Crocheting… Without a Hook!

By Caissa "Cami" McClinton – 9 Comments

We all know that crochet is a beautiful and versatile craft. We can crochet almost anywhere and all we need is just a yarn and hook, right? While that certainly is true, it is also true that crochet can be done with one fewer item. Leave your hook at home, people. You can now crochet with your fingers!

In fact, “leaving my hook at home” is exactly how this technique came to light for me. I was recently on a road trip and I was excited for the drive because I had brought a current crochet project with me to work on in the car. I was excited until I realized that while I thought I had hooks in every size from E through J, for some reason my “I” hook was missing! Doh! Why is it always the “I” hook?

I had previously learned about crocheting with fingers from a wonderful Spanish-language television show called “Despuntadas” on the TV station Utilisima. It used to watch it in Mexico City a few years ago. The host Karen Herrera always had beautiful and innovative garments to share and used the segments to teach everyone how to make them using a featured technique. She once made a lovely shawl crocheted entirely with her fingers!

My hookless predicament prompted me to grab two strands of worsted weight yarn and start to chain using my index finger. I had seen Karen do single crochets with her finger, but I wanted to try double crochets. Not surprisingly, it worked out wonderfully. The resulting fabric was open, airy, and very pretty.

Here are some videos from YouTube to give you examples of finger crocheting if you’ve never seen it:

Now, I’m still a beginner, but I wanted to share a couple of observations about finger crochet with you. While much of it is very similar to regular crochet with a hook, there are a few things we need to consider. One is yarn size. I began by double-stranding worsted weight yarn, which worked out well. Later I tried with a single strand of worsted weight and it was so loopy I couldn’t make sense of it. Later I tried with a size 6, super bulky yarn and that worked perfectly, although the resulting fabric was still light and lacy. Compared to crochet hooks, our fingers are big! Definitely try the technique with a thicker yarn!

Another thing I noticed was a big difference in the foundation chain. Usually my foundation chains look like a braid on one side and bumps on the other. For some reason, my foundation chains with this technique are quite loopy. Therefore, I need to manipulate the chain before crocheting the first row into the bottom bump. This makes the crocheting take a bit longer, but it’s worth it in order to have the finished-looking end on the work.

The final observation is that finger crochet is a lot of fun! The whole process feels very organic and it’s quite fascinating to see how the project evolves. I am currently working a cowl made of half double crochets in the round. The resulting fabic is really very charming and looks entirely different from any other crochet project I’ve seen.

Have you ever tried finger crochet? If so, what are your thoughts? Have I piqued your curiosity? Would you like to try it? Please leave your comments below!

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9 Comments

  1. renee says:

    this is awesome! i gotta try this because sometimes, it can be humbug to carry needles, stitch markers, etc. at least, it can be for me :-)

    renee

  2. Sandy L says:

    I am a college student and have an in process finger crochet scarf/shawl/thing that I am doing with a single strand of worsted weight yarn. I also Finger crochet the foundation chain for the larger hook sizes such as L to be able to have enough give in the material.

  3. Maggie says:

    This is how I first learned to crochet as a kid, and how I am currently teaching my 5-year-old nephew how to crochet. (I was taught on single-strand worsted, because I don’t even think my mother knew that there were options besides “worsted” and “thread.”) It was a lot easier for my clumsy little fingers because I didn’t have a hook to worry about dropping.

    I think I’m going to try a finger-crochet (what I grew up calling it) project for crocheting on the bus. Simpler than juggling yarn and a hook.

  4. Margaret says:

    I found this interesting since I had been wondering if there was a “crochet” answer to the arm knitting rage. My daughter, who has trouble with crocheting, has gone crazy with arm knitting. Maybe now I can get her interested in another method.

  5. Jodiebodie says:

    You have certainly given me some ideas after inheriting a stash of thick bulky yarn. I thought I might use it to crochet a rug for the car. It might be a good opportunity to try my hand (or should I say “try my ‘fingers’” at finger-crochet!

  6. craftygrandma says:

    What a fabulous idea!!! Now the grand-kids won’t have to fight over the ‘big’ hook to crochet!! I too learned to finger crochet when I was about 5 just to get out of my mom’s hair while she did her sewing (she was a seamstress and often worked on wedding dresses – the big pouffy kind – ahhh! the 60′s!) I had forgotten about that until I saw you doing it! duh! Even a crafty grandma forgets about the good old methods!! Thanks for the share

  7. Marianne says:

    I really enjoy reading your website and the comments. I go in spurts as for crocheting and haven’t done any for close to a month. I live in zip code 17113

  8. Annie says:

    I’ve been finger crocheting since 2012, and enjoying it. I saw someone using a single strand of yarn and making a chain with her index finger. I was wowed by that and this started my obsession. I tried watching and doing what the girl in the first video in this post did. But that didn’t quite work for me. So I had to teach myself a different way.

    I usually watch regular crochet videos and try to adapt them. Some techniques work, some don’t.

    If you enjoy it, keep at it!! You’ll get better!! And if you have any tips, please share. The only tip I really have so far, as I’m still learning how to do some basic stitches, is do small projects like scarfs with chunky yarn or 2 strands of worsted weight yarn.

    It’s really great to finally read about others that have the same hobby. :) As I’ve been searching here and there about finger crochet and not finding much.

    Annie

  9. Olivia says:

    This is such a cool idea! I’ve thought about how I could make this work but never really tried it. I’m definitely going to have to get some thicker yarn and try this out!
    Love reading your stories by the way guys :)

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