But, what size of hook should you buy and what thickness of yarn? Does it actually matter?
Well, it does matter 🙂
Hook Size Matters!
Hooks are made in different sizes from very thin o very thick ones.
The size of the hook controls the width of your stitch and tension of your project. Look at the picture above and compare between 2.00mm, 4.00mm and 8.00mm hooks.
I have worked 3 rows of single crochet stitches and used the same type of yarn (100% acrylic, 8ply), just different colours. The thinner is the hook (smaller) the stitch will be smaller and tighter as well. With 8 ply yarn, you could find that using 2.00mm hook is not impossible, but quite hard as the yarn is thick for the hook.
On the other side, using 8mm hook for 8ply yarn is ok to use, but the tension is loose. It really depends what project you are making – e.g. amigurumi toy pocket on pants (2.00mm and 8ply yarn may work) or shawl (8.00mm hook with 8ply yarn may be suitable to create the bigger stitches for airy effect).
Usually, the size of the hook is written on the skein label:
I would not invest in a huge set of crochet hooks or starter kits yet. You may find, that it really frustrates you, when you are unable to hold the yarn and the hook (if you do not know how to, check my previous article here: How to hold a hook & yarn) or you may simply find that it makes your hands very sweaty, takes trillion years to learn it and you do not have the patience for it…and you will move on to something else, like …hm… golf 🙂
In case you fall in love with it, then there is probably a good time to invest a little bit more into a simple crochet hooks set.
I do own my own little set (pictured above) and it does not cover the entire available range on the market, but it covers probably the majority of my projects. I have purchased an additional 8.00mm hook, due to a little project with T-shirt yarn, which is suitable for bigger projects like rugs, 0.25mm crochet hook for a lace crochet and a simple plastic 4.00mm crochet hook for my daughter to learn with.
The above picture shows the difference between yarn thicknesses. I have used one size hook (4.00mm) to work 2 rows of single crochets on 8ply, 4ply and 2ply yarns. What is a ply?
A single strand of yarn is called a ‘single-ply’, and most yarns are made up of two or more plies roved together. A yarn with two strands is a 2-ply, three strands make a 3-ply but 4-ply yarn might sound ‘heavier’ than a single ply but this is not necessarily the case. It really depends if each individual strand is very fine or not, therefore 4-ply yarn could be much lighter than a single-ply yarn made of one very bulky strand. That is a usual problem with Aran yarn. So many people is asking the questing: how much ply is Aran? Well it is probably close to 10ply thickness, but it does not have true 10 ply 🙂 if it makes sense.
More thinner yarn (usually less plies) the project is smaller but also the stitches are looser with my 4.00mm hook. It is very important that you use the right yarn thickness and hook size appropriate for your project to avoid disappointments. Using too thick yarn with small hook will not only give you a hard time while crocheting, but also creates a dense piece, which may not be stretchy enough (but in some cases you may like that e.g. crocheting a bag).
I always try to match the yarn thickness with the recommended hook size as it brings the best of the yarn properties and also it is easier during the crochet process.
Hook size and yarn thickness guide
I have put together the relationship between the yarn thickness and recommended hook size here in the following table:
It is not a comprehensive guide, but something what I have put together from my own experience and knowledge. Wraps per inch (WPI) is and indicative guess of your yarn thickness just in case you do not know how much it is. Perhaps, you have some left over yarn at home and you are wondering…hmm what is the gauge?
WPI Wraps per Inch
Wrap your yarn string over a pencil, tight but not too much, not crossing strings between each other. Just like on the picture below:
Measure how many times you have wrapped the string within 1 inch. In my case it was 14 x. Compare that number with the table above. That gives you an indiction of 8ply thickness. And guess what 😉 Yes, this was 8ply, 100% cotton yarn !