After rya yarn, I decided to try locker hooking with Finnish poppana.  I love this stuff and am still trying to figure out the best use for it.  Poppana is a continuous strip of colorfast cotton bias tape wound onto a spool, and so has the pleasing property of developing a furry edge rather than raveling in the wash.

I graphed a pattern for a trivet (6” x 8 1/8” when finished) with eight sides (corners are less acute this way, and easier to cover when whip-stitching the turned edges), hooked it, washed it, dried it.

Hi, trivet recipient!

Here’s the back:

to prove I stitched in my ends

Poppana gets softer the more you wash it, but I wanted this to be soft right away; I pulled it through a steel knitting-needle gauge as I worked to distress the edges and rubbed them when I gave it a hot hand wash followed by a tumble dry.  The locking yarn is the same dark beige Finnish “Linnea Novita” 4 ply 60% linen, 40% cotton I used for the last trivet, about 13 wraps per inch.

Poppana folds over on itself when pulled through the 5 mesh canvas but still seems to cover the locking yarn pretty well.  I’d locker hook again with poppana, especially if I can find a soft, open linen canvas with 6 or 7 squares to the inch and a skinnier locker hook.

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So, I’m not up for much.  But early this spring I bought some real locker-hook canvas–as opposed to my allergenic home-made version–because I had some large projects in mind. It is a stiff 50% cotton, 50% polyester blend leno, heavily starched to keep the mesh from shifting.

I chose the 5 mesh version (five holes to the inch) because it was the smallest I could find.  I have no interest in working with rags, and I can’t imagine using anything but wide rags with the more common 3.75 mesh canvas.  Even then the work would come out sparse and coarse.

My first project was a sample trivet.  I have two hulking rolls of late 1960’s / early 1970’s “Sellgren Ryer” yarn that came to me with my loom: beautifully spun Norwegian wool from same town as my favorite cathedral.  My sample was to tell me a) if I liked the two colorways together b) if the yarn made a goodly-packed pile when worked through the 5 mesh canvas, and c) how quickly does locker-hooking use it up.  Do I actually have enough of this stuff for a rug?

All this I learned and more beside.  The rya yarn actually is a bundle of different grists and coordinating colors of yarns wound side-by-side.  When you’re fishing to hook a loop by feel on the underside of the canvas, it’s really hard to grab all the yarns at once.  Individual strands keep slipping free from the bundle, especially the the lace-weight ones.  I often had to undo my work to retreive them.

The other problem was one I didn’t expect.  As far as I know there is only one U.S. maker of locker hooks (crochet hook with a needle eye at the end of the handle) and they only come in one size.  Mine is aluminum, and what do you know?  It is TOO BIG to pull smoothly through the unforgivingly starch-stabilized 5 mesh canvas, especially when pulling a fat load of yarn.  Struggle, struggle, struggle all the way!  Maybe the steel locker hooks from England are a little skinnier?  I hope so.

All in all it was a most uncooperative trivet.  I chastised it sternly and swore never to touch locker hook to rya yarn again.

Though it did turn out wonderfully dense and spongy:

And no, I do not like the color combination.  It’s not horrible, but after a while I realized that putting these two yarns together manages to make the least of each colorway.  The subtle loden looks drab and the blue looks harsh.  Separately they are lovely.  If I use them (and it won’t be for anything locker hooked!), I’ll pair them with solids to play them up.  Those old large, multi-stranded, un-cut skeins of Paternayan would be about the best match for texture.  At the moment however I have no immediate rugmaking plans and refuse to trawl eBay or Etsy for antique yarn.  That way madness lies.