The first thing you'll need to consider is your tools. Crochet tools are thankfully inexpensive and can be found at most fabrics and crafts stores. This includes hooks, yarn, stitch markers, a variety of needles, tape measures, and scissors.
Yarn with crochet hooks - Davina Harrison, Flickr
Hooks are absolutely essential in your crochet arsenal. Without a hook, you'll have no way to loop and weave yarn into the patterns or shapes that are the very foundation of your crochet work. But for people who have never seen a crochet hook before, buying your first one can be very daunting.
Anatomy of a Hook
First things first, let’s have a look at the different parts of the crochet hook.
A crochet hook is divided into five sections:
Anatomy of a crochet hook - Bethany, Classie
A - The tip is what you insert into the stitches.
B - The throat catches the yarn as you pull through.
C - The shank is where the current stitches you are working on will rest. It also determines the size of the stitches.
D - The thumb rest helps control and rotate the hook; it is held between the thumb and forefinger.
E - The handle helps balance the hook as you work.
The hook can be either tapered or in-line, depending on the brand you are purchasing. A tapered hook (see above) is rounded, with a narrow throat, with a curved tip. An in-line hook has a cut-in throat, and the tip is in-line with the shaft.
In-line hook - Liz Lawley, Flickr
It's important to try a few different types of hooks to get a feel for which one is right for your own grip and suited to your uses.
Hooks can be made of various materials, including aluminium, plastic, bamboo, wood, and steel. The only real difference in which to choose depends on personal preference, although plastic and wooden hooks may break if you are working with very tight stitches.
There are also ergonomic options for those who have arthritis or other pains in the hand. These have wider handles for a more comfortable grip; some brands may also sell handles separately so you can insert your hook inside.
Hooks that light up are also useful for late-night crocheting, or when using yarns where it is difficult to distinguish the stitches.
Crochet hook sizes really depend on the sizing system. There are currently three recognised sizing systems: US, UK and metric; so it is important to know which one your hook follows:
Conversion chart - Lorlie Engbrecht, Pinterest
The simplest way to determine the size of your hook is to refer to its metric measurements, given in millimetres.
The size of the hook is determined by the yarn and tension (also called gauge) you are using for the project.
When you're starting out, it's also good to go for a starter pack with hooks of different sizes, just in case. These are available at stores such as Lincraft, Spotlight, or even specialised online stores such as Crochet Australia.