I recently wrote a review for Knitter's Pride Waves Crochet Hooks where I mentioned the terms inline and non-inline. It occurs to me that not everyone knows the difference and how it applies to them, and so today I thought I'd elaborate a little. There are two main types of crochet hook. There are many different types of handles, shapes, grips, lengths, sizes, etc, but when it comes to the actual hook part of the crochet hook there are two main types: Inline and Non-Inline. Let's take a look at a crochet hook diagram with labelled parts.
So what makes a hook inline or not? A hook is inline when the hook tip is flush with the shaft. Here's another picture for reference.
Here are two 9mm hooks. On the left is an inline hook. You can see that the hook and shaft line up. On the right is a non-inline hook. The hook part protrudes out a little farther than the shaft. Susan Bates and Boye are the two major starter hook brands. Susan Bates hooks are generally inline and Boye hooks are generally non-inline.
So, what's the big deal? Does hook type really make a difference? In short, sometimes. You may hear folks claim that one type is "better" than the other, but that simply isn't true. It's all down to personal preference. Inline users may say that non-inline hooks drop their yarn strands and are harder to wiggle into stitches. However, non-inline users may say that inline hooks split the yarn more often and grab onto stitches when they don't want them to.
How can you find out which hook is best for you? To borrow from Bill Nye, consider the following! How you hold your hook influences how comfortable each hook type will be for you. Knife holders generally prefer inline while pencil holders often prefer non-inline. The type of yarn you're using may be easier to work with if you switch hooks. For example, a non-inline hook will catch less on fluffy yarns and an inline hook may be better for precision when working with thread. Don't be afraid to try a new hook brand or type.
The type of hook you use should be dictated by what's most comfortable for you. Do you know someone who said crochet was too hard and they gave up on it? Maybe all they needed was to try a different hook. When teaching a beginner I think it's ideal to buy both a Susan Bates 6mm hook and a Boye 6mm hook so that they can try both and find what they like. What type do you prefer? Do you use both? Let us know in the comments.