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Ultimate Crochet Hook Review: Susan Bates controversy

A few weeks ago, one event rocked the crochet world.

Okay, maybe I’m being a bit dramatic… but when word spread that Susan Bates had changed its hook design, there was a whole lotta chatter about it!

Susan Bates (aluminum, size H) has always been my absolute favorite crochet hook. And, not because it’s cheap (even though it is). I loved the little-bit pointy point and deep groove. It just fit me.

What’s the new design like?

The new design features a rounder point and a shallower groove (although, the shallower groove seems to be the result of a smaller head, not of a change in the depth of the groove, per se).


Front view: old hook, left and new hook, right


Side view: old hook, left and new hook, right

I contacted Coats and Clark (the makers of Susan Bates hooks), and received this response:

The rounded head on the Susan Bates crochet hook is actually the original design for this product. Over the years, many of our long-time consumers have told us how much they prefer the original head as it doesn’t split the yarn the way the more pointed head does. When we were given the opportunity to return to that design, we took it.

Please note that the inline feature of our crochet hooks remains the same; the hook is the same size from the throat of the head to the thumb rest, ensuring a consistent size to all your stitches.

The new, rounded head resembles the head available in Boye, Addi and many other crochet hook brands. However, Susan Bates is keeping its signature inline throat, which is a comparatively unique feature among hooks.

Which hooks are affected?

Most of the Susan Bates hooks are being revised according to the new design. However, I discovered that a Luxite hook I recently received had the design I know and love. I emailed Coats and Clark to find out if it was a remnant, or if the design will remain unchanged. I received this response:

The Luxite hooks up to size P have a typical Susan Bates In Line head. The Q hook has an A Line head. They have not changed.

For now, it seems, the Luxite hook is keeping the old design. However, I could not get any comment on whether this design is be the permanent Luxite design, or if it is scheduled to be redesigned in the future.

Moving forward…

If you were in love with the old Susan Bates design, you have a couple of options: you can switch to the Luxite hook (which, for now, isn’t changing in design) or scope out yard sales for some older hooks.

The Susan Bates hooks are keeping their signature inline hooks… a feature I know many folks appreciate!

50 Responses to “Ultimate Crochet Hook Review: Susan Bates controversy”

  1. WES says:

    I do think I should add that I was one that was up in arms over the change and wrote to Coats and Clark. They have yet to tell me who the “long-time consumers” are I did ask because I am in my mid 30s but my my is in her mid sixties. Funny how her hooks look like the “old” style I would consider her a “long time consumer” and she definitely does not like the new look. There was chatter from others that self identified themselves as a “long time consumer” and they have echoed the same sentiments the “new” return to the “original” makes it almost a Boye and if that is what we wanted we would buy a Boye!

    Needless to say I am frustrated, I have some of the luxite in larger sizes and HATE them I love the silvalume, I will be scoping out places to find the old ones.

  2. Keri says:

    I have always LOVED my one or two silvalume old-style hooks and now regret I never went out and bought them in other sizes when I had the chance. Who knew I wouldn’t be able to because changes would come along and mess things up? :)

  3. Susan says:

    I hope someone can help me find old style Susan Bates Silvalume hooks for “thread” (#10 bedspread). About 20 to 25 years ago I bought a #4 & #5. I have worn both of them down to almost no hook tip left. I find the in-line design of these hooks much faster to work with and less splitting of the thread. I have not been able to find them. Now I wish I had bought more. I find the steelite to be much harder to work with. Do you have any suggestions?

  4. Susan says:

    Thank you. I will look but unfortunately I think the have quit making them.

  5. Pam says:

    I just found out about the change, and you can chalk me up as one of the unhappy folks. I tried the new “old” design, and it doesn’t work for me. I crochet a lot (I’m on lap blanket #75 or so), and if my old hooks were shaped like the new ones, I’d be on about blanket #3, because the hook just does not flow well. You can’t get it into stitches easily, it catches strangely, it just doesn’t move. Ugh. If I wanted hooks to fight with, I’d stay with the Boyes that I inherited from my g-mom. I will be scouring the stores for the old style hooks, and I guess I’ll just become a Susan Bates cushion cover customer instead.

  6. robin says:

    i cannot believe they are changing to a rounder head. i totally agree that if i wanted a rounder head then i would purchase Boye hooks.

    i specifically have gone out of my way to purchase Bates hooks with the pointier “point” and the inline shaft. i have currently started working a lot of slip stitch. the pointier “point” is what makes slip stitching so much easier. you NEED it to be pointy.

    plus if the point is rounded then you cannot work your crochet so tightly as the point does not slip so easily into the stitches. filet work is another example – it looks absolutely horrid when worked loosely.

    i HATE the plastic hooks. they just don’t have the feel and the ‘slidiness’ that the silvalume ones do. i wish that the larger hooks were made in silvalume instead of all the cheap plastic.

    on another note – i don’t see any comments here saying how happy anyone is with the change in the point shape. maybe Bates should sit up and take notice of their customer base.

    robin ~

  7. Sonja says:

    Ok…well I will be stocking up on the Susan Bates old hooks…which I buy and like because THEY ARE NOT LIKE the Boyes…why do people always fix things that are not broken???? Uggghh!!

    • Brenda says:

      I wondered why I couldn’t find the hooks I used about 8 years ago. All I seem to be able to find is the pointy type. I truly don’t like those. I can crochet so much easier, smoother. and faster with the old ones. Do you know where I can find some of the older styles? I am not familiar with the names of styles. I am surprised they have become so popular as to have names of styles.

      • Stacey says:

        I’m not exactly sure what you’re asking about the names of styles… you might want to read some of the other posts in this series to become familiar with the crochet hook anatomy terms.
        To find old Susan Bates hooks, you’ll need to hit the second hand shops, since they aren’t making them anymore.

  8. I’m firmly in the camp of being NOT HAPPY with this change. I have been using Bates hooks for over 30 years and all of mine look like the *now* “old” style. And if I wanted hooks that look like their new “original” style, I would by Boyle. Lucky for me I have a stash of hooks like you wouldn’t believe – however, I’m now going to get back every hook I’ve loaned out to friends!

  9. Ruth says:

    any update on this? I have been wondering what was wrong with all the stores as i couldn’t find the look of my favorite hooks (had no idea it was only one brand and they had redesigned). Other than the point, which is very important to me is the “sharp cut” of the throat, which appears to have been compromised as well :(

    • Stacey says:

      @Ruth- I don’t have much of an update… they changed the design and I think it’s here to stay. I’ve been shopping at second hand stores or shops that don’t get new hooks in too often, and gobbling up the old ones!

  10. Ruth says:

    okay, thanks…do you think the Luxite is still using the old style?

  11. Jessie says:

    I’m with Pam, December 28 , 2012. My Susan Bates hooks (G, H, I) with the bamboo handles DON’T have a rounded head but a slightly squared one andit’s these “edges” that catch. I have Lupus and hand stiffness is only one of my issues. An uncomfortable hook is miserable! If it’s a design flaw, is there any way to get C&C to correct it? I’ll even just buy another hook if they were to actually make them round instead of square. I LIKE the Boye hooks myself and the Clover but those are mostly out of my price range.

  12. Rebekah says:

    I hate the Boye. I would like t find the hooks that my mother-in-law had in the early 80′s that were Susan Bates.. I only have the one she gave me. I would like to have a whole set

  13. celia says:

    I am with you all here. I am not into all the notices, but I LOATHE the Boyle style hooks. They just do not work with my style.

    I knew there was something a little different about the hooks I’ve purchased recently. going to have to look hard for those old styles this summer at estate sales.

  14. Cookie says:

    I just want to say that I never could use the Boye hooks. They are just to long and doesn’t work right. I very much perfer to use the Susan Bates hooks. They are the ones that I start out and they will be the ones that I will end up with. I pray that they go back to the original style and not try to compeat with they other companies.

  15. mariaworks says:

    We still have the old style here in Ontario, Canada. Maybe I’d better stock up!

  16. mariaworks says:

    … I just got some the other day! Walmart sells them too … as Red Heart brand. They are grey and heavier than the San Bates ones … But still the same “old/good” shape that is evidently being phased out.

  17. Faerynutt says:

    I hate Boye’s!!! Loved the Susan Bates, have some that go back at least 35 years…Just how far back do these supposedly new/old style go anyway? I never remember them being rounded. I purchased a new set and they are a mixed bag…some more like the well loved sharp and some like the new rounded. I noticed the difference right away…needless to say I won’t be buying any more new that are made in Mexico…BOOOO. Will be checking EBAY for the older ones. The only problem is with time the sharpness does wear down and I needed to replace them, I am so UNHAPPY.

  18. yvonne dixon says:

    I talked to someone at Coats and Clark…..the older better hooks are made in USA also Mexico….They handle much better. The new rounded ones are made in India but packaged in Mexico..(very small print on back of package)..I complained ….to Coats and Clark, and they said they have been getting alot of complaints….They plan to go back to the ones made in Mexico, as they are tired of the negitive phone calls…..I guess the stores will sale out what they have and eventually change over….The best thing to do is call Coats and Clark if you don’t like the crochet hooks before the better ones are completely extinct.

  19. Essie says:

    I also like the “old style” Susan Bates hooks. I have tried the Boye hooks, but my crochet does not flow as well with them as with the Susan Bates hooks, and the Boye hooks seem to split the yarn so very often. Always thought it was just the way that I hold the hook (I use the knife hold), but guess it is because of the difference in the shape of the heads. Sure hope that C & C goes back to the “old style” Susan Bates hooks. Wonder if I can find some here in Oz.

  20. Penny C says:

    I misplaced my made in USA Susan Bates “B” hook, I bought one of the new ones. The hook was so sharp I could have easily gotten cut on it.

    I wrote them and they sent me a “B” Quicksilver one. I bought a couple of the “B” quicksilver ones one day I compared them though they are all “B” hooks they all have a different size and depth of the hook.

    I hate the new hooks.

    I no longer crochet much but use mine mostly for just picking up stitches when I knit. So true size for gauge is not what I am after.

  21. Courtney says:

    I am so excited to hear the news of Coats and Clark switching back to the hooks we all know and love!! If you need a specific size in the meantime, I’ve found this website that is still selling the silvalume hooks we adore!!!

    http://www.yarn.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/product.detail/categoryID/162FFFD9-FECF-4784-84B3-B9178A9EB3D9/productID/6EE97EAF-3C89-4643-BA5E-A70E78AA8080/?p=BATESALUM%20C-2&gclid=CJG-nojI-bkCFbAWMgodaUsAOw

  22. Claudia says:

    Is anyone have the problems with sharp edges on the smaller hooks? All the hooks I have that are smaller than I the front edge of the hook is very sharp causing it to catch on the pull thru phase. The I-K hooks are still smooth on the hook. I have one old F hook that is smooth. I checked out some brand new ones at the craft store and they, too, had the sharp edge.

    • Stacey says:

      Oh, goodness, Claudia- I can imagine that would be very annoying! Have you written to the company? It sounds like a defect, if you ask me!

      • Claudia says:

        Yes, I wrote and they offer to send new hooks. However, when they finally arrived, they had the very same sharp front lip as the ones I was unsatisfied with. I also notice that all of the satisfactory hooks I already have are stamped USA and all the lousy ones are stamped Mexico. They have obviously switched to an inferior production in the name of economy (profit for themselves).

        • Penny C says:

          I would complain again if we complain enough, they will be forced to do something to correct the problem.

          I guard my old made in USA hooks. I have extras of the sizes I rarely use of course.

        • Mary G. says:

          Go buy yourself a fine grit carborundum stone and hone those sharp edges down!

          • Claudia says:

            Thanks! I wondered what I could get to take the sharp edge off. I’m still looking for the USA model hooks…found some on ebay for $20…each. I’m not that far gone yet. I may have to learn to tolerate the squeak of the Luxite hooks.

          • Stacey says:

            I keep my eye open whenever I go to an antique store… you can sometimes find them sitting in a cup for $1 each. Over time, you’ll find them :)

  23. Penny C says:

    I had the same problem, with the “B” hook. I contacted the company. They sent me a replacement hook. Along with an envelope to return the defective ones.

    I have read, that they changed countries of manufacture. I can’t remember where I read that.

    I have not bought any new hooks recently as I have lots of hooks, except for the “B” hook. An internet friend gave me one so now I have 2 I tend to misplace them.

    Their best hooks are those marked Made in USA.

    I hope you find a solution to your problem. Most of my hooks are older ones.

    Penny. C

  24. mmoshey says:

    I have never heard of someone complaining of the style of SB hooks other that Boye users. I have SB Silvalume hooks from 1970′s and 80′s and they all look to have the same good style head. I cannot imagine how old these people are who are complaining.
    Buyer Beware…Because I love the SB Silvalume I recently purchased the SB Quicksilver which is a Teflon coating instead of the annodized finish the Silvalume has. The reviews were great and comments were made as to how quick they were. This interested me because I am a fast crocheter. To my dismay, They have the smaller less pointy head and do not work for me. I love the finish on them though.

  25. Claudia says:

    I ordered a couple of Quicksilvers, but they also have the sharp lip although it isn’t as bad as the Silvalumes. So I got a couple of sets of Crystalites and Luxites for backup. They are acceptable. Of course, I would prefer aluminum, but not in the new design. That’s all you can find to buy in SB hooks these days.

    Also, I have one Lion Brand N plastic hook; it is definitely inline. Lion Brand plastic hooks set I’ve looked at online appear to be inline. I haven’t found any anywhere to examine in person.

  26. Terrie wolken says:

    Why are you changing them I have been using them for 40 years or more and the shape is why I use them and not other brands. with the other brands they catch the thread and just make it hard to work with.

  27. minimelts says:

    I just purchased a size H hook from a local yarn store last week and it looks more like the hook on the right (the new hook). Then a few days later I purchased pack of 6 Silvalume crochet hooks at Michael’s and they all look like the hooks on the left!

  28. minimelts says:

    By the way the engravings for size and brand name are on opposite sides of each other for my H hook that looks like the new hook and my H hook from my set that looks like the old hook. I don’t know if there was a difference in this with the hooks pictured above as I’m new to crocheting. However, my hook that looks like the old one has the size on the side of the opening and the Susan Bates brand name on the other side while my hook with the new look is the opposite.

  29. […] did a little research on the good ol’ net, and found a blog post at Fresh Stitches. ┬áTo paraphrase what I read, the blunt tipped design was the original design for […]

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