Crochet hooks come in different sizes and styles, and can be made out of metal, wood or plastic.
The size of the hook is the diameter of the hook 'shaft', which determines the size of the crochet stitches. The hook 'lip' grabs the yarn to form the loops.
If you are just getting started, it's best to start with a standard metal 4mm hook.
Once you know how to work the basic stitches, try some other types of hooks to find the one that suits you best.
Anatomy of a crochet hook:
Yarns can be made from all sorts of fibre that can be natural, synthetic or a blend of both.
Everything you need to know about a yarn is on its label (also known as a ball band), usually using a system of symbols. The information should include:
- Recommended crochet hook size
- Shade/colour number
- Dye lot number
- Fibre content
- Yarn weight and thickness
- Weight of yarn ball
Cotton: A natural fibre very popular for crochet because its smooth texture gives good stitching definition, showing intricate patterns clearly. Cotton is breathable, robust, easy to wash and doesn't shed fibres easily, so it is great for homewares, gadget covers and bags.
Wool: A very warm and hard-wearing natural fibre produced from sheep's fleece, that can be pure or blended with other fibres. It will soften with wear. Wool is ideal for blankets, hats and gloves but bear in mind it can shrink when washing.
Alpaca: One of the warmest natural fibres, with a soft, luxurious fuzzy feel. Will not show precise stitch definition like cotton, but will give a softer look. Perfect for winter items.
Cashmere: An ultra-luxurious velvety-soft natural fibre spun from the hair of the goat. Often blended with other fibres to make it more affordable. Great for scarves, snoods or jumpers.
SYNTHETIC FIBRES AND YARN BLENDS
Nylon: A strong and lightweight synthetic fibre. As its man-made it improves washability of the fibres it is blended with, preventing shrinkage and felting. Its good for items subjected to heavy wear.
Acrylic: This synthetic fibre is cheap to manufacture and often comes in bright shades that are hard to create with natural fibres. It is robust and ideal for toys, novelty items and budget projects.
Ribbon: This yarn may come as a flat shape or be tubular, which becomes flat when wound into a ball. It shows great stitch definition and looks good with openwork stitch patterns.
Spun yarns: These yarns are loosely spun and are less dense than regular yarns. They prevent finished items from feeling heavy and ideal for jumpers and blankets.