3 Ways Visually Impaired Crocheters Hold Their Hooks

I have been crocheting for ten years or so. (This time.) I never really thought about how I hold my hook or why until I decided I needed/wanted to share some low vision tips for crochet on this blog. I mean, I knew I hold my hook with a pencil grip, but I never thought about why other than it’s more comfortable.

I’ve tried to change my grip over the years, but I always go back to the pencil grip. There are other ways to hold your hook and I talk about two of them and share a video for a third.

Pencil Grip

I’ve mentioned this a couple times now. With a pencil grip, you hold your crochet hook like a pencil. I use a similar grip with a fork and chopsticks, if that helps you imagine it any better. For me, I can hold the work as close as I need to in order to see what I’m doing. However, depending on the hook, sometimes my fingers tingle/go to sleep. I’ve been told that this grip can aggravate tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome.  I crochet a lot by feel. I move the fingers of my left hand along with my chains and stitches as I form them. This way I can feel a mistake before i see it. But that’s more a topic for another post than for this one. 

Knife Grip

This is an overhand grip, like using a knife to cut your food. I have tried to use this grip several times, but it doesn’t work well for me. My tension isn’t good and I can’t get it close enough to see well unless I have my elbows out like chicken wings. I know with practice, my tension would improve. I can’t figure out a way around the elbows being out, though. If you use this grip and have low vision, would you give me some tips on how to make it work?

Body Brace

This isn’t a grip, per se, but more a method. In it, you brace your hook against your body, wrap the yarn, and then lift the loops up and over the yarn and the hook. This video shows it better than I can describe it.

https://youtu.be/Z_VkPUK-12M

What grip, or method, do you use? Or do you do something entirely different? I’d like to know so I can figure out how else to make adjustments and accommodations as they’re needed.

Related Posts:

Stitch Combination Tutorial: Star Stitch

Being legally blind, I like texture. I think that’s one reason why I’m drawn to crochet so much more than knitting, because of the texture. Sometimes, though, I want something more than the standard stitches. Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing at all wrong with them. But I like texture that is interesting, too.
To that end, over the last couple of years, I have started looking for different stitch combinations that add an extra dimension. For me, they have to feel nice, but for others, they have to look nice too. Thankfully, that’s not that tall of an order.

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I feel like this star stitch fits those requirements quite well. It’s also known as the Margeurite stitch, daisy stitch, and spiked cluster. Even though there are several steps, it’s easier than it looks, so don’t be intimidated. Below, I’ve provided written directions and photo illustrations to help you create this stitch yourself.

Instructions:

Note: HDC = Half-double crochet. Yarn over, insert your hook in the next stitch, yarn over, and pull up a loop. You have 3 loops on your hook. Yarn over and pull through all loops on your hook.
1. Chain a multiple of 6 + 1. For the photos here, I chained 25.

Peach yarn on a black background with a chain of 25

2. Insert your hook in the 2nd chain, pull up a loop and hold it on your hook.

Peach yarn and a crochet hook with 2 loops on the hook.

Repeat in the next chain until you have 6 loops on your hook.

Crochet hook with peach yarn and 6 loops on the hook.

3. Yarn over and pull through all loops on your hook.

Star stitch almost complete

4. Chain 1. You have completed your first star and also created the “eye” of the star.

Completed star stitch after chain 1

5. Insert your hook in the eye of the star and pull up a loop.

Hook through the eye of the star with yarn over the hook.

6. Insert your hook in between the last two spokes of the star and pull up a loop.
7. Insert your hook in the chain at the base of the star and pull up a loop.
8. Insert your hook in the next chain and pull up a loop. Repeat in the next chain. You have 6 loops on your hook.

Star stitch with 6 loops on the hook

9. Yarn over and pull through all loops.
10. Chain 1 to complete the star.
11. Repeat steps 5-10 until the end of the row.
12. HDC in the last chain.

Completed star stitch row

13. Chain 2 and turn your work. Place 2 HDC in each eye across and in the final stitch.
14. Chain 3 and turn your work.
15. Insert your hook in the 2nd chain and pull up a loop.
16. Insert your hook in the next chain and pull up a loop.
17. Insert your hook in the first stitch of the row and pull up a loop. Repeat with the next 2 stitches until you have 6 loops on your hook.
18. Chain 1 to complete the star.
19. Repeat 5-11 to finish the row.
20. Chain 2 and turn your work. Place 2 HDC in each eye across and in the last stitch.

Completed star stitch and HDC rows
Repeat star stitch and HDC rows to the desired length of your project. Be sure you end with and HDC row. Fasten off and weave in the ends.

If you try this stitch, tag me @jen.nipps on Instagram so I can see what you’ve done.

Ready, Set, Go: Talking about Crochet Hooks

Three crochet hooks on a red background.

Note: There are affiliate links in this post. I may make a small commission if you purchase through these links.

After my “5 Things About Me” post, I started to wonder how, exactly, am I going to incorporate my low vision in posts about crochet and how I do things? I’m still not completely certain about that, but I have no doubt I’ll figure it out as I go.

That’s the way this whole blogging thing works anyway, right?
That’s the way I’ve always approached it anyway. It works for me.

Since I’m winging it and I tentatively called this post “Ready, Set, Go?”, I’ve only just now figured out exactly how to approach this post. (And by the time you see this, it will have either a different title or an addition to the original title.)

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If the way things physically feel makes a difference, and it does, where better to start than talking about crochet hooks.

I started with Boye crochet hooks* (reminder that this is an affiliate link that I might make a small commission from). They’re smooth metal. They feel fine, but they’re not always comfortable to use. The same goes with Susan Bates crochet hooks*, although those are mostly acrylic. They serve a great purpose and I know people who love them. I’ve used a variety of hooks. I’ve used acrylic, wood, metal, bamboo, plastic, and various types of metal hooks.

My current favorites:

  • Yarnology Luxury Crochet HookYarnology Luxury Crochet Hooks, available at Hobby Lobby. I have every size they make from H 5mm to Q 15mm. They’re a type of plastic, but they feel nice in my hands. They have a wider handle than most others. They’re colorful and have embossed floral designs on the handle. Honestly, I wish they made a size G 4.5mm. I don’t use a G often, but I’ve had to use that size several times recently.
  • Furls Crochet Odyssey*. I only have one of these hooks, but I love it! It’s peach and silver and so pretty! It has a much thicker handle than most. At first, I wasn’t sure I liked it. Then I was sure I hated it. I was so disappointed because I wanted to love it. Now I do. I have a size J 6mm.
  • Furls Crochet Streamline in Ebony wood*. I have two of these in size H 5mm and I 5.5mm. These are so comfortable and easy to use. Their grip is about halfway between the Odyssey and the Yarnology hooks. In fact, using the Streamline hooks got me to where I love the Odyssey hook now. They’re the perfect in-between size when you’re adjusting to a more ergonomic hook.

I still have all of my metal crochet hooks. I won’t be getting rid of them any time soon, but I have to admit that I can crochet for longer periods of time with these other hooks than I can with the standard metal hooks. Since I hold my work closer to my face (so I can see it) than most people do, the way a hook feels and its ease of use make a big difference.

*Denotes an affiliate link. Clicking this link will take you to this item on Amazon. I may receive a small commission if you purchse through this link.

5 Quick Gifts to Crochet

There is nothing that can inspire panic in a maker than realizing the calendar says November and you’re behind on your holiday gift-making. I’ve found five patterns that can help relieve some of your panic.

Links will open in a new window/tab.

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  1. Vinita Fingerless Mitts – Fingerless Mitts for kids by Banana Moon Studios
  2. Coffee Cozy Sweater Wrap – Free pattern from Sweet Potato 3
  3. One-Skein Crochet Cable Earwarmer/Headband – Free headband from Stitch in Progress.
  4. Malia Boot Cuffs – This free pattern from Little Monkey’s Crochet includes a video tutorial.
  5. Quick 1-Skein Super Bulky Infinity Scarf – Free pattern from Oombawka Designs

I hope these quick patterns will take some of the stress away from some of your holiday gift-making.

I Was Lost, But Now I’m Found

Two notebooks, one purple with a pen clipped to it and one black spiral notebook under the purple one

If there is anything I want to remember, I write it down. I had started an editorial calendar in the purple notebook in this picture.

I finished working in it one day and “put it up.” Okay, let’s be real. I put it in a tote bag that I use a lot.

The tote bag got moved. I have another one I can use. (They call me the bag lady for a reason.) No big deal.

At least, no big deal until I started looking for that notebook.

“Just get another notebook. It’s not like you don’t have enough.”

“Just use your phone like everyone else does. ” (No, nobody really said either of these to me.)

But I needed that notebook because of some things I had written in it. Plus, another notebook was with it. My crochet notebook. I really needed that one too.

And I’ve tried just keeping things in my phone. It doesn’t work for me. There’s something about the contact of pen with paper that I find necessary.

This morning, I saw the original tote bag with both notebooks inside. I feel like I’ve been found.

Or at least part of my brain has been.

Question of the day: Do you write everything down on paper or put it in your phone? Why?

Are You a Crochet Pattern Tester?

That’s what I would like to know. Are you a crochet pattern tester or would you like to be?

A few years ago, I designed a some crochet patterns. I didn’t really know what I was doing and I didn’t know how to find the information I needed at the time, so I stopped.

Now I have access to great resources, including Crochetpreneur Business Academy, and I’ve started again.

I made a prototype of the Double-Layer Crochet Beanie and wrote the pattern. I got it typed and ready to be tested.

That’s where you come in. I need a few people to test it.

How does that work?

I send you a PDF copy of the pattern. You crochet the hat and let me know about any problems, questions, or other comments about it. You would also take some pictures of your finished hat to send to me with permission to use in promoting the pattern. The deadline is September 20 (2019).

What do you think?

Send me an email if you’re interested.

Cluck, Cluck, Baby!

If you do any kind of yarn crafts at all, you might know about two odd-sounding phrases.

Frogging
Yarn chicken

For those who don’t know, or if you’re new to yarn crafts, let me explain a little bit.

Frogging

Frogs, toads, and the like make a ribbit sound. When you make a mistake or the pattern isn’t working or the yarn isn’t right for that pattern, you rip it. It sounds a lot like the sound a frog makes, rip-it. Pulling back/unraveling a project is said to be frogging it.

Yarn Chicken

This one is sometimes scary. I experienced it just two days ago. Yarn chicken is not a chicken made out of yarn. (Though there are some cute amigurumi chicken patterns available.) No. Yarn chicken is when you think you might not have enough arn left to finish your project without buying more, but you keep going. Sometimes you win. Simetimes you lose. Two days ago, I lost. But the project was large enough that I can call it done and it’s fine.

A Few Other Terms

HOTH/HOTN: Hot off the hook/hot off the needles – a project you just finished

WIP – work in progress

UFO – unfinished object

CAL/KAL/MAL/SAL – crochet-along, knit-along, make-along, stitch-along

I’m sure there are other terms that I’m not remembering at the moment, so if there’s something you don’t know, leave a question in the comments.