Odyssey Crochet Hook Update - March 2023
Hi! My name is Pamela Stark and I am the Chief Marketing Officer at Furls Crochet.
Recently there has been an increase in the conversations online, and in our inbox, surrounding our Odyssey crochet hooks. While we have previously addressed many of these concerns during our live broadcasts and try our best to reply to comments left on social media, we recognize that an official statement would be beneficial to keep a false narrative from circulating.
Odyssey Crochet Hooks are a fan favorite for a reason; Their sleek design, beautiful finishes, and balanced weight make them not only an insta-worthy photo prop but a coveted tool for many crocheters.
These hooks feature the same famous Furls shape as our Streamline Wood, Resin, and Metal hooks, but are made using pewter, copper, nickel, resin, and automotive paint. The numerous materials needed, and the multiple processes required to create these hooks, are what make the Odyssey line so unique and also a reason why they take much longer to manufacture.
Here are the five most asked questions that I will be addressing in this statement. Feel free to click on a question to be brought directly to the applicable answer.
- Why do people like Odyssey crochet hooks so much?
- Why are Odyssey hooks out of stock/when can we expect more?
- Do Odyssey hooks break a lot?
- Why do some Odysseys look like the tips have changed?
- What is Furls doing to improve the current situation with Odyssey hooks and their availability?
For many different reasons! Some makers prefer the weight of the hook. The Odyssey line is our second heaviest hook at 1-3oz (depending on size). Streamline Metal hooks are a touch heavier since they are solid aluminum, whereas Odysseys have a lighter resin handle.
Crocheters also enjoy the nickel-plated tips. Metal wins the glide race! When you use an Odyssey, your hook will run through yarn like a hot knife through butter. These hooks are especially good at taking typically rough yarns, like wool, and making them skate over the tip, speeding up the time it takes to complete your projects.
The shimmer; I mean, we can’t talk about Odyssey without recognizing the fact that the custom-made colors of automotive paint used on the handles are simply beautiful. The shimmer featured in many of the finishes makes these hooks stand out as a top-tier, luxurious tool to work with.
WHY ISN'T FURLS RESTOCKING ODYSSEY HOOKS?
The simple answer is: We are.
Our exclusive manufacturer produces roughly 400 Odyssey hooks a week.
We currently offer 17 colors in 15 sizes. 17x15= 255 hooks. So even if 400 Odysseys are made, and they all pass inspection (more on that later), we can only add a maximum of 6 of each size, per color, every month.
Supply cannot (yet) keep up with demand.
However, the more detailed answer is this: Odysseys are our most complex style of crochet hook to manufacture. While most hooks on the market, specifically the ones sold in big box stores, are machine-made, Odysseys have always been made by hand in California.
Here’s how it’s done.
Odyssey tips and handles are made using two uniquely arduous processes. For the tips; The pewter is melted down and poured into the tip molds, which are then spun at high rpm to shape. Once they have cooled and set they are hand sanded to remove any burrs. Next comes the multi-step plating process. The tips are first plated in copper and then they receive their first layer of nickel. After the first layer of nickel is applied they return to our manufacturer to be hand sanded again and then they make another trip to the plater for the secondary nickel plating process. Once plating has been completed they are sent back to the manufacturer for assembly.
The handles are also poured into molds, however, this time the material is a high-grade resin. Once the handles have been set they require a good amount of sanding, by hand, to ensure they are smooth and no molding lines can be seen or felt. They also need to be drilled to allow the handle to be inserted in the correct location. Then the magic of color begins. Each handle is hand sprayed a total of 4-5 times allowing each coat to dry completely between applications. First comes primer, next comes 2-3 coats of color (the number of coats needed is dependent on the color used), and last comes a clear coat to protect the paint and add the signature Odyssey shine.
Lastly, the hooks are hand-assembled with epoxy and left to cure. Only then can the hooks be packaged up and sent to our warehouse for distribution where they are put through a rigorous inspection for quality.
Once they make their way from Burbank, California to Austin, Texas, the Furls team unpacks and inspects each hook one last time. Each hook is checked to ensure the tips are straight, free of burrs, and the correct size, using digital calipers. After ensuring that there is no excess plating that could affect their function we check the handles for scratches or imperfections in the paint. Due to the manufacturing process, these hooks are not marked for size, so our team then applies a sticker transfer to the bottom of the handle letting you easily know which size hook you have.
Finally, the hook is then placed into an Odyssey box and then, and only then, can the hooks make it to shelves and be added to our inventory for sale on the Furls site.
DO ODYSSEY HOOKS BREAK A LOT?
Furls takes product quality, and therefore our quality control (QC) processes, very seriously. Every product we offer, including Odyssey, is individually inspected by a member of our Furls Warehouse Team. We are passionate about our products and we know luxury prices demand exceptional quality.
Before July 2022, we used a third-party warehouse to fulfill orders, which means we had very little oversight as to what hooks were sent to customers. Since that time we have moved to our in-house warehouse, which allowed us to implement our rigorous on-site inspection. We are very proud of our 2%, or less, replacement rate due to defects or breakages.
The typical acceptable quality limit levels for regular consumer products are 2.5% for major defects and 4.0% for minor defects.
The manufacturing defect rate, however, is much higher, which means we have less than the, already low amount, of the 4k hooks we can have manufactured monthly. Regardless of the rate itself, we are committed to the Furls Promise. If your hook arrives defective or breaks during regular use*, we will replace it. Simple as that.
*Furls defines regular use as crocheting with the hook recommended for the weight of yarn you are using, this information can be found on your yarn label.
HOW CAN I PROTECT MY HOOKS ONCE I RECEIVE THEM?
Quality tools are an investment in your craft. To keep that investment in optimal condition we recommend wiping your hook after each use with a clean, dry cloth. Microfiber is a great choice. Using any cleaning products can affect or alter the finishes.
Starting with clean hands is also imperative. The natural oils found on our skin, not to mention the lotions and alcohol-based hand sanitizers we use regularly, can affect the finish of the nickel-plated tips and the automotive-painted handles.
Treat them as you would any valuable, expensive, or handmade item. Improper handling or storing, as well as drops, can cause damage. Our new Mango Anti Roll Hook Trays were developed, in part, to keep your hooks safe. Rolling off of a surface, such as a table or couch, is something that is often reported to us. The impact of a fall can cause the pewter tip to bend or even to break completely.
Lastly, we highly recommend storing your hooks properly between uses. Check out our assortment of Hook Cases and Stands.
HAVE THE TIPS CHANGED?
Our first Odyssey hook was designed by Furls founder, Harrison Richards, on July 16th, 2015. Over time the molds that are used to create the hook tips need replacement. These molds are made from ‘keys’ that also need replacing over time. Each of these necessary replacements happens at different intervals. Because all of our products, including these keys, are made by hand, they can vary depending on many factors, including who is making them.
There are also other factors, such as changes to improve usability. A longer shaft allows for a more consistent gauge. This is especially important for crocheters who work with thicker yarn or use stitches that require many loops to be held on the hook shaft simultaneously (ex. Bullion stitch). Last year Furls worked with a designer to make some changes to our Odyssey tips. Our goal was to increase ergonomic function. However further, more consistent, scientifically proven, and precise, improvements are in progress. You will see these efforts take effect shortly. This brings us to our next topic….
WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF ODYSSEY?
Although we intend to continue manufacturing our Odyssey line, we are simply not happy with the status quo. We have some short-term improvements in place and are in different stages of the process for long-term solutions that I will share below.
- We plan to only carry certain Odyssey colors at certain times of the year to help streamline our processes. Reminiscent of Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte; It may only be around for a limited time, but you know you will get to order it again each Fall.
- We will be giving advanced notice for which hooks will be restocked during which months or seasons. As mentioned earlier, 75 of each hook/size a year isn’t keeping up with demand, so bigger restocks in fewer colors vs tiny restocks in all the colors is our first move.
- To help with the bottleneck in production we have hired two more team members for our warehouse and the admin team has been flying into Austin regularly to assist with QC so that we can move more products onto our shelves. In fact, I am writing this letter to you from 30,000 feet in the air, somewhere over the US, ready to dive into our Odyssey hooks first thing in the morning!
- We are moving to one large Odyssey restock approximately once a month. Up until early 2023, we were adding Odyssey hooks to our site as soon as they passed our quality control process. This meant that only a small amount of hooks could be added to the site each day. We are now holding off on adding inventory until a more sizable amount of hooks can be added all at once. This will typically happen once every month or two. This allows a higher availability of hooks for purchase, which means more hooks will be available for a longer time.
We have decided not to release any new Odyssey colors for now. This will allow us to focus on first restocking all 17 colors more regularly. The current, 400 hooks per week, manufacturing limit previously needed to be divided up between new releases and existing colorways.
While we love the excitement of creating a new color, instead we can now focus all efforts on restocking so that you can complete your current collections in a more timely manner!
Long-Term Solutions - Currently In-Play
Over the past several months we have been working very closely with our exclusive manufacturer to figure out the best way forward for both parties. We know we need more hooks, we need them faster, and we need them at high quality with greater consistency.
I can say with absolute honesty that we are all committed to finding the best solution for our manufacturer, for our team at Furls, and ultimately, for you, our customer.
- We have also been looking into ways to bring you hooks in smaller sizes. Pewter is a soft metal. Anything smaller than a B/2.25 mm hook cannot withstand the tension used for crocheting and ultimately will bend or break with very little use. Even slightly larger hooks, such as 2.5mm through 3.5mm have proven to be too delicate for this material.
- At this time, we have decided to stop production on our smaller-size Odyssey hooks. While we will still have, already manufactured, smaller sizes available in the near future, we are no longer making any Odyssey hooks under F/3.75mm. We do realize these hook sizes are popular, and we are doing our best to bring you a more durable solution as quickly as possible.
While we don't yet have a solution for smaller hook sizes, we are working on many options, including making Odyssey tips out of stronger material as well as creating a new line of metal hooks completely.
- We are making big investments. Please keep in mind that research and development take an extraordinary amount of resources. Both in time, materials, and finances. These projects began a year ago and we are excited about the progress being made. We will continue to monitor our progress and make changes as needed.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR FURLS?
In our quest to innovate and grow, we have been developing a new line of crochet hooks. Not to replace any of the hooks we currently carry, but instead to keep Furls on the cutting edge of innovation. We are working hand-in-hand with experts very knowledgeable in crochet hook ergonomics, a highly innovative research and development company, Gembah, as well as a handful of other experts, manufacturers, designers, and inventors, who are just as excited and passionate about this project as we are.
Furls Crochet has been known as the leading Fiber Arts Tool provider for a decade and we have no plans to slow down. Quite the opposite; We are going to be even better than we have ever been.
Most people use crochet to relax and unwind. They also use it as self-care or mental therapy to improve their overall health. They may also sell finished crochet goods to provide for themselves and their families. Others are freelance designers or crochet bloggers whose passion for the arts is shared through their patterns, tutorials, and social media feeds.
Regardless of why you crochet, it is difficult, or near impossible, to do so without a tool that provides the best performance.
How do I know this? Because I was a crocheter, designer, and blogger before joining Furls. The entire Admin team, Customer Service team, and many of our Warehouse team members were designers and bloggers themselves before working for Furls. We joined this company because we are not only passionate about crocheting but committed to bringing each one of you the best experience you can have while enjoying the art you love.
Thank you for your continued support. I cannot wait to share with you what we have in store!
Chief Marketing Officer, Furls LLC