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I crochet and knit, and sometimes choosing one over another is like that age-old question: who do you love more, mom or dad? But, if I’m being honest with you, crochet almost always wins. Why?
Because crochet is so much more socially friendly than knitting! First, you have only one tool you have to carry (a hook), and this tool generally is not poky (unless it’s one of those super tiny metal lace hooks, brrrrr, I’m staying away from those!). Also, a crochet hook doesn’t take much space to when you carry it, hold it or work with it.
Trust me, I was knitting with those long straight needles at my mom’s one time, I was like a pariah, cause no one could or wanted to sit next to me (and get their ribs poked with the needle). And the last crochet winning point. While you work, you are only dealing with one loop at a time so when you stop to go and have dinner or attend to nature, you just need to secure that one loop and you are good.
With knitting, you have many open loops as your work is wide, and if god forbid one of your needles falls out… Don’t get me started, I’m still shaken from the last time this happened.
In crochet, you only have 1 tool to hold, a crochet hook. But, how do you hold it? Is there the RIGHT way to hold it, is there a wrong way to hold it? I bet you have seen people holding the hook in different ways. The good news, there is no ONE way to hold the hook. The best way to hold the hook is the way that works for you. It’s important to hold the hook in a way that is comfortable for you. Another good news is that there are only a couple of general ways to hold a hook, so it won’t take too long to learn how to hold a crochet hook and which one of the common ways fits you best.
First thing first: just like a pen, you can hold a crochet hook in your right hand or in your left hand, it’s what feels right to you. I am left-handed, but I hold my hook in my right hand cause that is how I was taught. In the images below, I show how to hold the hook in a right hand, but it would be the same for the left hand just in reverse.
Two ways to hold a crochet hook:
Holding a hook like a pen:
In this method called “pencil grip” or “pencil hold”, you are holding the top part of the hook the way you would hold a pen when you write, between your thumb, index finger and middle finger, with the body of the hook resting on the top of the space connecting your thumb to the rest of your hand. Your ring finger and your little finger are tucked away in your palm.
This way of holding a crochet hook is really just like holding a pen or a pencil. The pencil method works great, especially when working with a fine-weight yarn and tiny hooks. When working with a smaller hook, pen hold seems to be the preferred way to go. My mother-in-law (who is an AMAZING crocheter) holds her hook this way, and she is so fast, I think she is a crocheting Wonder Woman.
Holding a hook like a knife:
In this method that called “knife hold” or a “knife grip”, you are holding the hook like you would hold a kitchen knife where the top of the hook is in between your thumb and bent pointer finger, and the body of the hook is encased in the palm of your hand wrapped with your ring finger and your little finger. Your thumb is resting on the thumb rest of the hook.
The knife method is the way I personally hold the hook as I find it more comfortable. I find that when I hold my hook this way, it’s firmly gripped in my palm and is not escaping anywhere.
Neither one of these ways is better or more correct than the other, it’s just a matter of comfort and preference.
Practicing holding the crochet hook
You will find that different hooks call for different methods of holding the hook. Also, if you have a tight tension in your crochet work, or if you have issues with yarn tension in general, changing up the way you hold the hook might help.
Holding a hook is a new skill just like holding the working yarn or making the stitches, it just takes some time and practice. You can practice holding your hook while making a slip knot, making a chain or crocheting a row of single crochet, all these repetitive movements will give you great practice in holding the hook.
Give it a try holding the hook both ways while trying to simply wind the yarn around the hook and see how it feels. If you are a crochet beginner, pick one method and use that holding method while you are learning. If you find later another comfortable way of holding the crochet hook, you can always switch.
For more visual help, here is a great video tutorial on the main ways of holding the crochet hook:
The important thing is to find the way of holding the hook that works with your style, hook and personality, that feels good on your hands, especially when you are working on large projects and holding the hook for a long time so you can enjoy the process. Yes, there are popular ways, but what is the correct way for you?