Clover 'Amour' v 'Soft Touch' Hook comparison (& hook rolling)

Although I am 'a knitter', it has to be said that I'm in the midst of a crochet crush. It might be because I hang out with a more crocheters than knitters - my designer/blogger friends are mostly crocheters, and even my 'crafty' neighbours prefer hook to needles. (Don't worry, I'm working on it!) There's also the fact that the majority of my knitting projects feel like 'work' these days and crochet is my relaxation, especially during the Last Dance on the Beach crochet-along (CAL), which I'm really enjoying.

To make the weekly CAL motifs the same size, I've needed to use a selection of different hook sizes (the base sts are not all the same) and this was all the excuse I needed to consider updating my tools. Until now, I've used a mixture of hooks, but mostly Clover Soft Touch* - which I like. After watching other people crochet, seeing lot of them using Clover Amour*, and realising the set comes in a pretty rainbow of colours I decided to give them a try. I have to state up front that I'm not an expert on hooks OR crochet, but thought that some of you may be interested in my experiences with them so far. Note: this post is NOT sponsored by anyone. Some affiliate links are included, and indicated with an asterisk (see footnote). 

From a purely aesthetic perspective, this is a very attractive set of nine hooks, ranging in size from 2mm to 6mm (in 0.5mm increments).  Each size is a different colour, which makes it easy to select those you use most often. A minor niggle with the Soft Touch is that I have to pull similar sizes out of my jar to see which is which. Plus, being completely honest, colourful things just make me happier than plain things. But onto more discernible differences...
Top: Amour, Bottom: Soft Touch
Amour hooks are slightly longer overall and also have a longer shaft (the bit where the stitches go). This is useful for bobbles and other stitches where you're dealing with multiple loops of yarn. I have quite big hands and the beginnings of arthritis in my thumb and forefinger - I suffer when using small needles or hooks for a long time, and this is the main reason I have been using Soft Touch, whose handles are easier to hold than plain metal hooks. The larger rubberised handle on the Amour is even easier to grip and requires less pressure, which makes for more comfortable crochet. 

The difference in handle - the size and shape - is even more pronounced when viewed side-on and this is the thing that has already made a difference to my crochet in the last week.

I learned to crochet in a way that requires a reasonable amount of wrist movement, and after a while this can lead to discomfort in my wrist and that pesky thumb. After watching several crochet 'masters' at work, I noticed that they roll the hook more than their wrist - a technique which is much smoother and more efficient. The Amour hooks have made this much easier for me to practice - it really wasn't working out with the others, due to the broad flat thumb rest. As my knitting speed/productivity and comfort improved dramatically when I switched to 'Continental' knitting, I'm feeling hopeful that this more efficient way of crocheting will help in similar ways.

The groove underneath the head is slightly more pronounced on the Amour hooks, and when working with fine yarns, this means it's a bit easier for me to hook (and hold onto) the whole stitch - my inexperience means I need to be careful with that.

Top: Soft Touch, Bottom: Amour
You'll see that the points at the top of the hooks are pretty much the same - smooth and polished so that they don't catch on the yarn. The similarity works well for me, as (a) I'm used to the shape and (b) it's sufficiently pointy, but not too much so. (With KnitPro hooks, which I also have, I find they have a sharper point, which gives me a tendency to split the yarn when inserting the hook.)

Looking at the price (see note below) the Amour hooks* are mid-range - more expensive than the Soft Touch, but not up there with the Tulip set which comes in a fancy case (which I'm also curious to try) and in my opinion, it's worth the extra for the added comfort, not to mention the added extra of being in lovely colours. 

So for me, these tick the right boxes and I'm very pleased with them. Like all these things, it's a matter of personal taste and preference - if you've tried them, let me know what you think by leaving a comment! 

* Asterisks indicate affiliate links. I purchased these hooks myself for my own use from Amazon* for £38.72 (inc next day Prime delivery), at the time of writing, the same set is on sale at yarns stores I am also affiliated with: Wool Warehouse* and Deramores* are selling them at £49.99. They are widely available elsewhere at a similar price. 

DIY colour selection for 'Last Dance on the Beach'

When the official kits were launched for the 'Last Dance on the Beach' crochet-along, the organisers at Scheepjes asked which I (and the other designers who contributed to the project) would like, so we could start our own blankets. I spent so long dilly-dallying (i.e. I kept changing my mind) they were out of stock before I decided. (The CAL exceeded all expectations with the initial packs selling out really quickly!) Participants soon started making up their own colour packs - buying individual in-stock colours, rather than waiting for the kits to be restocked. Quicker, and also a great way to make something suited to your taste - perfect for someone like me who is both impatient and fussy! So this week I got started with the motifs and am using my own colours, although I'm not yet sure what it'll be called - maybe something like "Dancing to my Own Tune".

Week 1 motif with week 2 yarn (and happy-making matchy tulips!) 
With almost 50 shades of Merino Soft to choose from, I needed help to narrow my choice and it seemed perfectly fitting to start with a print that Wink gave me on her final visit to my home. The colours in the print helped me to put together an initial selection of ten shades (many of these are partial balls from different projects, so please ignore the state of them, although it would be much worse if they weren't 'easy start' centre pull balls!). 

With these ten colours as a starting point, it was easy to work out which could be substituted to give a more cohesive palette, and of course, to check which were in stock! After a few changes, I ended up with this selection, which I'm really happy with... 

Top: Hockney 638 (x 3), Monet 639 (x 5), Copley 634 (x 3), Lowry 604 (x 9), Matisse 635 (x 3)
Bottom: Carney 636 (x 5), Hogarth 605 (x 3), Degas 632 (x 2), Constable 629 (x 3) Titian 647 (x 3)

After swatching again (the original swatch and samples for my square were completed months ago) I've made a start with the Week 1 and Week 2 motifs. I'm already enjoying it so much (learning new stitches) and can't wait to see how those colours look when they are worked up into a blanket. Affiliate links are indicated with *: If you want to make your own Merino Soft or Colour Crafter palette or to be notified when the official kits are back in stock, Wool Warehouse* and Deramores* supply the yarns within the UK and also offer international shipping. Find a full list of stockists here (I love that the translation is "Dealer" as you can get your yarn 'fix' from them).

If you've seen my Instagram feed lately, you may think that it's all crochet at the moment, but it's not. I'm also working on three new knitting designs which have been commissioned, but more on those when I can share them.


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