When I started out on my crochet journey I came from the land of Knitting, I found the transition a little difficult at first and really struggled with tension. My stitches were all randomly shaped with some ending up too tight to work into!
I started on a quest to find the perfect crochet hook….and do you know what I found?………………it doesn’t exist…..
…..Before you switch off and think, why bother reading on, let me explain. There are so many different types of crochet hooks, curvy, plastic, foamy, metal, wooden, straight, etc etc that I think that what works for you is very individual and so there is no one perfect hook. Personally I have a favourite brand now but that could be very different to yours!
As you start out looking for the perfect hook, you may, like me stumble across the fact that there are “inline” and “tapered” hooks.
The basic difference is as follows…On the left (in blue) is an “inline hook” and on the right (in pink) is a “tapered hook”.
From the front, you can see that the inline hook is flatter than the tapered hook and the shaft and throat (where you will end up making your stitches) is the same width, whilst the tapered hook, gets narrower as you get towards the hook.
It looks a little confusing from the side, the “inline” hook on the left (blue) looks like it tapers more, but as the width of the hook stays the same (front-view) it actually means that it stays the same width.
You can see better from behind that the “inline” hook stays the same width and the tapering of the tapered hook looks more pronounced.
Well, because the “inline” hook doesn’t taper as you get towards the hook-end, I personally found that it much easier to keep even tension.
I’ve learned that the first loop you make when making a stitch is the one which determines the size of that stitch. I’ve heard it called the “golden loop”. If you make that loop big, the stitch will be big and vice versa if you make that small, it will be small (and potentially in my case when I started out…too tight!)
Here is an example of the “golden loop”, first on a tapered hook. As you can see, due to the tapering of the shaft, it is very easy to pull too tight and make that loop small
By contrast, something about the shape of the inline hook makes it really hard to pull it tight, I’m sure you could if you tried really hard but it would be an effort…!
Because in the “inline hook”, the hook is in-line with the shaft, it is also easier (I think) to pull through the loops on the hook to make your stitch. I certainly found when I started out that crocheting using an inline hook made my crochet much smoother.
The main brand of inline hooks that I’ve found are “Susan Bates” hooks. Its not that easy to find complete sets in the UK but you can find the more often used sizes on places like Amazon. Wooden hooks also tend to be “inline”, I assume because wood would be too brittle if it was tapered. You can pick up a set of wooden hooks for relatively cheap.
So if you are struggling with your tension being too tight, I’d certainly recommend having a go at using an inline hook.
These hooks aren’t perfect however and I’ve found that crocheting using a thin handle tends to hurt my hands after a while…If you are having the same issue and want something with a handle, the Furls Crochet hooks appear to be more in-line than tapered and with a chunky handle, they might work for you. They are a bit more expensive than your “normal” hook though so if you can I’d recommend trying before you buy…!
Because of the issue of my hands hurting if I crochet too much using a thin handle, I have moved on to try different tapered hooks.
I’ve written about finding the best hook for me here.
Hope this helped you understand the difference between tapered and inline hooks!