Monday, June 16, 2008

Article: "Hooked on Hooks"

                              "Hooked on Hooks"
                 by Vashti Braha, CGOA Secretary

Each year CGOA’s Hook Collectors Special Interest Group selects a specially designed, limited-edition crochet hook, imprinted with “CGOA” and the year, to celebrate our national Chain Link Conference.

Brian Bergmann of Brainsbarn ( was chosen from a list of four finalists to create this year’s commemorative hook, which will be carved from the exotic fine-grained, lightweight hardwood, chakte kok (Sickingia salvadorensis). Each reddish-brown hook will cost $30 and feature a pretty 12mm cloisonne bead and two silver accents.

The current selection continues the tradition of singling out a hook that will appeal to collectors: Hooks selected in recent years have included Dodo’s Design decoratively carved teak (2007); Lacis’s dramatic curved abalone (2006) and Grafton Fibers’ double-ended tool carved from European olive wood (2005). Indeed, selecting, collecting and displaying these hooks is a popular practice among our members.

As our membership grows each year, so, naturally, does attendance at our conferences. This puts more crocheters at risk of contracting what is whimsically called “Hook Acquisition Syndrome” (HAS). As I write this, our members-only forum is busy coming to terms with the fact not everyone will be able to get his or her hands on the BrainsBarn hook the painstaking handcraftin process means that supplies are limited. (Place an order for the 2008 commemorative crochet hook on the conference website.)

Most American crocheters grew up on the only two crochet-hook brands consistently well-stocked in craft stores: Susan Bates (Coats), with its “inline” head, and Boye (Wright), with its tapered throat. As crocheters can attest, loyalty to one camp tends to be lifelong. Occasionally, a crocheter will leave her camp out of necessity: s/he will discover, perhaps at a conference or local yarn shop, that a hook made of wood or bamboo eases arthritis. Some shop around to relieve hook- handle discomfort; others find that a brand not their own works better with particular novelty yarns In my own case, at a class in single crochet variations, I found that certain stitches are easier to make when I use a hook with a distinctly pointy head for working into the back “hump” of a stitch.

If you suffer from HAS, you’ll be happy to know that the Hook Collectors Group, which is open to all CGOA members, will meet during the conference. It is here that crocheters see and hold the one-of-a-kind embellished hooks for the first time. Others catch the HAS bug in one of the most enduringly popular classes offered at Chain Link conferences: “Make Your Own Crochet Hook” taught by Nancy Nehring.

The CGOA 2008 Chain Link Conference will take place in Manchester, New Hampshire, July 23-27 at the Radisson Hotel Manchester. For more information, visit

Published in Yarn Market News May 2008 issue, page 36.
Reprinted with permission from Karin Strom, YMN editor.

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