Beginner crocheters are often eager to jump in and start crocheting, but need to realize that crochet hook sizing matters in their projects. Crochet hook size matters – a lot. Here’s your guide to everything you need to know about crochet needle sizes.
When I start learning a new skill, I have question after question and no answers. Then, as I learn more, my questions shift slightly to reflect my growing knowledge.
I had the same experience when I began learning to crochet. What kind of yarn should I use? How do I read a pattern? What size crochet hook is the best?
Crochet (and any other skill you want to learn) has a learning curve. My goal is to help flatten that curve for you with a series of posts I’m creating around crocheting for beginners. I’m covering essential topics such as the best stitches for beginners to learn and great kits for beginner crocheters. And I answer the most asked question – what is easier to learn for a beginner, knitting or crocheting?
In this post, I’m covering everything you need to know about crochet needle sizes. What are the different crochet hook sizes? How do you choose the right crochet hook for a project? Does it matter which crochet hook size you use? Keep reading to learn all of this and more!
Editors Note: This post was originally published on June 22, 2021, and was updated on January 5th, 2023, to include additional information about yarn weight, types of crochet needles, and updates to images.
DOES THE CROCHET HOOK SIZE MATTER?
If you’ve ever knitted, you know that changing the size of your needle will change the size and shape of your project.
If you’re following a pattern, using crochet needle sizes that differ from what’s specified in the pattern will make your final product turn out differently from the original design. It might be a different size, shape, or both!
The same is true for crocheted projects. Do crochet needle sizes matter? Why yes. Yes, they do.
HOW CROCHET HOOK SIZES IMPACT A CRAFT PROJECT
If you’re crocheting a scarf or a blanket, a slight change in the hook size is not a big deal. However, when it comes to items such as clothing that need to be correctly sized, using the right crochet needle size makes a big difference.
A crochet hook bigger than the pattern calls for will create longer, taller, and slightly looser stitches than those made with a smaller hook. The result of making a cowl with a larger needle is an item that has a different shape and hangs too loosely.
On the other hand, using a crochet needle size that’s smaller than what’s specified in your hat pattern will create a hat that’s too small to fit on your head – and nothing’s more frustrating than that!
The best practice is using the correct crochet hook size for the project to ensure your final product is the size you expect.
BENEFITS OF USING THE RIGHT SIZE HOOK
Okay, so your project doesn’t end up quite the same size. Do you need to make sure you use the correct size crochet hook?
In addition to having a product that’s the right size, here are other benefits to using the correct crochet needle size, including achieving the intended look of the final product and having more uniform stitches.
CROCHET NEEDLE SIZES
Crochet hooks (also called crochet needles) are handheld tools with a little hook at the end, which is used to grab and pull yarn to create crochet stitches. They come in many different styles and sizes.
Crochet needle sizes are determined by the diameter of the shaft (the area between the flat thumb area and the hook) measured in millimeters. Hook-size labels are usually in US units (letters and numbers) or Metric units (millimeters).
For example, most beginners use the H/8 (5mm) hook when just starting to crochet.
Some manufacturers will directly list some or all of the sizing units on the crochet hooks. I like using metal hooks that have all the sizing units on the hooks. That way, whenever a crochet needle gets separated from the set of hooks, I can quickly identify which size I’m using.
CROCHET HOOK SIZE Chart
Here’s a quick sizing list to show the range of hook sizes!
Basic crochet hook sets may include just a few of these sizes (E-J, for example), while more inclusive sets may consist of all the following crochet hook sizes.
- B/1 (2.25 mm)
- C/2 (2.75 mm)
- D/3 (3.25 mm)
- E/4 (3.5 mm)
- F/5 (3.75 mm)
- G/6 (4 mm)
- H/8 (5 mm)
- I/9 (5.5 mm)
- J/10 (6 mm)
- K/10.5 (6.5 mm)
- L/11 (8 mm)
- M/13 (9 mm)
- N/15 (10 mm)
A few sizes are even larger than what’s listed here (going up to Q, or 16 mm) to use with the jumbo-sized yarn, but you usually have to buy them separately.
Note: It’s important to know that exact hook sizes (in mm) can vary slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer and even between different materials.
Unfortunately, no regulations are establishing standard crochet hook sizes. Therefore, the guide above is general, for reference only.
SIZES of Crochet Hooks FOR Different YARN WEIGHTS
To achieve the best look for any crochet project, you want the right size crochet hook size to your yarn weight. For example, thread and super fine yarns require small hooks, while thicker, bulkier yarns require larger crochet hooks to achieve even stitches.
If you’re working off a pattern, those measurements should be specified in the pattern.
Look for the yarn weight on your yarn label and match your yarn weight with your crochet hook size based on this US crochet hook sizing chart.
- 0 (Lace, thread crochet hooks) = B/1
- 1 (super fine crochet hooks ) = C/2, D/3
- 2 (fine crochet hooks) = E/4, F/5
- 3 (lightweight yarn and light worsted weight crochet hooks) = G/6, H/8
- 4 (medium and medium worsted crochet hooks) = I/9, J/10, K/10.5
- 5 (bulky yarn crochet hooks) = L/11, M/13
- 6 (super bulky crochet hooks) = N/15
Standard Yarn Weight System
The Standard Yarn Weight System has seven categories ranging from small thin lace yarn to superbulky roving yarns.
Category 0, Lace Thread:
Lace thread is the thinnest type of yarn available. Thread yarns are perfect for vintage lace patterns like collars or wedding dresses. 0-weight yarn is also used for small projects like doilies.
Category 1, Super Fine:
Super fine-weight yarn is popular for sock making, crocheted toys like bears, and clothing.
Category 2, Fine: Sport & Baby
Use these yarn weights for mid-weight socks, accessories, shawls, wraps, and sweaters.
Category 3, Light: Double Knit, Light Worsted
DK is short for Double Knitting, which means that the thickness of the yarn is equal to two threads of fingering yarn put together.
These yarns are perfect for creating many crochet projects scarves, shawls, sweaters, baby items, and blankets.
Category 4, Medium: Worsted, Afgan, Aran Yarns
Worsted-weight yarn hangs out in the middle of the entire yarn-weight family. It’s heavier than sport weight yarns but thinner than most bulky weight yarns.
This yarn weight is perfect for heavier sweaters, hats, scarves, mittens, and blankets than what you would crochet with light worsted yarn.
Category 5, Bulky: Chunky, Craft, and Rug Yarns
Oh, we love bulky weight yarns for quick crochet projects! Bulky weight yarns are perfect for stitching up a last-minute scarf for gift-giving or making bulky shawls and blankets.
Category 6, Super Bulky: Roving
Super Bulky weight yarns work quickly and are ideal for creating blankets, afghans, pillows, accessories, and cozy garments. These are best used with an extra large crochet hook.
Crochet Hook Conversion Chart
Crochet hooks are measured differently in many countries, and if you are working with a pattern that doesn’t use your regular sizing, you can use this handy chart to figure out the best-sized hook for your project.
Types of Crochet Hooks
Inline crochet hooks and tapered crochet hooks are considered “regular” or “basic” crochet hooks.
Inline Crochet Hooks
Inline hooks get their name because their hook is the same width as the shaft. As a result, they have an angular appearance, often coming to a defined point at the lip, and the mouth is relatively deeper than other hooks.
Inline hooks help create uniform stitches and can quickly enter tighter stitches due to their sharper angles, making them great for projects like scarves or gloves.
Tapered Crochet Hooks
Tapered hooks have a lip extending beyond the shaft width—if you look at the hook from the side, you’ll notice the difference. They also have rounder heads and shallower mouths than their inline counterparts.
Due to their rounded features, tapered hooks help you work faster while minimizing the frequency you split your yarn with your hook. For example, with a tapered hook, a fast crocheter could make quick and easy blankets, even churning one out on the weekend.
Other Crochet Hook Types
Here are the specialty crochet hooks that are available and are mostly used for specific instances:
Tunisian Crochet Hooks
Tunisian crochet hooks are longer than regular hooks and often have a stopper. These hooks do a specific type of stitch where you keep all your stitches on your crochet hook while you work.
Ergonomic Crochet Hooks
Ergonomic hooks are either inline or tapered hooks with a much larger handle. Their design helps ease the wrist pain that may come with persistent crocheting. If you find yourself getting sore, consider getting one. You could also get a handle to slide on and off your favorite regular hooks.
Crochet Hook Materials – Know Before You Buy
The material for a crochet hook varies greatly. You should choose your hook material based on how it will react with the yarn fiber you use.
Wood Crochet Hook
Wood tends to have much higher friction compared to other materials and, as a result, minimizes yarn slippage. That’s great for preventing the yarn from sliding all over the shaft of your hook, but it can also be a curse—friction can make it harder to finish stitches and slow down your work.
Bamboo Crochet Hook
Bamboo hooks have all the same benefits and pitfalls as wood. However, their friction will lessen as you use them, allowing you to crochet faster. This is an excellent choice for beginners who will increase their speed with experience.
Plastic Crochet Hook
Plastic hooks have almost no friction, which is excellent for the fast crocheter. However, they can have imperfections in their molds, which can catch the yarn and possibly fray it. Also, plastic hooks are far more pliable and could break with continued use.
Aluminum Crochet Hooks
Aluminum is the most widely available crochet hook material. You’ll never have to worry about not finding an aluminum crochet hook in the correct size. Aluminum hooks are also often sold in sets and come reasonably priced. While their friction is low, they also can cause the same kind of hand strain as steel hooks.
Steel Crochet Hooks
A Steel crochet hook is durable and robust—you’ll never have to worry about branding or breaking them. Steel is a common material for thread crochet hooks, but you may also find traditional hooks made of steel. A downside to a hard metal like this is it can be unforgiving on your hands, leading to faster strain on your wrists.
CROCHET HOOK SIZE TIPS
- Don’t switch hooks after you start crocheting patterns. Once you start a project, you must use the same hook throughout the project due to the sizing differences between materials and manufacturers. Even using a different hook marked the same size can change the outcome of your final project.
- Be careful about using different hook sizes when using a kit because you might run out of yarn.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT CROCHET NEEDLE SIZES
Here are a few additional frequently asked questions that I see readers asking.
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY CROCHET HOOK IS TOO BIG?
There are some crochet patterns where the hook size will change the look of the weave, but it won’t significantly impact the final project (ex: scarves or dishcloths). However, there are crochet projects where the hook size greatly affects the final product.
If you’re working on one of these projects, I recommend first testing your hook size by crocheting a test swatch and measuring it to ensure it’s the right size.
Your pattern should specify how many stitches will be an inch long. For example, if your test swatch has the following:
- With fewer stitches in an inch, you need to use a smaller hook.
- It would help if you used a larger hook for more stitches in an inch.
MY HOOKS DON’T HAVE LABELS. SO HOW DO I KNOW MY CROCHET HOOK SIZE?
Once in a while, you may purchase crochet hooks where the sizing info is only on the packaging (so frustrating!) or the crochet hook manufacturer label is missing. If that happens to you, here are a couple of ways to determine your hook size.
- Measure the shaft using a ruler, then use the chart above to convert Metric millimeters to US sizing.
- Purchase a gauge tool at your local craft store. Slide your hook into one of the tool’s holes until you find one that fits tightly.
CAN YOU EVER CHANGE THE HOOK SIZE FOR A CROCHET PATTERN?
Throughout this guide, I’ve said, “Don’t change your hook size in a pattern.” And generally, that is true.
However, you may encounter a few particular instances when changing your hook size from what the pattern specifies is okay or good.
Here are a couple of instances:
- You don’t have the specified size hook. In this case, use the size just above or below what the pattern requires.
- To resize a simple wearable item. Using a different size hook to adjust sizing works with mittens (or cameral lens covers!) but not with more complex things like sweaters.
- If you use a different type of yarn for a project, you’ll need to use a different crochet needle size to match your yarn (see the matching guide above).
This crochet needle size guide helps answer all your questions about crochet hook sizing. If you have a question I didn’t answer, please ask it in the comments below!
MORE CROCHET Ideas
We have a few small crochet projects that are perfect for beginners. These projects use simple stitches and make great practice projects.