Friday, April 15, 2016

So You Think You'd Like to Learn to Do Hand Stamping....

So I've been stamping now for awhile, and learned a few things along the way...Even though you can pay anywhere from 15-100+ dollars for a font stamp set, and 9-25.00+ for individual design stamps, depending on how durable you want your set to last and how hard a metal you are stamping on, some of the stamps, especially the design stamps, don't always stamp well. After stamping for a few months now, I really do think some design stamps are not made well because of how hard I have had to hit them to get a good impression even when working on soft metals. There is a wide variety of quality of design stamps out there and it's hard to tell from descriptions online whether you are getting a quality, deep impression stamp or not. 

To get started, you can buy cheap metal letter stamp letter sets from Harbor Freight for less than 20.00, but I don't know how long they will last. I decided to go with a couple of "design" font midrange sets from a company well known for metal stamping--Impress Arts-- and think although I paid more initially, they are going to last longer in the long run. I purchased one premium font set designed to stamp on stainless steel and harder metals in a typewriter font for practical lettering projects. Then I watched lots of YouTube videos and read blogs on stamping. In particular, a very good blog for stamping tutorials and making jewelry is Happy Hour Projects with Adrianne.

I like Impress Art Stamps...they make several of their font sets available in "economy" or you can pay more for their pricer, more heavy duty stamp line. I have also bought font sets from PJ Tool Supply online, and I like them, too. The cheapest stamps are for soft metals--copper, sterling, (not silver-plated) pewter, and aluminum. If you use a cheap metal stamp set on hard metals, you will quickly wear down the stamp impression and ruin your font set. However, I recommend starting out with a cheap set to see if you enjoy stamping. Practice on soft metal before upgrading to a heavier duty stamp.  Shop around for price... The Impress Arts website has GREAT tutorials and project ideas and helpful information, like charts on the hardness of metals.

Here's the thing about stamping...Your impression detail depends on how hard you stamp, and whether the stamp itself is clear and well formed. This varies every single time you stamp something. That's the hard part, getting an even, clear hit each time. I have ruined quite a few pieces of metal--from stamping too hard and denting the metal too much, to not holding the stamp quite straight (which is really hard to do on a curved spoon and getting too much variation within a single word--all on the same piece! The key is to practice, practice, practice on a scrap piece of metal, the same kind you are going to use in your project, if you can. And you have to have patience with yourself. Stamping is NOT a perfect art. You are not going to be consistent every single time you stamp a piece, even with lots of practice! Sometimes my hand shifts just the ever tiniest bit as I go to hit the stamp, and the letter will not be evenly formed. But that's ok! Hand stamped items have a charm all their own and signify that someone personally made each and every letter. I like that a lot better than thinking some automated stamping machine stamped a message in some factory in China somewhere.

Autism Awareness Pendant
I love Impress Arts' "Alkeme" line...this is their metal alloy and a less expensive alternative to sterling silver or pewter. It's a great metal, looks classy and not cheap like aluminum does. Hobby Lobby carries it, and Joann Fabrics carries a few of the Impress Arts stamping blanks and tools. Wish they would carry more! The alkeme washers are what I used for my autism jewelry pendants that I have been making for my Etsy shop---JeanBeanGifts.  These are the alkeme washers that I stamped, then distressed by banging on them with a ball peen hammer head. I darken  my letters with a sharpie, than wipe the surface off with a Q tip dipped in rubbing alcohol, then I polish the washer with a polishing pad. Sometimes I use Impress Arts stamp enamel, a paint that fills in the little recesses. You apply it, wait a minute or two, then wipe it off. It wipes off very easily. I don't know the longevity of the sharpie or the enamel, but over time, the sharpie will fade a bit. It can just be reapplied if necessary.

I've stamped on spoon and forks,  and it is VERY difficult and frustrating, in my opinion. If you are perfectionist, this medium might not be a good match for you. I tape my spoons down to my bench block (a four inch steel plain block for putting underneath your stamping blank) with lots of masking tape and as you stamp, despite all the taping, the spoon is going to rock and roll, allowing for lots of possible errors and mis-strikes. Grrrrrrrrr.....That's a whole nuther topic for another day...stamping on silver-plated flatware! But here are a few of my projects I have put in my shop......Spoon bookmarks, spoon garden markers, and key rings.....

One of the first things I hand stamped was this copper bangle, "With brave wings, she flies...."  Stamping on the copper was easy! Start slow and simple with your tools, and try it, you might like it!

Happy crafting!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

And What a Holiday Season It Was!

After a successful little bout of sales at a local craft fair in November, I thought I was pretty well ready for the holiday season this year for my little shop. I had extra mini sweater ornaments made up,  a little bit of jewelry, some more wine bottle hat toppers, some new hand stamped metal stuff and just a little bit of everything ready to go in my shop. (Sprinkled throughout the blog today are some things that are in my Etsy shop, JeanBeanGifts.)

Selling on Etsy is not easy if you are a very small shop like me. When you list something on Etsy, you pay .20 for each listing. Not bad at all, but your listing won't get found and won't get many views unless you tag it properly with a bunch of terms that people might use in searching for your item. For example, I make leather wrapped bracelets. So do thousands of other people. At the moment I list my bracelet for sale on Etsy, the listing will be at the top of the search for just a few minutes or even seconds, because countless other people are listing "2X Wrap Leather Bracelet" at practically the same time. Day by day, your listing gets relegated lower and lower in the search engine list on Etsy because newer items of the same description--to use the same example--more double wrap bracelets-- are being added. You can bump your listing back up higher in the search if you "renew" it, which costs .20 each time you renew. Someone once told me the secret to getting views for your items on Etsy is to renew, renew, renew....So I have been trying to do that, and trying to carefully time the renewal to when more people are online...certain days of the week, weekends, evenings...those are the times I do it. But those costs add up after awhile and if you are not careful, you can end up getting very little for your item because you renewed it so many times! (Ask me how I know that!)

There is a LOT of information out there about how to label or "tag" your items more successfully, and how to get views and build your business on Etsy, but I continue to struggle a bit because I want to have a wide variety of gift items that might appeal to a lot of different people, and because my attention span is so short, I get bored with just one thing! So my problem I THIINK, is that I'm too varied in what I sell. AND--I haven't figured out my "niche" market yet. What do I want to make a LOT of and focus just on that? I don't really enjoy making a ton of the same thing so I will keep trying different things for now and see what sells...

I was surprised that no one particular item was off and running, but that a smattering of things sold in the shop this season. I got more views this year and that really helped draw some more traffic to the shop. Some of my items got over 100 views, and other things I have only got 3 or 4 views. Not sure if it's because they are not tagged right, or people just aren't interested in those particular things. I used Twitter, and did a little advertising on Facebook, so I think that helped, too....If I was truly doing this for more than just a hobby to fund my future craft purchases, I would be trying to learn more about the business aspects and marketing, but I don't have that background at all so I would need help or a LOT more training and classes to learn about all that side of trying to be successful on Etsy.

At any rate, I was really happy to have sold some things on Etsy during the holiday season. Now that they are allowing people to sell things that aren't necessarily home made but can be made in factories, that is a really disappointing turn of events. Despite that, people were thrilled to receive some of my hand crafted items. And I love crafting things so much, different kinds of things, I will continue to make little gift items that people might like to give, knowing that it was made by someone painstakingly sitting and stitching and sewing, stamping and knitting with my own two hands. 

I really do enjoy making things......and hope to be able to do that for years to come....Bye for now!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Gearing UP for the Holiday Season....

making key chains
Whew! It's tough when you have ADHD with project deadlines looming. I have been really really busy making all kinds of things for a craft show that was just held last weekend. I did ok, but you never know what's going to sell, or the age range of your sellers and what will appeal to them. My shop on Etsy, JeanBeanGifts, is designed to have a lot of different things that make cute little gifts. Most are towards the inexpensive end, but some are priced into the moderate range, depending on the materials being used. I don't have a good enough attention span or the patience to make a lot of any one thing. In the past year, I have knitted, crocheted, done punch needle embroidery, and focused on making lots of ornaments that are mini knitted items.....I'm probably hurting my shop's success by being so random, but it's fun, and I am making some sales there. Just recently, I got an order for 150 key chains inspired by the movie, "Up." I just thought it would make a cute key chain, so I posted one and they continue to sell here and there besides the big order I got.

So when people started coming through the door at the craft show and stopping by, I waited to see what they were looking for....presents for grandchildren? Something for themselves? (A lot of older ladies stopped by)....Some were looking for both. I sold a beaded leather wrap bracelet, and a shawlette within a matter of just a few minutes. I was happy as the day had just started! And my 25.00 table was paid for. A little of everything sold....

A couple of ornaments....some are stamped, (Peace, Love, Hope, Joy) and some are wood burned...tree and snowflakes...I didn't tell my better half that I laid my wood burning tool down on my portable ironing "blanket"...unplugged no less, and it was so hot, it caught the portable ironing pad on fire! What a smell! He didn't see me rush the pad into the kitchen and run it under the water, nor did he smell the burned foam and pad cover. Yikes!

A cork key chain.....

Two mini sweater ornaments....

A mini sock......

A lady next to my table was selling fabric purses...she had a TON of interest in her purses, made with novelty fabrics, and there were totes for the beach as well as medium sized shoulder bags, or just regular sized fabric purses. Lots of time and fabric goes into the making of those. I've contemplated making some, but just don't have a ton of time and room to store the fabric in my little craft room. She said she had brought over 140 purses to the show! Wow! What an inventory! On the other side of me, was a jewelry person, selling beaded jewelry. I sold two bracelets as well....Here's my favorite one that went, a pattern adapted from

The day passed by quickly. I really enjoy talking to other crafters....They are just the nicest people, I have found. There is just something nice about people who like to make things with their hands and appreciate the work that goes into other's creations, that makes them usually patient, caring and enjoyable to talk to. I have found RVers to be the same way. People who love to travel and "camp" and love nature are wonderful to be around and get to know....

After the show was over, I headed home, tired but happy. I had a little extra "pin" money to fund my next crafting endeavor---metal stamping! That is going to take a whole lot more than pin money. Metal stamps are quite expensive. So I will have to be careful about investing in the supplies. Need to see what might be selling out there and do a little research. Usually, I jump in, gung ho with a new craft and start gathering LOTS of supplies to do the craft. When I was doing punch needle embroidery, of course I had to have the wonderful variegated Valdani threads to do it, lots of patterns and weaver's cloth. When I tole painted, I had to have MOST of the colors in the acrylics so I wouldn't have to run out and buy a certain shade. That was years ago, so I am now in the process of collecting yarn, beads, leather, and now metal stamps. It's a good thing my better half doesn't read my craft blog, he might get alarmed! :-) Not really, he's very supportive. I am lucky that he doesn't ever complain about the messy craft room that is overflowing or what I spend. He knows it makes me very happy.

So what am I making now? For the upcoming holiday season? Fabric gift bags that hold cookie mix....I'm going to stick a little bamboo wooden spoon in the tie on part to add a little charm...
Bought some Krusteaz cookie mixes and thought these would make a really cute hostess gift--invested in peanut butter, Meyer Lemon Cookie mix, oatmeal raisin and triple chocolate chunk. Mmmmmm, I might save one of those for myself if they don't sell. But I have to watch my sugar, so I hope they DO sell! 

Making little metal stamped charms for gifts....AHA! Here comes the stamping craze I've lots of ideas....shoe tags, wedding gift tags, stay tuned...I'll catch up with my blog one of these days and get a few more entries going! But I will leave with this necklace I made today....Made with Impress Art's alkeme alloy....a nice substitute and less expensive than silver. It's wonderful to stamp on! More about stamping on metal later.....
Bye for now......

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Making a Quiet Book Part II

I'm making a quiet book for my little grandson..He's now three...I've got the cover done and on to the actual interactive pages themselves! I'm mainly sticking with Imagine Our Life pages....she's my favorite designer....As far as I know, she has done a whole series of quiet pages for the years 2012 and 2013. She has some AMAZING other quiet page activities that aren't necessarily a book. One is a laptop quiet activity book...ALL MADE OF FELT and FELT PIECES. She's a graphic designer, so her designs are just above and beyond the usual simple quiet page. Her pages are mostly hand sewn, I am machine sewing as much as possible to save time.....

Despite the machine sewing, each page takes HOURS to make....tracing patterns, cutting the felt, little hand stitches here and there, details to make the pages more "real"...Lots of attention to details in her patterns. 

My first page for Barron was a sandcastle page......
Each piece is separate from the other except for the roof which is attached to each piece. Each piece is double layered. The waves on the seashore are tulle and rick rack. Under the castle door is a little crab that I hand drew. She stitched hers.  Clever lady, that Stephanie is! The sandcastle page is actually a two page spread and the other side looks like this:
The bucket holds all the sandcastle pieces when you are not using them! I used a real skinny cotton rope handle for my bucket.

The next page I tackled was the mailbox page. I just love this one! 
I used stiff Peltex interfacing for the mailbox flag. It moves up and down. The mailbox can be closed with the elastic loop button closure. When you open it, "You've got mail!"

And each of the little felt letters opens like a real envelope. The pattern calls for velcro to stick and unstick, but I thought I would just leave the envelopes plain. I am going to stick a little note inside each letter for my little grandson from his grandma. Awwwwwwwwww........ I used real stamps and zigzagged stitched them down. I wanted to "date" this activity book so later on, he could remember what year his grandma made it for him!
My third activity page was from Imagine Our Life, and it's a nod to Starbucks as Barron and his mom LOVE to go to Starbucks. 
Although he can count to 20 and count individual items very well, this page will still be fun for him with the tea bag that comes in and out and snaps on the page, the strawberries can be added to the pink frappucino (there's velcro behind the ruffly ribbon "whipped cream". And under cup number 2, there are two coffee beans hiding in the cup cozy! Well, for Pete's sake! I just notice I forgot to blanket stick the right side of the cozy! 

Off to a great start....Next up is a pirate page with a treasure chest, an authentic looking pirate map and treasure booty AND a message to Barron in a bottle!

Thanks to Imagine Our Life, this is going to be a really really cool quiet book, if I do say so myself!

See you later....Gotta get back to my sewing!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

SH-H-H-H! A Quiet Book for a Little Grandson Part I

I've changed gears again in my crafting room. Never a dull moment....Decided to make a quiet book for my little grandson, who is now three years old. I WAS going to make an ABC book, but since I procrastinated, he already knows his letters of his alphabet and most of the sounds that each letter makes! He's one smart cookie and he is growing so fast, and gaining knowledge so fast, I need to hurry up and make this little book before he outgrows it! So, here's how I got started....

I researched Pinterest, a fantastic place for ideas. But I'm terrible at thinking up my own designs, so I have to go looking at other people's ideas or patterns and get permission to make them if I'm going to sell them. I found a favorite designer, Stephanie, who has a blog and has done a TON of quiet book pages. She sells commercial licenses and posts freebie pages for quiet books and activities on her blog, Imagine Our Life, if you want to just make one book for yourself. I'm definitely going to purchase some commercial licenses, should I decide to make a quiet book and put it in my shop on Etsy, JeanBeanGifts.

Making a quiet book is a BIG undertaking, and it's not cheap! My first quiet book I made in the seventies for my little girls. It was an ABC book made from thin muslin pages. It was called 26 Lively Letters and it came out in 1977, right around the time my girls were babies and in the terrible twos. It had a velcro banana that you peeled back, it had a guitar with elastic cord strings, it had a vinyl shoe with really grommets and shoelaces... A lot of felt, a lot of supplies, a LOT of time went into that. I actually found the original book on Etsy and bought it, thinking I would duplicate it for my grandson. Kerry, my youngest, said she played with the book for YEARS! I don't remember that, but so happy that it provided many many hours of enjoyment.

When I got it in the mail, I was so disappointed at how dated all the pages looked. Did I really want to make a book that looked old from the start? I wasn't sure. There were still some wonderful ideas for interactive pages, so I kept it, if nothing more than for a memory blast to the past for my daughters. But I may incorporate a couple ideas, we'll see....

But--I really wanted to do something much more current so I turned to the internet. Now, THIS is what I'm talking about! Check out Pinterest and type in "Quiet Books" and WOW! So many great ideas! Here's a link....

So I got started on the cover.....Two pieces of complementary fabric cut about 28 1/2" long by 12" deep. I sandwiched fusible interfacing between the two layers of fabric, wrong sides to the fusible interfacing, then applied the fabric binding all around the edges. I didn't use bias binding just to make it easier on myself. I could have made things a LOT easier by sandwiching the layers so that I could have turned them inside out and had seamed edges but I forgot to do that after fusing the interfacing! But I love doing binding, I really do, so I didn't mind putting a binding on the edges like a quilt. I folded the cover in half and then inserted grommets on the front and back. The finished cover measures 14" X 12" after being bound. I love this lizard fabric! It was left over from another project.

I sewed a 1" webbing strap onto the cover, leaving enough extra webbing hanging out of the buckle so that the thick felt pages can still be contained. I measured extra webbing to add a little loop to the webbing for a carrying handle. Hope you can see that in the photos. I stitched the carrying handle down on the two sides, at the "binding seam" reinforcing with extra stitching to make it very sturdy.  There isn't really a binding seam on this cover as it is just one long piece of fabric folded in half, but that's where I put the handle. 

I did not realize that there is a right side and a long side to the plastic buckle. When I inserted the webbing strap through the side of the buckle, I didn't check to make sure that the OTHER end would go through the buckle and pull snug to a stop on the teeth of the buckle. I merrily sewed the buckle strap several times in two different places to make SURE that this buckle would never detach from the cover. THEN I pulled the strap around to buckle it and discovered the attaching buckle strap just pulled right through the buckle hole and right on out. WHAT THE HECK? The buckle was upside down. I had to patiently rip out all my double and triple stitching on the buckle strap and boy, was that difficult to see on the webbing! So test your buckle strap before sewing down and make sure the loose end strap doesn't pull right out of the buckle.....Sigh.....

My inside pages are double layered felt, a 9 X 12 backing piece and a 9X 12" front piece. Each layout is 9" X 9". After I make the layout, then I zigzag it to one piece of 9 X 12 felt, and then layer ANOTHER 9 X 12 piece of felt behind the layout. This makes the grommet section very sturdy. I suppose that's overkill, but if you are using less expensive felt like me, then the double layer is going to make the book last longer. I got my background cream felt at JoAnn Fabrics. It's 60" wide, so you get a lot of felt for your money. If you are using high quality felt such as 80% wool, 20% nylon, it's so thick, you could probably use just one layer to appliqué or zig zag your 9 X 9" design to it.

The grommet/large eyelet holes are tough to do. I don't have any kind of punch to punch holes in fabric. A 1/4" hole paper punch is the perfect size for the large eyelets, but mine doesn't reach far enough into the "spine" to make the hole. It does punch nicely on scrap felt so if it just had a longer reach into the fabric, it would work! So I've been using an awl to push through the two felt fabric layers, then very very carefully using fine tip micro blade scissors to enlarge the hole by cutting little snips around the hole made by the awl. And then I work and work to get the eyelets through the fabric and scrunched down so they can get a bite on the fabric when I use the little tool that comes with them. I bet someone could think up an easier way or knows of a tool that will punch through two thick felt layers. Crop-a-Dile punch, maybe? I'd love to hear from someone. I actually bought a leather punch tool kit with multiple hole sizes that is supposed to punch through fabric too, but it doesn't. Grrrrrrrr.......

That's enough for today....I will be sharing my actual completed pages in the next couple of posts.....Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

It's a Super Bracelet! A Super Duper Bracelet No, It's a Superduo!

I have discovered Super Duo beads....They are a unique oval shape with two holes. They are quite small. They've been around for a bit, but after seeing a gorgeous bracelet using Super Duos on, called the Seashore-Kelp bracelet, I had to make one just like it. But instead of a five wrap, I made a double wrap so the cost would be less expensive. If you bought all your supplies from for this bracelet, it would cost about 27.00. Granted, for all those supplies, you might have enough for a second bracelet, if you cut down the number of wraps like I did. For a double wrap, I used way less super duos, which are 2.25 for a very small tube per color. I figured my costs for a double wrap were about 14.00 for the double wrap bracelet for the leather and the beads. The button was 6.50 just for one! I think this button could be found on Etsy or the internet more cheaply, but I didn't take the time to look. I will say the pattern was quite easy to follow and easy to make, if you have done laddering before.
The only problem I had was with the long lengths of Tuff cord, they sometimes would get tangled around themselves, and I had a dickens of a time straightening them out! At once point, the beading needles they suggest you use, looked like they shredded one of the thread strands passing the needles in and out of the beads. You have to be careful that the needle does not catch the first strand of thread on your second pass through the beads as you ladder them on the leather. I had to add thread WAY before I needed to because of that. Luckily, offers a really nice tutorial worksheet on how to add thread to laddering projects and I was able to continue with very little problem once I added more thread. If you look at the photo closely, you can see where I added the thread. They have some new tips out for laddering, so I am going to go take a look at them. I've got another bracelet I'm going to make with metallic pearl leather, and shades of blue superduos. I'll post it when I'm done.

I'm working on making lots of different things for a fall craft show, as Etsy seems to be hard to get views and sell on, or else I am not hitting the right things to market. SOMETHING is not quite right there after a nice little flurry of activity at Christmas! But, I LOVE making things, so I will just keep going with whatever strikes my fancy! My girls will have lots of things to give as gifts when I'm gone, that's for sure!

I've been making facecloths---LOTS of them! I'm coupling them with little handmade bars of soap from the Green Daffodil Company on Etsy and putting them in my shop. This pattern is from Simply Notable, a blog on the internet. The yarn I used is Peaches and Creme, Sugar and Creme, and Crafter's Secret Cotton from Hobby Lobby (not pictured). These are made with a size 7 needle, and measure about 9" across.
They look so cheery! You can use them as dishcloths if you'd rather. Simply Notable also has little mini makeup remover cloths, a smaller version of the facecloth petal cloth. They look like this--
photo courtesy of Simply Notable
Aren't they cute?  Simply Notable blog also has cute little heart shaped make up cloths knitted from 100% cotton, called Tawashis. Check them out! All these cloths are made from dishcloth yarn....Peaches and Creme, Sugar and Creme...etc.
Photo courtesy of Simply Notable

Now, I am making little bags from Atkinson Designs "Stowaways" pattern. The first one I made turned out great!

The second one I made was a disaster and I don't know why. Well, I think I may have an answer....I tried making a smaller bag using the same pattern. The bags are quite thick with the "In Control" body liner by the time you pinch in the corners and make the little boxy wedges on them and sew through about six thicknesses of fabric, lining, and body stabilizer. Somehow, my corners didn't line up properly, and not until I was completely done with binding the inside seams and it got time to turn the little pouch inside out, did I find out everything was off, a bit wonky as they say....Couldn't salvage any of it. I was so disgusted with myself after all that work and hand sewing the binding on the inside, I thought well, maybe I will offer it for 1.00 at the craft sale as a "second", or donate it to Goodwill. It's still usable, it just looks off kilter. It's an embarrassing end result for me, (I'm such a perfectionist!) so I think I'll just rethink what I'm going to do with it. A LOT of work went into this little bag....Sigh.....

When a mistake like that happens, I try very hard to say, "Oh, well, you haven't screwed up a project in a very long time, so move on, Jeannie! Come back to the pattern another day and try again with a different fabric and a little more care and see if you can get it right next time." What bothers me the most is, you can't buy this fabric locally from a fabric store, at least not where I am. It's a special fat quarter bundle, and I already screwed up another two fat quarters when I cut THEM the wrong way when I first started the pattern! But I really love these little bags, so I AM going to try another one. The pattern has several different sizes, but they are all small, making for some detailed work and bulky layers. 

One cute trick I learned from the pattern is for a zipper pull for these bags. Take a piece of old nylon zipper that complements your zipper or fabric and cut off the sides right up next to the coil. Cut a piece of coil about 7". Thread that skinny little piece of coil through the zipper tab hole, tie an overhand knot in  it, and you have a custom nylon little zipper pull!

Until next time......

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

What the Heck is Locker Hooking?

I saw this book in Hobby Lobby one day, and it was calling my name.....
It had a gorgeous hooked canvas journal book cover on the front...I waited and waited for awhile, then I caved in and bought it....Theresa Pulido is the rug hooking artist/ author, and she has a website devoted to locker hooking with videos, free patterns and gorgeous fabric strips.

Locker hooking is a vintage method of rug hooking, where after you pull up 4-5 loops on a special long crochet hook with the hook at one end and a large needle eye at the other, you pull yarn through your loops and the loops are "locked" down to the canvas. They can't pull out. Here's what the needle looks like...Hobby Lobby has them....

For the "yarn" for hooking loops, you use fabric--you can use cotton fabric strips, you can use wool, and/or you can use a combination of fabric strips with specialty fibers, the possibilities are many. There are two sizes of rug canvas---5 mesh, and 3.75 mesh. The larger number mesh means that the holes to pull your loops through are smaller to the inch than the 3.75 canvas which has slightly larger holes. If you are wanting detail in your project, you would choose the smaller holed mesh, but honestly, I counted the squares per inch for both, and there's only one square difference between the two sizes. Hobby Lobby carries the larger, more common 3.75 mesh.

You cut or tear fabric strips...1/2" width is the usual size used if you are using batik fabrics, and 3/4" is the size for all other fabrics. Batiks are wonderful because the print is the same on both sides. Here I've torn my fabric strips and wound them on little scraps of cardboard so I don't have to stop as much during my project, I've got lots of choices ready to use.

If you use regular fabrics, then you will need to fold your strips in half because the print is only on one side of the fabric. There are several great YouTube videos that teach you how to join strips and tie up your loose ends as you work your way through a project, so a video is a better way to learn, I found for me. Theresa Pulido's website, Color Crazy, is another great way to learn how. Here is a basic idea of how to do it with still photos. My first project was a hot pad/trivet....This is what it's going to look like when I'm all done.

You cut your size canvas to be about 3/4" bigger all the way around than what you want the finished size to be. Next, you fold each of the four sides over, about two to three squares and crease it down. You whip stitch the edges with fabric strips, not using any twine or yarn just yet, you are just binding the raw edges down so they don't unravel. They still might do a little unraveling as you start hooking.

Next, you take a strip of fabric and hold it behind the rug canvas like this, ready to pull thru a hole with your special long crochet hook/needle eye. This is the back side. At the eye end of the crochet hook needle, you thread the eye with your locking yarn/cotton/twine, like a threaded needle. It just dangles off the back end of the crochet hook till you are ready to use it.
Now, you reach through the rug canvas hole, and pull up a loop on your hook, leaving it on the needle...

Then, you pull another loop with your crochet hook and leave it on the needle....Each time you pull up a loop, give a little tug with your finger on the back side, to keep the loops consistently the same height. You want them to be about a quarter inch tall. I find a tug from the back of the canvas with my finger holding the strip of fabric, keeps the loops about as tall as the width of the crochet hook, which is just perfect. The loops need to be tall enough so your locking yarn/cotton/twine can be pulled through, which is usually no problem as it's a lot skinnier than your fabric strips! I've pulled my locking medium through the last set of loops, so it's sitting there waiting, dangling off the back end of my crochet hook till I get my next cluster of loops on the hook.
I usually pull up about 4-6 loops, then it's time to slide the crochet hook to the left, like you are "threading" the loops, leaving the loops standing up in the canvas. Your locking medium, which is threaded at the right end of the hook, now slides through those standing loops, following the crochet hook path. Here, I just need to pull a little more with my crochet hook to tighten up the black yarn so it disappears between the loops. Sometimes you can see the locking medium and that's no big deal. The loops will close up a little more once the trivet/hotpad is done and the loops get a little "squished" from pots or dishes or candles sitting on them. I picked a black yarn since there are so many colors on this trivet. White might have been better, but white would show the rug canvas threads a little more, so I picked black. You could use any color yarn, as long as it's worsted weight or thicker. Hobby Lobby sells a stringy twine for locker hooking. I have some of that but have not tried it yet. The bulkier yarn helps "fill" the little loops, I think.

I chose to go back and forth for a linear look for my first one. Then, I decided to do a "spiral" design. I started around the outside edges and went round and round. After my sister saw my first one, she said, " I want FOUR!" so I was off and running....
Here is the second one, almost done.....
And, my set of four for my sis. Thanks, sis, for your order!

And that's the very basics of locker hooking! Let me know if you decide to try this....It's fun, but I will say it's hard on the hands and fingers...