Tag Archives: crochet hook

Crochet Hook Review and Giveaway: Lantern Moon Featherlight Hooks

Every Sunday during National Crochet Month 2013, I’ll be reviewing crochet hooks.  Today’s post features Featherlight crochet hooks, along with a giveaway for one hook, courtesy of Lantern Moon Handcrafted.

 

Lantern Moon has a beautiful, sustainably produced wooden hook for all of you inline hook lovers!

Lantern Moon Featherlight crochet hook.
Lantern Moon Featherlight crochet hook.

The Featherlight is made with an eco-friendly wood with a rich, dark color.  Like most inline hooks, it has a flat throat.  The hook has a long thumb rest.  I found the tip to be slightly pointier than most inline hooks, which I liked.  The end of the handle has a nice decorative look to it.

The wood is finished smoothly, and has a wonderful feeling against the hand.  As the name suggests, it is very light weight.  According to Lantern Moon, the wood is “organically treated to add density and hardness.” The hook size (in US letter, number, and mm) is written in white towards the center of the handle, and is highly visible against the contrast of the dark wood.

There aren’t any unusual features on the handle that change its shape, so this hook would be ideal for all different types of crochet.  You could even make a small Tunisian crochet project on this hook, because while the thumb rest is long, it doesn’t taper outwards as so many do so it wouldn’t stretch out your stitches.

This would be a great hook for a crocheter who prefers an inline hook, who prefers purchasing eco-friendly and ethically produced products, and/or who enjoys the comfortable feeling of a wooden hook.

The hooks are available in US letter sizes from D through K.  The retail price of the hooks are $18.90.

And, it’s no secret that I love my Tulip Etimo crochet hooks.  These are probably the set I use most regularly.  Lantern Moon is now U.S. distributor for these and other Tulip products!

 

Giveaway

When I contacted the nice folks at Lantern Moon to tell them about my plans to review a variety of crochet hooks during NatCroMo13, they were generous enough to send along a Featherlight US size I-9/5.5 mm hook for a giveaway for one lucky reader.

Lantern Moon prize pack

This giveaway is open internationally.  Enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday, April 6, 2013.  

To enter:

  • Leave me a comment telling me about about your experience using Lantern Moon products.  Have you used their hooks or needles before?  If not, why do you want to try this hook?
  • For additional entries, like Underground Crafter on Facebook, follow Underground Crafter on Twitter, join the Underground Crafter group on Ravelry, and/or share a link to this giveaway on Facebook, Twitter, or your blog.  (And then, leave a comment here, on Facebook, on Twitter, or in the Ravelry group letting me know what you did!)
  • One winner will be chosen at random.

Good luck!

Crochet Hook Review and Giveaway: Laurel Hill Exotic Wood Hooks

Every Sunday during National Crochet Month 2013, I’ll be reviewing crochet hooks.  Today’s post features exotic wood crochet hooks, along with a giveaway for two hooks, courtesy of Laurel Hill.

After I (finally) learned to knit a few years back, my two best knitting pals bought me some really cool knitting needles for my birthday — two pairs of Laurel Hill square knitting needles, which I love to use for small projects.  These are some of my favorite needles, and I usually pack them when I’m teaching knitting.

At the same time, they bought me a Laurel Hill Nam Oc wood crochet hook.  Not too long after that, I won a Laurel Hill Tunisian crochet hook from a giveaway on Karen Ratto-Whooley’s blog.

My own personal Laurel Hill hook collection.
My own personal Laurel Hill hook collection.

I immediately loved the smooth and polished surface of the Laurel Hill Tunisian hook.  I’ve mentioned before that I find metal hooks quite uncomfortable for Tunisian crochet.  Like other wood hooks, these don’t experience the dramatic temperature changes of aluminum or steel crochet hooks, and they feel much gentler against the hands.  Both the standard and Tunisian crochet hooks from Laurel Hill are very smooth and don’t snag on your yarn.

But… I confess that when I first received the Nam Oc hook as a gift, I wasn’t really feeling it.  The neck is extremely tapered and, since I tend to hold my stitches quite low on the hook (closer to the thumb rest), I was having trouble getting an even tension.

A closer look at the shape of the Laurel Hill hooks.
A closer look at the shapes of the Laurel Hill giveaway hooks.

But then, when crocheting my way through the book Crochet Master Class: Lessons and Projects from Today’s Top Crocheters, I rediscovered the bullion stitch.  And that’s when I began to love tapered hooks.  If you’ve been struggling to get your hook through the many yarn overs in a bullion stitch, you will be thrilled to discover the exotic wood crochet hooks by Laurel Hill.  The rapidly tapered neck and the wide thumb rest allow you to keep those yarn overs loose so you can easily draw your hook through them to finish your bullion stitch.  By the way, if you’re looking for a good bullion stitch photo tutorial, I recommend Donna Kay Lacey‘s, available as a free Ravelry download.  (You can also check out my interview with her here.)

The Laurel Hill hooks are made from exotic woods that are sustainably produced.  The standard hooks are available in Nam Oc, Ebony, and Trai woods, while the Tunisian hooks are made from Forest Palm.  I’m no wood expert, and the feel across the types is very similar to me, though the Tunisian hooks seem to have a bit more glide (perhaps due to the finishing).  The different wood types each have a different color, which you might choose based on preference or for contrast with the yarn in your project.

I really love the Laurel Hill Tunisian hooks.  The distinctive color, smooth feel, and sharp point are perfect for medium sized, flat Tunisian crochet projects.  I also highly recommended the Laurel Hill exotic wood hooks for crocheters who love stitches where many loops are held on the hook, like bullions, puffs, or bobbles.

Both sets of hooks are affordable priced for wood hooks.  The Nam Oc and Trai hooks retail at $9, while the Ebony hooks retail at $10.  All three types are available in US sizes D through M (including the elusive size 7).  Laurel Hill also offers complete sets of each type of hook, as well as a “variety” set with a mix of Nam Oc, Trai, and Ebony hooks, which retails for $110.

The Tunisian Hooks are priced slightly higher, at $13 retail.  The Tunisian hooks are 10″ long and are available in US sizes D through N.

Giveaway

When I contacted the friendly people at Laurel Hill to tell them about my plans for reviewing their hooks during NatCroMo13, they were generous enough to send along two hooks – a Trai wood hook and a Tunisian crochet hook, both in US size I-9/5.5 mm – for a giveaway for one lucky reader.

Laurel Hill prize packThis giveaway is open internationally.  Enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday, March 30, 2013.  

To enter:

  • Leave me a comment telling me about about how you would use these Laurel Hill hooks.  Why do you want to use wood hooks and what types of projects do you have planned if you win?
  • For additional entries, like Underground Crafter on Facebook, follow Underground Crafter on Twitter, join the Underground Crafter group on Ravelry, and/or share a link to this giveaway on Facebook, Twitter, or your blog.  (And then, leave a comment here, on Facebook, on Twitter, or in the Ravelry group letting me know what you did!)
  • One winner will be chosen at random.

Good luck!

Crochet Hook Review and Giveaway: The Crochet Dude Ergonomic Hooks by Boye

Every Sunday during National Crochet Month 2013, I’ll be reviewing crochet hooks.  Today’s post features the Crochet Dude ergonomic hooks, along with a giveaway for 6 hooks, courtesy of the Crochet Dude by Boye.

Last summer, I was the happy winner of a giant box of crochet fun through a giveaway on Robyn Chachula‘s blog.  One of the many goodies tucked away into this prize package was a Crochet Dude ergonomic aluminum crochet hook.

The hook that got me hooked.
The hook that got me hooked.

I’ve always been a huge fan of Boye hooks – I have a collection of sizes B through P in my hook drawer, and I even have several sizes of steel Boye hooks for cotton thread.  I prefer not to use an inline crochet hook, and so naturally Boye became my “go to” brand over the years.

But as crochet has become a bigger and bigger part of my life – and especially when I’m crocheting on a deadline – I’ve found that a solid aluminum hook can put too much stress on my hands.  In the last 18 months or so, when I start a crochet project I usually reach for a comfort hook.

After using Boye hooks regularly for over 20 years, I know readily what size hook to use with different yarns and can be pretty consistent about my gauge.  This familiarity was what excited me about the Crochet Dude ergonomic crochet hooks.

Each Crochet Dude ergonomic hook features the familiar Boye point and throat with a molded, soft handle covering most of the hook’s shaft.  The handle is squared towards the middle, has a flattened thumb rest, and then tapers down at the end.  Each size comes with a different color handle and the size in etched on the handle in both US letter size and millimeters.  These features allow you to quickly pick up the right size if you have a full set.

The Crochet Dude ergonomic crochet hooks provide cushioning and comfort while allowing me to use my preferred type of point and a tapered throat.  It’s  one of the most affordable comfort hooks on the market.  (The suggested retail price is $5.99 per hook.)

Like most comfort hooks, the shaft of the hook is mostly covered by the soft handle, so the Crochet Dude ergonomic hook isn’t ideal if you are doing certain dimensional stitches (like bullions or puff stitches) where you may need more space to keep multiple loops on the hook, or where a tapered shaft might make it easier to work the stitch.

My overall review: The Crochet Dude ergonomic crochet hook is a great, affordable comfort hook option for a crocheter who doesn’t need an inline hook.

Giveaway

When I contacted the nice folks who manufacture the Crochet Dude by Boye collection to tell them about my plans for reviewing the hook during NatCroMo13, they were generous enough to send along a prize pack of 6 different ergonomic Crochet Dude hooks (in US sizes B, E, G, H, I, and L) for me to share with one lucky reader.

Crochet Dude by Boye prize pack

This giveaway is open internationally.  Enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday, March 9, 2013.  

To enter:

  • Leave a comment telling me about what you would make if you won these six ergonomic Crochet Dude by Boye hooks.
  • For additional entries, like Underground Crafter on Facebook, follow Underground Crafter on Twitter, join the Underground Crafter group on Ravelry, and/or share a link to this giveaway on Facebook, Twitter, or your blog.  (And then, leave a comment here, on Facebook, on Twitter, or in the Ravelry group letting me know what you did!)
  • One winner will be chosen at random.

Good luck!

Battle of the egg-shaped crochet hook handles!

I first became aware of egg-shaped, ergonomic crochet hook handles some time last year while visiting the Lion Brand Yarn Studio.  If you knew me in real life, you would know that I’m somewhat… cheap.  I saw this ergonomic crochet hook set and my first thought was, “$24!  But I already have tons of crochet hooks at home!”  The set had a bizarre effect on me though, and after going home my mind kept returning to the hook handles.

I was also teaching crochet and knitting at Micheals during the time, and I discovered that Boye had a similar product, the Ergonomic Aluminum Crochet Hook Handle.  I decided to try it out with my employee discount.

My two best friends were nice enough to hook me up (pun intended) with my very own Eleggant Hook set for my birthday, and I later purchased some additional hook sizes.  (I should mention that it was cheaper to order the specific sizes and parts I wanted and to have it shipped to the U.S. than it was to buy the pre-packaged set with sizes I don’t really use.  This is how I convinced my cheap inner self to order the additional hooks.)

So today I present to you my reviews of both ergonomic, egg shaped hook handles.

Boye vs. Eleggant!

What’s included 

The Boye kit includes a hook handle of indeterminate material (my guess is rubber or plastic) which can twist off to open, as well as 8 “washers” to fit various sizes of crochet hooks.  The retail prices is $7.99.  Hooks are not included.

The Eleggant kit includes a wooden handle with metal adjustor, six modified crochet hooks (steel hooks in sizes 1.25 mm, 1.75 mm, and 2.25 mm, and aluminum hooks in sizes 3.5 mm/E, 5.0 mm/H, and 6.0 mm/J), and o-rings.  The retail price is $24.99CAD.  Alternatively, you can customize your own set by purchasing the handle ($15.00CAD), o-rings ($1.00CAD/10), and modified hooks in your favorite sizes ($1.50CAD – $1.75CAD each).

The verdict: The Boye kit seems less expensive, but it doesn’t include any hooks.  If you add the cost of hooks, then the prices are actually quite similar.

 

 

Small, color coded plastic washers are added to the Boye crochet hooks to create a snug fit inside the handle.

How it works

With the Boye kit, you attach plastic washers to each crochet hook.  The washers are a bit tough to get on because they are made to fit quite snug.  The washers are color coded so you have to examine the little color chart to figure out which washer goes onto what size hook.  After the washer is on the hook, you twist the hook handle open, insert the hook, and then twist the handle to close.  It takes some practice to position the washer properly so that the hook isn’t jiggling around in the handle.  A downside to this system was that once I put the washers on to my existing hooks, I didn’t have much interest in removing them.  They were really tough to get off around the point of the hook.  Since I was using my regular crochet hooks with this handle and there are certain types of stitches (e.g., the bullion stitch) that are difficult to work with the egg-shaped handle, the end result was that I have been using my Boye hooks less.

With the Eleggant hooks kit, you attach o-rings to the base of the modified crochet hooks.  Then you use the metal adjustor to tighten the handle around the hook.  I found these easier to use and since I have a dedicated set of modified hooks for the handle, I can pick it up whenever I feel like using an ergonomic egg-shaped hook without any impact on my other crochet tools.

The verdict: The Boye handle often leaves the hook jiggling around inside unless you place the washer very precisely.  The Eleggant hook handle occasionally snags the yarn at the join between the o-rings and the adjustor.  (This may be because I tend to move my stitches further down on the hook than other people when crocheting.)  Overal, I found the Eleggant hook handle easier to use and it feels more sturdy and snug than the Boye hook handle.

 

 

The Eleggant hook handle attaches to modified crochet hooks.

Other stuff

Feel: The Eleggant hook handle is made of wood and feels much better on the hands.  The Boye hook handle was almost instantly covered with cat fur and dust, and requires frequent washing.  Also, it tends to get “sweaty” when it is warm.

Durability: Again, I’d have to go with the Eleggant kit.  It looks and feels much more sturdy than the Boye handle and washers.

Ease of use: Honestly, crocheting with an egg-shaped handle takes a bit of getting used to.  With both handles, you would need some practice to get comfortable.

Customer support: The folks at Magique Enterprises are nice enough to share a video explaining how to use the Eleggant hook on YouTube.

YouTube Preview Image

There’s no such luck over at the Simplicity YouTube channel.

Hook selection: Both sets are made to work with the Boye style hooks.  But what if you prefer the shape of point and throat of another brand of crochet hooks?  According to reviews that I’ve read online, the Boye kit can be used with Susan Bates hooks even though they are not the same length as Boye hooks.  If you want to use a different type of hook with the Eleggant handle, you will definitely need access to tools which can precisely cut metal.  (I didn’t test this out myself because my only aluminum hooks at home are the Boye brand, which I prefer.)

Finding the right size hook: The Boye kit has color coded washers and if your Boye hooks are also color coded, that you can probably easily find the right size.  The washer, when positioned correctly, will probably cover the size information on the hook handle though.  As for the Eleggant kit, supposedly the hook size is etched into each hook.  When looking through mine, however, I’ve found that two don’t have the size etched into the modified hook.

The verdict: Overall, I prefer the Eleggant hook handle.  It feels sturdier, fits the hook more snug, and is smaller to hold in your palm.  In fact, soon after the second time that I washed my Boye hook handle, I gave up on using it.  Since I live with a cat, there is just no way that it can stay clean.  However, if you really need more access to a broader range of hooks, you may want to consider the Boye handle.

Essential Crochet Supply Kit, Part 6 of 7

And now we arrive at the crochet hook, the most obvious part of our essential crochet kit.  If you are like me, you already have many hooks in your collection.  My collection of hooks can barely fit into one drawer.  I also have about 30 other hooks that I bring to beginner classes for student use.  But if you are newer to crochet, how do you decide which hooks to get now and which you can acquire later?

There are a few things to know about hooks.  The first is sizing.  The Craft Yarn Council’s website has information on the standard sizes of U.S. crochet hooks.  It also has recommendations about which hook sizes you would use with a particular yarn weight.  Most people will need hooks in sizes that correspond to the weight of the thread or yarn that they typically use.  But even if you know that size K (10-1/2 or 6.5 mm) is your favorite size hook to use, how do you decide which one to buy?

Many beginners start out using plastic hooks

Individual plastic hooks are generally inexpensive and are widely available, which is why beginners often use them.  On the plus side, these hooks tend to be relatively light weight and are cleared for carry-on luggage for air travel.  On the down side, plastic hooks vary a lot in quality.  Sometimes, there is an obvious seam in the plastic that seam may snag on yarn.  In smaller sizes, a lower quality hook can literally snap in half from frequent use.  I also find that plastic hooks tend to get sticky and sweaty in the heat.  Personally, I limit my use of these hooks to the larger hook sizes (P and above), where the light weight can be helpful to reduce strain.

Metal hooks are known for their durability

Metal hooks are probably the most common ones.  Usually, steel hooks are used by lovers of crochet thread work.  I recommend aluminum hooks for most beginners.  These hooks are relatively inexpensive and are also widely available.  Metal hooks are extremely durable and most have a thumb rest for grip, balance, and comfort.  I personally don’t bring them in carry-on luggage since, depending on the threat level, you may not be allowed to bring them on the plane.  (I don’t know about you, but I get annoyed when my crochet supplies are confiscated.)  Metal has high thermal conductivity -  which is a just a fancy science way of saying that in the warm weather, you will sweat on your hook and in the cold weather, it will feel like ice in your hands.  However, unlike the plastic hooks, the metal still allows your stitches to move smoothly off the hook, even when sweaty.  On the downside, the metal’s hardness can be a bit tough on the body.  For students with arthritis, sensitive hands, or stress injuries, I often recommend a softer material for the hook, like bamboo or wood, or a comfort hook.

These are the bamboo hooks I give to my crochet students

Bamboo hooks are also light weight and feel “softer” on the hands.  They don’t generally sweat or get cold and are quite durable.  For some strange reason, the prices of branded bamboo hooks are insanely high.  If you want to try bamboo but don’t want to drop ten bucks on a hook you may not like, you can take a class with me :) or order them directly from a manufacturer (usually in China) on eBay.  Many people also prefer bamboo hooks because they are more eco-friendly than plastic or metal because they are made from a fast growing, renewable material.

Eco friendly and nice looking

Recently, I have fallen in love with wooden hooks, like the Nam Oc Wood hook pictured above from Laurel Hill.  These feel great on the hands and are polished so they are much smoother than the bamboo hooks I have used.  These particular wood hooks have a very large thumb rest which I find very comfortable.  Wooden hooks are generally handmade and some companies (like Laurel Hill) use sustainable (eco-friendly) production practices.  While I like these a lot, I cannot in good conscious recommend them for a beginner, who may end up crocheting only twice a year.  However, I do recommend them for comfort and style, and if you crochet over 10 hours a week, the purchase will be well worth it.

If you have sensitive hands, wrists, elbows, or joints, you may consider comfort hooks

There are many different types of comfort hooks.  If you do a lot of amigurumi or tapestry crochet and are working with tight stitches, you should probably invest in something more comfortable than your standard metal hook.  Basically, comfort hooks are modified crochet hooks.  The point and throat of the hook is standard, and then a softer material is added at or below where the thumb rest would be.  My personal favorite comfort hook is the Tulip Etimo hook.  When I’ve had a tight deadline and am working with a thinner yarn or a tighter stitch, my Etimo hook has kept me from injuring myself.  There are also many hooks modified for comfort with polymer clay handles.  I bought a few years ago on Etsy from Jenn Edwards Designs (which was actually more eye candy than comfort, but is an improvement over the regular metal hook).  Carol Ventura, the Queen of Tapestry Crochet, also has a nice YouTube tutorial on making your own comfort grip handle from polymer clay.

Interchangeable hook sets, like this one from Denise, include multiple crochet hooks, cords, and stoppers.  These are great if you also do Tunisian crochet (also known as afghan crochet, tricot crochet, and shepherd’s knitting) or double-ended crochet (also known as crochet on the double or cro-hooking).  You basically use this kit to make the exact size and length of hook you need.  It is also great for traveling or when you are going to a class.  Because you have so many hook sizes in the set, you can switch to a larger or smaller size if needed.  The hooks in my Denise kit are plastic, but they are a much higher quality than the individual plastic hooks I have used.

You’ve heard from me about my hook recommendations.  What are your favorite hooks to use?