Crochet Hooks, Why Does The Entire Hook Change in Diameter even Though It’s Harder for Us To Hold?


The Crochet Crowd

Crochet Hook Sizes

A great question has been posted onto The Crochet Crowd. It’s even given our friend, Laura Jean, some food for thought.

Cynthia Asks:

I am a beginner crocheter. Can you explain to me why when the hook gets smaller, the handle for the hook is smaller too? My hand doesn’t get any smaller.

This is a great question and is a question I once pondered years ago. I’ve always stayed away from thin yarn as I have trouble grabbing onto such small diameter hooks. My hand as a slight shake to it and it’s harder for me to maintain control. My hand will also cramp up and my level of crochet enthusiasm turns into a flat line of disappointment. I will only touch the thinner yarns if I have a thicker handed comfort grip. You see me using them in my videos. I’m not sponsored by Tulip Etimo, it’s my personal choice and the hooks that I have grown to absolutely love.

To Answer Cynthia’s Question

Due to massive production of supplying 10’s of thousands of stores. Hooks today are designed with the manufacturing in mind before the actual comfort of the hook.

For steel hooks, it’s is easier and much cheaper to make a hook that doesn’t change in diameter. In ‘non-comfort’ handled steel hooks, you will see sizes of hooks go don’t to extreme small diameters. For me, I don’t even know how it’s possible to crochet and maintain the control of such small hooks.

For resin / plastic. It is cheaper to manufacture the hooks so they use as little plastic / resin as possible. When producing 1000’s of hooks, the amount of extra plastic used to make custom shaped hooks can be extremely pricey in the bulk. I used to be involved in plastics with automotive engineering in a former life. We had a goal then to take a 3 MM thickness bumper and see if they could do a 2.5 mm thick bumper to save plastic and lighten the bumper’s weight. Doesn’t sound like much of a difference, but the savings in plastic manufacturing is huge.

Prices of The Hooks

I’m going to stick my neck out and say something here. You may either agree or disagree… You can let me know in the comments below.

The prices of the hooks are based on demand. I know many people that believe that crochet hooks such between under $3. When I speak about my Tulip Hooks being 10 bucks each. I get complaint emails telling me it’s not within the budget and/or grossly expensive. For some people, finding $10 is expensive and we need to respect that fact. Bluntly, I think there are some us who are willing to spend up to $7 – $10 on a fast food meal but will go for the cheapest possible hooks, even when our personal comfort is compromised. I used to be one of those types of people myself until I seen the results of the changes in the way I hook and low stress to my wrists, hands and joints. Many people share they are on a limited income, disability restrictions and etc. They cannot afford more and so hook engineering and processes are designed for the price point goals. It’s like a tier system for crochet hooks for price points.

North American pricing is based on what consumers are willing to pay. Manufacturing processes have to be inline to match the demand for pricing. Some consumers demand the $10 hooks be severely reduced to match the prices of the generic hooks, but I think that is like squeezing water out of stone. We, as consumers, need to be realistic too that stores / manufacturers have to make a profit to pay their bills. To expect them to give it away or sell it under costs is not realistic as they should just close the doors to their stores. Sounds dreamy but it’s just a dream that shouldn’t be expected.

When you look at the Tulip Hooks, it’s just a steel hook that is inserted into a ergonomic sleeve. The sleeve is rubberized and is fabulous. Truthfully speaking, if I hadn’t discovered Tulip a few years ago, I’m not sure I could have kept crocheting with generic hooks.

Final Answer to Cynthia

There are hooks out there that do change in size and have comfort grips on them. Tulip Etimo are definitely one of them. You most likely have to go to retailer that specializes in crafts to get this. You won’t find these at stores like Wal-Mart. For me, I had to order mine online as the stores in my region are still only selling the generic shaped resin and bamboo hooks.

Good luck to you and thanks for a great question!

What do you think of this advice? Any more to offer?

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About Mikey, The Crochet Crowd

I am Mikey, owner of The Crochet Crowd Blog. I'm a 'hooker' at heart with the passion to crochet. I am from Ontario Canada and teach how to crochet online through YouTube Video Tutorials. From a simple idea and being at the right place and time in my life back in 2008, the concept of The Crochet Crowd was developed. I'm here to hook and share. Come follow my crochet journey and share yours with comments here and you are most welcome to share your creativity within our Facebook page.
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64 Responses to Crochet Hooks, Why Does The Entire Hook Change in Diameter even Though It’s Harder for Us To Hold?

  1. Cristina says:

    That is exactly the reason I was searching for ergonomic hooks and I found one brand that is just right for me: Addi ergonomic hooks!!! They are amasing!!!

  2. Sandi says:

    I consider myself a beginner crochet person in progress. There are not enough words to express my joy for Mikey! He is the BEST teacher!
    My comment is just my own personal opinion about Joann’s Fabric Shop. Some, not all, employees there are the “rudest!” Ask them a question, it’s like I’m bothering them. I try to avoid buying yarn from there, but, Walmart does not have the selection of yarn called for in some patterns.
    I would rather order on line to avoid rude employees.

    • Lara says:

      Hi Sandi,

      I have found that to be true at the Jo Anns that I go to. Recently though, I came across two super sales people, so I’m hoping the feedback they have received is getting through to management! I used to dread going for something I really needed and resorted to buying online, but not so much recently. Lets hope for this to happen at all Jo Anns. 🙂

  3. Brenda says:

    Your comments about hooks got me to thinking. My crochet hand(2 fingers) gets numb and i have to stop and rub them. Do you think the Tulip hooks would help me?

    • Lara says:

      Hi Brenda. It sounds like you are holding the hook very tightly. I believe any padded hook would help you quite a bit. I tend to do the same thing. Tulips area awesome, but kind of pricey. For me Clover Armour works well. Clover also makes “soft touch” hooks. Which I haven’t tried, but they look soft as well. I like the Armour also because they are color coded. Hope this helps a little. 🙂

  4. Vivian Colette says:

    The Furls hooks are just too expensive, especially if you use several sizes, at $60 and $70 each, that’s it a stretch and quite impractical. I am not going to pay $600 or $700 for 10 crochet hooks to cover the sizes that I need. I use the same Boyle and Bates hooks that I have had since the 70’s. Someone gave me a Clover hook, which is good. I have my grandmother’s doily making hooks, which are fine. Crocheters are all different and we should fine our own happy medium in regards to hooks, not all hooks work for all of us, that is why there are so, so many to choose from.

  5. giftsfrommt says:

    I have quite the collection of hooks that I have acquired over the years, but the ones I always go back to are my susan bates bamboo handle aluminum hooks. Every time I try a new or different kind I go back to my stand by. They are in my opinion reasonably priced from $2.50 – $5.50, but I would have paid the $10 for them if that’s what they were priced. Each person needs to find what is comfortable for them and stick with it. Crocheting is supposed to be a way to relax, unwind, and in my case keep my sanity (haha) You won’t get those benefits if the only thing that happens is your hand cramps up and you’re uncomfortable.

  6. Syn says:

    There is a very cheap way to make cheap hooks easier to use– a pencil grip. They usually come in pack of 3-5 for under $3. If you have access to fun/wonder/rainbow loom you can make custom color ones out of loom bands. A 3-color 7-row one will fit on most looms. They work well on steel hooks and up through size I aluminum (I haven’t tried larger). The rainbow loom has open space between pegs so you can make longer ones. A 4-peg french knitter works also.

  7. Mary Kelly says:

    I like the bamboo hooks. After having carpal tunnel surgery on both hands the straight steel hooks really get my hands aching. One day i would like to try the tulip hooks.

  8. Brooke Organista says:

    For bought the cheap aluminum hooks and cheap yarn because I was just learning and didn’t want to spend a fortune if it wasn’t going to be something I would stick with. Now a few months later I am getting better and starting to look into other options. I am thinking I will upgrade my supplies as a gift to myself for my birthday this year. For low income folks which I am I see nothing wrong with starting the process of upgrading your hooks. Start with the most used hook and upgrade a new one every month or when finances allow.

  9. Rose says:

    I do agree that you get what you pay for. If I buy a really good yarn for a project, I find it hard to start back on the super saver yarn. I do like to have good tools to work with so, yes I would pay $10.00 for my most used hook sizes but I am blessed to be able to do that if I choose. Again, you get what you pay for.

  10. Davina says:

    As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. I like Boye hooks or any hook that has a rounded head. I bought one cushion “I” hook and I always grab the red Boye one. A cushion hooks seems shorter to me and I like length. Whatever floats your boat and I’m not ready to pay $10 for a hook, I’d rather put the $10 in my stomach or for yarn.

  11. Patti says:

    I have started using the clover hooks over the past year and they have helped with my hand pain quite a bit. I do know that some people put the pencil pads on their hooks and they get them in packages or several for a buck at the dollar store. Best of luck to you.

    • Brooke Organista says:

      Great Idea. I think I’ll try that. My problem is always the slightly pointed end bothers me just because of hand positioning.

  12. Sheri Carde says:

    I fully understand what your saying Mikey , I am one who can’t afford, having said that I found that buying the cheapest, doesn’t always pan out , I used steel hooks for the longest time , and I still do from time to time! ( just bought a set ) as I was missing some of mine. and my hands hurt and cramp, even my elbows hurt ughh! I use a pencil grip on them helps a bit on the fingers.

    What I did find was Clover comfort hooks they can be a little pricey as a set ( which how I prefer too buy hooks) but I waited and wait and one day on Amazon they were on sale and I grabbed them! I luv them too bits . waiting and paying the little extra can pay off!

    my advice too people would be go online do your research, watch and wait and you will find something that works for you 🙂

  13. brenda shiley says:

    got some with bamboo handles through either Herscherners or MaryMaxim..susan bates steelite; the tulip ones were out of stock at the time; but that s what I want to gift myself with next year. have found sometimes just switching hooks will help with the hand/wrist discomfort; that is why i have bamboo as well as plastic and aluminum. clover makes nice hooks of all kinds…got a furls but want get another one; don’t use the size I got enough to give it a real evaluation. now that’s pricey; but if it keeps me going..it will be worth it

  14. Myrna Pouyatt says:

    How do you feel about Furls? I purchased one, very expensive, but I have to admit I really love it. Haven’t tried Tulip, but now I am thinking about it. I also use Crochet Lite hooks and have always liked them. Have a set of inexpensive bamboo hooks, they are just okay. And what about Addi’s? I have look at them but not sure about them as well. You have intrigued me to look into the Tulip Etimo’s.

  15. Jan says:

    I went to Hobby Lobby and bought a package of Sculpy clay and build the handles up on all my aluminum hooks. Best think I ever did. Before I baked them, I grabbed them like I hold them to crochet and just slightly put my finger impression in them. Then baked them. Now when I pick up my hooks, my fingers go to the correct spot for how I hold my hooks. Works great for me.

  16. Fliss Stevens says:

    I use addi swing hooks here in the uk they range from £7-10 they are fab …!!!

  17. I have several hooks that are ergonomically designed, including The Crochet Light (has LED light in the handle), it is light in weight and has a rubber grip, the Boye Ergonomic hook that you can interchange hooks sizes C thru K. The polymer clay can be molded to your grip, and I bought a product called “Dip-it” it is a rubber like substance that tradesmen dip the handles of their tools in to insulate from shock that can be dipped or painted on to the handle. Be sure to label your handles or you’ll need a micrometer to figure out what the hook size is.
    I damaged my hand (scraping carpet pad off of a concrete floor) some 20 or so years ago, and I cannot fully close my hand. I cut a 4″ length of yarn and knot it and slip it over my ring finger and loosely cradle the hook handle in it. If my hand is hurting a lot I will take a 2nd piece of yarn, make a slip knot to cradle the hook and slip my middle finger in that piece of yarn….it is crude looking, but it works for me. Happy hooking…where there is a will, there is a way.

  18. marie bragg says:

    for years all i used were the metal ones, my husband got tired of me complain g about how my hands hurt after crocheting (hes a saint ) he made wooden handles for my hooks which were great, then i found the new ones with the rubber handles like Mikey uses They do make a difference and I’m fortunate in being able to buy them so easy on the hands .and wrist . Walmarts sells the crochet dudes hook for 3.97 and they are real nice they have the rubber handles

  19. Lori Johnson says:

    I have always padded my handles of all my hooks to my hand for comfort,a little gauze and medical tape does it just right 🙂

  20. Lu Ann says:

    I started making Rainbow loom hook covers – they slide right over my hooks and are nice and cushy. I make mine longer than a pencil grip and make lots of different colors! Works for me!

  21. Ingrid says:

    I use the pencil grips you can buy in the dollar store. I wrap the handle with duct tape to build it up a bit so the grip stays on firmly. The way I hold my hook, it tends to stick into the palm of my hand so I use 2 grips and have one hang off the back of the hook a bit to cushion it.

  22. Thank you all for the advise !! I swear it was directed to me…lol …I have had a big project … Sports hats for the family… My hands are sooo painful !! Arthritis sucks…. First I will do the clay modification … And then look for sales on the others…hey Mikey stay true to yourself… Don’t worry about cranky people !!

  23. Christina says:

    This past Christmas my hubby asked me what I wanted and I immediately said “A nice set of crochet hooks”. He asks me this question every year and I know whatever I ask for (within reason) he will research until he finds the best based on reviews, etc. Usually this does not mean the most expensive though (surprisingly). He found that the best reviewed hooks he could find (for not only grip but also hook shape) was the Waves set by Knitter’s pride. If you buy the set it’s about $50 and you get 9 hooks and a nice case. I absolutely love them! They are more expensive than the generic hooks but they aren’t outrageously priced and they have definitely saved me time (the hook shape is much easier to maneuver through yarn) and discomfort, making my hobby much more enjoyable and less frustrating.
    Happy hooking!
    http://www.knitterspride.com/Materialwise-Details.asp?id=19&mcid=2

  24. Shellie Dunn says:

    I absolutely love the Clover Comfort hooks. Like the Tulip hooks, the steel hook is set in a wider handle with a grippy where you normally place your thumb. I bought every available size one at a time, spreading the cost and making it easier to afford.

  25. Debbie Holland says:

    Your answer was very informative. My mother used the steel hooks for dollies and never had a problem. I tried one and it hurt my hand. My fix was I used the clay and shaped it to fit my hand then baked it. What s difference! I made a doily with ease, no pain, and the clay block will make about five steel hooks. Cost for the clay is about $1.49 to $2.50 so it is very affordable and You Tube has many tutorials on how to do it. Hope this helps. Good luck.

  26. Lara says:

    I mean singly lol not signally.

  27. Lara says:

    Just a little add on to your comment about Tulip Etimo not being available from Walmart. In the US, they are available online as a set in a carrying case. However, they don’t carry the hooks signally. http://www.walmart.com/ip/Tulip-Etimo-Rose-Crochet-Hook-Set/24063146#Item+Description A great investment.

  28. I find that if you hold your hook like a pencil the size of the end of the hook doesn’t matter, like a pencil or pen one size fits all, mostly. But,yes, if you hold it like a knife the size does matter, and the thinner hooks are uncomfortable.
    8

  29. Judy says:

    I will spend more money on hooks to have more enjoyment and less pain. Not everyone can do this but if you can budget in a better hook in your favorite size , the payoff will be so worth it. Keep crocheting and smiling.

  30. I need an ergonomic hook for comfort. Interesting, the aluminum hook that I like least seems to be the one I can find, in our very rural setting, in the craft stores and thus available with the 40 or 50% off coupons.

    There is an egg shaped interchangeable handle that is an improvement but has design flaws that cause the hook to wobble loose and the frequent resetting of the hook drives me bonkers.

    For me, the answer is polymer clay handles. With a 50% off coupon, I can buy a package of common size hooks and two packages of polymer clay for right around $10 (I think less) and make custom handles.

    I’m not the most artistic soul in the world so they aren’t fancy – just two colors worked together in a marble fashion. I like to have the thumb rest covered with clay and countoured so I etch the hook size in the handle base with a pin.

    Works for me!

    ps Mikey, I love your teaching style and I love the fact you show us how to make patterns work. Yes, we should be familiar with the “old, traditional” ways and learn them if we want to but new ways are good too.

    If we stuck with the old ways, we wouldn’t be using food processors, mixers, blenders or microwaves.

  31. Cyndee Rodriguez says:

    I take the green flower tape, leaving about an inch or so at the hook end, and wrap the it around, starting thin and wrapping more tape around my hooks to the size that is most comfortable. I don’t use the flat part in the middle, so covering it up is not a problem.

  32. Andi Cope says:

    I adore the Tulip Etimo hooks and use them almost exclusively. They are pricey at $10 each, but I have twice found 8-piece sets on Amazon for around $50, and recently on ebay scored a lot of 21 (yes, TWENTY-ONE) Etimo hooks, still in their packaging, for fifty bucks.

  33. Jenn Bischke says:

    I am a firm believer that we deserve to use the best tools possible. If its something you love to do, why not splurge and get the nicer tool? If you were a full time mechanic, you wouldn’t use cheap tools, why cheap out on your crochet hooks? I am a knitter, too and I prefer to use the more expensive, well made needles over the cheapies at Walmart. Its my time Im investing so why not make it a pleasure? You wouldnt serve fine wine in a plastic cup, lol.Treat yourself!!!

  34. My absolutely go to hook is the Tulip Etimo hooks. I just wish they came in more sizes. I have arthritis in both hands and there are days when I can’t crochet at all. $10 a hook, it’s worth it for me. Just put it on your Christmas list and soon enough you’ll have the entire set. I like the Boye over the Bates but I have both. Sometimes it just depends on what works for that particular yarn.

  35. Betty Lewis says:

    I agree with Ann Dennis, I also prefer the aluminum hooks. Mikey says it well, one cannot expect manufacturers/stores to sell there product at or below cost without a profit! If money is an issue, there are several ways to modify the handles of your less expensive hooks. Many ideas has been shared with photos on the crowds facebook page. From the ear plugs mentioned above to molding, shaping, and baking modelling clay, to wrapping in paracord; the possibilities are endless if one uses their creative imagination. Personally, I prefer the paracord wrap. I have several hooks with the larger handles in many ergonomic shapes (as I have nerve damage in both hands/arms), but my hooks that my son wrapped a paracord sleeve on is most comfortable for me! The weave of the paracord allows my hand to ‘breathe’ and get air.

  36. Sheila says:

    For those of us that have difficulty with smaller hooks, grab yourself some polymer clay and make a handles for those hooks. That way you can mold the handle to your own hand size and the way you are most comfortable holding your hook.

  37. taliana says:

    I love the Eleggant Hook system…I can crochet all day long and my hand doesn’t bother me a bit. The original creator has sold the business to someone else, but you can still get them at knitdom.com. Price has increased substantially though.

  38. Brenda says:

    Something simple would work.

  39. Brenda says:

    Why not come up with an interchanable sleeve that all hooks would fit.

  40. Louise says:

    This last couple of years after discovering Tulip Etimo hooks I do not like any other. I am a senior and my hands get tired. My stitches are nicer looking and more even with My Tulip Etimos. I wait until I can catch a sale or on ebay.

  41. Lori Kirkland says:

    I agree with all you have said. I have been buying the ergonomic hooks when I can spare a little extra and they make a huge difference. I bought my favorite size hook that I use most often, but then I have started a project that requires one that I don’t have so I am having to use the steel hooks and boy can my hands and wrists tell a difference. I have told my daughters that for Mothers Day I want a few other sizes of the ergonomic hooks. I think I will get my wish, if they want anymore of my crochet goodies that they get quite often. We will see what happens.

  42. Dara Norman-Faul says:

    I have tons of hooks, probably about a hundred at this point (Mainly because I will lose a hook and have to buy the entire package of hooks for the one I need! LOL And then of course find the one I lost!) But anyway, because I have so many, I decided to start experimenting with grips. There is a kit you can get a WalMart that is for making erasers. I will wrap the stuff around my hooks, position my hand the way I crochet so it imprints my personal grip, and then I bake it. Tada….personalized hooks! And you can do about 20 for a few bucks! I also like to use polymer clay to pretty up my crochet hooks and give them a wider grip but I don’t do a personalized grip because clay can be a little dodgy and crack when you do that.

    • Thank you for the ideas! Like you, I have probably a hundred or so hooks, but you can always tell which ones I use the most by the worn spots on the hooks. I bought a package of the “hook grips” that Boye sells and I really like them for the steel hooks.

    • candi says:

      Does the stuff you use to make erasers add a lot of weight to the hook? I did the polymer clay on one and it just weighed too much…..I had more wrist-cramps with the clay than without!

  43. Christy says:

    This was a great read, and thanks for answering the Question that Cynthia asked. I know I for sure am one who has had that same question burning in my mind for some time now. It just happened that yesterday I decided to purchase a few of the ergonomic hooks hoping it would help as I’ve been Crocheting like a mad woman the last few months and noticing that my hand cramps up badly some days. I just happened to stumble across what I think is a good deal on Amazon for some Clover hooks and am very excited to receive these in the next week or two. Very hopeful that it will alleviate the stress I’ve putting on my hand. 🙂

    • Debbie McNeice says:

      I have the Clover hooks and love them. I bought mine before Tulip came out with their ergonomicially correct hooks. I might try the Tulip at some point, but I really do like my Clover hooks. I also have some beautiful wooden hooks that I love, but can’t use them with every yarn.

  44. Lala says:

    I use Boye Ergonomic Aluminum Crochet Hook Handle. You can insert any size/brand aluminum hook and the handle size stays the same! I never have any cramping or pressure blisters anymore 🙂

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B004ALF72G

  45. Mary Torpy says:

    I have a set of Boye hooks with separate heads for crocheting fine threads they came in a case maybe from Annie’s attic not sure where i got them they are a dream to work with for finer yarns. They go from size 1 thru 14. The handle is a size H 5.0, millimeter.

  46. Ann Dennis says:

    It seems that money is the answer to everything. There are ways to make the hooks comfortable that doesn’t cost a lot, for example the person that used the ear protection foam plugs on the shank to have a better grip. I have to say that I hold steel hooks differently than I do the large ones, that nice flat oval on the hook works for me on the larger ones but on the steels I use that flat spot more as a fulcrum with my fingers guiding closer to the hook end. Obviously I can’t do this for long but now that I’ve seen the foam plug idea I’m going to try it.
    As for plastic hooks I will NEVER buy another one. I bought a package of brightly colored hooks thinking they would be fun to use and couldn’t get more than I/3 of an afghan done and the darn hook broke right at the flat place. Thinking it was just the one I started another project with another hook from that package and the same thing happened. I think of the five hooks only one is left and that’s because I refuse to use it. Wood is nice and I have some but when it comes to getting a lot done I lean on the aluminum hooks.

  47. Marcela says:

    Dosent matter to me, the most important is how you feel using them, the most comfortable cheap or expensive, I still using my grandma and my moms hooks 😀

  48. Sq says:

    It is very hard to grip the small crochet needle.

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