A crochet hook is a tool consisting of a slender handle with a hook at one (or both) ends, which is used to pull thread or yarn through loops to create crochet stitches. You can also use a crochet hook to create hairpin lace, to pick up dropped knitting stitches, or thread beads onto string. Sizes, handles, and materials that make up crochet hooks can vary. Each type has specific benefits and drawbacks from the ease of use, price, and comfort.
Steel are for the smallest sizes and are often used in fine thread crochet such as in doilies.
Aluminum are available a large range of sizes. Aluminum hooks allow you to crochet smoothly and quickly.
Plastic are available in all the common sizes as well as jumbo hooks. They are very large and are usually made of hollow plastic, because it is lightweight.
Bamboo are lightweight and warm in the hand and are available in all but the smallest and jumbo sizes.
Tunisian are longer than regular hooks, and sometimes have a hook on each end. A crochet hook with a hook on both ends is also called a cro hook. Like a knitting needle, you keep your stitches on a tunisian crochet hook as you create the fabric. Tunisian crochet is also called afghan crochet, and the fabric looks different from normal crochet, and a little like knitting.
Ergonomic have larger soft handles or handles you can insert a regular hook into. They are designed to reduce the strain in your hands as you grip a small hook for an extended period of time. There are also stress relief gloves that can also help to ease hand soreness or pain.
Knook is a long crochet hook with a hole running through one end. You thread a piece of yarn through the hole in the knook needle, and you can create stitches that look like knitting, but with a single crochet hook rather than with knitting needles.
If you look at the label of any skein of yarn, there will be a suggested hook size listed, and an estimated number of stitches per inch (or 4 inches). Crochet a swatch with the stitch pattern you are going to use for your project, wash your yarn, let is dry, and then measure your stitches. You may need to swatch again with a larger or smaller size hook, depending on if you are a loose or tight needle.
Here is a link to a helpful chart from the Craft Yarn Council which tells you the recommended hook size for each weight of yarn, and an approximate number of stitches per four inches in single crochet.
There are plenty of books full of crochet patterns and how-tos
Find the right yarn for your crochet hook at the yarn buying guide.
Check out ThinkCrafts.com for more crochet project ideas and inspiration!
With over 30 years of sewing experience and more than 20 years of crafting I've rarely met a craft I didn't like, and have all the gadgetry to prove it. You'll often find me in my sewing and crafting room where I design and make garments, quilts, scrapbooks, cards, paper crafts, dolls, home decor and jewelry; just to name a few. I'm always interested in trying the next new thing and love to share my knowledge with others. For great sewing and crafting inspiration, ideas and tutorials, check out Keepsake Crafts.