How to Hold a Crochet Hook & Yarn – Guide For Left & Right Handers

Learning how to hold yarn and a crochet hook is essential.

Read my guide to using a crochet hook and yarn.

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I reviewed and updated this post on July 12, 2022.

Table Of Contents

How Do You Use A Crochet Hook?

How To Hold A Crochet Hook

There are two common crochet hook holds.

I’ll explain with left and right-handed instructions.

How do you hold your hands when crocheting?

Here’s a video by KnitPicks on how to hold a hook for crochet.

For more on the best crochet hooks for crocheters, read my post.

How To Hold A Crochet Hook Left Handed

1 Knife Grip

Step 1

  • Pick up a knife
  • Hold it in your left/right hand as if cutting food
  • Look at where your fingers lie around the knife

Step 2

  • Grab a crochet hook
  • Hold it the same way you held a knife
  • Miming cutting while holding the crochet hook in your left/right hand. It helps you figure out the grip

2 Pencil Grip

Step 1

  • Find a pencil
  • Hold it in your right/left hand as if writing
  • Look at where your fingers are on the pencil

Step 2

  • Hold a crochet hook in your left/right hand like you’re writing
  • If you forget where your fingers should go
  • Pick up the pencil again
  • Look at where your fingers are

Wondering what yarn is best for crochet? Here.

The easiest way to hold a crochet hook depends.

Try each and see what works.

Neither does? Find a grip that feels natural and doesn’t make your fingers or hands ache.

Always use your dominant hand to hold the hook and your non-dominant hand to hold the yarn. I explain how to hold the yarn below.

Check out my guide to the luxury yarn sales for ideas on making your next project more memorable.

How To Hold Yarn When Crocheting

There are many ways to hold yarn.

I list a few. Pick which is best for you.

Learning how to hold yarn takes practice. If you don’t succeed, try again.

Here’s a video tutorial from Bobby Thompson at Crochet Guru.

Curious about what the best yarn online is? Discover it in my guide.

How To Hold Yarn When Crocheting Left Handed

1 Pinky Wrap

  • Step 1
  • Bring the yarn up between your right-hand ring finger and pinky
  • Step 2
  • Wrap the yarn around your right pinky once to make a loop
  • Step 3
  • Bring the yarn over the next three fingers
  • Lift your right index finger
  • Use your middle finger and thumb to hold the work

2 Woven Hold

  • Step 1
  • Bring the yarn up between your right-hand ring finger and pinky
  • Step 2
  • Take the yarn over the next finger
  • Under your middle finger
  • Over your index finger.
  • Step 3
  • Lift your index finger if desired
  • Use your middle finger and thumb to hold the work

3 Woven Hold With Pinky Wrap

The added pinky wrap to the woven hold gives you control over tension.

  • Step 1
  • Take the yarn up between your right-hand ring finger and little finger
  • Step 2
  • Wrap the yarn around your right pinky once to make a loop
  • Step 3
  • Take the yarn over the next finger
  • Under your middle finger
  • Over your index finger.
  • Step 4
  • Lift your index finger
  • Open or close your fingers to loosen or tighten the tension

4 Index Finger Wrap

  • Step 1
  • From beneath your right hand
  • Bring the working yarn up
  • Between your right middle finger and index finger
  • Step 2
  • Wrap the yarn over your right index finger twice
  • So there are two loops on your index finger
  • Use your middle finger and thumb to hold the work

Wondering what the best yarn for crochet socks is? See my guide.

How To Hold Crochet Yarn Right Handed

Here are the same instructions as the left-hand methods, switched to the left hand instead of the right.

1 Pinky Wrap

  • Step 1
  • Bring the yarn up between your left-hand ring finger and pinky
  • Step 2
  • Wrap the yarn around your left pinky once to make a loop
  • Step 3
  • Bring the yarn over the next three fingers
  • Lift your left index finger
  • Use your middle finger and thumb to hold the work

2 Woven Hold

  • Step 1
  • Bring the yarn up between your left-hand ring finger and pinky
  • Step 2
  • Take the yarn over the next finger
  • Under your middle finger
  • Over your index finger.
  • Step 3
  • Lift your index finger if desired
  • Use your middle finger and thumb to hold the work

3 Woven Hold With Pinky Wrap

The added pinky wrap to the woven hold gives you a little more control over the tension.

  • Step 1
  • Take the yarn between your left-hand ring finger and little finger
  • Step 2
  • Wrap the yarn around your left pinky once to make a loop
  • Step 3
  • Take the yarn over the next finger
  • Under your middle finger
  • Over your index finger
  • Step 4
  • Lift your index finger
  • Open or close your fingers to loosen or tighten the tension

4 Index Finger Wrap

  • Step 1
  • From beneath your left hand, bring the working yarn between your right middle finger and index finger
  • Step 2
  • Wrap the yarn over your left index finger twice so there are two loops on your index finger
  • Use your middle finger and thumb to hold the work

A yarn bowl for crochet is an ideal tool for your hobby!

How Do You Hold Crochet Thread?

For holding crochet thread, try the techniques above to see what’s comfortable.

As crochet thread is so fine, hold it loosely and keep your fingers relaxed to prevent cramping.

What Is The Working Yarn?

The working yarn is the thread from the skein, tensioned in your hands, and hooked into the fabric.

With a yarn over, you’re wrapping the working yarn around your hook.

How Do You Hold Tension When Crocheting?

Tension means how taut or loose your yarn is. Your non-dominant hand is the hand that controls the tension.

  • Right-handed? Tension the yarn in your left hand
  • Left-handed? Tension the yarn in your right

Tensioning is important. If you have none, the fabric is a loopy mess.

Though tight tension makes the finished fabric too dense.

How do you keep the right tension?

If you’re struggling to yarn over and pull your hook through the loop, your tension is way too tight.

Loosen your yarn hold, or try a different yarn hold for more looseness.

If the chains you’re making look too loopy, your tension is too loose.

Tighten your yarn hold, or try a different yarn hold for more tightness.

Here’s a video on how to tension your yarn from Sigoni Macaroni.

Is It Better To Crochet Tight Or Loose?

On a scale of 0-10, where 0 is super loose, and ten is super tight, you need a five or medium. Not too tight, not too loose.

How To Crochet Comfortably

Here are some tips on avoiding pain or fatigue in your hands.

If it’s bad, visit your doctor.

  • Stretch your hands before and after crocheting
  • Keep your elbows down
  • Stay relaxed
  • Avoid hunching your shoulders
  • Keep your back straight

Getting frustrated with your crocheting? Take a break.

Note: Can’t get rid of tension in your hands while crocheting? Try an ergonomic crochet hook. They reduce pain.

Or use tension relief gloves to keep your hands from bending too much.

Q&A

Knife Grip Vs Pencil Grip Crochet

The knife grip is where you hold your crochet hook like a knife.

When using the pencil grip, hold the hook as if writing with a pencil.

Knife Vs Sabre Hold Crochet

The knife hold and the sabre hold are the same way to hold the hook.

What Does Hold Work On Wrong Side Mean In Crochet?

“Hold work on wrong side” means to hold the crochet on the opposite side to the right. Here’s how to tell the wrong side from the right side.

If the tail of the slip knot you made at the beginning is on the left side, you’re looking at the right side of the work.

If it’s on the right, you’re looking at the wrong side of the work. 

If you are using your tail to determine the right and wrong side, don’t weave it in before you’re finished.

  • Wrong Side On a Chain: The side with little bumps.
  • Right Side On A Chain: The smooth side with multiple little ‘Vs.’

Is It Better To Hold Your Crochet Hook Like A Pencil Or Knife?

It depends on you! Some like the knife holder, and others the pencil.

There More Than One Way To Hold A Crochet Hook?

Yes, there are two main holds: the pencil and the knife hold.

Is There A Crochet Tool To Hold The Working Yarn?

Yes! ‘Crochet Rings’.

They keep tension even while crocheting.

Here’s a gorgeous knitting ring from ItsVera on Etsy. It’s available in

  • Copper
  • Vintage silver-plated copper
  • Vintage silver-plated brass
  • Sterling silver
Tension brass ring by It's Vera
Vera receives wonderful reviews from her customers

With your newfound skills, what you will crochet? I’d love to hear about the projects you’ve planned.

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About Jodie Morgan

Hi. I’m Jodie Morgan, creator of Crochet Penguin. I started this site to show 1,000,000 people the joys of crochet & highlight alternatives to fast fashion. Please say hello!

Jodie Morgan Profile Pic

About Jodie Morgan

Hi. I’m Jodie Morgan, creator of Crochet Penguin. I started this site to show 1,000,000 people the joys of crochet & highlight alternatives to fast fashion. Please say hello!

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