I ran across a video tutorial on how to add polymer clay handles to crochet hooks on Carol Ventura's Tapestry Crochet Web site. The handles help with the tight stitches required with tapestry crochet, but also eases the cramping and slipping I was experiencing with a plain hook. I even bought a set of bamboo-handled aluminum hooks, which work great, but they didn't come in the smaller sizes that I use for thread or tapestry crochet.
I thought you'd like to see how I've improved (in my opinion) Carol's technique. Carol inserts the bare hooks into a roll of clay. I've added some texture to the handles before inserting into the clay to allow for a more secure fit.
To document the process I used, I started with two hooks: an aluminum size K and steel size 1:
I used some glue meant to bond to metal (Liquid Nails is the brand I used, I'm sure there are others) and a short piece of #10 crochet thread. I didn't measure the thread, but you can see from the picture below, I didn't use much:
Lightly coat the handle up to the flat thumb rest with the glue and wrap the thread down and back the handle, leaving quite a bit of space between the wraps. You can go further, covering up the thumb rest, but you'll have to mark the hook size on the handle. Here are the hooks drying after coating with glue and wrapping with the thread (it only takes a few minutes to set up):
When the glue is wet, don't lay the hook down because it will stick to whatever you lay it on. If you use your fingers to spread the glue, be sure to wash off the glue immediately, because it really sticks quickly.
I added the polymer clay in the colors Gold and Burnt Umber to give the handles a wood-like look. You can choose your favorite colors. I've seen the handles with a lot more clay than I used, you can make the handles much fatter than these. Mine were made for my comfort. Be sure to squeeze the clay securely around the handle so the clay doesn't have any gaps. Here mine are ready for the oven:
Bake in the oven according to the instructions provided with the clay, and you've got some nice comfortably-handled hooks. I would have added another picture of the hooks after they came out of the oven, but they look the same as they did when they went in. They're nice and hard.
The pictures above have links to the larger versions, if you need more detail.
The clay I used comes in 2 ounce (56 gram) packets. Use your imagination to combine and mix colors to your taste.
I found these instructions (which includes a video) on adding polymer clay handles to crochet hooks. This eases to strain on my old hands for doing some tight stitches required for tapestry crochet and some other special stitches with smaller hooks.
I think the effect worked well - I used gold and burnt umber colored polymer clay. I'll be converting the rest of my metal hooks with the same method soon.
I picked up my entries from the San Diego County Fair today, so I thought I'd gather them all together for a group shot with their ribbons.
On the left is the red cabled hat with brim (1st place). The hat on the right is the one made from plastic bags made into PLARN (PLastic yARN) which came in 2nd place in the Recycled Wearable Art contest.
The two ribbons in the middle are for the afghan in the background (3rd place) and the crochet speed contest I entered (2nd place). I'm very pleased with my first attempt at entries in the Fair. The afghan and both hats are my own design, which made the wins even sweeter.
I finally got around to taking a picture of my prize-winning hat.
I added a crocheted sweat-band of cotton thread for wearability.
This is the second-place finisher in the "Hat"category of "Recycled Wearable Art" at the San Diego County Fair, mentioned in an earlier post. Needless to say, I'm very proud of my first entries in the Fair.
We went to the San Diego County Fair again today. This time it was for another of the Fair's "One Day Contests". It's pretty cool - if you bring the entry form (and your entry, of course) you can get into the Fair for free! Today (July 1st) the contest was "Recycled Wearable Art". When I saw "recycled", I immediately thought of my tote made from recycled plastic grocery bags. Since the contest was for "wearable", I decided to crochet a hat out of the PLARN (PLastic yARN! A plastic hat didn't sound great, so I also decided to make a sweat band out of cotton thread. The contest rules specified that 80% of the article must be made from recycled material, so making only the sweat band from new material seemed acceptable.
OK - I'm rambling...we got there, I entered, and won 2nd place!
First place in the same category (Hat) was more of a head decoration than a hat, but I don't want to sound like a sore looser. I'm very excited about my 2nd place ribbon. I don't have a picture of it yet, but I probably will get one up tomorrow! Come back and see!
A round ripple afghan of my own design won 3rd place in the afghans category for entrants 62 or older. A hat won 1st place in the miscellaneous crochet for entrants 62 or older. There was no category for "hats". These were my first ever entries in any competition, so I'm obviously very proud.
On top of that, we went to the fair yesterday to see if they had won anything, and I entered a speed contest - speed is not my strong point. I won second place! Think I would have won first, had I not been so nervous and made a couple of errors, which counted against me.
I created these crocheted hoop earrings with a small amount on #10 crochet thread and a #7 steel crochet hook over a pair of hoops. Versions shown are crocheted over 2¼ and 2½ inch hoops.
Materials used: small amount of #10 crochet cotton #7 steel crochet hook Hoop Earrings - those pictured are 2¼ inches and 2½ inches across
Instructions: Rnd 1: Make a loop around the hoop and sc around to cover the hoop. Crocheting over the loose end for several stitches will eliminate sewing it in later. You can cover the hoop completely, or to your taste.
Rnd 2:. Turn, (do not ch 1) sk first ch, * sc in next ch, sk two ch, sc in next ch, repeat from *. You should do these sc's a little loose to reach the next st.
Rnd 3: Turn, sk first st, * sc in next st, sk 1 st, repeat from * around.
Rnd 4: Turn, sk first st, * sl st in next st, sk next st, repeat around. At this point, you can fasten off and sew in the loose end, or add another round. The white hoops above were done with 3 rounds and the black hoops were done with 4 rounds. The more rounds you add, the lacier the look becomes.
I mentioned I was entering a couple of items in the San Diego County Fair this year. Additional features of the Fair will be a speed contest - well, not just speed - you have to follow a pattern and the winner will be determined by the most correct number of rows. Also a "wearable recycled art" contest. I'm going to try to enter both events, both are one-day events, which includes entry to the Fair on the day of the contest.
I've decided to enter a couple of crochet items in the San Diego County Fair.
I've chosen the 9-pointed popcorn round ripple and the burgundy cable hat. There are a couple of one-day competitions as well, one is for recycled wearable art and a crochet contest following a pattern.
I recently purchased the book "Hard Crochet" by Mark Dittrick. The book was published in 1978, and documents a crochet technique using extremely tight tension and a small hook to create a very firm fabric. One of the projects in Mr. Dittrick's book is a Stetson-Styled hat. You can see the results here on my granddaughter. I'm keeping this hat for myself.
I received a custom request for a hat for a friend of a potential customer based on another hat I had made, but in a different color (black) and "flatter on top". Never one to back away from a challenge, I spent several days getting it to look the way the potential buyer described it. Well, after finishing the hat and sending pictures to the potential customer, she notified me her friend had already found a hat. Too bad for me. Oh well, this cloud has a silver lining because I like the new hat so much, I'm attempting to duplicate it and will eventually create a pattern for this one.
The repetitive actions needed for knitting and crochet can bring the mind and body to a state called a "relaxation response" that is quite similar to what people experience with techniques such as repetitive prayer, yoga, meditation, Tai Chi, and other relaxation disciplines. Research at the Harvard Medical School Mind/Body Institute has found that when an individual is crocheting (or knitting) his/her heart rate can drop 11 beats a minute and his/her blood pressure drops as well. These results can have significant health benefits for people who knit and crochet. Therefore, I am a man who crochets. I design my own crochet and sell patterns and finished projects.