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When you first started crocheting, you may have just picked up any old crochet hook at the store, not knowing about the characteristics of different hooks and how they affect your ability to work that yarn. From the material the hook is made from to its size, these considerations affect your ultimate choice of a hook for your work.
Crochet Hook Types
One of the first things for you to think about is what your hook is made of. When you visit the crochet aisle of your favorite crafts store, browse through the selection. You should find aluminum, steel, bamboo, plastic and wood. The aluminum hook moves more easily with the yarn, making it easier for you to slip the head into and out of each stitch. If you are working with a silk or ribbon yarn, a hook with more texture to it makes it easier for you to keep those stitches from slipping off the hook and out of each other. The next time you choose a project requiring a slippery yarn, look for a plastic, bamboo or wooden crochet hook.
Look at the head of your crochet hook. If it has a rounded head, this makes it easier to use with a loosely spun yarn. Using this hook, you are less likely to split the yarn plies. A crochet hook with a sharp head allows you to slip the head into each stitch, but it also tends to split yarn plies.
The throats of your hooks are either inline or not inline. Inline hooks have a sharper angle leading to the head, making it easier for you to grab and hold the yarn as you work the loops. a not inline hook has a gentler slope that makes it easier for you to work stitches without the hook getting caught.
Match Hook to Yarn
When you first begin a new crochet project, your printed instructions tell you what yarn weight to use, as well as giving you a recommended hook size. This is an important distinction, because, if you use a hook that is too small, the gauge, or stitch and row sizes, will be wrong. You will have too many stitches and rows for the recommended gauge. If you use a hook that is too large, you will not have enough stitches or rows and your item will be too small. Of course, your own individual crochet style affects your gauge. Always, always, always crochet a test gauge swatch first. Use different hook sizes until you have crocheted the correct swatch size. Write this down so you know what size hook to use in the future.
If you are using a very light yarn weight, such as sock-weight or a baby-weight yarn, use a smaller hook. For a chunky or aran-weight yarn, use a larger hook.
Thinner yarns need the smaller hooks. Choose hooks ranging from B-1 to E-4. Sport-weight yarns require hooks sized E-4 to 7. Light worsted yarns require hooks sized 7 to I-9. Worsted yarns require hooks sized I-9 to K-10 1/2. Chunky yarns need the larger hooks, which are sized K-10 1/2 up to M-13, and bulky yarns need the largest crochet hooks, beginning at M-13, going all the way to the largest sizes.