How to Hold Yarn in Crochet

By Rachel Choi – 22 Comments

Just like there isn’t one way to hold a crochet hook, there sure isn’t one way you have to hold your yarn. It’s all about experimenting and finding what works for you! So here are some ideas for holding your yarn to get you started if you are a beginner. In all the pictures the thumb is normally down helping to hold the work, but for the sake of showing where the yarn is, the thumb is up.

For left handed pictures roll your mouse over the image and it will change for you!

I’ve seem many people hold their yarn like this, wrapping the yarn around the pinky finger and over the pointer finger.

Others like to do something similar, but weave the yarn between the ring and middle finger to give it more tension.

And then there’s the method to grip the yarn with 3 fingers and then over the pointer finger again.

I’m sure I missed some other methods, but for the life of me I can’t crochet using any of the above methods because I can’t keep my finger straight! So here is a picture of what I do. I weave the yarn between my ring and middle finger then make a hook with my pointer finger.

Feel free to try some methods out and if none work for you, there’s no shame in inventing your own method!

How do you hold your yarn?

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  1. Bookworm says:

    I hold it wrapped around my pinky and then around my first finger, though I usually wrap it around my first finger 2 or 3 times.

  2. Rebecca Thompson says:

    I wrap the yarn once around my pinky finger and then, rather than drape it over my index finger, I drape it over my middle finger while I hold the work with my index finger. I know, it’s a bit backwards. And I realize that when I crochet in public it may appear to people opposite from me that I am making an obscene gesture! I can’t help it, this is how I’ve always held my yarn. I really have tried changing…

    Rebecca in Toronto

  3. Hezaaa says:

    I never really thought about how I actually held my yarn until… right now! I actually had to break out a hook and a scrap peice and start doing a chain to see how I do it. I hold it sort of like the first picture except I dont wrap it around my pinky. It just kind of goes between my pinky and ring finger and then drapes over my index finger. I pull my index finger further away to control the tension of my stitches.

  4. Ryan says:

    I have always wondered-do you wrap it around the hook clock wise or counter clock wise

  5. […] feels comfortable. As you crochet, you can experiment to find out which method is right for you. How to Hold Yarn in Crochet – Just like there are lots of ways to hold a crochet hook, there are lots of ways to hold […]

  6. Panya says:

    As I said on the hook post, my mom taught me and my brother to crochet, and I taught my husband, so we all hold both the yarn and the hook the same way.

    We hold the yarn like a cigarette, at the second joint between the index and middle fingers [I don’t smoke, so I’ve always found this funny].

    I’ve tried several different wrapping holds, and I can’t make them work for me — either there’s too much tension, or not enough.

  7. Kiddalee says:

    Thank you. I looked this up because I have been using Method 3 and I find I’m bending my pinky finger to hard. If I don’t change, I’m going to have arthritis before I’m 40. Though it will be hard work to figure the other methods out, it will be worth it.

  8. Olivia says:

    I hold me yarn the first way.

  9. Olivia says:

    I messed up in my first reply.

  10. kelly says:

    i hold mine a little differently than described already…. its kinda like the wrap around the pinkie, but i wrap around pinkie, ring and middle fingers – then behind and over index finger. just around the pinkie is too tight for me and the larger “loop” around 3 fingers gives me a more relaxed tension. plus my pinkie doesnt cramp up.

  11. Panya says:

    Since I posted last year, I’ve experimented some more, and now I hold it differently! It’s like the third picture, except the yarn is ‘behind’ my pinkie instead of toward the palm. I obviously wasn’t used to the holds I tried, so I used a Norwegian knitting thimble for a while to help keep the yarn in place [I don’t need to use it anymore]. Here’s a short video of me crocheting a starghan for my husband’s grandmother, where you can see the way I hold the yarn and hook:

    I get a lot less pain and fatigue in my fingers and hand now, so I can crochet for a lot longer at one time. So thanks, if it wasn’t for this post, I don’t think I would have changed!

  12. Deb says:

    there is a way to hold the yarn where it is run through a yarn ring that you attach to you blouse or the yarn is around your neck…..does anyone know how to hold the yarn using this method?
    [email protected]

  13. Liv says:

    Deb, I am not sure what you mean, but it made me think of a little accessory I picked up once thinking it would solve my how-to-hold-the-yarn conundrum. Alas, no luck…for me, at least. I am not sure if I am using it correctly. I have a blog post with a photo if anyone would like to take a look and let me know what I’m missing!

    I think the second photo is the closest to how I hold my yarn, but not quite. I would like to learn a more effective way to hold it though, because the way I currently do slows me down, but every time I try a different way it just feels unnatural. I guess if I made myself do it another way for long enough, I’d get used to it – but I just don’t have the patience!

  14. Liv says:

    I just posted, but then I did some digging and found the name for the product I mentioned – it is a Norwegian knitting thimble and it is meant for when you are using two different strands of yarn. So, it is less about getting the right tension and more about keeping separate the two strands. It looks in some pictures like people still wrap the yarn around the pinky or another finger to get the right tension. No wonder it wasn’t working for me – I was thinking one strand had to pass through both loops, and that is why the yarn kept getting stuck!

  15. Deb says:

    Hi Rachel and Liv, thank you for your comments… understanding the method of using the ring is used by the Japanese or the Chinese. Hopefully someone will know.

  16. Panya says:

    Watch my video! 🙂 When I first started using the knitting thimble, I had it on my index finger so I could get used to the new way I was holding the yarn without worrying about the yarn slipping off my finger. As I became more comfortable, I moved it to my middle finger, then ring finger, and finally to my pinkie [which is where it is in the video]. Once I was completely comfortable with the new hold I stopped using the thimble altogether. True, it technically is for using more than one strand, but it was so useful to me when I was trying out new holds!

  17. Emma says:

    I just wanted to say thank you so much for the reversed left handed pictures. I’m left handed and have wanted to crochet for a while but it’s always been difficult for me doing it the right way. So I was so excited to find your site, and now I can crochet! I’m so happy 😀

  18. Robin says:

    Hi! I hold mine like the second one. My mom does it this way so it is what I was familiar with. Do you know how many websites I had to look at before I found this? No one shows how to hold your yarn. I have a friend who wants to learn and I wanted something she could look at. This was great! I don’t understand why no one thinks this isn’t important. It is the key to making your stitches neat and even.

  19. Kerrie says:

    I am had a Stroke two years ago and, although I still have full use of my right-hand (I am right-handed), I’ve lost a fair bit of use of my left-hand and have no fine motor control. I can now barely hold the wool and can’t control the feed or tension with any fingers on my left hand. Does anyone know of any tools or have any tips that would help?

    • Panya says:

      The Norwegian knitting thimble I mentioned could help. Not only the finger you wear it on, but the angle at which it’s turned can affect the tension.

  20. Sonja Rois says:

    I hold mine by holding and controlling the tension with my pinky folded and drawing the yarn up and wrapping it twice around my index finger. This leaves my thumb, middle and ring fingers to hold my work. I adapted this hold because I stated by knitting at a young age and transitioned to crochet. When knitting i use the same hold using my middle finger to wrap the yarn around (all the rest is the same).

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