A little while I got an interesting request from a Moogly reader: She wanted to know how people hold their hooks and yarn when they crochet! Well of course there's only one right answer...
... Which is, whatever way is most comfortable for them! There's no one right way to hold your hook and yarn - whatever is comfortable for you, and gives you the results you desire, is a-okay. And if you aren't getting the results you want, or you're uncomfortable, then it's time to try another way!
In general, there are two basic ways that most people hold their yarn: Pencil hold, and knife hold. In pencil hold, the body of the hook is above the hand, much like writing with a pencil, though the finger placement varies. I use a pencil hold, as seen below in this still from my latest Craftsy course (photo courtesy of Craftsy):
In knife hold, the body of the hook is below the hand, as if you were holding a knife to cut with it. Again, the finger placement varies - sometimes it looks a lot like the way you might hold a knitting needle. I don't usually use a knife hold, but when working with extra bulky I find it easier to hold the weight of the yarn this way. You can get a peek at this in a photo from a tutorial I did using t-shirt yarn:
As for holding the yarn - the variations never end! No tension, between two fingers, wrapped around one finger, wrapped around two fingers... I've even heard of someone tensioning the yarn between their toes! Portuguese knitting involves running the yarn behind your neck - I wonder if there's a Portuguese crochet variation that's similar!
So I'm putting out a call to all of YOU! Send me your photos of your hands (and toes if it applies) - holding your hook and yarn the way that best suits you! You might have to get a spouse, child, neighbor, or nice person on the bus to help. Just please keep them G-rated!
Because I'll be sharing them in a future post! Depending on the number of pictures I get, I might not be able to share them all, but I'll share as many as possible. I really want to be able to demonstrate all the wonderful ways crochet happens.
Please email your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org by July 8th- and put "Hook Holding" in the subject line! I can't wait to see how You crochet!
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Fun! I use the knife hold and hold yarn between my pointer and middle finger. I'll see if I can get the husband to take a picture ☺
I use knife or over handed method
I hold my hook like a knife, and my yarn goes underneath my forefinger (?had to use translate for that)
I never post or comment but this piqued my interest, I've never heard or seen(tutorials, or diagrams) holding the yarn the same way I do. (I can't be the only one!)
The yarn goes over my index, under my middle finger, over ring finger, and if i need more tension I wrap it (with the end inward) over my pinky, so when I crochet fast it doesn't slip away.
It creates natural tension to keep my work even. If I need to scroll through the pattern or w/e, I can usually hold my work one handed; I just put my thumb over the hook and insta free hand. I don't often work with bulky but I don't bother with the pinky wrap when using that yarn.
I taught someone how to do this cuz they said their work was always uneven, and it helped them have more even sized stitches.
I hold the hook on the right pencil style, although I've tried and succeeded to hold it knife style. I'm slower this way, and seems unnatural for me.
I learned to crochet with crochet thread when i was like 8.. very thin and gets away from you easily, so my mom or grandmother taught me to hold it this way.
How interesting Cassy! I'm sure that extra secure grip does indeed come from starting with thread! I've heard of people doing it this way!
I hold my yarn the same way. Something I started when using thread. I'm a knife hold right handed.
that is how i hold yarn too. have more control. i use the knife hold. am trying to teach myself the pencil hold but not having much luck....
Hi Cassy, I do the same thing! I wind my yarn 1-2 times around my index and weave it through my other fingers and wrap it twice around my pinky. I do this because it helps with tension, primarily because I have arthritis and my hands ache, so winding the yarn really helps. Holding my hook I swap between overhand & underhand for the same reason - my hand aches after a very short amount of time. I also wind a rubber band around my hook which helps a lot with the aches. 🙂
I hold my yarn the same way - I was taught by my mum who was taught by her gran and she always told me it was the only way to hold your wool to get the right tension. My yarn goes over the index finger, under my middle finger, over my ring finger and once or twice around my little finger depending on the weight of the yarn / thread (I love to crochet with thread). I hold my hook pencil style
Sorry to hear about arthritis aches but good to hear you still crochet, it's good for your hands to exercise. I have it also and love to crochet, it's relaxing for me and passes the time on long drives.
What is your chose of hoot brand you use I too, have arthritis and joint issues. Can't fine one that is comfortable. I love crocheting. I remember my mom always crocheting everything especially for her grandchildren. She had showed me many stitches. Love you mom
I'm left handed and I hold it it similar. I use my pinky and my ring finger to control tension as well as my index finger and my thumb and middle finger hold my work. I also learned at an early age and with fine crochet cotton, which I wrapped around my pinky twice to hold it. Interesting to read how everyone holds their work. I have tried to teach crocheting and knitters USA
Ly domthe knife hold! Whatever works!
I hold my hook knife hold but I'm a left handed crocheter! I juse this way to hold my yarn except I don't wrap it around my pinkie. I've tried to have if over my index finger, under my middle and ring finger and around my pinkie but it slips off or tightens around my finger.
I use the knife hold. (I guess? I was told it's a shovel grip.) Then for tension, the yarn goes around my left pinkie finger and up over my left index finger. I hold my work with my left thumb and middle finger. Sorry, no photos.
I think shovel is another good term for that hold! Thank you Em!
I use the pencil hold. And wrap the yarn around my pinky and over my index finger. I've tried the other way n I turn into all thumbs. Lol.
I'm a knife hold crocheter. I laughed the first time I ever read about the so-called "pencil hold" because, awkward me, I hold an actual pencil knife-style, too--and tight as a fist! I've seen many people use the same hand for the yarn as the hook, which is amazing to watch but way outside my coordination. It's hook in right, yarn in left over here.
I wonder how many of your readers would be interested in seeing a similar survey and/or photo collection for knit? I have a truly weird knit form, neither "throw" nor "pick" but some cockeyed hybrid that totally works for me. Probably because I learned both knit and crochet from books, not from seeing it demonstrated firsthand....
I suspect my own knitting style is a little wacky - which is one big reason I haven't done any knitting tutorials, despite the requests! 😀 Using the one hand for both is crazy impressive.
I believe I have one of your patterns for a beautiful sweater, I have made many , many sweaters, it's my favorite pattern! Whenever I try a new pattern I always go back to yours because it works and fits! Thank you! I have changed it somewhat and made from baby to 8-10 year olds.
😀 Thank you Delia!
I don't knit much but have learned to do so left and right handed which makes the garter stitch just by changing hands, kinda weird but it works. Being lefty in a righty world is always a challenge.
I think that's fantastic, Delia!
I used to use the pencil hold but when I did some nerve damage to my thumb from too much crochet (yes, I had a crochet injury!) I switched to a wide bamboo-handled hook and the knife hold and can't seem to go back. The wide handled hooks are much more comfortable to use than the plain metal ones. As for tension, I wrap the yarn around my pinky and then across my forefinger...
Ouch! Sorry to hear about your injury Sue, it's something I always worry about! I'm glad you were able to switch it up and keep going though! 🙂
Very interesting post. I don't think anyone else crochets like I do. I taught myself out of a book about 20 years ago. I can do all the complicated patterns but I can't really teach anyone else to crochet because I do it "wrong." Rather than work the yarn with my hook, I hold the hook still and wrap the yarn around the hook. I can't seem to unlearn this and crochet the "right" way. Every time I try hooking the yarn with my hook, all my stitches come out uneven and I feel totally out of control. I have to wrap my yarn around the hook.
Hi HaeWon! I don't think you're doing it wrong at all! If you are getting stitches that look good, and you can make whatever you want to make, then what you're doing is just different, but still just as "right"! 😀 I'm glad you have a method that works for YOU!
I do this. I've always thought it was because I was and the person who taught me was predeominantly a knitter
I feel like this might be common for people who learn from books. I do the same thing and I taught myself from picture tutorials online. I keep trying to do it the "normal" way but it feels I'm trying to write with my non dominant hand. I'm actually relieved to know other people crochet this way!
I also crochet like this. I can't do it properly no matter how much I try!
I do the same thing! Wrap the yarn around the hook. Of course it's more work for the yarn hand but so what. It's very comfortable for me and i can go fast.
I use the knife hold when I crochet...
And when I hold my yarn I have the yarn under all of my fingers except for my index finger. I find that it helps keep my tension more even that well. 🙂
I have arthritis so I swap from underhand to overhand and back whenever my hand starts to ache. [I also wrap a rubber band around my hook where my fingers hold it, which really helps with the pain so I can crochet longer at a stretch.] I don't have a preference for one or the other - overhand (knife) or underhand (pencil); they both are comfortable for me. 🙂 I guess I'm ambihookstrous? lol
😀 Best way to be in my opinion! Switching it up is for sure good for hand health!
Your comment about keeping it G-rated made me laugh and prompted me to share this. (Knife-hold, BTW.) I'm on a broomstick lace kick right now, and it involves a US size 50 knitting needle to be the broomstick. I've tried several recommendations for how to hold the thing while loading it with stitches, but the only way that works is... um... clamped between my thighs. I probably shouldn't do this in public, as I'd get funny looks.
They should just be glad the huge plastic needle is white and blue and not pink.
Hahaha! I do it the same way! 😀 That was the hardest part of making a video tutorial for it - NOT holding it between my legs!
I'm actually a thrower! It's definitely super weird to watch but has so far served me quite well in my projects. I taught myself to knit first in 2004, and since that was my comfort level with tension I maintained the yarn tension in my right hand when I figured out crochet in 2007or8 (tension = over index, under middle, over ring, under and around pinky). So, work is held in left, yarn and needle held exclusively in right, and while working I pinch the hook with left index and thumb so I can throw yarn over hook for each stitch and then manipulate the hook with my right. It definitely gives anyone familiar with either knit or crochet (or both!) pause when they see me doing it, lol!
OH, and I also loop the yarn that's wrapped around my pinky back through my palm and over my thumb...forgot that part 😉
I bet! 😀
I use the knife hold like my Grandmother taught me. I wrap the yarn around my pinkey, under my ring and middle finger and over my pointer. I work off of my pointer finger.
I have fibromyalgia so, after I taught myself to crochet in October of last year, I quickly discovered that I could not maintain the tension of the "working" yarn or hold the work-in-progress in my left hand because it caused pain and some inflammation in the upper (closest to the fingernail) knuckles of the index and middle fingers and in my thumb joint. After doing a bit of research, my husband and I were able to re-produce a contraption I found online that was made to help those with arthritic hands to continuing crocheting. Now, I don't have to maintain tension myself or use the tips of my fingers to hold the work-in-progress while I move along the top row. I even have more even stitches now!
I like to use the knife hold. I can't seem to figure out how to move my hand in order to make stitches if I'm trying the pencil hold... With the knife hold, I can just move my whole hand to make stitches and not focus on particular fingers.
I'm so glad you were able to find the method that allows you to crochet Zipporah! ♥
I use the pencil hold and my yarn is held between my index and middle fingers.
I use the knife hold. I also am left handed, but crochet right handed so holding the hook in pencil hold in my right hand is not comfortable, but can be managed.
I have no idea how I hold my yarn and will have to look at that later tonight.
Sipporah would you sahre what device worked for you?
I also have Fibromyalgia - and also arthritis in my hands
Thanks so much
I played the cello growing up so I naturally hold my hook like my bow, with my thumb bent and with a very loose grip.
I sent you an email with pictures and I'm super excited to see how everyone else hold the hook and yarn. Did you gave up on making a special post about it or did I miss it?
Absolutely love your blog!!!!
I've been traveling since the 16th, and putting toghether the post is on my to do list when I return! 😀
I'm so glad to hear that there are so many variations on how to crochet. I noticed in videos that most people secure their work with their thumb and middle fingers while the yarn is being fed via the pointer finger. I've been securing my work with my pointer finger and thumb and controlling the tension via my middle finger! I guess this happened because I taught myself to crochet from a book and never actually saw someone else doing it until I started watching videos! I'm trying to correct my method but can't seem to do it! My work looks good and my stitches are even but I'm wondering if I'd be able to crochet faster if I were doing it correctly. Muscle memory is hard to retrain!!
I think if what you are doing works for you, and you like the fabric you're making, you're just fine to work however is comfortable!