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What is a steel crochet hook?

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You’ve probably heard someone mention a ‘steel crochet hook’. Are you a bit confused about what that means?

Fear not! I’ll help you out!

Steel Crochet Hooks

‘steel’ crochet hooks refer to tiny crochet hooks, smaller than the hooks that are labeled in the US with letters.

steel crochet hook

I’m honestly not sure how the name came about… my guess is that traditionally, hooks were made from bone or wood, and only the steel ones could be crafted in such small sizes. Of course, nowadays, we have larger hooks in metal, too!

More details about steel hooks

Steel crochet hooks are labeled with numbers, and the larger the number, the smaller the hook. Funny, I know!

The numbers typically range from 00 or 0 (the biggest) to 14 (the smallest).

You usually use steel crochet hooks to crochet with thread… this page lists helpful thread size suggestions for hook size.


I use a steel crochet hook when I do bead crochet… they’re what’s needed for tiny thread!

Suggestions for using steel hooks

It’s pretty easy to pick up steel crochet hooks at a yard sale or thrift store, as they were very popular years ago and haven’t changed much! If you’d like to purchase a set of commonly used sizes, Boye makes a set* that’s good for getting started.

One problem that many folks have with using steel crochet hooks (besides how hard it is to use skinny thread!) is that your hand can tire from holding the tiny handle.

Finding hooks with a padded handle can help. The Clover Amour Steel Crochet Hook set* is beautifully colored and comes with a comfy handle that’s easy to grip.



  1. Regular air drying clay can also make an ergonomic handle in a pinch. Or you can use Suguru which is a fancier and sturdier version of modeling clay.

  2. Susan S. SAYS...

    I’ve used vet wrap (non sticky bandage wrap) to wrap handles of all kinds of things. It has a little bit of squooshyness and I can easily pad it as much as I need. The downside is that it does get dirty, but it’s easy to change

  3. Rena Brewer SAYS...

    I love to make doilies and other things with thread. Didn’t know these existed. thanks so much for the tip! I just ordered a set. My hands thank you!

  4. cheryl jansen SAYS...

    I use a grip on mine but I do have them as small as 21 for sewing thread, or tatting thread

    • susie SAYS...

      where to buy smaller than size 13-14?

      • Charlotte Jenks SAYS...

        You can get them on Amazon or Walmart Online

  5. Fran SAYS...

    Just a comment on hook sizes. You mentioned you didn’t know why the smaller the hook the larger number they are. It’s the same as needle size in medical terms. The number refers how many can fit in a specific measure, I.e. 6 per inch is larger than 10 per inch, therefore the no 6 hook is bigger. That simple

    • Yes, that’s how beads work too… but what is the part of the hook being measured to fit per inch?

  6. Renee SAYS...

    I have several of these steel hooks that were my Grandmothers. I wasn’t sure why I would use you have given me the idea of trying beads.