Today was one of the 10 or so perfect days of the year here in Winnipeg. It wasn’t too hot or cold, there were no mosquitoes to speak of, the sun was out and the sky was beautiful. In short, a perfect day to walk down to my local second-hand book store and coffee shop, the Neighbourhood Cafe, with my crochet.
I found and bought a wonderful book, “Plain and Fancy, American Women and Their Needlework 1650-1850” by Susan Burrows Swan.
It showed many of the tools our foremothers used, and it started me thinking about the tools that I use everyday.
Most of them are virtually identical. Any weaver from 1650 could sit down at my loom and be up and weaving in seconds. My spinning wheel may have a bike wheel instead of a wooden spoked one but it hasn’t changed in it’s essentials at all. And although my hoop, needles, threads and scissors are really wonderful, my very best needlework might be as fine as the average 17th century six year old’s!
Crochet in it’s present form is a very new type of needlework, only from the mid-1800’s, but people have been using hooks to pull loops of string through loops a lot longer. Netting is most likely crochet’s direct forebear. It really came into its own during Ireland’s Great Famine and then in North America, but that is a story for another day. Originally hooks were all very small, and were made of silver, pewter, bone, and ivory, and wood. A vintage hook is a real treasure today, but for everyday use, I prefer mine.
Like all crafters and makers, I have very strong opinions on my tools. So I thought I would tell you about my beloved set of crochet hooks. My wonderful local independent yarn store, Wolsley Wool, is now only one block from my apartment which is truly unfair and very hard on my self control. They got me hooked on my current hooks. (pun intended)
Once they got me to try a 4.0 mm Knitter’s Pride crochet hook I was absolutely unable to use anything else. They’re compressed ash (also used for baseball bats) and even though they look delicate they are really very sturdy. The colours are beautiful and help me choose the right size easily too. The wood of my set feels light, warm, delicate, alive and perfectly balanced in my hands. I keep them in my grandmother’s 1950’s DMC blue vinyl hardback crochet hook case, which is perfect protection for my darlings.
The hooks I use most often right now range from .5 mm – 3.0 mm. Lately I I have been really into crocheting with thread and very thin yarns. These hooks have the perfect inline throat for me (As you can see above) as well as a head that is neither too sharp nor too nor too rounded. Even the teeny-tiny steel hooks have a head and throat shape that improved my crochet a great deal.
Now, I am not saying that this is the greatest set of hooks period, just that they suit me and my style of crochet admirably.
You`ll find a link to an excellent post on the anatomy of a crochet hook at the bottom of this post.
I may just have an unhealthy attachment to my set… 🙂
Since I teach and craft, it isn’t unusual for me to have a hook in my hands for up to 30 hours a week when I am really on a tear. My tools are too important to me to skimp.
I should probably say that no one paid me or gave me anything in exchange for this review. This is just what I like to use.
Although if Furls wants me to give their hooks a try I would be very very happy too!
My Knitter`s Pride sets (wood and steel) were pretty pricey as hooks go (although nothing like the furls!) but since I was a weaver before I fell in love with crochet it didn’t seem too bad to me.
After buying a 45″ floor loom and all the assorted doodads weavers need (!) I think I am mostly immune to crochet hook sticker shock.
Like all serious String People, I have serious opinions on my tools.
If you crochet, I would love to know what your favourite hooks are? Any other steel hook lovers here? Has anyone ever tried the Furls? From the reviews I have read they seem to legitimately be better then sex, coffee, a massage and chocolate…all at the same time… 😉
But until the happy day that Furl’s calls me, I will continue to enjoy my hooks, my books, the sunshine, and a nice cup of tea. That is enough pleasure for me.
Lots of love,
Baba StringThings from Winnipeg
PS. As mentioned above, here from the Crochet With Passion blog, is an excellent overview of what makes one hook different from another.Enjoy!