This afternoon, while at my daughter's first crochet meeting at her school, I made a great discovery! Someone has been listening to us! And by someone I mean someone within the world of yarn manufacture!
In the past, many a time we'd shop for yarn and all we'd see is a recommended knitting needle size. We crocheters would then have to convert that information over to figure out the proper sized crochet hook that would be needed for that particular yarn. For a beginner, this could be a daunting task if there is no one around to ask.
Today many yarn manufacturers have gotten on board for recommending crochet hooks too. Only they have been recommending crochet hooks based upon the recommendations they've been giving to knitters. This means the information has incorrect, causing many crocheters to wonder why their work is so much stiffer than that of knit. Those crocheters with many swatches under their belt know why that is!
They know crochet is not the same as knit because each crochet stitch has an extra "leg" in the back. This is why (most) crochet fabri is not truly flat; it's what makes it dimentional! And to make crochet with beautiful drape, this must be accounted for when creating crocheted fabric! Using a hook too small for a given fiber makes for a stiff fabric, and who, other than those creating crochet sculptures, wants that? Not me!
Yarn manufacturers should be recommending a hook that is at least a half or one whole millimeter size larger so that we get that softer drape we want! And the good news is, we've been heard! I noticed today that Lion Brand is on board (at least with their "wool ease" line; I haven't checked any others):
On the left is a label from Caron's "Simply Soft." On the right is a label from Lion Brand's "Wool Ease." Do you see what's different?
With this being National Crochet Month, I give LION BRAND a Crochet Hook Salute for a job well done! Readers, lets see if we can find other yarn labels giving out the proper information! If you spot one, please let me know! :)
Naturally I want to add that the recommendations are just that -- recommendations. It's not a hard set rule, and does not take the place of proper swatching and gauge measuring. But by the yarn manufacturer paying attention to the needs of the crocheter, it's a step in the right direction!