Sunday, February 20, 2011

Antique and Vintage Crochet Hook Inspiration

When I crochet I like to have vintage and antique crochet hooks close by. I get special vibrations from the hooks. From these hand carved wooden hooks, I can almost hear the women who used them tell their husbands how to carve and shape the hooks for her needs. At other times, I can see a woman of the past carving them herself.



Another group of crocheters worthy of our admiration are the Irish women of the 1850’s who supported their families during the Irish potato famine by crocheting the most beautiful lace with little more than a needle made into a crochet hook.



You can view some examples of Irish crochet at the Lacis, http://www.lacis.com/ , museum of needlework, http://lacismuseum.org/exhibits.html . They have an online exhibit of gorgeous Irish crochet at http://lacismuseum.org/irish_crochet.html for all crochet lovers to look at, drool over and gain inspiration from.

So if you are lucky enough to inherit hooks from a relative or collect your own, keep them close while you crochet.

Special thanks to thery4 from the Hook & Needle Forum on Ravelry for her contribution to this topic, http://www.ravelry.com/groups/hook--needle-designs.

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

The P’s and Q’s of Crochet Hooks

I was asked when crochet hooks grew to sizes P and Q. Looking back through my research, here’s a summary of what I found. Please leave a comment if you can add to the information on large crochet hooks.

In the late 1930’s large wooden hooks started appearing to be used in rug making. The nine inch hooks were given the number sizes 10, 11, 13, 15 and 16 ─ no letters. When these were re-introduced in the late 1980’s the numbers had letters added so that J=10, L=11, M=13, N=15.

Size N and Q hooks began to show up in the mid 1970’s in product lines of the major hook manufactures. The Bates’ Jiffy hooks in sizes Q (15) and S (17) appeared in the late 1970’s.


Also in the late 1970’s the Handy Hook was introduced in sizes K, N, & Q and re-introduced in the early 1990’s.



Crochet hook sizes L, N, Q & S appear in the early 1980’s and the P (16) hook makes it debut. Q changes to a 19 but the millimeter size is given as 16 millimeter. Size S hook changes to 35 or 19 millimeter. The S hook was reintroduced in the early 2000’s as a “Speed Hook” by Lion Brand.

As you can see, the P and Q as well as the L, M, and N sizes fluctuated. Now, the Craft Yarn Council has standardized the sizes in millimeters as well as the letters/numbers. The following chart from the Craft Yarn Council shows the current hook size information.



The Yarn Council has solved the sizing issue on the P and Q hooks. What about the R? As you can see from the above chart, there is a jump in millimeter size from the Q to the S. My guess? Maybe they can’t come up with a consensus on what size the R should be.

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Another Rare Boye Hook

World War II involved most countries around the world and lasted from 1939 to 1945. The United States entered the war after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.

In May of 1942 an order by the United States Government impacted the manufacture of crochet hooks by stopping nickel plating. In an attempt to keep manufacturing needlework tools, Boye developed a black plating process using hot oxide to coat steel needlework tools, including crochet hooks, and used this method to continue manufacturing from June 1942 until the United States Government halted production of all steel products in August 1942. Due to the short time of manufacture, “black” Boye crochet hooks are prized by crochet hook collectors in general and Boye hook collectors in particular.


"Black" Boye crochet hook in removeable vintage hook handle.

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Monday, January 19, 2009

The Start of My Quest

My research and study of crochet hooks began with a missing hook. My sister bought this set of Lee Ward hooks for my Mother in the 1960’s.


When I inherited them from Moma there was one hook missing. Most crocheters want a complete set of hooks whether used or not. And like most crocheters, I wanted the set to be complete. This started a quest to find a hook to replace the missing one. I looked in antique stores, thrift shops and finally on eBay.

Shortly after I started the quest, I discovered the hook was never missing I had put it with my other hooks by mistake. By then I was hooked on finding out if hooks could be dated based on their markings and I was off on a research project that continues to this day.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

For the Susan Bates Crochet Hook Collector

So the Susan Bates hook lovers do not feel left out this blog is dedicated to Susan Bates vintage hooks. And if you are lucky, you might run across a vintage Susan Bates store display case to house some of your hooks.


The C. J. Bates Company started out making bone hooks. Sometimes referred to as Ice Cream Cone hooks because of their shape, these bone hooks are not too difficult to find. However, what is almost impossible to find are hooks in pristine condition like the ones in this picture.


Clipson hooks are also collector items. There are two kinds, one with the metal clip and later ones with a plastic clip.


Some other vintage Bates hooks…


  1. Anchor Crochet Hook …steelite crochet hook in a handle.
  2. Quicksilver … the Susan Bates version of the Teflon coated crochet hook.
  3. Early Plastic … pre in-line plastic hook.

And last but not least...early plastic afghan hooks.


As you can see from this sampling, there is enough variety of vintage made in the USA Susan Bates crochet hooks to keep a collector looking for a long time.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Rare Size 15 Boye Crochet Hook

In my research on crochet hooks I came across a reference to Boye introducing a size 15 crochet hook in late 1924. About 5 years ago, I finally found one.


Then, yesterday I was sorting through some hooks I bought on eBay a couple of years ago. If I hadn't procrastinated so long, I would have discovered that buried with the hooks was another size 15 Boye hook. This one has markings indicating it was made after 1925.


In your search for hooks to add to your collection, see if you can find one of the rare Boye size 15 hooks.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Difference Between Vintage and New Susan Bates Inline Hooks

I have had several people question the differences in vintage inline Susan Bates hooks and the new ones made in Mexico. Soooo...I am going to attempt an explanation .

The difference is more evident in the steel hooks.


The top hook is the made in Mexico hook, the middle is made in Japan and bottom is made in the USA. The USA one has a shorter shank and flatter throat than the other two. The others have more of a scoop for the hook than the classic inline shape of the USA hook.

Aluminum hooks...


are very similar (top is USA) (bottom is made in Mexico). The one made is Mexico has a more pointed head and the throat is not quite as flat. Also the throat on the one made is Mexico is a little shorter than the USA hook and though it doesn't show on the picture there is more space for the yarn in the USA hook.

Try right click.