The question of the relationship of crochet hook size to amount of yarn used is fairly common, but not well answered from my research. This is why I decided to provide detailed information on how and why different hooks use different amounts of yarn for all your curious minds.
If you are using the same pattern (same number of stitches and rows/rounds), a larger crochet hook will use up more yarn. If you are going for the same size of project (say a 36 by 36 inch blanket), a larger crochet hook will use up less yarn.
So, now you have your basic answer, but why does a larger hook use more yarn per stitch; or conversely, does a smaller hook use less yarn? How does that change the finished product? How can I use this information to my advantage? I will explain in more detail throughout the rest of this post!
You can also check out my YouTube video where I discuss this information if you prefer audio format! It isn’t quite as detailed though. 🙂
How Changing Crochet Hook Size Changes Yarn Usage
So you are making a blanket. Let’s say that you are using double crochet for the whole thing and not following a “pattern” per se. You want to make a standard throw-sized blanket of 50 by 60 inches.
So, you sit down and start out with your yarn and hook. You have a size 4 yarn and went with a size 5.5 mm (I) hook because that is what the package recommended to use. You crochet until you have the proper width of 50 inches. You count your stitches and find you have 160. Then, it takes you 90 rows to get to the right length of blanket.
Now, say you changed to a size 10 mm (N) hook. Who cares what the yarn recommends, “I do what I want!” With this hook, you only need 115 stitches across and 60 rows.
So, what is the difference in yarn usage? In this example, using the larger, size 10 mm (N) hook would result in about 30% less yarn used, which is quite significant over a large project like your blanket! It is like getting your yarn on sale at 30% off!
Now say you are following a pattern and are going to use the same number of stitches and rows no matter what hook you use.
Well, the result would be different. You would actually use about 17% less yarn with the smaller, size 5.5 (I) hook, over the larger, size 10 mm (N) hook. Saving 17% percent isn’t too shabby either!
*Note-all data extrapolated from small swatches created by myself. Actual usage will vary.
Why Changing Crochet Hook Size Changes Yarn Usage
So why did that happen?? Basically, the larger hook results in a much looser crochet stitch. The finished product will have much larger “holes” with a lot more air space between and within each stitch.
This is actually the reason for BOTH differences discussed above!
When going for the same finished size, you need fewer stitches to get the same result. The stitches are spaced out and airy and it will result in less yarn usage. As stated above, that difference can be quite significant. The size I to size N change in hook difference results in a 30% difference in the amount of yarn used!
But, if you look at the other scenario of using the same number of stitches and rows, you actually use more yarn with the bigger hook. This is because the larger hook results in much bigger stitches overall with large amounts of air in them. This means that each stitch actually uses more yarn. The result is 17% less yarn usage with the size I vs size N hook.
But the biggest thing to note with this scenario is how that affects the size of your project. The same number of stitches that are just larger will result in a larger finished product. In fact, the change from size I to size N hook actually results in a project about 40% larger!
How Can You Use Crochet Hook Size Yarn Usage Knowledge?
Well, exactly as my first scenario listed. If you are looking for a project that is a certain size at the end, and don’t really care about your project having more air space/larger holes, you can choose to use a larger hook. This will definitely conserve your yarn (and money!)
Alternatively, if you are following a pattern and don’t care that your project comes out smaller than described (maybe a toddler blanket that is just for dragging around), go for a smaller hook. You’ll end up with a smaller blanket and conserve yarn.
Some examples of projects where you might not care TOO much about either finished size or airiness are shawls, throw blankets, face scrubbies, doilies, embellishments like flowers or hearts or bows, washcloths, and decorations like Christmas ornaments or standing trees. I’m sure there are many others, but this is a small list of ideas for you.
When Would You NOT Want to Change Hook Sizes?
If the size of the end result matters for your pattern, you NEED to follow the gauge provided in the pattern.
For example, a piece of clothing needs to be the right dimensions because it has to fit you! In this case, you will want to crochet the swatch provided in the gauge section of the pattern and find which crochet hook gives you the right size. USE THAT HOOK! Do not change to conserve yarn!
If the amount of “airiness” in the project matters to you, you do not want to change the hook size.
Say you are making a potholder. Well, I can tell you, you do NOT want a lot of air in that thing! You will end up with some burnt hands! Another example is a baby blanket. You likely don’t want it to have larger holes in it that could trap fingers and cause loss of circulation. I wouldn’t recommend using that bulky hook on that fine yarn.
So there you go! I think I’ve covered it! You have your answer to how crochet hook size matters and when and why you should care! If you think of any other questions about it, drop me a comment, and I will answer the best I can!
Now it is time for YOU to get Crafty with Ashy! For my own inspiration, show me YOUR recent projects in the comments!
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