One of the essential tools to create anything with crochet is, of course, your crochet hook. Understanding crochet hook sizes is an important skill to obtain. However, this can be a little confusing because different countries have different names for each size of crochet needle. This tutorial will lead you through all the hook sizes for crochet, conversions, and the different types of crochet hooks.
Crochet Hook Sizes Tutorial
What are Crochet Hooks?
Crochet hooks are long instruments with a curved hook on the end and are used for the craft of crochet. It creates interlocking loops of yarn, which will turn into a fabric.
How are Crochet Hook Sizes Determined
The diameter of the shaft of the hook determines the crochet hook sizes.
- UK/Australia - If your hook size is in millimeters, it can range from 2mm to 35 mm. If you use a UK or Canadian hook or a vintage hook from Gran’s old workbasket, these are also labeled with numbers, but not the same as the mm size numbers!
- US Sizes - If you use a USA hook, they are labeled with letters and numbers.
Crochet Hook vs Crochet Needles
Technically, crochet uses hooks, and knitting uses needles; however, these terms are often used interchangeably. Knitting needles have a long shaft with no hook on the end, while crochet needles or hooks have a hook at the end to grab the yarn with.
Crochet Hook Sizes Conversion Chart
To help make this easier, here is a table showing various sizes of hooks and their equivalents. It is important to note that there can be some variation in the sizing names used between crochet hook manufacturers, particularly in the larger sizes.
For convenience, many manufacturers list both metric sizes and letter sizing on their labels for regular crochet hooks.
Just to complicate things even further, the very fine crochet hooks, also known as steel hooks, thread hooks, steel crochet hooks or lace hooks have their own system of sizing. Steel hooks come in sizes with numbers that get smaller as the diameter gets larger.
Here is a crochet hook size chart with metric conversions.
Best Crochet Hook Sizes
The right size crochet hook you choose will determine the size of your crochet stitches and consequently, the size of your finished item.
- SMALL - A smaller hook size creates tighter finished items and a more solid fabric because the gaps between the loops will be smaller.
- LARGE - A larger hook size will create a loose weave type fabric with larger holes between the stitches.
Your crochet pattern will have a recommended hook size.
The type of yarn or crochet threads you select will also affect the fabric you create. Below is a yarn weight chart with recommended crochet hook sizes. Once again, these can vary with manufacturers, so check the label.
Guidelines for the suitable crochet hook size for a particular yarn are usually printed on the yarn label or band which is wrapped around your yarn ball or skein. These are meant as guidelines only and are affected by your personal preference.
Check what size your pattern calls for, as it may be designed with a particular density in mind. For example, if you want a very loose, lacy look, you can use a large crochet hook with a thin, lightweight yarn or cotton. In the photo below, the label recommends 4 mm-sized hooks.
Adjusting Gauge with Crochet Hook Sizes
When you are following a crochet pattern, there will almost always be a section on ‘Gauge’.
Why Different Hook Sizes Matter with Gauge
Crochet gauge refers to the number of stitches and rows per inch on your crochet work. It is usually given as a measurement per 4” (10 cm) square. It is a measure of how big your stitches are. Everyone crochets differently. Some people make larger, looser loops and some make smaller, tighter loops.
So even if you are using the same size crochet hook and yarn as your best friend, your garment could end up way smaller or larger than theirs!
How To Measure Gauge Swatch
To measure the crochet gauge, you will need to make a ‘swatch’. This is a small square of crochet fabric made using the stitch you will be using for your garment or accessory.
Using the crochet hook sizes and yarn thickness suggested in the pattern, chain a number of stitches that will give you a width longer than 4” (10cm). Work up your swatch, using the stitches needed for your pattern until you have made a nice square of crochet, which must also be longer than the 4” (10cm). Now, measure the stitches and rows of your swatch.
How To Fix Gauge with Crochet Hook Sizes
- If you have more stitches than needed per 4”(10cm), your finished item will be too small. You should try using a larger crochet hook.
- If you have fewer stitches than needed, your crochet is too loose and your item will be too large. You must change to a smaller crochet hook.
If changing the size of your hook still doesn’t work, try using a crochet hook made from a different material. For example, you may find that you get a different tension with a plastic hook rather than with an aluminum one.
Types Of Crochet Hooks (Crochet Needles)
Aside from different crochet hook sizes, the hooks can be made of different materials. While the type of hook shouldn't affect your crochet gauge, you may find that different hook types affect your tension. Some are easier to use than others.
1. Plastic Crochet Hooks
Plastic hooks are the most economical and are very lightweight. They have a very slight texture to them, so your stitches won't slip too easily. They are also perfect for airplane trips!
2. Metal or Aluminium Crochet Hooks
Hooks are most often made of aluminum for the larger hooks and steel for the very fine hooks. They are very smooth and slippery and the yarn slides easily when using them. Aluminum hooks are generally cheap and so are popular with beginners. When using larger crochet hook sizes, these are easy to use since they are light and easy to grip.
3. Wooden Crochet Hooks
Wooden crochet hooks can be expensive, but are smooth and have a little bit of texture to stop the yarn from slipping. Collectors can order hand-made, bespoke wooden hooks with beautifully carved handles.
4. Bamboo Crochet Hooks
Bamboo hooks are very similar to wooden hooks but lighter, and less expensive. The hook part tends to be more pointed than aluminum hooks which I find easier to grip the yarn to pull it through.
5. Ivory or Bone Crochet Hooks
Ivory or bone hooks are hand-carved and are usually antiques. You can order bone ones to be custom-made if this is what you like to work with however ivory is banned in most countries.
6. Ergonomic Hooks
These hooks have a shaft usually made of metal, which is the correct measurement for the crochet hook sizes, and then a thicker base or handle. The handles can be made of plastic, rubber, or wood. If you have arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, or any hand or wrist condition which makes it uncomfortable or painful to hold a thin hook, these will be the best type for you. Even if you have no problems, some people just prefer the feel of these ergonomic crochet hooks.
7. Tunisian Crochet Hooks
Tunisian hooks are very long and thick. They are also called Afghan hooks. Tunisian crochet is different from normal crochet in that it is almost like a mixture between knitting and crochet. You have many more stitches on the hook than with conventional crochet, hence the need for an extra-long hook.
8. Broomstick Lace Crochet Hooks
Broomstick lace hooks are exceptionally thick (just like a broomstick!) and they are used to create large loops or eyelets in your crochet work, which gives a lacy effect.
How To Hold Your Crochet Hook for Beginners
There is no hard and fast rule about how to hold your hook. You should hold it in any way that is comfortable for you, and that allows you to easily create the loops which form your stitches. There are two common ways of holding the hook:
You hold the hook in your dominant hand just as you would hold a pencil to write. The hook part should be facing you, and you grip the shaft between your thumb and forefinger, with the other fingers supporting it underneath.
You hold the hook in your dominant hand with your thumb and middle finger gripping the shaft while your forefinger rests along the top as if holding a knife.
How to Hold Your Yarn
More important than the way you hold the crochet hook, is the way you hold the yarn. You must keep the yarn at a constant tension all the time. It must be steady and tight.
Wrap the yarn around the little finger of your non-dominant hand, then raise your middle finger and lift the yarn with it to keep the tension fairly tight. Use your index finger and thumb to hold the work. Some crocheters prefer to use their forefinger as the tension holder.
Crochet Hook Sizes - FAQS
Best Crochet Hook Sizes for Beginners
If you are just starting to learn how to crochet, try a mid-weight yarn such as worsted (Size 3 or 4 light-medium). This will match with an H8 or 5 mm hook which is easy to use and find in craft stores.
Further down, this article discusses the different types of hooks, but if you are a beginner, then choose aluminum. They are light and cheap and the yarn tends to slide along them more easily.
Most Commonly Used Crochet Hook Sizes
Like my recommendation for beginners, the most commonly used crochet hook size tends to be the H8 or 5mm size. It is popular as it pairs with light to medium yarns that are suitable for blankets, scarves, and many clothing items.
Do you Need 1 or 2 Crochet Hooks?
This is a common question asked by beginner crocheters. Unlike knitting, where 2 needles are used, crochet only needs one hook.
What Happens if I Crochet with a Bigger Hook?
If you crochet with bigger crochet hook sizes it just means your work will be looser with larger holes. There are actually times when you may choose to crochet with a larger hook. Especially if you tend to crochet tightly, it may be necessary to use a larger hook in order to get the correct gauge.
Can I use Any Size Crochet Hook?
While technically, yes, you can use any crochet hook sizes, you may not get the results you desire. As a rule, thinner yarn means you should use a smaller hook. Try to choose a hook in a couple of sizes of the yarn you are using. If you purchase a kit of different-sized hooks you will always have something suitable at hand.
Does Using a Bigger Crochet Hook Size Use More Yarn?
For the same crochet pattern, switching to a larger hook will definitely use more yarn since your work will be looser with more holes. Conversely, a smaller hook will use less yarn.
Crochet Hook Sizes - In Conclusion
Now that you are fully conversant with the ‘tools of the trade’ and crochet hook sizes, you can start working on that fabulous sweater or afghan you have been wanting to make!