Tools of the Trade

In her book, Crocheting in Plain English, author Maggie Righetti notes “hooks can harpoon you,” and that is exactly what happened to me today. And as I learned the tools of the trade matter. Sometimes more than you’d like.

I had to be out of the house for several hours to attend a meeting, so I set aside the many-colored-multi-squared afghan-that-has-eluded-me and instead worked on a shawl from my to-do pile:

Serene comfort crochet shawl with the large plastic hook that is one of my tools of the trade
Serene comfort crochet shawl with the large plastic hook that is one of my tools of the trade

The shawl was a better project for a meeting because it uses only one yarn and is composed entirely of half-double crochet stitches. As long as you aren’t the person charged with taking minutes, it is the perfect project for a meeting. Easy enough that you can pay attention to what is being said without making errors in your crochet work. As I left the house, I grabbed my project bag and stuck a 15mm arrow-headed aluminum hook in my purse.

The shawl I am working on is from a free pattern available at and is made with their Homespun yarn. I love Homespun yarn because the colors are soothing, and the feel of the yarn is silky. Another plus, is that because it is a polyester/acrylic blend, projects made with the yarn can easily be washed and dried.

What drives me crazy, however, is how difficult it can be see the stitches and the way the yarn can get hung up on the hook.

As it was, the meeting lasted three hours, so I was glad that I had brought the shawl to work on, but the hook I used kept snagging on the yarn. Although the hook had no visible scratches or nicks, it did not glide through the yarn with any ease.

I tried the usual tricks of putting lotion on the hook and rubbing with waxed paper, but neither brought any improvement. In a last ditch effort to find something, — anything — that would make the project go more smoothly and quickly, after the meeting ended, I stopped in at a local yarn store (LYS) and checked out the selection of size N hooks.

I looked over the hook display and found that there was a choice of exactly one. Since it was different from the hook I had been using (an arrow-headed aluminum hook with a U-shaped throat), I bought it.

When I got home, I took my newly acquired blunt-point, wedge-cut, plastic hook out of its packaging and sat down with the shawl. To my delight and surprise, the loops glided off the hook with ease. If I had thought to purchase the hook before the meeting, I would have made much more progress.

I tend to develop loyalties to different tools that I use, and I sometimes forget that not all tools are suited to all projects. So if you find yourself struggling to get a yarn and hook to work together, it can help to try different hooks to see if there is something that works better.

One thought on “Tools of the Trade

  1. I agree: the tools of the trade are so important!

    I don’t crochet, but I find that having the right knitting needle for the right project makes a world of difference to my hands. After years of insisting that I hated plastic needles, I discovered that they are much easier on my hands than metal ones when I knit with cotton. Now I have a wide array of plastic needles just for that purpose.

    I still haven’t much use for wooden or bamboo needles, though. In fact, I started a large argument/debate on Ravelry about this a couple of years ago. ;D

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