Wow, here’s is an old one.  I finished it nearly a year ago.  Even the photos are old.  I snapped them before I stuffed it into a Christmas box along with the packing paper on a whim.

For the sake of completeness in documenting my locker hooking experiments, yes, it’s another trivet:

sugarlockerhook2

Measurements are 6.25″ by 6.25″.  An inch bigger would have been better.  It’s worked with two strands of vintage Lily Sugar ‘n Cream yarn on 5 mesh locker-hook canvas.  I think I used a slightly fatter cotton for the locking yarn.  Maybe the same blue I used as for the center square and to bind the edges?

Two strands of Sugar ‘n Cream gave good coverage, a single strand was not enough.  I cut the strands off the ball strategically so I could keep the ombre color-changes matched up side-by-side.  It was a bit of a pain catching both strands in the hook at once, but not too bad. They do want to twist around each other.  Next time I would just let them.  A person could make a very nice looped-pile bath rug or chair mats if their wrists were sturdy and they took it slow.  Cheap yarn in lots of colors = plenty of patterning options.

Something I noticed: this older Sugar ‘n Cream, from my Great Granny’s knitting stash circa 1980’s, is nicer than the Sugar ‘n Cream yarn you can buy now.  It’s rounder, more evenly spun, less pill-y, and I’m pretty sure just a higher grade of cotton.  If I were to do a bigger locker-hook project with this yarn, I would be careful not to mix old skeins with new.  The resulting pile would sport noticeable variations in and texture and in height.

The back of the work.

The back of the work.

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.

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.

Circle, Worked

November 25, 2011

I finished working the circle the day after I started it; what held me up was finishing finishing it.

But now it is washed and blocked.

Can you tell there are 5 different blues here?  A couple are very close in this light.

As I made it I began thinking of Medieval cosmology, celestial spheres.  Last night Der Mann and I watched a program about quantum mechanics.  Now it makes me think of quanta too.

Here is the back before finishing.  There were so many ends to weave in I couldn’t figure out where to put them all, so I cheated and made a few knots.

Oh, yeah.  I forgot to say–it’s a trivet!

Working the Circle

November 12, 2011

Working the circle: inside out, and outside in.

Locker Hook Experiments

November 10, 2011

Through a curious sequence of events a nominal weaver may find herself in possession of a locker hook.  Locker hooking is a technique for making stable looped pile rugs.  Unlike regular rug-hooking, which results in rugs held together merely by the friction of the wool poking through the ground cloth (rugs that can be unraveled by pulling really hard on a single loop; I scorn them!), locker hooking locks loops in place by sewing through them after they are fetched up through the cloth.

Why am I doing this? It’s complicated.  How am I doing this?  The hard way, as usual.  Instead of using pre-made mesh rug canvas, I have been making my own by drawing every third thread from pieces of burlap.  Instead of rags or bulky roving, I have been working with vintage tapestry yarn too skinny for the resulting mesh.  Working in a spiral instead of back and forth, etc., etc.

Here are my first washed samples.  The rectangle taught me I have to bind the edges of the burlap before I do my drawn-work.  Folding it over and whip stitching it isn’t enough, it unravels during washing.

The coaster is what taught me you can’t find the center of a drawn-work burlap circle just by measuring it; the mesh isn’t arithmetical–this is why the central circle of the coaster is off center and I had to make it into a sort of a blobby flower by adding those blobby leaves to fill up the lopsided space.  Oh, and the coaster taught me that the (dark green sock) stitching yarn has to match the (light tan tapestry) yarn because it won’t be fully hidden by the loops.

Both samples reminded me that I am sort of allergic to jute.  I now know keep a hanky handy when I am concentrating over allergenic work or my nose will actually drip on it.

Nothing daunted, here’s what I started next.  Atchoo!