Change in Susan Bates Hook Design

I recently had a customer ask me if I knew anything about the Susan Bates hooks, and the change in their shape. My first reaction was, WHAT?!?!?!  I’ve always been a Susan Bates fan, but have had my hooks forever.  I was tempted to run to the store and buy every “old style” hook I could find.  Instead I decided to do a little investigating first.

Here’s a picture of the old design (left), with the updated version (right)

Picture used with permission from Debi @ Dly’s Hooks & Yarns blog.

I couldn’t find any info online, so I contacted Coats & Clark directly to find out.  Here’s the response I received from them.

“Thank you for your recent inquiry about our Susan Bates crochet hooks.  We returned to the original, more rounded top of the hooks several years ago in response to consumer complaints that the heads had become too pointed and were splitting the yarn.  We have, however, retained the inline feature; the hooks are the same size from throat to thumb rest to ensure that the size of the stitches remains consistent.”

I, for one, like the older, pointed version better, so I will make sure I take care of my old hooks, so as not to lose them.  And I’ve heard others do too. Are you a fan of the old hook style?  Or are you a newer crocheter who didn’t even know there used to be a pointed version? Or are you just a Boye fan and this doesn’t pertain to you? ;)  I’d love to hear your opinion on this.

Happy Crocheting!

27 thoughts on “Change in Susan Bates Hook Design”

  • I like the old version of Susan Bates Hooks. I have some hooks that I got from my grandmother that are worn in perfectly that I use all the time. I am not fond of the newer hooks. I love Susan Bates hooks though and if I ever lose my grandmother’s hooks I think I would go into withdrawl lol

  • Hmm.. I will have to go look at my hooks.. But I think I have the “new” ones.. I love Susan Bates.. In fact, I was using a hook last week and couldn’t figure out why I didn’t like the way it was using, so looked at it and it was a Boye.. Just don’t like Boye and thought I had already replaced all of them–guess not.. When I first started buying hooks, I didn’t know there was a difference–til I started using them.. Susan Bates for me!!

  • Oh no! I’ve always been a Susan Bates fan and always use her old hooks. Thanks for posting! I don’t agree with their change at all :( The point makes it so much easier to get into stitches.

  • I’ve only ever used Boye hooks…but I think I’d like the pointed, “old”, version better. I use my first finger a lot as a guide though so splitting yarn isn’t usually an issue for me.

  • I’m a Boye fan, I just don’t like the round tip of the Bates hooks. All I’ve ever tried were the new version apparently but for me it was quite difficult at times to get that very round tip through tighter stitches. Now, I do like the inside of the hook, it keeps the yarn from slipping during hdc and dc stitches and such but I much prefer the pointy end of the Boye. That being said, I just got my first Clover soft touch and LOVE it!

  • I’m reposting this for a friend on facebook. She loves the pointed style when she is teaching people to crochet. She thinks it’s a little easier those first few times. I was blessed with a whole set of bamboo handled hooks for my birthday from Bates and I think the points are the perfect blend of round and pointed!

  • I’ve never been a big fan of the Susan Bates hooks.I’m a through and through Boye fan. I have 2 larger Susan Bates hooks that were given to me, an H and a K, and I avoid using them if I don’t have too. But it’s not because of the pointed tip, it’s due to the hook itself. It’s too deep for me and I struggle to get the yarn to release while crocheting. I never have this problem with the Boye hooks. Now I will say that I have 4 thread hooks that are Susan Bates and they aren’t like the larger hooks.As a matter of fact, they were given to me years ago by my next door neighbor and I never paid any attention to who made them,the head on them looks like Boye but they are Susan Bates. In the end, if I want to crochet and all I have is a Susan Bates,I will crochet with it,but I really do prefer Boye!

  • I use all kinds of hooks. I recently bought a wooden hook. Depending on what I’m doing, or how tight or loose a stitch I want, depends on the hook I use. I am not fond of plastic hooks, but they have a purpose, too. A pointier hook often helps open a space when stitches are tight. Older hooks tend to be the smoothest.

  • OMG!!! I am off to find as many “OLD ones” as I can get my hands on.

    I love Susan Bates regardless, but I have learned that hook preference is often determined by how you crochet. I am NOT a knife holding crocheter but a pencil holding one, and with Susan Bates hooks I can fly, with the Boye hooks (or any similar design) I am almost as slow as when I knit. Using them is awkward and frustrating.

    I don’t know how this “new design” will work out in the long run, but I am very particular about what hooks i use.

    • I’m a “pencil holder” but I prefer Boye over Susan Bates. The deep set hook doesn’t let me crochet as fast as I like…

    • I am a knife holding crocheter, and I just went at looked; my Susan Bates are the more pointy ones. But that’s not the ‘old’ design. The response you got said: “We returned to the original, more rounded top of the hooks several years ago…” So, that means the rounded top is the original, and the pointy isn’t. Regardless, if the rounded hook is more like the Boye, then I need to stock up, too! (if I can find any). Boye just doesn’t feel right, and I can’t crochet as fast with them. re: the pencil holding method………… I didn’t even realize there was a different way to hold the crochet hook until I watched a tutorial about a year or so ago. Have you tried both ways? It looks so foreign!

      • Hi Darcee, I’m a pencil holder myself. I never knew you could knife hold it until I saw someone in a dr’s office doing it about 10 years ago. It looked foreign to me, and felt terrible when I tried. That’s the great part of crochet. We can all adjust to what works for us.

        I guess when I said “old design” I meant not the newest design. It should say “middle design”. Thanks for pointing that out.

  • I dislike Boye with a passion. They are the hooks I learned to use and I hated out they couldn’t hold as much as the Susan Bates hooks. I love the old design and never had issues with splitting unless I’m using Red Heart, which is expected in my opinion. I am glad I bought a large amount of the sizes of the old hooks, I can find the old ones still since I go to shops that don’t move their stock much…. woohoo! Stocking up now!

  • gotta say i agree that i prefer the more pointed hooks. fortunately i already have almost all the sizes i need. i have found that yarnology (hobby lobby has them) has the more pointed hooks similar to previous versions of boye and susan bates. they have a bamboo handle, but i think i can get used to that…or cut it off with an oscillating tool. it’s only one hook and size L at that.

  • I like the older style better. These seem narrower and shallower. The point on the top of a Susan Bates hook was what I liked best about them! Like you I’ll hold onto my older SBs and look for more online.

  • Boye fan here. So I obviously like the updated version of the Susan Bates much more. Apart from the functional matters, it also looks visually less “aggressive”.

    • It’s interesting to me the difference in opinions and I always wonder if it’s just preference or if it has something to do with how we hold the hook, yarn choices, etc.

  • I have a question that is a little off topic but I can’t find an answer to. I like Boye best and just ecently bought an ergonomic set. I discovered that Boye and Bates needles are not the same measurements for the same letter. I have a Boye F that is 3.75mm. The G is 4.25mm. And I can’t find a 4mm in the Boye hooks. Why is that and what do I do if a pattern calls for 4mm?

    • Hi Shelly,
      Years ago a lot of hook manufacturers used letters and numbers. About 15 years ago they tried to streamline everything so it would be a universal conversion but there were certain ones that overlapped (or even missing). I suggest to always go by the mm so that you know it’s a match. BUT, if you don’t have the 4mm you can always try the 3.75 or 4.25 and see if you can match the gauge swatch with one of those. If you can, then you can just use that one in it’s place (I recommend trying that every time because different designers gauges don’t always match).

  • Hi Kristine,
    My hooks from 5 years ago look like the left one, the newer hooks now have a longer head. Don’t have any that looks like the one on the right but a lady showed me a pic of older ones that looked a lot like it.

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