A crochet hook (or crochet needle) is a tool with a hook at one end used to draw thread or yarn through knotted loops. Just one crochet hook is used to make crochet stitches. The crochet hook's earliest use appears to have been in the late 18th century or early 19th century.
Typical materials for crochet hooks are wood, plastic, casein, or aluminum. Historical examples also include bone, steel, porcupine quill, celluloid, agate, ivory, and fossilized mammoth ivory. Crochet hooks often have decorative handles. The handle may be shaped to fit the hand for easier use. Some hooks are made with wooden or plastic handles with the hook made of metal and inserted into the handle. There are many ergonomic approaches to hook handles. One approach, for sufferers of arthritis, hooks have a ball in place of a straight handle.
An alternative form of crochet hook is the Tunisian crochet hook, which is much longer than a regular crochet hook, in order to accommodate the multiple loops used in Tunisian crochet. A type of crochet hook with hooks at each end, known as a cro-hook, is used to make double-sided crochet pieces.
Crochet hooks are not specifically for right or left handed people, either one can use them. Everyone crochets a little differently so the hook designs and their configurations are up to personal preference.
Two ways of holding a crochet hook are:
- The "Pencil" Grip: Holding the crochet hook like you would hold a pencil.
- The "Knife" Grip: Holding the crochet hook in an overhand grip, sort of like you would hold a knife.
There is not a "better" way to do it; sometimes switching back and forth between the two prevents hand fatigue.
Differing size systems
Hooks come in various sizes (measured in millimetres or fractions of an inch), according to the thickness of the needle. There are several systems of letters and/or numbers that describe the sizing of crochet hooks. The size of the hook is usually matched with an appropriate ply or thickness of thread.
Crochet hooks can be used in many instances where it is necessary to pull a string through a hole. For example, many knitters use them to fix dropped knitting stitches, and tailors may use a crochet hook to thread a drawstring through its casing. Their use is not limited to fiber arts, either; crochet hooks can be used to maintain dreadlocks by pulling stray hairs back into the main dread.
- Donna Kooler's Encyclopedia of Crochet by Donna Kooler, Leisure Arts, Inc., Little Rock, Arkansas, p. 13.
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