Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Yarn Tip 2: Hook Size Matters

It does! Also for knitting needles, of course! Since I'm a crocheter, I'll be focusing on hooks.

When working with any yarn, you have to have the right hook size. The simplest reason for this is, if you have a bigger or smaller hook than what is required for a particular yarn and project, you will end up with looser or tighter stitches. I remember when we were taught crochet in high school and we were only given those very small steel hooks. We had no knowledge of hook sizes and only used those steel hooks to work with mercerized cotton yarn. Most of us (if not all) ended up with curled up doilies. Because of that, most of my classmates lost faith in crochet - simply because they thought they could never make it right. Little did we know that we only had the wrong hook size.
So how do you know if you have the right hook size? Well, you can start by looking at what the pattern requires. That sounded like a brainless advice, but some people get confused what hook to use just because the sizing label on their hook is different from what the pattern is requiring.

You see, there are different sizing labels for crochet hooks and knitting needles: US, UK/Canadian, Japanese, and Metric. You might think your hook with the size 10/0 is different from another hook with size 6.00 mm. They're just the same. One uses the Japanese sizing label and the other is being labeled in its equivalent metric size.
You just need to have a conversion table! I plotted this one out. You can also download the PDF file HERE.
I also plotted a conversion table for knitting needles. You can download the PDF version HERE.
Sometimes though, even if you have the hook the pattern suggests, the outcome might not be what you expected (or at least look like the picture of the finished project). I think this can be attributed to the tension of the person. First off, you might want to check the gauge of the pattern or the yarn. If your gauge doesn't match that of the pattern (or yarn), then you might want to adjust. If you have really tight stitches, use a hook one size bigger. If they're too loose, use a smaller one.

It can be subjective too, you know. There are times when I don't follow the suggested hook size. I always experiment with different kinds of yarn and I always make chains with different hooks to check what looks best.

So that's my small tip for the week. Hope I made some sense!

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