with someone in mind, then I want to make something that the wood tells me it wants to be. If someone is interested in my hooks, but doesn’t see one that leaps out at them (don’t laugh, it has literally happened at a craft show!) then they can request a custom order, which is SO much fun.
First, I need to ask what kind of grip they have, small or larger hands, and whether they use a thumb, forefinger, etc. Any quirks they might have in their hook hold. For example, I have a knife hold in my left hand, and I use my fingers to throw off the yarn. (it was dubbed the “spider crawl” by Julia M. Chambers, who wrote an excellent series of articles in Interweave Crochet on hook holds). Since crochet hooks are held differently by literally each person, some of my natural hooks will NOT work for some people, and others will be PERFECT. I want to match people up with THEIR hook. Nothing makes me more pleased than hearing someone tell me, “it fits like it was made for my hand,” or “it caught my eye right away and I love it.” That means more to me than the money (although getting paid to make people happy is nice too).
I send pictures of the hook in progress as needed. It’s a small step to take, to make sure someone loves what they get.
Craftwich Creations kits and more.
UC: Do you have any crochet/crafty blogs or websites you visit regularly for inspiration or community?
Craftwich Creations crochet hooks and knitting needles.
UC: How are you celebrating NatCroMo this year?
Monica: I am actually going to keep doing what I am doing! I have sold most of last year’s hooks, so March will be a big carving month for me – more gorgeous crochet tools for all my fellow hookers!
UC: What’s coming up for Craftwich Creations?
Monica: I will be at a few craft shows this year around the Pacific Northwest, so watch my Facebook page for details.
I always like to explore fun new fiber crafting ideas that I can make for people…at the end of last year, I really got into the large Tunisian hooks, so I’m gong to be making more and trying to get more people to try it! What a blast.
Most exciting of all for me, I’m partnering up with Laurinda Reddig of Reversible Color Crochet book fame, to create an exciting new tri-monthly crochet kit. We’ll have top notch hand painted yarn, an exciting pattern, an accessory that goes with them that I make (AND an option to get a custom hook to go with!), and best of all – a story that ties everything together and adds excitement to the kit. We’re putting together the details now, and I can’t wait to introduce the kits to everyone! Watch for details on the Ficstitches Yarn website!
Thanks so much for stopping by, Monica, and sharing your love of creativity with us!
Craftwich Creations CrochetHook Review
My custom crochet hook from Craftwich Creations.
I had a great conversation with Monica via Etsy convo and email. The process was just as she describes in the interview above, where I shared my preferences (for a tapered hook), my grip (knife hold), my eccentricities (using my forefinger heavily), and my favorite hook sizes (I through K). After back and forth discussion, I even sent her a video of me crocheting, and ultimately, she created a custom US K-10.5 (6.5 mm) crochet hook for me to review. You can see the hook in action and hear my full review in the video below.
What I like about this hook:
It’s visually appealing.
It’s very smooth.
It’s extremely lightweight.
It has a long handle to avoid the abrasion against the side of your hand that sometimes happens when you use the knife grip to hold your hook.
The hook has a tapered throat, which I prefer to an inline hook.
It has a wider circumference on the handle, allowing for a more relaxed grip while crocheting.
It’s custom made and it actually feels custom made. It’s like Monica jumped into my mind and knew exactly what I wanted! What an awesome conversation starter.
What might take some getting used to about this hook:
Crocheters who prefer hooks with inline throats to tapered hooks may find it harder to pull the yarn through their loops with this hook – but I’m sure Monica could make another one that suits inline hook lovers.
Neither the company name nor the hook size are indicated on the hook, so you may not remember where to order from again. Similarly, you will need a Susan Bates Knit-Chek (or something similar) to check the hook size if you have multiple Craftwich hooks.
The hooks has a non-standard shape, so it may not fit into your existing hook holders.
Craftwich Creations crochet hooks currently sell for $18 – $26, depending on the size, style, and wood used. You can find more of Monica’s hooks and her other products, including wood buttons and knitting needles, in the Etsy shop here.
Full disclosure: A free review sample was provided by Craftwich Creations. Although I accept free products for review, I do not accept additional compensation, nor do I guarantee a positive review. My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions.
Monica from Craftwich Creation is offering up a portable crochet hook necklace for one lucky U.S. reader!
This could be yours! Perfect for crocheting on the go, or to pick up dropped stitches in knitting!
So stop by Craftwich Creations and let us know your favorite hook from the shop in the comments! Follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for your chance to win by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, April 7, 2015. Only entries logged through the widget will be eligible to win. Good luck!