Creating functional textile art may seem complicated at first sight but with diligence and practice, anyone can master the techniques that make knitting fun and productive. Such approachability is one of the main reasons why these crafts are so popular. Talent and perseverance apart, like painters need the right paint supplies to create beautiful art, getting the right knitting tools is important to be able to create something you like. Investing in some basic knitting hooks is a great place to start.
Beginners tend to do well with the average crochet hook. You can find these hooks to buy as individuals and sets of different sizes at any major craft retailer, yarn store or online. There are, however, a few things you should know about these knitting hooks before you buy them. Size Does Matter
The size of the hook you choose will change the size and shape of your project. When following a pattern, for example, using hooks different from the ones that are specified in the pattern will cause your final product to turn out differently from the original design. You may end up with a different size or with a different shape, or both.
If just knitting a scarf or a blanket, a slight change in the hook size might not be a big deal. But when knitting something that needs to fit right, using the right hook size will make a huge difference. When you use a hook that is bigger than the pattern calls for, it will create stitches that are longer, taller and slightly loose than those made with a smaller hook. For example, if you knit a cowl with a larger knitting hook than what is specified on the pattern, you’ll end up with a piece that hangs too loosely and even has a different shape.
Using a hook that is smaller than what’s specified in a pattern, on the other hand, could lead you to end up with a piece that is too small to fit. It’s essential that you pick the right knitting hook size for your project to ensure your final product is the size you’re expecting it to be.
Knitting Hook Sizes
Also called crochet hooks, knitting hooks have a little hook at the end that is used to grab and pull yarn to create crochet stitches. These hooks are available in different sizes and styles. The diameter of the shaft (the area between the flat tumb area) is what determines the size, which is measured in millimetres. You will find knitting hooks with sizes labelled in letters and numbers or metric units. Beginners usually use the H/8 or 5mm hook when just starting to knit.
Some manufacturers list the sizing units directly on the hooks. This is a great thing in case a hook get separated from the set of hooks – you’ll be able to quickly identify which size you’re using. Basic knitting hook sets may include all of these sizes: B/1 (2.25 mm), C/2 (2.75 mm), D/3 (3.25 mm), E/4 (3.5 mm), F/5 (3.75 mm), G/6 (4 mm), H/8 (5 mm), I/9 (5.5 mm), J/10 (6 mm), K/10.5 (6.5 mm), L/11 (8 mm), M/13 (9 mm), N/15 (10 mm). Keep in mind that hook sizes can vary slightly from brand to brand and even between different materials.
Types of Knitting Hook
Knitting hooks typically fall into two different categories: inline and tapered hooks. Inline hooks are easily recognized by their pointy heads that are the same size as their shafts. Some crocheters find this type of hook helpful to create more uniform-sized stitches as it contributes to more consistent tension. Tapered hooks have a head that is rounded, a throat that is smaller than the shaft, and a longer shaft length. This type of hook makes it easier to get through stitches and the longer shaft length offers improved crochet mobility.
Matching Needle Size With Yarn Weights
In order to achieve the best look for any project you create, you need to match your hook size to the yarn weight. For instance, extra-fine and thread yarns require small hooks, while thicker, bulkier yarns call for larger hooks to achieve even stitches. When working on a pattern, these measurements should be specified in the pattern. When working off a pattern, look for the yearn weight on your yarn label and match your yarn weight with your knitting hook size based on the following sizing guide.
0 (lace, thread)
1 (super fine)
3 (light, light worsted)
4 (medium, worsted)
I/9, J/10, K/10.5
6 (super bulky)
Due to the sizing differences between materials and manufacturer, once you start a project, you’ll need to use the same hook for the entire project. Even using a different hook labelled the same size can change the outcome of your final project. Using different hook sizes may also cause you to run out of yarn for the project.