If you are just beginning to crochet, it is important to know the various types of hooks and yarn you can use, and what they will mean to your finished product. The outcome will be determined by 3 variables: The yarn you use, the hook you use, and your gauge (how tight or loose you make the stitches). The following is a beginner’s guide to crochet hooks and yarn.
Inline vs. not inline: An inline hook is a hook where the shaft and the head are in a line. It is like having a cylinder with a notch out to hold the loop. There are no tapers or bulges on the shaft. This hook type has a very passive notch, which makes it easy for the loop to fall out. A not inline hook is any hook that does not fit the definition of inline.
Handle: This is the part you hold. On a standard hook, the handle will be the same thickness of the hook. But if you have arthritis, or you simply want a more ergonomic handle, there are hooks made with larger, easier to hold handles.
Thumb rest: This is the part of the hook where you rest your thumb, and often the part where the brand is displayed.
Shaft: This is the neck of the hook. You will have one of two shapes here: the inline shape, which is perfectly symmetrical and cylinder, or a tapered shaft such as that found in a not inline hook. If you are new to crochet, and struggle with uneven application of tension, or overly tight stitches, an inline, cylindrical shaft may be helpful.
Throat: The gap the loop of yarn is held in is referred to as the throat. If you are using a not inline hook, the throat may have a significant taper, which is great for crocheters that drop loops, or pop their hooks out of their work. If you snag or split yarn, you may want to opt for an inline hook, as the smooth notch that holds the loop will be easier to use.
Point: This is the very tip of the hook; it is the part that is used to push into the loops of yarn.
The hook you choose will impact what the finished product looks like, as well as your ease of use. Crochet hooks come in sizes, metric sizes of millimeter dimensions, or a US indicator of a letter and number. Different sizes work better with different yarn types. Larger hooks are needed for the bulkier yarn.
Like the hook, there is also a lot of variation in yarn types. When you purchase yarn, you will see a number on it, which represents the weight of the yarn and ranges from 1 to 6. Here’s what these numbers mean.
1. Superfine: This is the type of yarn you would use for baby items, fingering, or socks. Anything delicate. Use a U.S. B1 – E4 or metric size 2.25mm–3.5mm crochet hook when using this yarn.
2. Fine: This is another thin yarn. It is good for the baby items like sweaters, and is also great for accessories and wraps. Use a U.S. hook size E4–7 or metric size 3.5mm–4.5mm.
3. Light: This is a versatile yarn, used for all kinds of things from gloves and scarves to heavier duty baby blankets, and sweaters. Use a U.S. 7–19 or metric size 4.5mm–5.5mm hook.
4. Medium: This yarn is commonly used in blankets. It is also used for slippers and sweaters, and is the crafting yarn. If you are unsure what yarn weight to get, this is probably a good option. It is often called worsten, Afghan, or Aran yarn. The most commonly used hook size for this yard type is U.S. size 19 to size K or 10 ½, or 5.5mm to 6.5mm.
5. Bulky: This is a chunky yarn used for rugs and thick blankets. It is also used for making things like doll hair or specialty items like hats. This requires a larger hook, such as a U.S. K (10 ½) to an M or a 6.5mm–9mm.
6. Super bulky: This yarn is used for large rugs, doll hair, finger knitting, and craft projects requiring some bulk. Use a crochet hook size M or larger or 9mm or larger.
The larger the number on the yarn, the fewer stitches for a gauge, the larger the needed hook, and often the faster the project goes.
Now that you’ve got the basics, why not head over to to the Crochet section of the YCMT and find a few projects to try out?