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.

Pin It

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.)

Pin It


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 Things About Me

Photo of Jen, blond curly hair with glasses and wearing a red shirt, smiling for the camera
I meant to do this post last week, but part of it is kind of a big deal, so I’ve been puting it off.

  1. I love color.
    You might not really be able to tell it by my clothes all the time, but I love olor. It’s hard for me to pick a “favorite” and it was even harder for me to decide on my brand colors. The only color I don’t like to work with in crochet is black because it’s hard to see the stitches. (More about that later.)
  2. I love to crochet.
    This one should be obvious from all the things I post about here. I can knit, but I preer crochet. It works up faster and I can do more with it. I know if I practiced knitting as much as I have crochet, I would get to that point to. But when I love the versatility of crochet so much, why?
  3. I love to write.
    I have several books published. And by “several,” I mean 13. Some are onl ebooks, but they still count. I need to get back to more writing. Once upon a time, I thought there was no way I could write nonfiction. Then I had a friend talk me into it. She had to talk hard, too. And now sometimes I find it difficult to get back to fiction because I have so many ideas for nonfction and can write it faster.
  4. I live in Oklahoma.
    I was born and raised in Ada, Oklahoma. It’s a smallish town in south-central Oklahoma. I moved to Tulsa for an internship, to Dallas for a job, and to Eureka Springs because I LOVE that town. But I always come back to Ada. There are many reasons why, but I do love it here too, and it is becoming a more active/artsy town.
  5. I am legally blind.
    And here it is. This is the thing that has had me putting off this post. I can’t drive. I don’t drive. By all medical intents and purposes, I should be totally blind, but I’m not. And I am so very grateful for that. But why is this such a big deal that it would cause me to procrastinate on this post?

It influences how I do things. How I do everything. Including crochet.

I’m going to start including that in my posts. How does my eyesight influence how I crochet? Does it influence the hooks I choose? The yarn I work with? Does it influence how I make my stitches?

The answer to all of these is yes.

My eyesight influences everything about my life in general and crochet specifically. By not mentioning it before now, I feel like I have been doing some of my readers a disservice. I am going to start including tips on how I do things to help others who also have vision problems, whether they are legally blind or have some other visual disturbance.

For that matter, I feel like everyone might be able to benefit from some of what I share.

And I will share more of that.

Meanwhile, what do you want to know about crochet that I might be able to help you with? Your question might be the topic of a future post. If you don’t want to leave the question as a comment, you can send it to me in an email.

Strategies for Instagram Stories

Note: This is not what I normally write about here, but I did it for Oklahoma Bloggers and Influencers on Facebook and I decided to share it here as well. If you’re not sharing your crochet on Instagram, you should. And here are some tips to help.

I’ve heard it since Instagram first implemented the Stories feature; Use stories. Use stories. Use stories. Use stories. On and on and on. But no one ever said how or why. These are some things I’ve learned.

1. Instagram Loves Stories.
I know this sounds obvious, but it’s true. Instagram seems to prefer accounts that uses stories and puts them higher in the feed. I started seeing this trend soon after Stories emerged, so I started paying closer attention. People who regularly post to Stories do show up higher in the feed. They share a variety of things, not just one or two. My point is this: If you don’t currently post to Stories, start doing it today.
2. Behind-the-Scenes
What goes into making your product? Even if your product is your blog, what do you do to get something ready to post? What is your process? People love to see what goes on behind the scenes. They know what your polished, finished product looks like, but how did you get there? It’s understandable that you don’t want to share everything, but there are some things you can share that won’t give away secret projects or things you would rather keep confidential. What are some of those?
3. Promote Your Latest IG/Blog/Video
Sometimes promotions get lost in your feed. You put them in and make the best use of hashtags and get crickets. Share your post to your stories. Block out part/all of the image and encourage people to go to your post to see what it’s about. Or encourage them to go to your bio to get the link to your video/blog. Unfortunately, you don’t get the swipe-up feature unless you have 10,000 followers. Or do you? There is a way around that.
4. Switch to a Creator Account.
Switching from a personal, or even business, account to a creator account gives you a swipe-up feature. Sort of. You can only swipe up to an IGTV video. Take advantage of that and see how it works. Full disclosure: I have switched over to a creator account, but I haven’t done the swipe up test on my own yet. I’ll do that and report back to you.
5. Don’t Forget Hashtags.
Use as many hashtags as you can in your Stories. You don’t have to use the hashtag sticker. Type them in as text. You can shrink them down and hide them behind a sticker or gif and they will still show up in the stories feed that use that particular hashtag.
Those are the best tips/strategies I have found so far for making the most of Instagram Stories. There are more, such as talking about/showing off things that aren’t related to your main topics, but they don’t have as much of an effect on reach/views as the ones above do.

Welcome to 2020

Happy 2020

I wanted to take the time to say Happy New Year.

This month, I am participating in the Ultimate Blog Challenge where I will be posting every day in January. My aim is to re-establish the blogging habit and introduce some changes that will be coming throughout the year.

I will dive in tomorrow, though. Enjoy the day.

Ultimate Blog Challenge banner