When I started crocheting again, after a break of almost 10 years, it was to make a baby blanket for my friend. I went to my local Fabric store – Hancock Fabrics and picked up some yarn and some crochet hooks in a few sizes. They were all Susan Bates crochet hooks made of aluminium, and I have been pretty happy with them.
Now, I have been working on a blanket for my daughter. Last week, I was looking around for some yarn online, and I happened upon a curious thing – wooden and bamboo crochet hooks. Till that point, my ignorant self had always thought that crochet hooks were always made of metal. Browsing some more, I fell in love with the beautiful wood crochet hooks. On forums, it seemed like people who use the wooden hooks once are hooked on to them (pun intended).
So I began my search for a wood crochet hook to try. Lantern Moon, Furls, Brittany, ChiaGoo, Clover all have wood or bamboo hooks. However, I came across the ‘Surina’ Crochet hooks – and they intrigued me.
Here’s literature from their website – “All our wooden knitting needles are made from Surina wood, which we have been purchasing from plantations around Sundarban. The tree from which Surina wood is taken is locally known as “the elegant tree”. And with good reason: these tree are tall, very straight, have tiny branches and produce the wood which is hard yet light in weight, light pink in color and very suitable for woodworking .In Kolkata (Calcutta), highly trained and skilled artisans turn this elegant wood into exceptional knitting needles highlighting natural grain, hyper smoothness of the wood, handmade perfect finish and the hot stamping in both US and Metric sizes gives it the unique look. The hardness though lightweight, grained look, hyper smoothness and luster-polish without the use of any harmful chemical or agent is the USP of the wooden needles. No other wood can provide with the look that Surina can.”
A crochet needle made in India? Of course, I had to absolutely try it. Off I went to eBay and ordered one – in US Size F – for $12.23 including shipping. The hook came in yesterday and today, I had the opportunity to try it out.
The Surina is a very pretty hook -with decorative carving on the end, a lovely smooth finish with beautiful color and grain .Compared to my Susan Bates Aluminium, the Surina is longer (7″ vs 5″). It also has a pointed sharp head. – Susan bates has a round blunt head. The groove depth of the Surina is a bit shallower than the Susan Bates. Also, the edge of the groove – the tip is much sharper in the Surina. The Surina has no thumb rest (Susan Bates does). Both are inline hooks. (The anatomy of a crochet -Here is a very simple and nice description at freshstitches.com).
When I started to use the Surina, in the first 10 minutes, I just did not like it! I am used to a thumb rest, and the lack of it threw me off. Also, since the head was sharp and pointed, and the tip was a little sharp too, I snagged the yarn quite a bit. Also, the flow of yarn did not seem very smooth. I was sooo disappointed! It is such a pretty hook!
However, I decided to persevere with it – I decided to use the hook for one complete yarn ball and then make a decision.
After about 45mins of using the hook I feel differently. I found that with the Surina, it is taking me some time to get used to the lack of a thumb rest. The lack of a thumb rest makes the angle which I hold the hook, and how much the hook is rotated very important, and it contributes to the drag of yarn and how much I snag the yarn at its points.
Now, I know the optimal position of holding the hook. And I don’t feel any drag at all. The hook is much warmer to hold – that is a good thing. However because of no thumb rest, it fells much skinnier. I have started liking the sharp pointed head. I can be more accurate in where I go and it leaves smaller holes in its wake. My speed with the Surina is also improving.
So far, the Surina hook is not a throwaway. Am I going to love it? Or use it for decoration purposes only? Its too soon to tell. I will complete my one ball of yarn or maybe two) with this hook and then post an update. One thing for sure though – it is a pretty hook.