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To crochet you need crochet hooks, to knit you need needles. A hook is exactly what is sounds like - basically a little stick with a hook at the end of it. It is the hook that enables you to form the stitches that make up your crochet fabric.
© Can Stock Photo / kritiya | Using a Crochet Hook
Basically no matter which basic crochet stitch you are using, you form the stitch by inserting the hook through a gap either under a stitch in the previous row or between two stitches and use the hook to pull a loop of yarn through to the front of the work through that gap. The variation in the basic stitches relates to the number of times you wrap the yarn around your hook before and after you pull that loop of yarn through.
Crochet hooks can be made of a number of different materials including bamboo, steel or plastic. Usually the finer the hook, the more likely that it will be made out of steel. There are three main types of hooks, normal single hooked ones (short pins with a hook at one end), double hooks where there is a hook at both ends, usually in different sizes and Tunisian hooks that are long pins with a hook at one end.
Some brands offer ergonomic style crochet hooks with the hook inserted into a handle that is shaped to find in your hand. This style of hook is quite popular with older crocheters or anyone who might have problems with the joints in their fingers. The function of these hooks is identical to the plainer versions, they are just easier to use.
© Tracey Gordon Flickr.com | Crochet Hook Set with Ergonomic Handles
As a knitter, I always have a Crochet Hook or Two handy...
Regardless of whether you want to learn more about crochet and become an experienced crocheter or if you just want to add embellishments or edges to your knitting, a set of hooks in a range of sizes is a handy addition to you tool kit. The set I have comes from Birch. The set has 10 hooks ranging in size from 2.00 mm to 5.00 mm and I find that I usually have a hook in the right size for most of the projects I work on.
I also have my grandmothers set of hooks (antiques now) with smaller sizes for doing finer work. Nana used to do a lot of work with very fine crochet cottons, she made table cloths for all of her daughters and bedroom sets for quite a few of her grandchildren or their wives over the years.
Personally I prefer knitting but have been known to crochet a table runner or two in my time.