How to Hold a Crochet Hook: The Best Way

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Oh.. the lowly crochet hook. Whether yours is beautiful, practical or just what you have to work with, you’re about to embark on a relationship with the most important tool you need to crochet: your crochet hook! Let’s learn how to hold a crochet hook!Woman in yellow sweater crocheting with yellow yarnA crochet hook and some yarn is all it takes to get started in crochet, making it one of the least expensive needlework crafts there is. I absolutely love to crochet. Give me a hook and some yarn and I’m in heaven. I love the rhythm of yarn flowing through my fingers as I work the crochet hook to make beautiful crochet stitches.

When it comes to crochet hooks there are a lot of choices, some more readily available than others. The most common hooks are aluminum, metal or steel, wooden and plastic. You can even try out an ergonomic crochet hook (get my favorite set here) or tunisian crochet hook or even find a special hook for Broomstick lace. But no matter which crochet hook you choose you must learn how to to hold a crochet hook for the best results.

vase holding metal crochet hooks

Why Is Learning To Hold A Crochet Hook Important?

Maybe this is your first time learning how to crochet. You have the two most important things you need:  yarn and a crochet hook. You feel ready to embark on this new adventure!

But then.. full stop… How EXACTLY should you hold your crochet hook? There seems like so many options? Over? Under? Something else?

And maybe you’re even feeling a little bit of anxiety wondering… is there a best way to hold a crochet hook? Is there a wrong way? Will it feel awkward and clumsy?

Learning how to hold a crochet hook is important for a few reasons. First, you really do need to figure out how to hold the tool for the craft! It’s a necessity! But also.. a good holding method makes for enjoyable crochet. If you feel uncomfortable, your hand could cramp. And tension in your body can flow right through your hands to create tension problems with your crochet. And if it’s not fun and comfortable, you probably won’t stick with it. And that would be a shame because crochet is a glorious hobby!

Its best to relax and try different ways of holding the crochet hook in a variety of ways to find what works best. Let’s start by talking about the crochet hook itself.

Crochet Hook Anatomy

The hook tip is the business end of the hook. It is what slides in and out of your stitches and will grab and hook the yarnthrough the work. Different brands will have different shaped hooks, but they all work the same.

crochet hook with parts labeled

The throat is the slanted part of the hook. The yarn loop pulls from the hook to the shank.

The shank is the most important part of the hook. This is a straight area where the stitches are formed to their final size. Stitches should be worked on this area. If you work them on the throat area instead, they will be too small.

The thumb rest is an indented area on some hooks which is a nice place to help with your grip or to place your thumb. Some brands will put the hook size here. Other hooks don’t have this spot at all, such as the wooden Brittany hook in the first picture.

The handle or shaft is where the hand rests as you work.

Hooks come in many sizes and to make things really interesting, different countries use different numbering systems. Here in the U.S. we use a lettering system, but manufacturers will typically list the metric equivalent as well. You can find a handy hook conversion chart here.  The pattern design will state the size hook used by the designer.

How to Hold a Crochet Hook

Hands holding pink crochet hook and dark pink yarn

Most crocheters find it best to grip the crochet hook in the dominant hand. So if you predominantly use your right handfor writing, eating, etc, then grip the crochet hook in your right hand. If you are a leftie, then use your left hand to gripthe hook. There are two main ways to grip a crochet hook. And many, many variations of those two grip methods.  So let’s talk about the Pencil Grip and the Knife grip.

To hold a crochet hook in the Pencil Position, envision yourself holding a pencil and grip the crochet hook in the same way.  If the hook has thumb rest, position it above your thumb and under your index finger.  Try to crochet a bit using the pencil hold and see how it works for you.  Does it feel natural to you?  Or awkward?  Pay attention to the rest of your hand or arm.  Do you feel relaxed and comfortable?  If so, the pencil hold might just be for you!

hand holding a crochet hook in the pencil position and a hand holding the crochet hook in the knife position

The knife method works similarly.  Just picture yourself holding a knife and hold the crochet hook the same way!  To hold the hook in the Knife Position, hold the hook in an overhand grip just as you would if holding a table knife to cut food. If the hook has a thumb rest, your thumb and index finger will settle into this spot.

The knife hold method seems to be a bit more popular than the pencil grip method. However, there is not one RIGHT or WRONG way.  There are also countless ways of positioning your index finger and other fingers while holding the crochet hook.  It is really about finding the crochet hook position that is most comfortable to you.

pink, red and green variegated yarn with brown wood hookHow To Hold The Yarn When Crocheting

Now that you’ve learned how to hold a crochet hook, maybe you’re wondering about yarn hold. It’s important that you maintain a bit of tension on the yarn as you are crocheting so that your stitches turn out even. To do this, weave the yarnin between the fingers of your left hand. With the crochet hook in between my two hands, the yarn to the skein will flow over my left index finger, under the middle finger, over the ring finger and under the baby finger. Other crocheters will do a little wrap around the baby finger or weave the yarn around their fingers slightly differently. You will find the best way that works for you.

These are just suggestions showing the most common hook and yarn holding positions. There is no one “right” way. If you hold your hook and yarn a completely different way, that is ok. The important thing is to form nice, even stitches and to enjoy crocheting!

Next up in the series we’ll go over slip stitches, chaining and how to finish off your work!

More Getting Started Tutorials

If you love learning all things crochet, you might also like to check out these getting started in crochet guides.  You can find all our Getting Started Crochet Tutorials here.

various images of crochet hooks and yarn1. Ultimate Guide to Crochet Hooks //   2. How To Read A Crochet Pattern //  3. Crochet Hook Sizes

So.. What is the Best Way to Hold Your Crochet Hook?

The best way to hold a crochet hook is YOUR way. That’s right.  Crocheting should be enjoyable and comfortable. Your hand should not cramp or cause pain when you crochet. So… try different crochet hook hold techniques to find one that is most comfortable to you! And when you find the perfect crochet hold for you, stick with it! It may look like mine. It may look like someone else’s. Or it maybe uniquely YOU. Find your hold and Crochet On!

I love seeing your finished projects! If you enjoyed making one of my patterns I’d love to see yours on Instagram, be sure to tag me @crochet365knittoo.  If you are on Facebook, stop over to the Crochet 365 Knit Too Facebook page or pop over to the Crochet365KnitToo Club and share a photo!  I’d love to see your work!

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Green Vase holding multi color crochet hooks

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8 Comments

  1. It’s amazing, isn’t it? As I mentioned, crochet hooks are made out of many different types of material. The photos show those that are most readily available to today’s crocheter and the ones in my own collection. As far as holding a hook goes, it’s all about achieving nice even stitches. These two hand-holds are the most common and good ones for beginners. But by all means, if your hand hold is different and you’re getting great stitches, that’s the perfect position for you!

  2. Thank you Cheryl! I always thought I held my hook wrong but couldn’t learn the way I saw everyone else holding it. Habit I guess. I appreciate you! I’ve actually only been crocheting a lot for the last 2 years but I love it!

    1. I think the most important thing is to hold your hook in a way that is comfortable to you that allows you get achieve even stitches and pattern gauge. I’m glad you’ve been ‘hooked’ into crochet! It’s my favorite hobby too!

      1. I felt the same way about holding mine wrong too but for some reason I can’t use the hooks with the rubber barrier on them the stitches seem to go over them. My baby finger gets quite sore and I would like to use a better hook

        1. I really like the Clover Armour hooks. I’ve found that there are many other brands that look the same but behave differently. You might try a Clover Armour hook and see if it works for you.

  3. I cannot hold my crochet hook in the conventional way, I just cannot do it , because I have always knitted I hold it and crochet similar to knitting it all comes out the same just takes a fraction longer

    1. How interesting! I haven’t tried knitting yet but I bet that makes a big impact on how you crochet.