Etimo Crochet Hooks by Tulip
The initial look and feel of the Etimo crochet hooks, manufactured in Japan by Tulip, bring words to my mind like sleek, special, prestigious, upscale, premium. They are my fleet of Cadillacs and I feel proud to own them. The weight and almost velvety texture of the silicone-like material of the handle signal high quality. The handle seems to be durable and totally nonreactive, unlike the handles of Clover crochet hooks and the Susan Bates hooks with bamboo handles. Clover hooks are my pre-Tulip favorite, but their handles are hard plastic and the printed-on size rubs off after awhile. The Bates bamboo handles are great until the varnish gets sticky.
For those who like metal crochet hooks, Etimo’s mirror-like gold-tone metal finish is beautiful. It seems denser, heavier, and more damage resistant than Clover hooks, which are more delicate. All I have to do is drop a Clover on my tile floor and if the head hits the grout, the hook head gets a crumbled, chewed-like surface.
One instance where I preferred Clover’s matte, almost frosted finish is when speed crocheting a very slippery silk yarn (Tess Cascade Silk); with the Etimo there was some drag. Some knitters like their needles to "grip" or provide some "traction" with a slippery yarn, but as a crocheter, that quality is less appealing. I wouldn't have suspected that Clover's frosted type of finish has the least friction with a slippery glossy yarn, but a trial run proved it so. With all other yarn types so far, I prefer Etimo’s finish.
As for the hook head, I learned to crochet with Boye hooks in 1973 and over the past 5 years of designing have come to prefer Bates-type heads sometimes, depending on the yarn. Most often I use a hook that is a combination of the two hook head styles, sometimes called a "modified Boye," and I consider the Etimo hooks to have that.
Other qualities of a crochet hook design that are important to me are how pointy the head is, and how the throat widens to the final diameter of the hook shaft. I like a mellow point: not sharp enough to split yarn, not so bulbous that it’s like using a baseball bat to place the next stitch. Tulip heads have enough of a pointed head for most purposes. I have not yet tried filing and buffing the head to a pointier shape for “savvy single” or “back bump” single crochet stitch fabrics, so I don’t know what would happen to the finish.
Regarding the shape of the shank, or shaft--the zone between hook head and thumb rest, i.e. where most crocheters make most of their stitches--the throat should widen as quickly as possible, so that the shaft reflects the hook’s stated mm. In other words, have a short "throat." With the Tulip throat, I have no problem making even stitches to gauge.
The overall look and feel of these Etimo hooks is exemplary. A complete Etimo set is stunning to behold, so they make a no-brainer gift item for the special crocheter in your life, and the ultimate way to pamper yourself.
Everything noted so far also holds true for the Tulip steel crochet hooks that I’ve had the privilege to try with thread crochet. They are not yet available in this country as far as I know, but be on the look out for them. If you are not a thread crocheter, you may know someone who is, and believe me, a gift set of them would put stars in a threadie’s eyes!
Tulip's hooks are being distributed in the US by Caron International. They are scheduled to be available in shops by August of this year.