Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Blast From the Past

My mom was doing some spring cleaning a while back and came across these crochet hooks that she used in her youth. I thought I'd share a couple of pictures since they're an interesting piece of crochet history. I'm guessing she bought these sometime around the late '60s, early '70s. That's about when she was making ponchos and dresses out of granny squares. Turns out that's not a cliche, it's what people were actually doing with crochet back then. (And my mom's the one who shakes her head and says I'm strange when I show her things like my crocheted Nibbler and vampire bunny rabbits...)

I give the set points for the lovely case the hooks came in, but I like them more as an artifact than as something I'm actually going to use. The hooks are about an inch smaller than the standard Boye ones I like and they just feel uncomfortable in my hands. My mom always says she stopped crocheting because it hurt her hands, and with these things, I can see why. It's clear that ergonomics was not part of their design.

Above is a close up of the set's hook #1. They're all have numbers, with this largest one being #1 and the smallest being #10. The company name on the case says Warwick P.Q., but the colour and feel of the plastic reminds me a lot of the Susan Bates line of hooks and knitting needles. Below you can see the conversion chart that also came with the hooks and that's another interesting piece of history.

We don't have "Canadian" standards for hook size anymore. Canada slowly started going metric in the 1970's. Today when you buy hooks and knitting needles in Canada they're printed with the metric size in millimetres and the U.S. equivalent number or letter on the handle as well.

What's also interesting is that these sizes don't even match up with modern standards. The chart tells me the #1 hook is the equivalent of the U.S. "K" hook and a metric 7.0 mm hook. Not true today. My Boye hook is a K/6.50mm. According to Teresa at Crochet Tips it is common for lettered hooks to be different in size, or cause your projects to turn out different sizes, even if you are using modern day hooks.

So that's your history lesson for today. Anyone know of a craft museum where I could donate these things?


TilliEllie said...

Those are wild!
And I can definitely understand why her hands would hurt - you're right, comfort really wasn't taken into consideration.


Adriana said...

Mmm I find some older hooks ...
I need something modern jajajaja!
here the photo--> http://publicabos.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/hook.jpg
So... that`s why mi hands hurts?

Cthulhu is my guide...oughhh!