Sunday, April 24, 2011

Hook Experiment

So here's the experiment. I crocheted two swatches with two different 4.00mm hooks, a tulip, and a clover. The yarn used was Knit Picks Swish DK in I-forget-which color.

The swatches consisted of 20 chain stitches, followed by 2 rows of single crochet, followed by 3 rows of double crochet, followed by another 2 rows of single crochet. I crocheted both at the same sitting, in the same light, and in the same mood, with the exception of the chain and first two rows of single crochet on the tulip, which was done separately (long story).

These are the results, after I ironed each swatch, and tried very hard not to stretch them:

 As you can see, the tulip is noticeably larger than the clover, and has more curvature.

 These are the measurements:

The clover is about 12cm along the bottom curvature, about 11cm along the top curvature, and about 5.5cm tall.

The tulip is around 13.5cm along the bottom curvature, around 11.5cm along the top curvature, and around 5.5cm tall, maybe just a smidge more.

So what does this mean? The tulip produces a larger width, but not that much larger a height, than the clover.

Recall from my previous post:

The tulip (etimo in this photo), has a larger diameter than the clover at the proximal (fancy word) throat. Not fancy: I mean closer to the pad where you grip it.
I don't feel like I have the ability to accurately check on the various diameters on the 4.00mm hook, so I'm gonna assume the situation is similar. That would mean the size of the hook, 4.00mm, mostly determines the height of the stitch, but the diameter of the throat close to the pad determines its width. I'm not sure what to hypothesize about curvature.

This is sounding like an 8th grade science fair project, so I'm gonna sign off, for now.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Understanding Underway

Back to the issue of hook sizing. I emailed Tulip Co., Ltd, the makers of Tulip crochet hooks, in Japan. These are, by far, my favorite hooks.

They look nice, they feel nice, they're ergonomic so my hand doesn't cramp too much-I love them. I "hinted" to my husband that a set would make a great birthday present, and he didn't disappoint. Thanks, hubby!

Well, not only does Tulip make great crochet hooks, they also have wonderful customer service. They got back to me in less than a day (time difference?), with a photo that explains a lot. At least to start with.

It seems the difference between hooks of the same size but from different manufacturers has to do with the change in diameter along the throat of the hook.

For reference, this is the illustration from the Crochet Guild of America's page.

It seems, from the photo from Tulip, that what's the same in hooks of the same size is the diameter where the throat meets the neck. What differs between hooks of the same size can be the diameter of the throat at a specific distance from the point where the throat meets the neck. So, in the image:

Both the Tulip and Clover are 2.2 mm hooks. But close to the pad, the Tulip's diameter is 3.3 mm, while the Clover's is 2.6 mm. (Another question: Do all crochet hooks have throats of the same length?)

I guess this means that as the loop of yarn slides up and down the throat while you crochet, it expands more or less, depending on which hook you use. Clearly, more on the Tulip than on the Clover. (Not to dis Clover hooks. I have several, and they're also very nice).

The next step is to try to understand how this effects the appearance of your stitching. I sense an experiment coming on. Stay tuned.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Hook Variations-Does Size Matter?

I posted this question on Crochetville, but if anyone out there has any input, I'd be interested to hear it. Why are hooks that are supposedly the same size, actually different?

I looked at 4 size G hooks. From top to bottom:

One bamboo hook by Clover, 4.0 mm
One aluminum hook by Tulip, 4.0 mm
One aluminum hook by Clover, 4.0mm
One (I think steel) hook by Boye, 4.25 mm

The actual hook parts are clearly not all the same size. They're also different shapes. And most importantly, they produce different size stitching. So I can't simply switch from one to the other mid-project and expect the same result.

So I got to wondering, what does the size actually measure? From what part to what part of the hook? And how is the angle of the hook from the neck determined? And what about the angle of the point of the hook? And exactly how does all this effect stitching?

Thus far, the answers remain a mystery, at least to me.

Friday, April 15, 2011


All these high-tech devices. They're supposed to streamline your life, right? But once you get them, they need accouterments. If you carry around a Kindle, you need to protect it, in case it drops. My husband wants a case for his new ipad. I'll post pix when I get started with it.

On the low tech side, I take some notes at work on old-fashioned index cards. I need an easy way to carry them around. I made a kind of mock-up with duct tape:

But I want something nicer. Something with a pocket for spare cards. And a pen loop. And a little pocket for post-its. and a space in front for writing. Something crocheted. I have some beautiful Koigu sock yarn, just waiting for the right project. I think this is it:

Sunday, April 10, 2011


I finally finished my pillow. Made another one, inspired by Lucy at Attic 24's ripple pattern.

Spring Flowers

 It's Spring, and I thought I'd share some pictures of new flowers, some man-made, some not.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Yarns Part 2-Expensive

These are some projects that were made with more costly yarn. The question is, Is the experience or the outcome worth the price?

This hat was made with Naturwolle/Muench Yarns BlackForest , which I bought from Jimmy Beans Wool (they send you candy with your order). At $25 for a skein, it was the first really expensive wool I bought. The hat came out pretty but a little big. Was it worth it? I don't know, but I feel special when I wear it.

 This is Noro Kureyon. I think I bought it from Jimmy Beans. It runs around $9 for a 110 yard skein. Noro is magnificent yarn. The colors and transitions between colors are breathtaking. I feel like I'm making art, not a crochet project, when I use it.

 This one is Blue Sky Alpaca Sportweight in red, and a little amber. I think I got it from Amazon. It runs around $9 for 110 yards. The color I used seems to have been discontinued, the closest one now is Scarlet, but I like this one better. It's not as much fun to wear as it looks, but the yarn feels luscious.

Next is Manos. I think this is my favorite yarn. It's made by a fair trade women's collective in Uruguay, and no two skeins are the same. I love the way the shifting colors turn out in a spike stitch. It's a rich looking and feeling yarn. It's $12.50 for a 150 yard skein.

Manos Del Uruguay Silk Blend Multi in Woodland

 And Manos again in Autumn

And this is Mission Falls Merino~$7 for 136 yards. The colors are intense and lovely, but it's not that  different from my beloved Knit Picks Swish DK, which is less than $4 for 123 yards.

Bottom line, I do enjoy working with expensive yarns, so from an experiential point of view, i.e. as meditative therapy, they're worth the price. They certainly seem more luxurious, but maybe I just want to think that because I want my money's worth. I think they separate less when you're working with them than, say, Lion Brand or Red Heart. I guess it's just a matter of your project, your mood, and how much pocket money you have.