Choosing Needles and Hooks for Knitting & Crochet
When it comes to creating functional textile art, no skill is beyond reach. By being
diligent and practicing consistently, anyone can master techniques that make knitting and
crocheting fun and productive. Such accessibility is a huge part of the reason why these
crafts are so popular.
Of course, this doesn't mean that talent and perseverance are the only important factors.
Having the appropriate tools for the job will ultimately make it much easier to create something you like.
Here are a few quick pointers on selecting the right options for your next project.
Crochet vs. Knitting: The Tools
Although the term "needle" is sometimes used to apply to both crafts, only knitting uses a
genuine needle. Crocheting is performed with tools that are curved at one or both ends.
These are commonly referred to as hooks. While you can crochet with a single hook, you'll
need two needles for most knitting tasks.
Why would you choose one option over the other? Whether you choose knitting or crochet will ultimately be matter of personal preference. For instance, if you want to complete a project that only includes a knitting pattern, then you'll probably stick to that method. Or, you might play around with both and find that knitting comes more easily. It's up to you, but first letís delve in a little deeper.
Needle and Hook Distinctions
What distinguishes individual needles from each other or makes confusingly similar hooks
different? Two important considerations are material and size.
Crochet hooks and knitting needles can be constructed from a variety of materials. These
distinctions affect the way they feel when you're using them and how easy they are to use.
Aluminum hooks and needles come in a range of sizes. Their smooth surfaces let you work quickly without snagging your yarn.
Steel tools are more expensive and hardy than aluminum. They're commonly used for finer work and may be less effective with larger tasks.
Plastic tools come in all sizes. Although they have minimal friction with yarn, they're usually not as smooth as metal.
Bamboo and wood needles and hooks come in a variety of medium sizes. Some people prefer the organic, easy-to-grip textures and claim that these tools' warmth helps them avoid hand cramps.
The Importance of Needle Material
The materials we mentioned are just some of the options youíll find when researching hooks and needles. For instance, more modern manufacturers are including features like soft grips and other ergonomic perks. Individual models also have distinctive weight characteristics, and this can impact the speed at which you work.
Although comfort is usually the primary concern for choosing a tool material, it's also
smart to think about yarn compatibility. For instance, natural, unprocessed or heavily
textured yarns may be more prone to snagging on a bent needle's tiny surface imperfections
or fraying while passing through a cheap, rough hook.
Needles and hooks are available in a variety of sizes, and there are different sizing
systems. For most people, looking at the metric diameter, given in millimeters (or mm) is
The British and American numbered sizing systems are incompatible with each other. This
can be confusing, but the metric standard stays the same no matter what. When reading a
pattern that calls for a given tool size, first confirm whether you should be using the
American or British scale. Then, look for a metric equivalent just to be sure.
Why Does Needle Size Matter?
When you wrap yarn around a crochet hook or knitting needle, the diameter of your tool
determines how big the resulting loop is. This, in turn, decides how the finished piece
looks, stretches and wears.
Hook and needle sizes are also important because they determine how closely the end
product resembles the original plans. Patterns for items like clothing are made to fit
people based on the hook sizes, amount of yarn, yarn weight and type of stitches that you
use. If you want to create something predictable, then you should adhere to the hook and
needle recommendations of your pattern. When you're eager to tackle a new project, being able to count on consistency can lower the starting hurdles.
Specialty Knitting & Crochet Tools
Some hooks and needles include special features for specific tasks. For instance, circular knitting needles come in pairs with flexible connections that make it easy to knit tubular
items, such as socks. Although specialty tools are handy for certain jobs, you'll still
need regular hooks or needles for most work.
Choosing the Right Needles and Hooks
With these rules of thumb in mind, you should be able to find crochet and knitting tools
that make your next craft endeavor fly by successfully. On the other hand, there's no
better teacher than experience, and mixing things up can really boost your creativity by
forcing you to think of new solutions to challenges. For instance, if you decide to mix
another yarn into a pattern, then you might benefit from having a few extra needles and
hooks on hand for the switch. If you're just starting out, larger-diameter tools often
make learning simpler until you get the motions down. Good form is important when
performing techniques such as casting on, purling, chain stitching and binding off, so
it's best to begin with whatever you find easiest.
Exploring your options is always a good start. To learn more, check out some of our
products or contact us with your questions.