Crochet Basics: Holding a Hook & Care Tips
Achieving mastery of any craft requires knowledge of, and experience with, the tools used for the craft. Learn two basic ways to hold a crochet hook and some useful recommendations, that will help you master the art of crochet. Crochet hooks require a certain level of care, so here are some tips and tricks to help you out.
There are two basic ways to hold a crochet hook: the knife hold and the pencil hold. Crocheters are very opinionated about which is the proper way to hold the hook, but, trust me, it is truly a matter of personal preference. Use the one that works best for you.
In Victorian times, the pencil hold was preferred because it appeared more lady-like and dainty. I personally prefer the pencil hold. I feel I have better control that way, and I find it easier on my hand and wrist because the moves are not contorted for me. Try both ways to see which one you like better.
In this hold, take the hook as though it is a pen you are about to write with. Some hooks even have a thumb rest so that you place your fingers the right distance from the tip. The handle sits between your thumb and forefinger. This hold is particularly useful with smaller hooks and delicate yarns.
In this hold you grasp the hook as you would a knife when cutting food. This hold is often easiest when crocheting with very chunky yarn and using a jumbo hook, since it gives more grip for pulling very thick yarn through itself. Don’t hold the hook too close to the tip; use your fingers along the hook to control it.
All crochet hooks require a certain level of care, so here are some tips and tricks to help you out:
Tip #1 How to keep the hook smooth
Unless you are using the more expensive nickel-plated styles, which are very slick, the hook may drag from time to time. You can compensate for this by revitalizing and smoothing the surface of your hook.
I take a bit of hand cream or lotion to coat the tips of my hooks, then tissue it off. This leaves a nice, slick residue. Every month, I wash the hooks and reapply the lotion. This little trick helps me to crochet faster.
Some crocheters use wax paper to gloss over the hook; others suggest rubbing the hook through the hair and scalp to pick up natural oils. I find the cream method to be longer lasting than the hair treatment, and more readily available than the wax paper method. (I always have some kind of cream or lotion around but I don’t necessarily have access to wax paper.)
If your hooks develop nicks or burrs, use an emery board or fine sandpaper to smooth them down, and then apply the cream or lotion. The hook will be as good as new. I do this for almost all types of hooks from wood to aluminum to plastic.
Tip #2 Own a complete range of hook sizes, from the smallest steel hooks on up through the largest sizes you can get your hands on. Using only one hook limits the range of materials you can use successfully. Using only one hook limits your options for solving tension problems and will hinder you from discovering hooks that could give you better results. Moreover, using just one hook can stifle certain aspects of creative growth. If your budget permits you to do so, try using several brands of hooks, including ergonomic hooks if possible (they fatigue your hands less). Form your preferences and habits based on what actually works best for you.
Tip #3 Avoid leaving your crochet hook around pets or children who may have access to the hook and can damage the hook (i.e., dropping, biting, throwing, etc.)
Tip #4 Avoid leaving your crochet hook on a table where the hook can roll and drop to the floor, especially one that is a hard surface (i.e. tile, hardwood floor, etc.)
Tip #5 Use mild soap and water to rinse off the hook of any oils/residue and let it dry. Once this is done, you can use any plastic polish to bring back its shine. Pro-tip: If you do not own or want to buy plastic polish, toothpaste is a cheap in-home product that does the job.
And how do you take care of your hooks? Let's discuss in comments!