How to Crochet with a Pencil Instead of Hooks


Whether you forgot your hooks at home while on vacation or are just curious about crocheting in unique ways, it may have occurred in your mind if you can use a pencil in crochet instead of hooks.

Can you really crochet with a pencil instead of hooks? Crocheting requires a tool with a hook at the end. Pencils have one pointy end and don’t have a hook. It would be difficult for you to crochet with a pencil because there is no way you can hook the yarn to make a stitch. However, you can use a pencil with knitting, because knitting, after all, uses two sticks with a tapered end just like a pencil.

There is another way you can crochet without a hook. Do you know that you can use your fingers?

First, let’s discuss how you can knit using pencils

Knitting Using Pencils

There are a few drawbacks you may want to avoid when you are knitting with alternative needles such as pencils. Picking the wrong yarn and pencil can make your project into a disaster.

When picking a pencil, you want to make sure that you have them at around the same sides. All sides must be smooth, as well. If you are using an old pencil with missing pieces, your yarn will likely snag on the outside, which can easily ruin a project. Make sure that your pencils are sharp, but not too much.

  • Pick two pencil you’ll use for knitting

The pencils you will use must be the same or at least very similar. If your pencils have different sizes, you will have uneven rows.

  • Your pencils should be tapered at the end, so sharpen them

Using unsharpened pencils for knitting will be a lot harder. Also, make sure you remove the lead to prevent marking up your yarn.

  • Cast onto one of your pencils

Do this like you would at any other knitting needle.

  • Start knitting

Knit as you would when you are using knitting needles. Pencils are usually shorter than most knitting needles, so it is recommended that you try smaller or shorter projects.

Tips for Knitting with Pencils

  • Secure the tip of your pencil

You can add a glob of extra strong craft glue at the end just to make sure it won’t fall off and mark up your project.

  • Your gauge should be correct

In order to properly create a project, knitting needles have to be paired with particular yarn weight. You can try comparing the pencils you will use to a knitting needle so you can determine the gauge.

  • Do not use expensive yarn

Purling with alternative knitting needles can be fun; however, chances are your project will be less likely the belle of the ball. It’s better to use cheaper yarn or yarn scraps if you are just trying it out.

  • Watch out for snags

If you are trying to knit with pencils, you have to be careful that the wooden surface doesn’t snag on the yarn.

  • Use the internet

The internet has loads of information about knitting with the use of pencils. You can watch videos or read helpful articles. Use the internet to your advantage and research for tips.

Other Knitting Needle Replacements You Can Use

You can also try other alternatives to knitting needles.

  • Tinker toys
  • Chopsticks
  • Paintbrushes
  • Toothpicks
  • Sticks from the woods
  • Your arms
  • Your fingers
  • Straws
  • Popsicle sticks

Finger Crochet

If you prefer to crochet and you happen to forget your hook, you can use your fingers instead because using a pencil would be very cumbersome, and you’ll get frustrated since pencil doesn’t have a hook. Your finger will act as the hook when you are crocheting. It is basically the same as regular crochet. You can work traditional crochet patterns too when it comes to finger crochet. However, using your fingers has its limitations.

If you already have experience crocheting with a hook, it will probably be easy for you to transition into a finger crochet. This technique is excellent for teaching kids and young teens how to crochet, especially if they are not ready to use a crochet hook yet.

Finger crochet also helps develop motor skills. It is perfect for those who need to work with their hands to rebuild muscle movement.

Finger crochet works best with bulky yarn. It means that your work will finish faster than most crochet projects using hooks.

Getting Started

In finger crochet, you only need two things: your hands and your yarn.

Use a super bulky yarn (size 6 to 7). You also use a thinner weight yarn by holding several strands together; however, it is still easier if you’ll start with a single yarn.

The size of your stitch is determined by the size of your fingers, just like how a hook does. You can work with various yarn weights and adjust your tension to crochet looser or tighter.

How to Finger Crochet

Start with a slip knot

Slide the slip knot around your dominant hand’s index finger. Make sure that the knot is a little loose.

Yarn over and do a chain stitch

Wrap the yarn over your finger, then pull the working yarn through the slip knot. This will be your first chain stitch. Using your finger can be tricky, so it would help if you grasp the yarn with your thumb and finger as you draw the yarn through.

Pull the loop up, and keep it open and loose.

Make a starting chain by adding stitches

Continue to add stitches so you can make the starting or foundation chain. You may find that the regular rows of crochet work a little looser. It would help if you keep this row a little looser than you think it should to prevent uneven tension. Don’t worry, you will find the best tension for you after some practice.

Insert your finger into the stitch

It is now time to make a single crochet stitch. You have to insert your finger through the second chain. It is the same thing you’d do with a regular crochet hook for a single crochet stitch.

If you choose to begin with a different crochet stitch, you can follow the same steps you normally do for that particular stitch.

Yarn over then draw up a loop

Wrap your yarn over your finger, then draw through the chain stitch. It will help to bring the loop through if you use your thumb.

Yarn over your finger once more

There should be two loops on your finger at this point, then yarn over your finger again.

Pull your yarn through the loops

Draw the loop through both loops that are on your finger. It would be helpful if you use your non-dominant hand when working through the loops. Finger crochet does take practice, just like using a crochet hook – you have to find what feels comfortable and right to you.

Completed single crochet stitch

When the first crochet stitch is completed, there should be one loop left on your finger. You can then make the next stitch.

Work the stitches across the row

Finger crochet across the whole foundation chain. Work one stitch on each chain. You must be able to flip your work around while the active loop is on your finger. You can also remove it from your finger if it feels more comfortable for you.

For a turning chain, make a chain stitch

You must use the number of chain stitches like you would for any type of stitch you are working on.

Carry on working across the rows

Now you can carry on crocheting across the rows like you would for standard crochet. Slip your finger to the next stitch, yarn over, then pull your yarn through, then yarn over, and then pull your yarn through the loops.

When you have reached the end, trim your yarn and leave a tail at least 8 inches. Pull the end between the active loop, so the stitch is secured.

Finger Crochet Tips

It is easy to learn finger crochet, especially if you already have experience in crocheting with a hook. Here are tips to make finger crochet easier for you.

  • It’s simpler to start if you work flat in rows rather than in the round with joins.
  • It is easier to work with shorter stitches that taller stitches. There is only so much room on your finger for those loops!
  • If you want to take a break from working on your finger crochet project, you can use a large crochet stitch clip or marker to prevent the active loop from pulling.
  • It is tricky to get the crochet gauge until you have learned to adjust your tension. For starters, choose projects that don’t require gauge such as blankets and scarves.

Related Question

How long will it take me to learn how to knit with a pencil?

There is no exact timeframe. It will depend if you already have a knitting experience before. If you have the experience, knitting with pencils will be easy for you.

Final Thoughts

Yarn crafts, such as crocheting and knitting, are pretty flexible. You can utilize alternative tools when there are no available hooks or needles for you to use. Using alternative means can be so much fun, as well.

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