This is the second of three information posts aimed predominantly at crocheters outside North America. See also last week’s Yarn for Amigurumi, and the final post: Crochet Terminology.
Crochet hooks come in two main styles: in-line, and tapered. Within North America, these are often known as Bates and Boye styles, respectively, for the most common brands of each style. Outside North America, the tapered hook shape is used almost exclusively, and you may not be able to find any in-line hooks locally.
I think this is unfortunate, as I find the in-line hook shape preferable for forming uniform-sized stitches, and for not snagging the tip of the hook on my previous stitches as I draw up each loop:
- The head of an in-line hook has the same size, shape, and alignment as the shank (where your working stitch sits on the hook), so you can draw the hook back through each stitch in one straight line.
- If you’re not careful when using a tapered hook, you can easily make too-small stitches by forming them over the narrow tapered neck (between the throat and the fixed-width shank).
I should be clear though: although I have a strong preference to use in my own crocheting, there is no ‘best’ style of hook; just as you may hold your hook differently to me, you may also prefer a different style of hook. I can’t guarantee that my preference will work for you, but if you plan to crochet a lot, I do recommend you try more than one hook style, if you have the option, so you can find a brand you find comfortable and easy to use.
Buying In-Line Hooks
Susan Bates hooks (also sometimes sold as Red Heart brand) are the most well-known in-line hook, and my preferred brand, both for making amigurumi and for crocheting accessories and larger items. If you live outside North America and are importing yarn from abroad or buying from an online shop that stocks them (see my Yarn for Amigurumi post for a selection of online yarn shops that ship worldwide), I recommend you add one Susan Bates aluminium (US: aluminum) hook in your most-used hook size to your order, so you can see if you like it. If you do, you can invest in a selection of all your favourite sizes (or even a complete set) in your next order.
Note: I find the bamboo-handed Susan Bates hooks are especially comfortable, if you can find them. This isn’t a sponsored post (I don’t do that sort of thing!) – just my real opinion.
If you can’t find a Bates hook, or just don’t like metal hooks, there are other brands that also make in-line hooks, so I suggest you look around your local (and online) shops to see what you can find. You can use my graphic above as a handy reference to compare with the hook you’re thinking of buying, so you can tell what you’re looking for.
UPDATE: I’ve done some sleuthing and there’s a shop on amazon.co.uk that sells US craft products – including all the Susan Bates hooks! They do ship from the US, but the postage is free, so if you’re in the UK, you may want to check out SuperMart on amazon.co.uk – that link will show you all the aluminium Susan Bates hooks, so you can find your favourite sizes, both bamboo-handled and the slightly cheaper all-metal hooks.
Which hook style do you favour: in-line or tapered? (I’d be especially interested to hear why you love tapered hooks, if you do!) Please leave your opinions and brand recommendations below!