I’ve decided to do another blog serial to review the goodies I use and where I get them. Your experiences may vary.
Crochet hooks. Three very important things before I get started. I mostly do amigurumi, which means that most of the hooks I tried were the size I usually use (F/3.75mm). I almost always use acrylic yarn, and these hooks work differently with other fibers. I have tiny little hands, which means that my comfortable fit is smaller than average. Love of hooks is largely based on personal preference!
From left to right, that’s a Red Heart aluminum hook, Susan Bates Silvalume, Susan Bates Luxite, two different Boye aluminum, Clover bamboo and Clover aluminum.
Red Heart no longer produces hooks like that. I got that hook probably close to 10 years ago in a little pack with G, H, and I aluminum hooks and 10, 7, and 5 steel hooks. They may still be around through independent sellers, thrift stores, estate sales, things like that. Hands down my favorite hook I’ve ever used. They’re brushed aluminum (more on that later), which means they’re very smooth and fast, and don’t squeak. They’re very sturdy with almost no bend. LOVE.
Susan Bates Silvalume, which is what I was directed to when I went looking for new/smaller aluminum hooks after I learned that Red Heart hooks were discontinued. I am not a fan. The handle is brushed aluminum, but the throat- the bit just under the hook- is not. It squeaks a little with the acrylic yarn I use, and so I can’t use it for very long without it raising the hair on the back of my neck. It is a very sturdy hook with very little bend, and if the throat wasn’t so squeaky it would be pretty awesome.
Susan Bates Luxite- I can’t use them. Because amigurumi requires nice, tight stitches, you need a good stiff hook with very little bend and this one bends WAY too much for me to actually use. I would yarn over and then not be able to pull it back through the stitch without entirely too much effort. I think that the bigger hooks would work well enough for things that require looser stitches, but I just can’t do it. I couldn’t get any crochet done with them to determine how they crochet.
The Boyes… There are two kinds of aluminum hooks, ones with a brushed finish and ones without.
The hooks with the brushed finish (the green one) tend to have a duller sheen. They’re smoother and “faster.” They look a little “cloudy.” The hooks without the brushed finish (blue) are shinier. They look totally smooth. They’ll stick to your acrylic yarn. There is a slight textural difference that you can feel, the non-brushed ones will stick a little when you run your fingers along them, the brushed ones won’t as much. The non-brushed ones have a tendency to squeak with acrylic, it’s a lot like nails on a chalkboard. I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about it. Squeaking aside, these hooks are not as sturdy as the other aluminum hooks I’ve tried, they have some bend to them. But, they’re cheap, they’re super easy to come by, and they get the job done. I have noticed that the brushed ones I have are older- I have an “antique” one that’s probably about as old as I am and another one that’s about 10 years old that I got about the same time I picked up the Red Heart ones. I used a non-brushed one to make my sweater (which is a wool/acrylic blend) and it didn’t squeak. Fiber matters!
Bamboo- squeaks a little and is a “slower” hook. A little bendy. They have no thumb rest, if this is something that matters to you. I have a friend who has broken them, and I know people who swear by them. They’re not my cup of tea. Again, personal preference.
Clover aluminum hooks have also been discontinued. You can still get a few sizes from Fabric.com. I ordered mine from Handcrafted Accents and she still has a pretty good range of sizes, as well as good prices. They have a very short handle, you can see in the picture that they are considerably shorter than other hooks. I have tiny hands and I love them, I’ve talked to other hookers who find them too short to use (which is, I suspect, why they were discontinued). They have the brushed finish, hardly any bend to them, they’re a smooth, fast hook.
There are a lot of handled hooks on the market, a lot of the hookers I know LOVE the Clover Soft Touch, which takes the Clover hook and sticks it on a longer, more ergonomic handle. There are also a lot of gorgeous, hand-turned crochet hooks in a variety of wood with a variety of finishes, and at some point I want to invest in some. 😀
For the absolute beginner, I would advise a Boye. They’re cheap. They hold the yarn pretty well and have a nice long handle. They tend not to squeak if you’re crocheting more slowly.