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2 Common Ways to Hold a Crochet Hook

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.

Crochet cast on

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.

Pencil grip

Pencil Grip Crochet Hook

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.

Knife grip

Knife Grip on Crochet hook

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.

Crochet Basics Guide

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5 Comments

Cindy Moore

My issue isn’t holding the hook but the pain I get in my LEFT arm from tensioning the yarn. I have completely given up crochet because of this. I get the same pain if I knit continental style so I knit English with no pain. But there’s no work around for crochet.

Reply
Abby Arner

Unfortunately I suffer from the same situation. It saddens me that I cannot crochet like I used to. It causes me so much pain that my left hand will become numb. I miss crochet, but I’m thankful I can still knit using the English method.

Reply
Maria Whopples

I hold my hook and wool in my right hand in other words I wind the wool round the hook with my right hand like I do with knitting. Is this because I am left handed? I knit right handed.

Reply
Stacey

I learned to knit before self-teaching myself to crochet, so I crochet with my right hand holding both the hook and tensioning the yarn around my right middle finger like I do for knitting. I use my left hand only to hold the WIP and to position the spot of the next stitch to make it easier to insert the hook. I think I’m a little slower crocheting than if I held the yarn in my left hand like most do (especially for making chains) since I have to let go of the hook to yarn over for stitches, but I’m happy with my tension and I personally have yet to experience any significant hand or arm pain from crocheting. I wonder if you tried this if it might help you be able to crochet again?

Reply
Celina

I’m actually left handed but I crochet right handed. I crochet with the knife hold as the pencil hold feels weird since I don’t write with my right hand. I was taught crochet with my left and the knife hold was the most comfortable. I also knit right handed.

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