Great news: There is no right or wrong way to hold a crochet hook. However you hold your hook is just fine, as long as it works for you.
But if you’re just learning to crochet, it’s helpful to know that there are some common for holding a crochet hook. Most people hold their crochet hook either like a pencil or like a knife. This guide explains those methods, and why you might choose one over the other.
Image via Craftsy blogger Ashley Little
Why does it matter how you hold your crochet hook?
The simple answer to this question is that it doesn’t.
Plenty of crocheters hold their hooks in unique ways and don’t realize it until someone says, “You hold your hook weird.” Your method of holding a crochet hook probably isn’t weird — but even if it is, as long as it works for you, then it doesn’t matter at all.
That said, knowing common ways of holding a crochet hook can be helpful.
- First, as a beginner, knowledge is confidence!
- Second, crocheting can lead to hand and wrist pain, and changing the way you hold your crochet hook could reduce or eliminate such pain.
- And finally, certain types of crochet can be easier if you hold the hook a specific way, which is certainly good to know as you advance in the craft.
The basics of holding a crochet hook
Before we dive into the logistics, you should know a few key rules for holding your crochet hook:
- Crochet hooks often have a flat part in the middle of the shaft that serves as the thumb grip. This is where you place your fingers.
- Your hook should be facing toward you or downward; you don’t want the hook portion facing up or away from you.
2 common ways to hold a hook
Almost every guide to crochet basics will show you two ways to hold a hook: with a knife grip or a pencil grip.
You’ve certainly held both a knife and a pencil many times, so you know the gist of it. Apply that posture to the crochet hook and you have a sense of what they each look like.
However, it’s important to know as a beginner that it may not be as cut-and-dry as some suggest. A “knife grip” or “pencil grip” may look a little different from one person to another.
Turn the crochet hook so that it faces towards you. Place your thumb on the thumb grip on the side closest to you.
Pinch the hook so that your index finger comes to the other side of that thumb grip. It’s almost as if you’re touching your index finger to your thumb, except that the hook is between them.
Your third finger may either curl next to your index finger or extend straight out a bit. Your fourth and fifth fingers aren’t used in the grip and usually curl down toward your palm.
The shaft of the hook will rest on your hand between your thumb and index finger.
You can see instructor Kim Werker demonstrate this grip above.
Turn the crochet hook so that it faces toward you. Place your thumb on the side closest to you.
Pinch the hook with your middle finger (instead of your index finger, as in the pencil grip). Place the index finger flat along the top of the crochet hook.
In this grip, the bottom or shaft of the hook will rest against your palm. In fact, it’s sometimes called an overhand grip because the hand sits almost completely on top of the hook.
Above, you can see instructor Salena Baca using this grip.
When to change how you hold your crochet hook
If you are new to crochet, try both options (with your own variations) and see what works best for you. For more experienced crocheters, there are only a couple of situations in which you may want to change the grip.
When a new technique is too hard
Sometimes just changing the way you hold the crochet hook will make a tough technique easier. For example, people often recommend a knife grip for Tunisian crochet (which uses slightly different crochet hooks). When trying bead crochet, wire crochet, broomstick lace or anything new, start with your usual method but switch it up if it’s not working.
If you experience hand pain
There are many reasons that you might get hand pain when crocheting, and there’s more than one way to fix it (such as ergonomic crochet hooks and wristbands). That said, switching from a knife grip to pencil or vice versa could help as well.
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