I’ve always favoured the most basic of crochet hooks, you know the sort, straight metal ones with a little grip detailing the size of the hook. Most of mine are by Pony and for years and years I’ve got on with these like a house on fire. Until about 6 months ago, that is, when I got a very painful case of RSI in my wrist and had to put down my hooks completely for a while, I also had to stop almost all other things I do with my left hand, cleaning, stirring dinner on the hob, you name it, it hurt like mad.
I reckon a couple of months went by before the pain turned to more of an ache and it became more sporadic, only bothering me when I did something repetitive for a long time. So cooking and cleaning were back on the menu but crocheting was still causing me some issues. First of all I started working in shorter bursts, it meant I watched parts of films instead of crocheting all the way through and I saw views from the car window instead of only the yarn in my lap. I had hoped the problem might go away but another couple of months passed and I thought I’d better start looking for a way round the pain so I started experimenting with different hooks.
I doubt I’m unique, but rather than move the yarn round the hook as I’ve seen a lot of people do, I tend to keep the yarn very still and twirl the hook to pick up the yarn, this is one of the reasons why I love the Pony hooks, they’re perfectly cylindrical and the aluminium finish means they spin nicely in your palm. I also tend towards tighter tension than some and probably hold the hook a little too tightly, all of which I’m sure is contributing to the aches and pains. It has meant that my quest for the perfect hook has been a challenge, newer, ergonomic designs like the Addi Swing hooks are out of the question for me as they assume you move the yarn and not the hook. So I thought I’d give an old Clover Soft Touch hook go, I’d been given it as a gift and never used it as it doesn’t lend itself well to being turned in your hand. I actually got on with it surprisingly well and the elliptical shape worked out ok due to the smooth plastic finish. I couldn’t help noticing, however, how short these hooks are, a whole 2cm shorter than my beloved 15cm Pony hooks which meant it didn’t quite rest in my hand as I like but more poked a hole in my palm after a while.
From left to right: Clover Amour; Prym Soft; Pony with a Susan Bates Comfort Cushion; Clover Soft Touch
Then I chanced upon the discovery of Prym soft hooks on Janie Crow’s site and thought these would be the answer to my prayers, longer than the Clover Soft Touch at almost 14cm, and with a soft cylindrical grip, what more could I ask for? The euphoria subsided quickly as I found the shape of the head to be too bulbous, lacking in any definitive point it made for hard work. It’s not that I want it to be pointed but I found it didn’t naturally find it’s way through stitches and the result was a notable tightening in tension in the summer top I’m making and as I said earlier, my tension is already snug. So I ripped back the rows and put the hook to one side and set out to buy another Clover Soft Touch to continue my top.
A trip to my LYS who’d run out of Clover Soft Touch left me a bit lost, keen to work on a new scarf pattern for Simply Crochet while I was away this last week, I really wanted a new hook. Chatting to a member of staff, she suggested I try the Clover Amour, at double the price of the Soft Touch I was reluctant, but she passed me one to try and I was persuaded. It turns out this hook is my friend, 14cm, the same head style as the soft touch and with an almost triangular soft grip, it doesn’t spin quite like the aluminium hooks but it seems to be giving my wrists a rest and the soft rubbery handle doesn’t allow me to grip too hard. I will gradually be collecting the set I think.
So back from my trip I forgot all about the Amazon purchase I made a couple of weeks ago, clutching at straws I had tried out holding a hook inside a bendy hair roller, I’d removed the metal insert which gives it hold and replaced it with my hook, the idea had legs but the rollers were too fat and so with the power of the internet I found these Susan Bates Comfort Cushions.
As far as I could tell these aren’t easy to get hold of in the UK so I purchased some from Amazon and they’ve taken a while to arrive. There are 2 sizes available and as I do most of my crochet on smaller hooks I went for the smaller size which fits up to a 4mm hook. They don’t go on easily, not onto a 4mm hook at least, a little liquid soap is recommended on the packaging but I’m not sure it’ll come off willingly now its in place. So far this feels like another good option for me, squidgier than all the other grips it means I can use my existing longer hooks but while the foam feels robust I’m not convinced it won’t degrade with use – only time will tell.