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...


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