With Christmas approaching, this is a great handmade present for a lover of crochet: a set of hand-carved crochet hooks, in a handmade case. Of course, if time is short, you could always just make the case, and fill it with a set of bought crochet hooks.
To make the crochet hooks I used:
Freshly-cut twigs from an apple tree (of a slightly larger diameter than I wanted the finished hooks to be)
A sharp pen knife
The crochet hooks were made by first cutting the twigs to length using a hacksaw. Next, a penknife was used to remove the bark from the twigs. The hook was carved using first a hacksaw, and then a penknife, and was refined using rough sandpaper.
In this project I embraced the slightly rustic look, as without using a lathe it would be incredibly difficult to carve beautifully straight crochet hooks (especially for a novice wood-carver like me!). I made sure that I got a lovely smooth finish to the wood, but showcased the slightly wonky shape of the twigs- this does have the added bonus of showing that the crochet hooks were handmade!
The hooks were made smooth using sandpaper, and I also cut a decorative groove around the handle to mark the edge of the painted area.
It is much easier to make the crochet hooks using green (freshly cut) twigs, but after carving they need to be left to thoroughly dry out before painting, as they will shrink slightly when drying.
I chose to paint a cheerful polka dot pattern on the handles, and once the paint was dry I coated the painted area with clear varnish (as the acrylic paint on it’s own wasn’t as shiny a finish as I wanted).
I used a knitting and crochet gauge to find out the sizes of the hooks, and then used metal number stamps to impress the size just below the painted area on each hook (you could instead paint or write the size on to each hook).
I was surprised how easy I found it to make these hooks, it just took careful selection of appropriate twigs, and some patience (particularly when waiting for the wood to dry out after carving, which took 3-4 days). The wood I used was from an apple tree in my parents’ garden, which added a bit of meaning to the gift as I made the crochet hooks for my mum.
The case was made to fit this set of handmade crochet hooks, and I chose to sew it by hand. The case is fastened simply using a loop of elastic that hooks over a decorative button. The basic design of this case could easily be adapted to store other craft tools, such as pens, paintbrushes or knitting needles etc.