Monday, June 5, 2017

Steel Crochet Hooks

I blogged recently about a new set of steel crochet hooks I'd ordered.
While I was satisfied with the quality for the price, they weren't exactly what I'd been expecting.  Mainly, the metal part of the hook didn't run the full length of the handle and the texture of handle was more plasticky than the Clover Amour hook I was replacing.

Since I'd had success on my first order from AliExpress, I decided to order another set of steel crochet hooks (so I'm really set for years, if not life).  This time, I tried a different product from a different seller:  Super Nova 10-piece hook set (not an affiliate link-- not even sure that site does the affiliate thing).  As of this posting, the set costs $6.20, shipping included.

(The product name/description includes the words "Mom Grandma Gifts".  Ha!  Great stereotyping, there, Super Nova. (g))

They came fairly quickly (considering the source).  I placed my order on May 19th and received them June 2nd.  Two weeks from order to receipt may not sound that fast, but it's not bad for something coming from China.

When they arrived, I was surprised by how small the package was and figured they must be slightly shorter than the hooks I'm used to-- but when I did a side-by-side comparison, it was clear that they're the same size as the Amour hooks.  Some sort of optical illusion... ;o)

They arrived in a thin plastic mailer bag with a couple of layers of cardboard reinforcing the side of the product bag with the heads of the hooks.  Here they are before unpacking:

Steel Crochet Hooks

This set has 10 hook sizes (0.5, 0.75, 1.0, 1.5, 1.75, 2.0, 2.25, 2.5, 2.75, and 3.0mm), so it's a slightly wider range than the other set of 8 that I reviewed last time.  (This set is missing the 1.25mm hook that is included in the other group, but instead, it has the 0.5, 0.75, and 3.0mm hooks.)

A plastic tapestry needle and five plastic locking stitch markers are included as a bonus.  (I've had some similar stitch markers for a while and find them useful, so it's nice to have a couple more color options.  As for the needle, personally, I prefer metal needles to the plastic type, but it's always good to have a spare for your project bag.)

Steel Crochet Hooks

As you can see, the handles are stamped with the size in millimeters-- nice, clear, and durable!  The hooks come in a beautiful range of colors, too.  (But why does it always seem to happen that the hook size I use most (1.75mm) is one of my least-favorite colors of the bunch?! (g))

There are a few discolored spots on the yellow 2.0mm hook, but it seems to be just a minor cosmetic flaw.  Nothing to worry about, certainly.

Steel Crochet Hooks

I chose these because I thought they looks so similar to the Clover Amour hooks (as far as the handles go, at least), and they did not disappoint.  Though the shape of the handle is a bit different, they are extremely similar in texture.  Instead of the harder, more plastic feel of the previous "cheap hooks", these have that nice, grabby, slightly rubbery elastomer texture that I've come to love in the Amour hooks.

The metal runs all the way through the handle, too (or at least very close to "all the way").

Steel Crochet Hooks

In the next photo, you can see the metal portions of some of the hooks.  I haven't attempted to measure them, so I cannot speak to how precisely they are milled.  All I can say is that they do seem to cover a range of sizes.  I'll just crochet with them, and if it feels necessary, swap up or down to get the gauge/fabric stiffness I want.

As long as you're happy with the fabric you're getting and stick with one hook for the duration of a project (rather than swapping between different hooks, even if they are labeled the same size), it doesn't usually really matter exactly what the hook size is, anyway-- especially when you're crocheting something like doilies, which is what I make with steel hooks.

Steel Crochet Hooks

The next four photos show a side-by-side comparison of three different hooks-- each marked 1.75mm.  The green is Clover Amour, the orange is from this latest set, and the yellow is from the bargain-basement set I ordered last time (the ones with the more plastic-textured handles).

As you can see, there's a great deal of similarity between the Clover Amour and the Super Nova hooks.  The yellow is slightly longer.

Steel Crochet Hooks

I think it's safe to say that the Clover hook was the... "inspiration" for the design of this new set...

Steel Crochet Hooks

The heads of the hooks are each slightly different...

Steel Crochet Hooks

The Clover's head is a fair bit smaller.  Actually, I think the head of the cheaper hook (yellow) is slightly closer in size to the Clover than this new orange-handled hook.  It's a trade-off, I guess.  Which is more important to you-- handle texture or head size/shape?

I didn't think to include one of my old Boye hooks in the photo comparison, but looking at them right now, I think they're closer to the Clover head size.

Steel Crochet Hooks

I still haven't crocheted with the plasticky-handled hooks, yet, but I've just started a new doily using the newest 1.75mm hook.  The handle texture is great, but I have felt a bit of an awkward transition period, as I get used to the different head size/shape.  It's mainly an issue when crocheting into a chain (as when joining rounds into the "chain-up" stitch), but it also feels a little less smooth for pulling through certain other stitches, compared to my favorite old hook.

However, I find that there's a minor adjustment period, any time I switch from one brand of hook to another, so by the end of this doily, I might be as comfortable with this new hook as I ever was with the old favorite.

I'll try to remember to mention how these two types of hooks work out for me, as I have more chances to use them.  I may end up replacing the favorite Clover Amour, after all, when it finally bites the dust, but at least these other hooks provide some options.  I shouldn't have to buy another steel hook for a good long time.