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Friday, August 17, 2012

Amigurumi Basics by a Beginner II:
Crochet Hooks

My Go-To Clover E 3.5mm Soft Touch Crochet Hook
The beauty of amigurumi is that it doesn't require a lot of tools. I remember at one point I was looking at scrapbooking and it didn't take long to realize that it's quite the expensive hobby.  However, for amigurumi and crochet, all you really need is a crochet hook (and you can get by with one size), a yarn needle, a pair of scissors and some pins.  You may already have the last two items lying around in the house, or you can look in your local dollar store for them.

Here are two articles about crochet hooks:
• Nerdigurumi: An overview of the different parts of a hook, and a comparison of various brands.
• The Itsy Bitsy Spider: Another overview, a size chart (US and metric size), plus a look at crochet hooks made from different materials and how they affect your crocheting.

Learn how to hold a crochet hook:
• Crochet Spot: Photos on two most common methods: the pencil and the knife holds.

What else and my two cents:
• Each yarn label will tell you the recommended size of hook to use. For amigurumi projects, you usually use a hook one or two sizes smaller than the suggested size because you need to crochet tightly so no stuffing shows through.
• If you are having trouble inserting your hook in the stitches, that means you're crocheting too tightly and you can try a bigger hook. If your work ends up having more holes and the stuffing is showing, you should go one size down.
• A related concept is gauge, and that's another nice thing about amigurumi: you don't have to worry about gauge. Your creation usually doesn't have to "fit" someone, unlike crocheted clothing for example.
• What's your favourite crochet hook? The hook I used the most is the Size E Clover Soft Touch. I first started crocheting with another brand without the thumb rest, but after using the Clover kind, I'm never going back. (Make it more comfy to hold your hooks with pencil grips. Check out the tutorial on Instructables.)
• Be prepared for some aches and pain in your hands, especially in the beginning. Here's a good reminder video to keep your hand relaxed while crocheting.
Next up: Yarn


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