Review: Furls Heirloom Wooden Crochet Hooks (Alpha Series)

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.

This post contains affiliate links.

In this post, I’m reviewing the Furls Heirloom Wood Crochet Hooks (Alpha Series). This summer, Furls sent me a giveaway prize for the Picnic Basket Shawl crochet-a-long, and I tried it out before sending it off to Germany to the winner.

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.

Furls Heirloom Wood #Crochet Hooks (Alpha Series) review on Underground Crafter

Craftsy

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.

Furls Heirloom Wood #Crochet Hooks (Alpha Series) review on Underground Crafter

  • 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.

Furls Heirloom Wood #Crochet Hooks (Alpha Series) review on Underground Crafter

  • 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.

Furls Heirloom Wood #Crochet Hooks (Alpha Series) review on Underground Crafter

  • 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.

Interweave Store

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.

Furls Heirloom Wood #Crochet Hooks (Alpha Series) review on Underground CrafterThe 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.

Craftwich Creations: Interview, Crochet Hook Review, and Giveaway!

Interview with Monica Lowe from Craftwich Creations with crochet hook review and giveaway on Underground Crafter

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.
Craftwich likes to add a touch of mystery to the packaging.

This post contains affiliate links.

Today’s post features Monica Lowe of Craftwich Creations. Monica can be found online in the Craftwich Creations Etsy shop, and on Facebook, Instagram, Ravelry, and Twitter. Today, I’ll be sharing an interview with Monica, followed by a review of her crochet hooks, and a giveaway for you to win your very own Craftwich portable crochet hook necklace! Read on for more details.

Left: My custom Craftwich hook. Right: The giveaway prize!
Left: My custom Craftwich hook. Right: The giveaway prize!

Interview

All images in the interview are copyright Craftwich Creations and used with permission.

Interview with Monica Lowe from Craftwich Creations with crochet hook review and giveaway on Underground Crafter

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.
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
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.
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.
Craftwich Creations kits and more.

UC: Do you have any crochet/crafty blogs or websites you visit regularly for inspiration or community?

Monica: I wish I had more time to visit all the blogs i WANT to! I spend most of my time on Facebook, I’m afraid. But some of the blogs I have visited, besides yours, include Moogly, ReCrochetions (Laurinda Reddig, the crochet designer, is a good friend of mine), Cre8tion Crochet, Crochet Concupiscence, Fresh Stitches, and….there’s more but my brain is not working.

Craftwich Creations crochet hooks and knitting needles.
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.
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.

Get Knook Patterns a 35% Savings

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.

I Like Crochet April 2015 banner

Giveaway

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!
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!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

NelsonWood: Crochet Hook Review and Giveaway

NelsonWood handmade wooden crochet hook review and giveaway on Underground Crafter

This is the second in a series of weekly posts during (Inter)National Crochet Month where I will feature an artisanal crochet hook maker, share a review of their hooks, and offer up a giveaway where you can win your very own hand crafted crochet hook!

This post contains affiliate links.

Today’s post features NELSONWOOD. Bryan Nelson is the full-time wood turner/woodworker behind this shop. His Etsy shop sells a wide variety of handmade wood items, and features a Hooks & Yarn Bowls section. You can also find Bryan online on the NELSONWOOD website, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Bryan’s niece is a crocheter, and he started wood turning crochet hooks because “she just had to have a hook!” Bryan’s hooks are truly one of a kind and he doesn’t try to replicate the exact diameter of the handles or the exact length. He does make an effort to keep the grip handle of the hook between 5/8″ (1.5 cm) and 7/8″ (2 cm), unless the crocheter requests a larger custom diameter. This uniqueness is what keeps his customers coming back. He says, differences in grip diameter “hasn’t been an issue thus far and I’ve turned and sold hundreds and a lot of customer order multiple hooks.”

NelsonWood handmade wooden crochet hook review and giveaway on Underground Crafter
NELSONWOOD crochet hooks, wood turned by Bryan Nelson.

 

Bryan sent me two US H-8/5 mm crochet hook to sample for a review. You can see the hooks in action and watch my full review in the video below.

NELSONWOOD hooks are inline crochet hooks where the point, throat, and shaft of the hook have the same circumference. The hook then has a lovely shaped grip handle that is composed of a variety of curves.

What I like about this hook:

  • It’s very smooth. The finish does’t “grip” the yarn and allows you to crochet quickly.
  • The wood includes beautiful and detailed grain.
  • The large grip diameter allows a comfortable, relaxed grip.
  • The handles come in multiple lengths so you could choose the option that works best for you to avoid any abrasion against the side of your hand that sometimes happens when you use the knife grip to hold your hook.
  • It has a beautiful design and is a great conversation starter!
NelsonWood handmade wooden crochet hook review and giveaway on Underground Crafter
Identifying the hook size on my NELSONWOOD hook with a Susan Bates KnitChek.

What might take some getting used to about this hook:

  • 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 NELSONWOOD hooks.
  • 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 with tapered throats to inline hooks may find it harder to pull the yarn through their loops with this hook. (Though I generally prefer tapered hooks, I found this one easy to use.)

NELSONWOOD hooks currently sell for $37.50 – $125, depending on the size and wood used. You can find more of Bryan’s wood turned hooks and his other products, including yarn bowls, bowls, birdhouses, pepper mills, and more in the Etsy shop here.

Full disclosure: Free review and giveaway samples were provided by NELSONWOOD. 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.

Giveaway

Bryan has been kind enough to offer a great giveaway to one lucky reader! Follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for your chance to win one of these two delightful NELSONWOOD crochet hooks by Tuesday, March 24, 2015. Leave a comment letting me know which crochet hook currently on sale in the NELSONWOOD Etsy shop is your favorite. Only entries logged through the Rafflecopter widget will be eligible to win. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Shepherd’s Custom Woodworking: Interview, Crochet Hook Review, and Giveaway!

Shepherds Custom Woodworking Crochet Hook Review and Giveaway on Underground Crafter

I’m very excited to be (almost) recovered from a cold that wiped me out for a few days so I can jump right back into the NatCroMo excitement! Today is the first in a series of weekly posts where I will 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!

This post contains affiliate links.

Today’s post features Shepherd’s Custom Woodworking LLC. David Shepherd is the woodworker and maker behind the shop, and Kelly is responsible for the administrative work including listing items on Etsy. You can also find David and Kelly online on the Shepherd’s Woodworking Facebook page. Both David and Kelly have stopped by today for an interview, followed by my review of a Shepherd’s Custom Woodworking crochet hook, and a giveaway for another hook from the shop, so read on for details!

 

Interview

Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first get started working with wood?

David: I started woodworking when I was 7 years old with my father in his wood shop in the barn behind the house. When I was in high school, I went to work in a cabinetry shop with my father. When the shop closed, I decided to open my own shop, Shepherd’s Custom Woodworking LLC, making custom cabinetry, furniture, and refinishing and repairing wooden items. And, later making fiber art tools.

UC: What initially inspired you to make handmade crochet hooks?

Kelly: Making crochet hooks was my sister’s Idea. I had bought her a pair for rosewood crochet hooks for her birthday a few years earlier and not since then seen wooden hooks for sale.

David: I borrowed a few hooks for examples and started experimenting. I broke a lot of heads off the crochet hooks before I was able to get it just right.

UC: Do you crochet yourself? If not, who tests out your new hook designs?

David: I was taught by a teacher in school when I was 8-9? years old. But I do not use that skill very often.

Kelly: I am the official hook tester and my sister gets called in sometimes to help test products.

The lovely crochet hook that I received from Shepherd's Custom Woodworking for the review.
The lovely crochet hook that I received from Shepherd’s Custom Woodworking for the review.

UC: Many crocheters have never owned a handmade hook before. Do you have a recommended wood or size for someone venturing into a handmade hook for the first time?

David: The wood hook can be fit to the person and their style better then a one-size-fits-all store bought hook. If you like a light weight hook, sure. A domestic wood like elm or maple would be great. You like your hook to have some weight? Madagascar ebony or blood wood is the way to go. You don’t like dark colors, ok, so yellow heart or maybe oak. You just want a hook none of your friends have, maybe something playful like leopard wood or zebra wood or one of our dyed woods? As far as the size hook, our suggestion is to pick a size you use often or a new size you want to try. The length and wider handle will help with hand fatigue and just make crocheting more comfortable .

At the fiber shows, we encourage someone looking for a new hook to touch them all. Each one has its own unique feel, almost an energy of their own. And when you find your hook you will know it.

UC: Do you have any crochet/crafty blogs or websites you visit regularly for inspiration or community?

David: No?

Kelly: I am on Ravelry every day. I have also been on your blog and have found several wonderful patterns.

UC: How are you celebrating NatCroMo this year?

Kelly: We will be in Michigan for the Spring Fiber Expo at the end of March. We will be having a sale in our Etsy shop. (UC comment: Use coupon code NATCROMO for a 10% discount off anything in the shop through March, 2015!)

UC: Where can people find you at upcoming events?

Kelly: We will be at several shows this year:

Thanks so much for stopping by, David and Kelly!

300x250bAprilBanners

Hook Review

David and Kelly sent me a purple heart/purple wood US J-10/6 mm crochet hook to sample for a review. You can see the hook in action and watch my full review in the video below. I also demonstrate how you can use this hook to create plump bullion stitches.

This is an inline hook where the point, throat, and shaft of the hook have the same circumference. There is a thumb rest and the hook is unusually long (approximately 8.25″ (21 cm). After the thumb rest, the hook tapers quite a bit.

What I like about this hook:

  • It’s very lightweight and smooth.
  • The purple heart/purple wood is a beautiful, purplish brown.
  • The company name and the year the hook was made are printed on the handle so you can easily find the artisan again if you’d like to order more.
  • The hook size is etched into the handle and filled in with a contrasting color so it’s easy to read.
  • The long handle allows you to avoid any abrasion against the side of your hand that sometimes happens when you use the knife grip to hold your hook.
  • The long handle’s taper makes it great for forming bullion stitches and other dimensional stitches like puffs that use many yarn overs.
  • The design is lovely so it’s a great conversation starter!

What might take some getting used to about this hook:

  • It is unusually long so it may not fit into your existing hook holders.
  • The finish, while smooth, grips the yarn a bit. I expect that over time/with frequent use this will diminish.
  • Crocheters who prefer hooks with tapered throats to inline hooks may find it harder to pull the yarn through their loops with this hook. (Though I generally prefer tapered hooks, I found this one easy to use.)

Shepherd’s Custom Woodworking hooks currently sell for $16.50 – $24, depending on the size and wood used. You can find more of their hooks and their other products, including yarn bowls, knitting needles, and more, in the Etsy shop here.

Full disclosure: A free review sample was provided by Shepherd’s Custom Woodworking LLC. 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.

Giveaway

David and Kelly have been kind enough to offer a great giveaway to one lucky reader! Follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for your chance to win a crochet hook from the Shepherd’s Custom Woodworking Etsy shop by Sunday, March 15, 2015. Only entries logged through the widget will be eligible to win. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
NaBloPoMo BlogHer 2015-03

I’m participating in BlogHer’s National Blog Post Month (also known as NaBloPoMo) by blogging daily through March, 2015.

Crochet Hooks Review: Addi Swing and Comfort Hooks

Back in March, I did a series of crochet hook reviews and giveaways as part of National Crochet Month.  The generous folks at the Skacel Collection were also kind enough to send me some hooks to review, but I haven’t had a chance to post the review until now.

Crochet hooks donated by the Skacel Collection, including Addi Swing (left) and Addi Comfort Hooks (right).

You may remember that I first tried an Addi Swing hook last year, during my trip to Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Loop Addi Swing detail 2012-05-15
My first Addi Swing.

I’ll admit that at first, I was kind of wondering what the big deal was all about.  It turns out that I just needed to get used to the unusual shape of the Addi Swing, and then I found myself crocheting with it more and more.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Swing, it has a heavily curved handle made with two different textures of plastics.

The Addi Swing in US size A, donated by Skacel Collection.
The Addi Swing in US size A.

The hook handles are color coded, so if you have more than one, it’s easy to find the size you want.  (As you can see from the detailed picture above, the millimeter size of the hook is also clearly displayed on the end of the handle.)  Although the handles are large, they are lightweight.  The hooks feature a not inline point and throat.  Because the handle covers most of the hook, the shaft is very short.  This would be a great comfort hook for someone who likes a curved hook shape or a thicker handle along with a not inline hook.

I find that the large, brightly colored Addi Swing handle makes it much more difficult to lose than other hooks, which helps for those of us who crochet on the go!  On the downside, the relatively short shaft makes it difficult to form bullions and other stitches which require a longer shaft with this hook.

The Addi Swings are available in US Sizes A through L, and generally retail for about $13-$14.

Addi hooks

The Addi Comfort Hooks are another option for the crocheter who needs a longer shaft for forming different types of stitches.  Like the Swing, this hook handle also features two colors of plastic, making it easier to find the right size.  As with the Swing, the hook itself is a not inline shape with a curved point and throat.  The plastic handle is hardened but provides that extra thickness I look for in a comfort hook handle.  The more conventional shape of this handle means that it is easier to adapt to than the Swing.  These hooks are available in US sizes A through I, and typically retail at about $7.

You may be wondering if I will be offering a giveaway of these great hooks.  The answer is that I already did :).  I actually included these in the prize pack I mailed to yarnpumpkin for the Pineapples for Everyone Shawl CAL.

Pineapples for Everyone Shawl CAL prize pack, including hooks provided by Skacel Collection and yarn provided by Galler Yarns.
Pineapples for Everyone Shawl CAL prize pack, including hooks provided by Skacel Collection and yarn provided by Galler Yarns.

Yarnpumpkin was kind enough to share the picture she took of her wonderful prizes.

Full disclosure: Four free review samples of this product was provided by Skacel Collection. Although I accept free products for review, I do not accept additional compensation from the distributor/manufacturer, nor do I guarantee a positive review.  My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions. You can read my complete review disclosure here.