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review: ergonomic crochet hook

It sounds like many of you are wondering about the ergonomic crochet hooks I bought a few weeks ago, so I’ll give you my opinions so far. Please bear in mind that this is only based on my personal experience with it (the Eleggant Hooks ergonomic crochet hook set).

ergonomic crochet hook review

First impressions

The wooden egg feels good in my hand. It picks up some heat and is warm and comfortable to hold. I’m not entirely sure where my forefinger and thumb are supposed to rest on the hook – is there a preferred way to hold it? My fingers would naturally rest on the textured area used to open and close the mechanism, but that is heavily textured and not comfortable. I shifted my grip to hold further along the shaft, and that was more comfortable.

The initial problem I see is that this hook design is very dependent on your hand size. My hands are small, and, with the egg in the palm of my hand, I wanted to hold the hook too low down (a crocheter with very large hands may find the opposite). The amount of hook shaft that extends from the mechanism is quite short too, which, once I have my fingertip resting on the shaft, makes it really short. That’s not a problem – it’s just something different to get used to.

When I first received the hooks, some of them had quite a sharp ridge over the head, which was catching and snagging on the yarn. I filed the ridge down to smooth it and it was much improved, although it still seems more pointy than what I am used to, and so more prone to split the yarn.

Hook shape

My main difficulty is with the ‘hook’ part. I am very loyal to the Susan Bates hook shape, but this shape is completely different. It’s thin, pointy, and the shaft is narrower than the size of the hook, which makes it more difficult for me to maintain my usual tension.

hook comparison
For each picture above, L: 3.5mm ergonomic hook, R: 3.5mm Susan Bates hook

If you like this style of hook (closer to a Boye hook) you shouldn’t have a problem with that though. However, the combination of narrow shaft and very pointy tip of the hook meant that the tip would split my yarn every time I tried to draw back up through a loop. In consequence it took at least twice as long as usual to complete a stitch, trying not to snag the yarn as I drew the hook up through each loop, and my tension was much tighter than normal. You can see the result of this clearly with my Christmas PocketAmi: I made the entire snowman with the new hook, and then gave up and used a regular Susan Bates hook for the other two. See how small the snowman’s body is in comparison (even though they all have the same number of rounds)?

christmas pocketami by planetjune

I just want to reiterate at this point that this is not a design flaw with the hook – it’s just the style of hook that I am used to. If you like the Boye hook style, you may love this hook shape….

Ergonomics

My main hand problem when I crochet is actually with my non-crocheting hand; the hand that holds the work in place rigidly grips the work without moving for long periods of time, and that is the main cause of my (crochet-related) pain. So, unfortunately, no hook would address my main concern. If you experience pain in your hooking hand or problems gripping a regular hook, I definitely think the egg shape would help you – it is comfortable to hold and lets you control more of the positioning with the palm of your hand, so there is less pressure on your forefinger and thumb.

One point I should note: either because of the hook shape or the egg, I found myself making more exaggerated twisting motions with my wrist than I normally do when I crochet. I wonder if this could lead to a wrist problem in the long term? I really don’t know.

Overall

The kit itself is small and convenient, and I do like the support of the wooden egg. I’m considering buying a new Susan Bates E hook and trying to hack it into the mechanism (the shaft is slightly too wide to fit without modifications) – if that works I would have a fair test to see if my difficulties were caused by the shape and style of the hook attachments, or the design of the system itself. I have a feeling I would really like it with my favourite hook attached, and it may also solve the extra twisting motions I experienced.

If I can get my preferred hook to work with the egg, I will definitely report back – I don’t want to put people off buying one just because I don’t get along with the narrow Boye-style hooks!

I can’t recommend you buy or avoid this hook set – I really think so much depends on the user. If you like the hook style it’s supplied with, you may love it. If your hand is not abnormally large or small, you may love it. If you are lucky enough to have a chance to do so, I’d suggest you try crocheting with one before you buy. I had held mine in my hand, but I didn’t try actually crocheting with it.

Crocheting is a repetitive activity, and as such can lead to repetitive strain injuries. The most important thing to remember – whatever hook you use – is to take regular breaks, and stretch your hands (and probably your arms and back too, if you are like me and end up hunched up over your work). Your body will thank you for it!

Over to you…

Do you have any experience with ergonomic crochet hooks, or solutions for crochet-related hand/wrist pain? Please share in the comments!

26 Comments »

  1. LindaMade said

    it seems to me that the egg would be way too big to be comfortable… i wrote a few posts on hand comfort, having spent about a year in the phsyical therapists office. These stretches really help me and I do them all the time:

    http://www.craftstylish.com/item/1891/soothe-your-tired-hands

    I also love the grips you can buy for crochet hooks, although I have had a hard time locating them and sometimes they are more expensive than the hook!: https://www.craftstylish.com/item/1570/get-a-handle-on-your-crochet-hooks

    My main gripe is that every so often companies will come out with bigger grip handles for hooks (for instance, the new Susan Bates bamboo-handled aluminum hooks) but they never extend them to the smallest sizes! I don’t have as much of a problem with a death grip on size H and above, but size C, D, F? Yes please. 🙂 Anyway, I really recommend the cushy grips, especially the ones by Boye, if you can find them.

  2. Teddi said

    Thanks for the review. I thought it looked like my fingers would end up resting on the textured part, too, so I was curious to read your review. I’d also have to agree with you, though. My aching is usually in my left hand which is holding my project and yarn, so it’s probably not going to solve my minor problems any more than just taking a break.

  3. Mia said

    June! Thanks for the great review. I’d been wondering how those hooks were working out for you, and you really discussed all the finer points of what it is to hold a hook while crocheting 🙂

  4. Josefin said

    Oh, that was a good review. But as with all fancy things, they dont excist in Sweden.
    The ergonomic crochet hook here is an ordinary hook, with a plastic handle, that is round, just like the hook. I havent tried it, but people say its ok to use.

    I have bought the ergonomic hook from Clover, the one with a plastic handle, and I think its great! I wish I had one of each size. Now I just have too, 3,5 mm and 4,5 mm. I have ordered a 4 mm too.
    They are just lovely, as I held my hook to tight, and now I have more to hold, so I dont hold it that tight anymore.

    But I have the same problem as you, holding to tight with the non-hooking hand. And I dont know what to do about it either.
    I guess best is to let go sometimes and stretch, maybe using a stress-ball to soften up the hand.

    Looking forward to hear more about your hook-experience!

  5. Denise said

    The textured metal part of the hook looks as though it would be really uncomfortable.
    I bought the Provo Craft ergonomic hooks (they have the Susan Bates style hook) and found that I do have to exaggerate my wrist movements. The shape of the hook relieved the stress and cramping in my hand, but if I crochet for longer periods of time I start to get something like tennis elbow.
    I also struggled with using a death grip with my non-working hand. Inspiration struck and I changed the way I hold the the yarn and project in my non-working hand to more of a continental knitting grip. If it’s good enough for knitting, why not use it for crochet? I no longer suffer from pain in the non-working hand, my yarn tension is better, and projects go quicker.
    Thanks for sharing your review! Your pocket Christmas amis are adorable.

  6. Shanna said

    A bit about ergonomics:

    I have had some ergonomics training, but I am not a professional ergonomist (so don’t sue me or anything because of what I say, ‘kay?).

    One of the best things you can do if you are having problems is to change how you do what is causing the problems – like Denise said. If you can’t change the way you hold your project to minimize the force you have to use, then the next best thing is to take frequent breaks. About every 5 – 10 mins, take a “microbreak”. Just stretch your hand once or twice. Then about every 15 – 20 mins, take a longer break. And every hour or so, get up and do something different for a few minutes that uses your hands differently or doesn’t use them at all. Definietly do some hand stretches a few times a day.

    As for using your wrist more with the egg hooks, yes, that could end up being a problem. Be careful with that. If you start to feel wrist pain, switch to a different kind of hook.

    I have problems when I crochet with small hooks as well, and I really like the Clover hook I have (size F since I use almost exclusively that size hook for amigurumi). However, I can’t find what I did with it and have done a couple of projects without it, including longer stretches of crochet than I have done in a while (Christmas is coming, ya know?). Now my right hand hurts again (especially my thumb)! If I don’t find it soon, I’ll have to buy myself a new one!!

  7. thanks for the review.

    I am wondering if the foam pads we have for silverware for occupational therapy might work better.
    link

    I have a small egonomic crochet hook myself about 1.5 cm around, and for other hooks, I wrapped them in duct tape. This also helps the palm which gets sore from the smaller needles.

    A lot of my patients got wrist pain from the wavy motion in picking up the loop. I would show them the “up down” motion similar to knitting, while you twist the hook from 9 to 6 o’clock to get the loop. This requires a lot more left handed movement, but there are several ways to feed the thread if my index finger gets sore.

    • June said

      Some good points raised in the comments! Nancy, I also crochet by twisting the hook to catch the loop, and yes, I don’t feel I can do that using the egg hook. I will be writing a follow-up post on my ergonomic hook experience shortly… Stay tuned!

  8. Joy Abara said

    Very useful review, thanks.

    I have very small hands, so after trying different kinds of crochet hooks, I’ve found that the Clover Soft Touch hooks work best for me. They’re of Japanese design, I believe, so they’re the right size for small hands. The hook part isn’t exactly like a Susan Bates hook, though, but I’ve able to work for very long periods with the Clover Soft Touch without pain.

    I will be trying the new Japanese Hamanaka hooks that I’ve ordered from eBay –will let you know if these are any good. Cheers 🙂

  9. natasha said

    thanks for the review. i was checking out the egg online and found you. i did see on their listing that you can cut off your favorite hook and use it in the egg, which would work better for me because i personally like that exact type of gray susan bates hook that you showed in the photo. i do a lot of freeform crochet and have a favorite in that gray hook in a 2.75, i hold it in a death grip and last night , right before i finished a piece, it snapped right at the grip. gah! i went right online and started looking around. i hate the boye shaped hooks and i found a japanese style that has a squishy grip and is double ended, but i don’t like the way the hook looks. i did find a set of bamboo ergonomic hooks from china that look like the clover soft grip ones, but with a more bates-like hook. i find that the clover ones have a shape that i don’t like. one thing i have done is to make a polymer clay handle on some of my smaller hooks and it does help. i am still not sure whether to get the egg or not. i wish i got see it in person.

    again, thanks for the review and sorry to yammer on so:)

    • June said

      Natasha: I intended to do a follow-up post on this, but I haven’t got around to it yet! I did actually cut down a grey Susan Bates aluminium hook (with the assistance of my husband) and it really didn’t work well for me. The flattened ‘grip’ area on the hook was too wide to fit into the shaft of the egg’s mechanism, so the only way it would work was to leave a much longer portion of the hook sticking out of the egg.

      I have now given up on the egg. Nice idea, but it really doesn’t feel comfortable for me – it’s too much of a wrist/arm workout!

  10. Sherry said

    Quote: “My main hand problem when I crochet is actually with my non-crocheting hand; the hand that holds the work in place rigidly grips the work without moving for long periods of time, and that is the main cause of my (crochet-related) pain.”

    This is exactly the resent problem I have been having, I went to a Doctor, and he diagnosed Arthritis in my thumb joints….very painful, it took almost eight weeks of NO crocheting to finally be able to pick up my hooks again, and I still have some pain, so I really have to baby this area! All great advice above, the exercises , breaks, and switching to knit, less tension, when I feel myself speed up or apply lots of tension – I take a break for about 2 minutes and remind myself of the pain it will cause! However what has really worked for me is , I wear a thumb brace on my left hand at all times when I am crocheting, purchased it at WalMart for around $17. I will never crochet without it now, I am crocheting pain free!!
    The thumb brace wraps around your wrist, and has an extension which a metal piece sewn into the brace which runs down along your thumb, immobilizing the bending of the thumb.

    http://www.muellersportsmed.com/Specialty_Thumb_Stabilizer.htm

    The brace is made by “Mueller sport care. ( http://www.muellersportsmed.com) 1-800-356-9522

    It looks bulky, but I have learned to crochet just great with it on, I use Clover soft touch crochet hooks.

    Hope this helps someone else.

  11. Jodi said

    Hi, I am looking for an egg shaped crochet hook in N. I bought the egg shaped wooden oval handle (looks like a large egg) with the different crochet hooks screwed on. It doesnt come in anything larger than a K. Due to elbow pain I cant crochet unless i am using the egg oval handle and my pattern calls for an N. Please let me know if you know where to purchase the larger hooks for this handle. thank you, Jodi

    • June said

      Jodi, I suggest you contact the manufacturer of your egg hook. There’s more than one company that make egg-shaped hook handles, and I don’t know if the hooks are interchangeable between brands. The manufacturer should be able to give you a definitive answer as to whether they produce hooks larger than a K that are compatible with your egg handle. Good luck!

  12. Gail Cortese said

    I have been crocheting for about 18 mos. and started a farmers market business featuring scarves, mittens, hats. I have made over 200 scarves, about 70 pairs of mittens and that many hats. I had no problems with my hands until just recently. I was working on an item that required holding more tightly with my working hand. Had my hubby make me some handles that fit the hooks H and J that I usually use. He just got some 5/8 inch doweling, cut into 4 inch pieces and drilled down into the end with drill bits that match whatever size hook I am using. They look like a hot dog on a stick with their crochet hooks extending from the flat part to tip. Using a drill bit the size of the hook lets the hook handle fit tightly into the hole drilled.The addition of a fatter handle makes me grip much more openly and prevents the tight tendonitis producing grip of death. Easy and cheap to make and works very well. You could use fatter doweling if you had larger hands. I just tried different size doweling at the store and picked the one that felt best in my particular hand. If I had just taken the time to stretch and rest early on this would not have become a painful problem. Hope this helps some of you work more painlessly and cheaply to boot! 🙂

  13. Gladys said

    I need to purchase ergonomic crochet hooks and have decided the Clover brand would best suit my needs. The cost of those make in England are beyond my budget. I have found on Amazon Clover Takumi Crochet Hooks for much less. These are made in Japan. Are both made in the same style? I like the Boye hook best. Clover Takumi hooks similar to Boye and Susan Bates? I would appreciate your input. Thanks!!

    P.S. I need to purchase this by Oct. 31 to get the best deal.

  14. pam said

    Anyone have neck, upper back and tricep pain? It sneaks up on me and takes months to heal. I’m trying to figure out how I can crochet differently.

  15. Karen said

    My hubby bought me 2 of the Boye Ergonomic handles. They’re not bad but have some issues.

    Pros: It’s a decent size for my little hands, it keeps me from curling my baby finger up too tight and from hyper-extending my thumb while pushing through a tight stitch. In general it keeps my hand more open and more relaxed. (I have a tendency to crochet very tight and very stressed, I haven’t found the peace and relaxation most people claim to get from knitting, crochet or sewing.)

    Cons: it has a rubbery texture, meant to avoid slipping of course, but it attracts lint and feels a little yucky at times. It uses little rubber plugs to fit various hook sizes, but they don’t keep the hook from spinning inside
    the handle. I’ve been experimenting with using multiple plugs to secure the hook better and/or using foam pencil grips or other materials to reduce the slipping and spinning inside. It’s not perfect yet, but greatly improved.

    I’ve also considered making custom grips from Polymer clay, but would have to make one for every hook and worry that if I goof one I’ll have to trash my hook, my favourites of which are hard to find.

    http://www.amazon.com/Boye-Ergonomic-Aluminum-Crochet-Handle/dp/B004ALF72G

  16. Carmen said

    Hi June,
    since I also had some problems after crocheting for a long time, I have started to use the ADDI SWING HOOKS. They are really comfortable since they have an ergonomic handle, similar to the ergonomic handle they sometimes use nowadays in ergonomic pens.
    This was a good investment I have made, because it is a great relief to my hand. On Amazon, you can also find more customer reviews about this crochet hook.

    Best regards and loving your blog!

    Carmen

  17. Vanna said

    What do you think of hamanaka hooks? Are they easy on the wrists and hands?

  18. Kay said

    Your website shows the Eleggant crochet hook system with 8 hooks.

    The manufacturer/seller only shows 6

    Where do the extra and larger hooks come from?

    Thanks

    Kay

    • June said

      Kay, please note that I wrote this review when I purchased my set, almost 7 years ago. Since that time I believe the company has changed hands, and it’s entirely likely that the contents of the set has also changed. I suggest you contact the manufacturer or distributor if you have questions about their product specifications and availability.

  19. Laura Shaffer said

    I discovered the egg in Moms’ things I love it and can work much longer without fatigue.
    I’ve lost it and really want another set. Can you help me? 541-941-3879.
    Love to crochet but don’t last long with all the other hooks I’ve tried.

    • June said

      I’ve had a quick Google and unfortunately it looks like the company has gone out of business, Laura.

      Maybe someone reading this has a set they no longer use and would be willing to part with? (If so, let me know and I’ll pass your email address along to Laura!)

      • Laura Shaffer said

        I would love to purchase one from someone who didn’t like the wooden egg crochet
        set and I will pay the full purchase price for it plus shipping. I’m so lost without it as the others I’ve tried hurt my hands. I have long hands for a woman.

        Please call 541-941-3879 I’m technology challenged HA HA Thanks for your help.

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