A poster to the CrochetPartners group is new to crocheting, and is feeling overwhelmed with all the talk about different kinds of hooks. I started to write a reply to the post, and thought that it would be long and a little philosophical, and would make a better blog post.
As with an "new to you" hobby, craft, art,...there is a learning period.
In the beginning you pick up the supplies that are convenient. When I was just starting in cake decorating, I picked up tips and colors from the grocery story. But as I bought more books on techniques, and spent more time working with the materials I learned a lot more. I learned not only about the quality of the different materials, but what worked best for me. Or maybe what I liked best. Either way, I started researching and finding sources for the materials that I wanted. I also was willing to pay more for what I considered the best materials for the job.
The same is true of my crocheting. I don't remember exactly when I started to crochet, or even buying any original materials. But, more recently (10 years ago?) I discovered that I often picked up a hook and started a swatch, didn't like the results and process. I would put down that hook and select a different hook and be more satisfied with the results. I then discovered that I had a collection of Bates hooks (inline) and Boye hooks (tapered), and I was never happy using the Bates hooks.
I made a list of the hook sizes that I needed to replace with Boye hooks, and went shopping. I was willing to go to several stores until I found the brand that I wanted. No more buying any old hook just because it was the right size. About 3 years ago I thought that I'd try some wooden hooks, because people on the Crochet Partners list were exclaiming over the wonderful Brittany hooks. They are now making them in a light wood only (birch), not the darker wood (black walnut). So when a Black Walnut Brittany hook came up on eBay for a reasonable starting bid, I went for it, and won the auction. I found that I really don't like the Brittany hooks, they have that inline design that just doesn't work for me. But I did like the wood, they're light, slide easily through the yarn, and are aesthetically pleasing. So, I've purchase more wooden hooks and found that I don't like the Vermont Made, aesthetically pleasing !! but top heavy. I do love the Sonshapes hooks, they have a tapered head, the balance of the hook is good, and they are super smooth. At this point in my crocheting life, I am willing to spend time searching out the Sonshapes hooks, and paying good money for one, rather than going into Michaels or AC Moore and paying $1.50 or $2 for an aluminum hook.
Now don't get me wrong, I have a complete set of aluminum hooks, from B through N, with at least 2 of the ones I use the most; and at least 3 G's because one is a G7. But I also have about a dozen Sonshapes hooks, about 5 unused wooden hooks of various brands, and 3 of the new lighted hooks. I also have an almost complete set of steel hooks for thread work, from 00 down to 13, with about four #7s because that's what I use most.
Similarly, I used to grab any old thread from JoAnn's, Michaels, in the early years K-Mart and Woolworth. After many years, and many, many projects, I've decided that I just can't stand to work with South Maid thread. It splits, has no shine, feels like straw, and I don't like the look of the completed project. If I'm going to spend days or weeks on a doily, runner or table topper, I'd hate to have it look like trash when I'm finished. I recently when through some stacks of projects and threw away two fairly large projects, they just didn't have the quality to make them worth taking up space.
So A Hook is a Hook, but I won't buy just any hook. When I go shopping I want to buy not only a hook, but The Hook.