Beginner crocheters are often eager to jump in and start crocheting but don’t 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.
I don’t know about you, but when I start learning a new skill, I seem to have question after question and no answers. As I learn more, my questions shift a little 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. It’s my goal to help flatten that curve for you a little with a series of posts I’m creating around crocheting for beginners. I’m covering basic topics such as best stitches for beginners to learn and great kits for beginner crocheters.
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!
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 or have a different 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 just crocheting a scarf or a blanket, a slight change in the hook size might not be 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.
Using a crochet hook bigger than the pattern calls for will create stitches that are longer, taller, and slightly looser than those made with a smaller hook. The end result of making a cowl with a larger needle: 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 to use the correct crochet hook size for the project to ensure your final product is the size you’re expecting it to be.
Benefits Of Using The Right Size Hook
Ok, so maybe your project doesn’t end up quite the same size. But, do you really need to make sure you use the right 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 sometimes called crochet needles) are handheld tools that have 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 list some or all of the sizing units directly on the crochet hooks. I personally 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 Sizing Guide
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 include all of the following 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.
Crochet Needle Sizes For Yarn Weights
To achieve the best look for any crochet project you create, you want to match your crochet needle 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 of a pattern, those measurements should both be specified in the pattern.
However, if you’re not working off a pattern, look for the yarn weight on your yarn label and match your yarn weight with your crochet hook size based on this sizing guide.
- 0 (lace, thread) = B/1
- 1 (super fine) = C/2, D/3
- 2 (fine) = E/4, F/5
- 3 (light, light worsted) = G/6, H/8
- 4 (medium, worsted) = I/9, J/10, K/10.5
- 5 (bulky) = L/11, M/13
- 6 (super bulky) = N/15
Crochet Hook Size Tips
- Don’t switch hooks after you start a project. Once you start a project, you must use the same exact hook throughout the entire 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 projects where the hook size will change the look of the weave, but it won’t greatly impact the final project (ex: scarves or dishcloths). However, there are crochet projects where the hook size greatly impacts 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 make sure it’s the right size. Your pattern should specify how many stitches will be an inch-long. For example, if your test swatch has:
- Fewer stitches in an inch, you need to use a smaller hook.
- More stitches in an inch, you need to use a larger hook.
My hooks don’t have labels. 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!). If that happens to you, here are a couple of ways to determine your hook size.
- Measure the shaft yourself 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 holes of the tool until you find one that fits tightly.
Can you ever change the hook size for a crochet pattern?
Throughout this guide, I’ve basically been saying, “Don’t change your hook size in a pattern”. And generally, that is true.
However, you may come across a few very specific instances when changing your hook size from what the pattern specifies is ok or even good.
Here are a couple of instances:
- You don’t have the specified size hook. In this case, use the size just above or just below what the pattern calls for.
- To resize a simple wearable item. This works with items like mittens (or cameral lens covers!) but not with more complex items such as 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 matching guide above).
I hope this guide on crochet needle sizes helps answer all of your questions about crochet hooks and their sizing. If you have a question I didn’t answer, please ask it in the comments below!