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When crocheting, there are 2 grips for holding the hook: like a knife or like a pen. The choice is - of course - a matter of what you've been taught and what you prefer, but can anything in general be said about the (dis)advantages of both grips?
For instance,

  • is any grip better for your finger joints and wrist,
  • does it help to crochet faster,
  • is it easier when crocheting larger (heavier) projects,
  • does it allow you to switch yarns more easily or anything else that occasionally needs to be done during crocheting, etc.

Also, if there is another way to hold the hook, please don't hesitate to mention it.

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    I personally like knife grip better, it hurts my wrists less. – L.B. Aug 31 '16 at 17:33
  • I believe you have hit upon the Crochet equivalent of Continental vs English in knitting. All the best in getting a satisfactory answer. It may be entirely opinion though. – SAM A May 1 '19 at 20:05
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Practicing with both common grips is a good strategy.

While you will naturally develop a preferred grip for most projects, having a variety of approaches you are functional with will make a much broader range of thread weights and project weights possible for you to accomplish with some ease.

Also being able to alternate approaches will go a long way toward reliving tiredness and joint strain on big projects.

Short answer: BOTH in combination are better than either alone.

It sometimes helps to wind a small scrap yarn ball around your hook that will fit comfortably into the V formed by your thumb and index finger metacarpal bones. There are commercially available hook designs that accomplish similar aids.

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I crochet using knife grip, and tried to learn pen grip, since it is considered 'right' in my country.

When learning, I found that pen grip allows you smaller hand movements, so it is better joints and wrists. It was also easier when working with fine yarns; when I tried to crochet thicker yarns, my hand would quickly return to knife grip. Additionally my gauge was tighter with pen grip.

The speed greatly depends on your proficiency with each grip, so it is not really a point for any of the grips.

Ultimately I returned to knife grip, because I found inserting the hook in a stitch much easier this way - for pen grip I had to twist fabric so that I would have trouble seeing the stitch (I would commonly insert the hook under only front loop or split the back loop), because the hook points somewhat downwards, left and slightly forwards, while with knife grip my hook points left, slightly upwards and parallel to my body.

Illustration of this difference: Pen hold, pointing downwards Pen hold Crocheting using pen hold using pen hold Knife hold, pointing upwards knife hold Crocheting using knife hold using knife hold

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I'm a Lefty but I crochet Right handed and hold the hook between my thumb and first two fingers, like a knife I suppose. I've tried holding it like a pen but it feels weird and awkward. I'd say hold the hook however it feels most comfortable to you. Try a couple of different ways, do sample pieces and see what works.

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  • I think the OP is aware that trying each out is an option. They more want to know of any specific criteria or reasons that would guide the decision one way or the other. This does still answer the question though. – Matt Aug 31 '16 at 2:48
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I personally feel like the knife grip means you have to move your wrist less, which is why it might be better for your wrist joints. As for speed, it would be the grip where you could make the smallest moves, which would also be the knife grip.

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I prefer using the knife grip. I find it more comfortable when I'm holding my hook and faster to do. It also means I can see what I'm doing clearly.

It's each to their own really, whatever feels comfortable for you.

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I use knife grip for most stitches, but for a few, such as crab stitch (reverse single crochet), the pen grip works much better.

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I’ve become accustomed to the knife grip. It’s comfortable & familiar to me, I can’t even work doing the pencil grip. I’ve tried both ways. The knife grip (I believe) is much easier. Try both, and see what works for you enter image description here

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  • Hi Tricia, welcome to Arts and Crafts, and thanks for your input! Can you expand on your answer? The question seems to be more about an unbiased comparison between grips, not personal preferences. Could you address the sub questions, as well? – Joachim Apr 22 '19 at 8:13

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