After much consideration, I am ready to share with you my most treasured trick for crocheting with jute. Are you ready? When I start any round jute project, such as the base of a basket, I use two hooks: the “master” hook appropriate to maintain the required gauge, and a smaller “helper” hook.
You may wonder why I would bother crocheting with two hooks. As I mentioned before, jute is no cashmere. It is rough and stiff, and regardless of thickness or number of plies, it has no stretch or squish. This quality makes it an excellent choice for creating sturdy items such as baskets or bags – and the reason why I like working with it so much. To make my jute items even sturdier, I always crochet my stitches with smaller-than-typical hooks to make them extra tight.
Unfortunately, this combination of a stiff twine and tight crochet poses a unique problem. If you’ve ever tried crocheting a jute basket, you know just how challenging inserting the hook into the stitches of the first few rounds can be. Those stitches are very tight, and impenetrably stiff. Inserting the tip of a 10, or even 11.5 mm hook often becomes a frustrating, unconquerable obstacle. But that’s when the helper hook comes to the rescue!
Using the helper hook makes crocheting with jute easier for two distinct reasons. First, it allows me to work the stitches of the first few rounds at all. That is, it makes inserting the hook under the loops of a stitch and pulling the twine through possible. More interestingly, though, it helps me preserve the denseness of the fabric, because I am using a smaller hook to pierce the stitches. In other words, crocheting with two hooks helps me eliminate holes that the large crochet hook would inevitably leave in the stiff fabric. It’s a win-win!
Two hooks. But which ones?
When I crochet jute baskets, I tend to work with two strands of 3 mm jute held together. I find that a 10 mm or a 11.5 mm hook work best as master hooks in this case. With these master hooks, I tend to use an aluminium 5.5 mm helper hook. I cannot recommend using a plain, taper-tipped, all metal hook with no silicone handles highly enough. You will be tugging and pulling on the jute twine with considerable force, and a plastic hook simply will not survive the first two rounds. Even silicone handles on high quality hooks such as Clover (my favorite, no affiliation!) will over time start slipping off the hook due to constant force. If you value your hooks, reach for a plain metal hook for this task. Trust me on this one.
Crocheting with two hooks: step by step
Crocheting with two hooks couldn’t be easier. It may seem like it will slow you down, but you’ll get into the new work rhythm quickly, I promise. And before long won’t even remember why you ever tried wedging the big hook into those impossibly tight stitches.
Please note that this tutorial pertains specifically to working single crochet stitches in the round, starting with the adjustable magic loop. Also, for the sake of clarity and brevity, I’ll simply call the master hook “large,” and the helper hook “small.”
Step 1: Work the magic loop stitches
With the large hook, work as many single crochet stitches as required into an adjustable magic loop (click for my step-by-step pictorial).
Step 2: Join Round 1 stitches, if needed
A: If you will be working in a continuous spiral, keep the loop of the last stitch worked into the magic loop on the large hook. Then, work the first single crochet of Round 2 (Step 3).
B: If you will be working in joined rounds, join the first round with a tight slip stitch, followed by a tight chain stitch. Work both these joining stitches with the small hook only: Remove the loop from the large hook, and place it onto the small hook. Insert the small hook into the first stitch of Round 1. Yarn over, and pull yarn through. You have just worked a tight slip stitch. You now have one loop on the small hook. Yarn over and pull yarn through the loop on the hook. You have just worked a tight chain stitch. You now have one loop on the small hook. Remove the loop from the small hook, and slide it onto the large hook. You are ready to the first single crochet of Round 2 (Step 3).
Step 3: Work the single crochet stitch with two hooks
Keep the loop on the large hook.
Insert the small hook into the next stitch (or into the space specified in the pattern).
Yarn over (the small hook) …
… and pull yarn through. You now have one loop on the large hook, and one loop on the small hook.
Remove the loop from the small hook…
… and slide it onto the large hook. You now have two loops on the large hook.
Finish this single crochet stitch using the large hook only. That is, yarn over…
… and pull yarn through both loops on the hook. You now have one loop on the large hook, and you have finished working a single crochet stitch using two hooks.
Repeat these steps to work as many single crochet stitches as needed before inserting the large hook without the aid of the small hook feels natural; usually by Round 4 or 5.
Crocheting with two hooks: video
This quick video walks you through Step 3, if you prefer demonstrations over words and pictures.
Don’t forget to subscribe to jakigu.com blog below. To keep discovering new stitches and techniques with me, I also invite you to follow my crochet / stitches and techniques Pinterest board. Or, you can get inspired by following my board of beautiful jute crochet projects (if a pattern exists, I always save the direct link to it to save you from the dreadful click-throughs!)
Subscribe & Follow