Inline vs Tapered

This little vase full of hooks is only a small representation of the hooks I own. There are times when my friend Janet and I laugh about which of us has the worst case of H.A.S. (hook acquisition syndrome for those of the uninitiated amongst my readers).  I show you this bouquet to demonstrate that I love all types of hooks.

If you are an American crocheter or even if you spend much time on the Crochet boards at Ravelry (or possibly any other crochet sites), you have likely heard numerous debates of the merits of Boye versus Susan Bates hooks.

Much of that discussion is about the shape of the throat. Tapered or In-line. All hooks fall into one of these categories for the most part.  Boye is a very good example of Tapered shaping and Susan Bates hooks are a very good example of In-line shaping. (There are changes in the shaping of Boye and Bates hooks depending on the year and where they were made, but that is a subject for another post at a later date).

Tapered hooks throats are generally shaped with a strong narrowing from the “shaft” of the hook  to the head.

In these images you can see a continuum of hook throat shaping. Starting on the left with the very tapered Boye hook and ending on the right with the strictly in line shape of the Susan Bates hook. The wooden hook is a Laurel Hill hook, they are a bit unusual in that the throat is mostly in-line but the overall shaping is tapered starting from the thumb rest thru the point.

When I teach beginning crochet I prefer that students use an in-line style hook.  Beginning students tend to have a very tight tension on their yarn and more commonly they have a harder time with that using a tapered hook. A tapered hook allows the yarn loop to become smaller as it is pulled up the throat of the hook, making stitches harder to work into in subsequent rows, these 2 things combined don’t trend toward a positive first crocheting experience. 

With an inline hook  most beginners can keep their loops a consistent size, making it easier to work into their stitches. Though the beginner death grip can still get tight tension even with an in-line hook.

If you are past the beginner stage of your crocheting though it’s time to branch out. Whatever style of hook you started with, try the opposite. Especially if you are having particular difficulty with a yarn. Oftentimes switching the style of hook or size of hook can help.  As many of us know, not all yarns are right for all projects. The next thing to keep in mind is that not all hooks are right for all yarns.

And the hook I find ideal for a certain yarn and project, might not be the right one for you.  We all tend to use our tools with slight differences. One of the reasons that our handwriting can look quite different.  Same is true of crochet hooks.  An example, I adore the Tulip Etimo hooks, but some crocheting friends of mine find them not their cup of tea at all.

The best way to find out which hooks will work for you is to take the time to play with some yarn and a variety of hooks.  Afterall, playing with yarn is a pleasure we can all agree on, whether we think we prefer In-line or Tapered hooks.