All About Hooks, Part 2 - Hook Sizes
©2012 Sandra Petit, http://www.crochetcabana.com
Return to All About Hooks, Part 1 - General Info.
Here are some charts that will give you an idea of which hook you might use for which yarn type, according to the Standards and Guidelines for Crochet and Knitting (Yarn Weight System section) compiled by the Craft Yarn Council of America.
Hooks can be sold by letter, number, or millimeter. If you aren’t sure, these charts will help you determine what size the hook you’re holding might be. You will notice that as you go higher in the alphabet, the larger the hook. In other words, a J hook is larger than an F hook, a J hook can also be called a #10 hook, while an F hook is a #5 but that doesn’t mean 5 mm. This is different in steel hooks (smaller hooks, used for thread work) where as the number on the hook gets higher, the hook is smaller. The second chart illustrates steel hook sizing.
Note that size may be slightly different from manufacturer to manufacturer and from country to country.
Many hooks have the size noted right on the hook - sometimes they show the letter size, and sometimes they show the size in mm, which can be confusing. My preference is to see the letter size, but over the years I’ve finally come to remember which mm means which letter size. I translate for myself. If you have this problem, you might consider keeping a translation sheet (like the chart above) with your supplies. If you have a hook with the size stamped on it rather than engraved into it, you might like to mark it in some other way because if you use that hook a lot, the stamp is going to wear off. If you make mostly afghans as I do, hook size is not a big factor and I usually just eyeball the hook and say, yeah, that’s about the right size for this yarn. The hook and the yarn have to be compatible. Your yarn label should give you a suggested size hook, though you don’t have to use that size if you don’t want to. If you are making something where it MUST come out the proper size, then you need to check gauge, but that’s a whole different topic.
Not all hooks have the size written on or embedded into it. This is especially true of custom made hooks. Some manufacturers even color code their hooks. I can’t remember which size the hook with the brown top is or what size the green one or the orange one is supposed to be, but it is nice for you young folks with a memory. Much easier to grab a brown hook then to have to look through them all to read the size. Some color coded hooks will also have the mm written somewhere on the hook or handle.
If you don’t know the size of your hook, and it isn’t noted on the hook itself in some way, there are tools to figure out what size the hook might be. Alternatively, you can compare against hooks you do know the size of, which may be easier.
The big thing is to remember which hook you started with (you might consider keeping it with your work or attach a card with the pertinent info on it) so you don’t start with one hook, put the project down and use a different hook when you pick it up again. That is bad news for your project which will appear smaller or larger at that point.
It’s my opinion based on what I’ve seen on the yarn labels, plus my personal experiences, that if you use a hook that is too large for the yarn you’re using, you will have a very "holey" or lacy piece. If that is what you’re going for, that’s fine. If you use a hook that is too small for your yarn, you will have trouble keeping it on the hook and your work will be stiff. Of course, your project may require that your work be stiff - like for a purse, perhaps, or a tapestry piece. Amigurumi is also often done with a smaller hook than normal.
If you use a thinner yarn, but want to use a larger hook, try using two strands rather than one. I once worked a double strand of fingering yarn using an H hook. Those tiny hooks are hard on my fingers. I used a very soft yarn and it was a pleasure to work with. Came out nice and soft and thick.
Hook sizes T through W are difficult to find. I found some on Ebay at one time. Turn of the Century also has some larger hooks and MoEZ (MoEZ) are large, though they don’t use the letters to assign them. Here is a size chart for MoEZ hooks.
Stitch Diva has maple hooks in very large sizes.
MOEZ also has afghan hooks and cro-hooks.
If you want to crochet using beads, I found Bead Wrangler had a chart of what hook to use with what size bead. Very handy if you do that sort of work. Additional info here from Bead Wrangler.
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