Have you been caught Knooking?

No, it’s not a relative of necking, though that’s all I could think of when I first saw the name. I think that says more about me than it does about knooking, though!

A little background: My attempts to knit have been exercises in something, for sure, but there was a lot more swearing and frustration involved than there was actual knitting. About every six months I get the nerve up to try again. The most recent attempt netted me a 3″ by 5″ piece of knitted material. Progress! Okay, no, not really. So I went back to crocheting, head hung in shame.

If you are a regular crocheter like me who has struggled to cross over into knitting successfully, this knooking thing may be the solution for you. Knooking is the practice of using crochet hooks to knit.

While the stitches are the same as normal knits and purls (the two main stitches in knitting, for those uninitiated to the endless frustration- er, joy- that is knitting), the way you hold the hooks, work, and working yarn is much more reminiscent of crochet. This is a HUGE help, because unlike knitting with needles, your crochet habits and skill set transfer over far more than they do with straight knitting. That was the key for me – I could concentrate on learning how to knit and how to purl without also worrying about where to hold my yarn, how to hold the needle, and all of the other little things that come naturally to long-time knitters.

With enough practice, I think I could try knitting with needles again, this time with a solid foundation in knitting and purling, so that I can focus on all of those other little things that have made knitting so overwhelming in the past.

But you’ve got to be wondering, alright, I want to try it out. What supplies do I need, and what do I do?

  • Two crochet hooks of the same size, or a crochet hook with a long extender on the back.
  • Your choice of yarn
  • A basic knitting pattern

Ideally, you need a crochet hook with an extender on the back end. They are starting to sell kits at chain craft stores with a few knooks and a little instruction book – find them by the crochet and knitting supplies. They whole kit is small, only about a quarter the size of a normal crochet instruction book, so they can be hard to spot. You can, however, use a regular crochet hook for a small piece, but you’ll need two hooks of the same size to do it this way. Tunisan crochet hooks work wonderfully, as the extra length allows you to work on larger pieces. Just keep in mind that the far back end at the end of the extender can’t have something on it to keep the work from sliding off, as you slide that out of your work with each row you finish.

For my starter pattern, I looked around on Ravelry and found Tin Can Knits’ Wheat Scarf.

Casting on: you can use traditional knitting methods of casting on, but knooking as one more way. Just chain the number of stitches you need exactly. Then, working back along your chain, skip the first stitch, then pick up the side loop from each chain st. Don’t worry about the chain you skipped. The loop on the hook when you first finish chaining counts as a stitch as well.

Once you have the right number of stitches on your hook, it’s time to get started!

I’m right handed, so I keep my working yarn wound through the fingers of my left hand and hold the work between my left thumb and middle finger. My right hand holds the hook I’m using to knit. Once you’ve cast on, pick up your second hook if you are working with two hooks. Otherwise, slide the cast on stitches down onto the flexible extended part of your hook. The internet is full of basic instructions on how to knit and purl, so for now I will leave you with that much. I found an instruction book on knooking at my local free library, but you could buy one on amazon or at a craft store. One resource to learn how to knook can be found at Denise Interchangeable Knitting and Crochet.

Good luck! If you give knooking a try, let me know how it goes!

-Rae