Monday, September 27, 2010

Hookin' Happily

I thought I was going to make small wall-hangings for The Grands with the Monk's Cloth that I bought at NCFF, but after remembering what my backside felt like from sitting on terrible chairs for three days running, I decided to make a chair cushion cover instead.

I waffled between a sort of sampler design, with spindles and yarn and wheels and such, and a pastoral design.

I went with the pastoral/colonial/traditional. I drew a very rough sketch of the notion on some graph paper (the finished cushion will be about 18" x 18"), and then I cut some templates from tablet paper. I traced them with a Sharpie on the cloth, and then drew in the other elements. Even-weave cloth makes drawing straight lines fairly easy (as long as you actually follow the straight line, as I did not on the first pass for the cushion bottom edge. Luckily, none of the lines will show through the hooking). I may make little leaves on the willow fronds, but I figured that I didn't need to draw them in.
It took me most of the evening to hook one sheep (this isn't going to be a quick-finish project), but I'm really pleased with the handspun yarn loops. Of course, since it's handspun (and my handspun at that), the yarn width isn't uniform- some of the yarns are heavier (in places) and some are thinner. And some of the more uniform yarns are too thin, so they had to be doubled or tripled. Though I'm not having too hard a time with it, all of my handspun yarns are 2-ply, which is a bit trickier when it comes to hooking (getting both plies in the hook).
My loop height isn't completely uniform, but it's not too bad. This is a perfect use for handspun yarns. I can never bring myself to throw any out, so I have tons of little balls, and bits and pieces of leftovers in lots of colors, so I shouldn't have a hard time coming up with different greens for the hills, bright colors for the flowers, and several blues for the sky. And should the worst happen, I can always make more...

Since the loops are formed with non-uniform yarn, the fact that they aren't lined up regimentally isn't as obvious, or critical. I don't know if I will need/want to coat the back with some sort of glue for reinforcement or not, since this piece will get a lot of wear- this project is intended to be functional, not just decorative.

I am also not sure how it'll go when it comes time to change the hoop position. The hoop itself has a very long screw (it's a quilting hoop), so it can accommodate thick fabric, but the rings may pull the loops out of place. The Hub may have to build me a larger frame for the piece but I'll cross that bridge when I hook to it.


Mary Keenan said...

That sheep is adorable and I love the practical application!

Ruth said...

This is adorable!

Fran said...

Are you sure that the loops should line up and be even?? A hooker by the name of Deanne FitzPatrick does beautiful, spontaneous, energetic work that is much admired. She doesn't seem to worry about that, although she has some order for sure.
She calls the different heights "popcorn."
What do you think???? Fran