Thursday, July 8, 2010

First Yarns -- Now Hooks

When you talk to a crocheter about hooks, you'll get all kinds of opinions! Some prefer the old standard metal (aluminum or steel) hooks, some exclusively choose the wood style hooks (like bamboo) and others prefer something a little more ergonomic (which can include Clover Soft Touch - my personal favorite) or the Comfort Grip cushions that will slide on your current metal hook). You can even get hand-carved crochet hooks in various woods at wool craft shows, if you're willing to spend a little (well, a lot) of money!

When I first started crocheting back in the Psychedelic Age, I purchased an entire set of Boye aluminum crochet hooks (C through K, I believe). They came in a nice plastic case with slots for each hook. I used that set for years and years and when I lost interest in crocheting, I kept that set and carried it with me through multiple moves and households. When I decided a year or two ago, to recapture my old hobby, I found that set of hooks and started re-familiarizing myself with this wonderful art. Much to my horror, I found that my old hands / wrists protested the straight cold aluminum hooks. Crocheting was PAINFUL! I was, to say the least, upset!

At the same time, my 20+ year old son needed something to occupy his downtime after being laid off and I convinced him to allow me to teach him to crochet. He learned quickly and I passed my set of Boye hooks to him. Luckily at work, someone brought me a new crochet hook they discovered -- Clover Soft Touch ergonomic crochet hooks. I borrowed it for a weekend and fell in love. I could crochet once again! Since then, I've saved my pennies and shopped at sales and I'm slowing building up my set. They are a lot more expensive than the stand-by aluminum hooks, but to me (and my aching hands) they're most definitely worth it!

I also was given the opportunity to try bamboo hooks (Clover Takumi brand). These are also very comfortable hooks. They warm in your hands as you work and they feel smooth and silky. I've not noticed any catching or grabbing of even the loosest weave yarn. I was given a couple of these hooks, but they're the same size as my Soft Touch hooks, so they don't get the use they deserve from me.

My suggestion for first time crocheters or someone looking to get back into this craft is start low-end and then move up if needed. I find that younger, more supple hands and wrists get along quite well with the old standard aluminum or steel hooks. I always shy away from plastic, only because I'm rough on my tools and tend to break plastic (ask me how many plastic yarn needles I've broken), but these might be an option as well. For us slightly more aged crocheters (we're not OLD, we're aged -- like fine wine!), I would try bamboo or the Soft Touch hooks before abandoning this art. The main thing is to be comfortable while you relax and create beautiful items.

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