Written by Kate Curry
Have you ever found the perfect yarn - of course you have! Before you get working on your next project, you’ll need to know what hook to use with your new dream yarn. But…how do you match a crochet hook to your yarn?
Before you find the perfect hook to match your yarn, you need to know a little bit about yarn weights and crochet hook sizes.
Understanding Yarn Weights
Yarn weight doesn’t mean the actual weight of the yarn - it’s referencing the thickness of the yarn strands. Yarn weights will be categorized by numbers, with the smallest number (0) being the thinnest type of yarn (lace) and the largest number (7) being the thickest yarn (jumbo).
These numbers are used to sort yarn between these 7 weights of yarn. These are where we get the categories of lace weight, sport weight, worsted weight, and more!
Understanding Crochet Hook Sizes
Crochet hooks, rarely called crochet needles, come in dozens of sizes and can be made out of plastic, metal, resin, or wood. When referencing crochet hook sizes - we’re talking about the thickness of the hook itself, not the length of the hook. The larger the hook, the thicker the hook will be - sounds about right!
In the USA, we organize crochet hooks by letters, with the further down the alphabet you go, the thicker your crochet hook will become. So a B hook will be smaller than an E hook. In Europe, crochet hooks and needles are organized by metric measurement or by number. These different measurements can sometimes confuse crafters. There are tons of crochet hook conversion charts online that can help you out!
A USA crochet hook B/1 is also called a 2.25mm or a UK 13. Talk about confusion! No wonder there’s so many conversion charts out there!
Check The Label
Before you make too much trouble for yourself, check any tags on your yarn. The majority of yarn will come with a tag that will tell you what the recommended hook and needle sizes are for that specific type of yarn.
If for some reason there is no tag with hook info, take a picture and reach out to the yarn maker for help.
Read The Pattern
Did you buy a kit that comes with the yarn? Check the pattern, the necessary hook size will be included in the directions, most likely the materials list.
Use A Gauge Tool
There are a ton of cool gadgets out there that can help you with your hook hunting! There are yarn weight gauge tools that can be found online, just like this cute little guy!
Eyeball Your Yarn
An old eyeball trick I was taught was to lay the yarn side by side to a few crochet hooks. The hook should be a little thicker than the yarn, but not by much. They should almost be the same thickness. This is one way to eyeball your yarn and guess which hook best matches the yarn.
Test It Out!
When in doubt, test it out! Do a few rows, or even better, a swatch. Once you start working the yarn, you will be able to tell if the hook you chose is right! Not sure what to look for? I’ve got you covered!
These three swatches are made out of the same worsted weight silk yarn, same number of rows, and same amount of chains. (7 rows of 12 double crochets)
The smallest, to the left was made using a 3.75 mm hook is 2"x2". The 'correct' sized swatch in the center, was made using a 5.00 mm crochet hook is 2 1/2" x 3". The last, and largest swatch, to the right, was made using a 8.00 mm crochet hook is 3 1/2" x 3 1/2".
What Happens If My Hook Is Too Big?
If your work is all loose with floppy chains, your hook is too big. When making this, it was hard to find my stitches, they were so floppy!
What Happens If My Hook Is Too Small?
If your work is too tight and it’s hard for you to work with the yarn, your hook is too small. I ended up getting a cramp by the time I finished this swatch - each stitch was so tight I had to push the yarn pretty hard.
There’s No Yarn Police Here!
With fiber art, like all art, there really is no right or wrong. As long as you are comfortable and happy with how your WIP is looking, then you’re using the right hook with the right yarn!