VarieHook Crochet Hook Instructions

GETTING STARTED WITH THE VARIEHOOK MODEL #1

VarieHook Model #1 is recommended for confident beginners and above. Our beta testers, even confident beginners, were able to master the VarieHook quickly. It is designed for worsted-weight yarn in the most commonly recommended hook size (5.5 mm).

Begin by placing a slip knot on the smallest shaft and cinch the yarn if it is drooping. Place the fingers that hold the hook on the medium or large shaft, whichever is most comfortable for you. To form a chain, yo and draw through, repeat until you’ve made 10 chains. You have just completed "Sch 10" (with the small shaft, chain 10) in VarieHook terminology.

Move the fingers that hold the hook a 1/2 to 1 inch further away from the hook head. Hold the 10th chain with the fingers of your free hand, move the hook to the left (if you are right-handed) so the working yarn moves to the medium shaft. Cinch the yarn with tension around the medium shaft if it is drooping. While keeping the hook perpendicular to the foundation chain already worked, yo and draw through. Repeat 9 more times. You may find moving the fingers of your left hand up to the last chain each time is helpful until you get the rhythm of forming medium chains. You have just completed “Mch 10”.

As you become accustomed to working with the various shafts your "hook hand" naturally moves back and forth on the largest shaft, resulting in the working loop staying about the same distance from the fingers holding the hook. Because the largest shaft is also the handle, there is no thumb rest.

Other stitches are formed in a similar manner. For example, when creating a Mhdc (medium half double crochet), check that the working loop is on the medium shaft with enough tension that the working yarn isn’t drooping. Yo, insert the hook into the next stitch or chain, yo and draw through, check that all 3 loops are on the medium shaft with some tension, yo and draw through all 3 loops.

Because crocheters naturally focus on keeping their tension even, users will find tightening the current loop on the hook an easy but important adjustment needed to use the VarieHook effectively.

There are practice patterns in the Free Patterns section of our website, Variehook.com.

 

The mechanics of the VarieHook differ slightly from a standard hook. The tops of a row of single crochets created with the small, medium and large shafts will also be small, medium and large. Many patterns will have a "gathering" row of small single crochets to keep the fabric uniform after a row with a variety of stitch sizes. Keeping an even tension with no drooping is particularly important when working a gathering row.

Another difference becomes apparent when working with oversized stitches such as puffs and clusters, which are taller than the shaft of a standard crochet hook. There will be a large loop before the oversized stitch. Depending on the pattern, there may be asymmetrical chains before and after the oversized stitch. The large loop is an advantage when working in the round, because the need for standing chains at the beginning of each round is eliminated when the first loop of the round is oversized.

The technique for loading the hook with the working loops will feel a little different than a one size hook. Before starting a multi-loop oversized stitch, move the working yarn to the target shaft and keep the tension looser than usual as you work the loop(s) onto the medium or large shaft.

 

GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS

VarieHook Model #1’s smallest shaft (5.5 mm diameter) is the primary shaft.

Abbreviations starting with S, M and L indicate the size shaft you are using for that particular stitch. It is important that the working yarn is cinched to the current shaft while crafting a stitch.

These patterns use American crochet terminology with the addition of hook shaft sizes.

Abbreviations (United States and VarieHook terminology)

blo: work in back loop only
bpdc: back post double crochet
bpsc: back post single crochet
bptr: back post treble crochet
ch: chain
dc: double crochet
flo: work in front loop only
fpdc: front post double crochet
fpsc: front post single crochet
fptr: front post treble crochet
hdc: half double crochet
L: large shaft
M: medium shaft
rep: repeat
RS: right side
S: small shaft
sc: single crochet
sk: skip
sl st: slip stitch
sp: space
st(s): stitch(es)
tr: treble crochet
WS: wrong side
yo: yarn over

Common Instruction Examples:

Example 1: “Sch 1 (does not count as a st), Ssc in first st” at the start of a single crochet row indicates Small chain 1, then small single crochet in the base of the Small chain 1 just worked. Similarly, this instruction: "Sch 4 (counts as Sdc, Sch 1), cluster in first st," indicates working the cluster at the base of the Small chain 4.

Example 2: If a row begins with “Sch 3 (counts as a Sdc)” then the next row will end by inserting the final stitch in the top of the ch-3 turning chain unless directed otherwise.

Example 3: Medium and large shafts are indicated for the foundation chain in a few patterns. If shaft size is not specified for a foundation chain, use the small shaft.

Variations: Many patterns have unexplored color variations. There are excellent resources online to explore how to change colors in crochet, so we have omitted detailed color change instructions. In addition, many patterns are reversible, stitch sizes can be easily changed and the pattern orientation can be varied. 

Multiples: Multiples are helpful when using these patterns in other projects. The multiple stated in each pattern is for a foundation chain including turning chains. For example, if a pattern multiple is stated as 5 + 2, the beginning chain would require 7 chains (5 + 2) for one repeat, 12 chains (5x2 + 2) for two repeats, 17 chains (5x3 + 2) for three repeats and so on.

Markers: Stitch markers are optional, but sometimes helpful to mark the right side, or to highlight a stitch you anticipate will be partially hidden later in your work. Examples where markers are recommended in the stitch dictionary are VarieHook Slanted Clusters and VarieHook No Wrestle Parallel Cables patterns.

VarieHook YouTube Channel: Go to VarieHook - YouTube for how-to videos showing how the hook works, and brief stitch and pattern tutorials. Reviewing the videos may be a time-saving way to learn stitches or patterns that are uncommon or unfamiliar.

Attribution: Inclusion in our VarieHook Stitch Dictionary does not imply VarieHook invented the techniques or patterns, although some were invented by us. Like many shared art forms, it is difficult to know who the original creator of a technique or pattern is. We are grateful for all the wonderful crochet patterns that crafters have shared in books, pamphlets, online and elsewhere.

 

VarieHook Rules of Thumb When converting One-Size Standard Hook Patterns

Cables: When a pattern has post stitches that are slightly taller than a double crochet and are vertically oriented, use the M shaft for proper stitch height and tension. When post stitches are tilted, use the large shaft.

Freehand draw-ups: Use the medium or large shafts to make a uniform taller look. If you’ve ever worked a pattern by faithfully following directions and found the result looks nothing like the photo, the culprit is probably draw-ups taller than the shaft size, which may not be written into the pattern. With VarieHook in hand, precise stitch height increases replace many error-prone manual adjustments. Search online for “golden loop crochet” for more on this topic.

Squaring Granny Squares and Motifs: The VarieHook is an excellent tool for squaring up granny squares and motifs that are rounding (bulging at the sides). The most common technique to solve this is to move up a shaft size when working corner stitches. Corners chains usually continue to be worked with the small shaft in this situation. VarieHook Very Square Granny Motif is an example of this technique.

Another technique is to reduce the size of the side stitches if the corner stitches are medium or large sizes. VarieHook Embrace the Height Granny Motif is an excellent example of this technique.

Puffs and Clusters: Because the working loop is large before creating a large puff or cluster, a large loop will precede these stitches. Often a pattern requires a ch-sp, so the large loop can replace a chain or two (for example, Sea Wave and Puff Lace Wave).

A benefit of the large working loop before large and medium puffs and clusters is it eliminates the need to work a beginning chain at the start of rounds. Examples using this technique are Farmhouse Granny Motif and Medium Clusters Granny Motif.