I was at a NYE party, playing ping pong in the garden of some friends (we also played table football and darts but it wasn’t a weird, sport based party and it’s not that relevant to the hook story at all). When it wasn’t my turn to badly flail a bat about, I wandered into the workshop/garage that’s in the garden. Spying tools, bits of wood and things made out of the wood, I dared to ask if I might have help to create a handmade crochet hook. Don’t you just love the idea of making a tool by hand, that is in turn, used to create handmade things?! I’d seen lots of beautiful wooden hooks on Instagram so I knew it could be done. You can look for hashtags like #woodencrochethooks or #crochethooks and they pop up.
It was just a fleeting request rather than a full on conversation, nevertheless, a couple of weeks after New Year, the first hook turned up. Several weeks later, after lots of going back and forth with design ideas we felt confident that we had cracked it. Honestly, you wouldn’t believe how many different shapes, lengths, angles, types of wood we went through to learn what came out best! During this process, I got to learn about woodwork, and Paul (whose hobby is woodwork) learned a bit about crochet. I think we’ve both learned where our strengths are. This is what we’ve worked out: I’ll stick to crochet and he’ll stick to woodwork.
However, it’s quite addictive and I do like to try new things. I break a lot of sticks trying to make the perfect hook, I’ve broken myself too (blisters! ouch! knife cuts! ouch!). I really should leave the hook making to Paul though. I’ll play with wool.
And so, that is how we became Kirk & Roger, a little side line for us both. It’s really good fun!
It has been a while since I’ve worked with someone else. I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed it. It’s good to discuss ideas and see how new ventures come out of those discussions. It hadn’t occurred to me that we could sell the hooks we made, that was Paul’s idea. I was just thinking of myself and my own hook collection, which to be honest, isn’t much of a surprise!!
We both have different favourites when it comes to the hook designs. I like whittled ones and Paul likes them turned. This is good because it means there are lots to choose from. I don’t see why we need to restrict it to one or the other. They’re completely handmade so it is impossible to make the same hook twice. Whether it’s whittled, turned or a bit of both, each and every one is unique.
We’re learning that smaller sizes are the most popular but they’re trickier and more time consuming to make.
The wood we use is locally sourced. Sometimes directly from our own gardens here in Devon. The very first whittled hook was made from the quince bush that grows in my garden. Apparently quince is a good choice as it’s very hard. An Insta friend called Sarah saw this and we arranged a meet up for tea and cake (we might not have had cake actually, but perhaps we ought to have done). She very generously brought along a car boot full of quince for us [your hook is being made, Sarah!]. I believe it’s the same for most fruit trees, so it’s a good job we also had a bag of apple tree branches donated.
These things take time, you can’t use green wood so we’ve been waiting for everything to dry out a bit. Now that this is happening we’re working on a new batch of hooks that we hope to have in the Etsy shop in a couple of weeks or so.
The turned ones can be made from reclaimed bits of furniture and such. Where possible we will recycle materials to give them a new life.
Each hook is made by Paul into a mostly finished hook, it is then passed to me to crochet with. I’ll decide what needs to be done to make it the best it can be, I then pass it back for tweaking, sanding etc. This process happens at least twice because we want each hook to be perfect. Once that’s done, there are a minimum of three coats of stuff called tung oil that get applied. The oil makes the hook smooth and it also adds strength. Phew! It’s quite a process!
This tutorial is based on a granny square bag I made a couple of years ago. The original blog post can be found HERE. There are lots of details in that post that will be super useful. However, it is a slightly different version. I’ve made this new one a bit less fussy.
There are two videos. The one above is how to put the bag together. The one below is how to make the Join As You Go Grannies. I start by making a granny square and then at the time stamp of 5.25 I begin to join them together.
Please see below for some accompanying pictures…
If you fancy supporting my crochet adventures, I would be utterly and completely full of gratitude. You can do this by supporting me on Patreon. I understand that you can make one off payments as well as signing up monthly, whatever floats your boat. Thanks ever so much!
Welcome to Episode 55! I’m pleased to say that I’ve been enjoying my crochet over the last couple of weeks. I do hope you like the episode. As well as WIPs and FOs, I talk about Ravelry and their new policy. Cripes, it was tricky to talk about without getting passionate! I hope I was careful with my words; it really isn’t my area of expertise. I believe it’s important that it’s discussed though, so there was no way I was going to ignore the current issues.
Please go HERE to YouTubefor all my videos or click on the pic above to go directly to the episode.
It has taken an age but I finally found time to record a new crochet tutorial! Hurray! Thank you for being so patient with me. Video tutorials take a lot of time to put together so it’s very easy to drop it lower on the list when something else pops up. Please click on the picture above to go to the tutorial or HERE to my YouTube channel. Don’t forget my Free Patterns page too, that’s HERE.
If you would like to support my crochet adventures, which would surely melt my ice cold heart, please do so over on Patreon. Fanx!!! xxx
Materials & Notes:
One colour: 2x 100g (135m) balls of chunky yarn. I used Stylecraft Alpaca Tweed
Stripey version: 3x 100g (135m) balls of chunky yarn
Written in UK terms (converting is dead easy, a UK tr is a US dc, that’s it!)
3ch counts as a stitch (st/s)
I have a loose tension, go up a hook size if you don’t!
Scroll down for a “chart” showing colour changes and a it more info.
Row 1: 1tr in 4th ch from hook, miss 2 sts, *3tr, miss 2 sts; rep from * to the last st, 2tr in last st, turn.
Row 2: 3ch, 3tr in each sp along to end, 1tr in last st, turn.
Row 3: 3ch, 1tr in same st, 3tr in each space along to end, finishing with 2tr in last st, turn.
Row 4 – 24: Rep Rows 2&3 ten times and Row 2 once more.
Row 25 (increase row): 3ch, 2tr in same sp, cont as Row 2 to end.
Row 26: Rep Row 3.
Row 27: Rep Row 2.
Row 28 (increase row): Begin as Row 3, end with 3tr in last st, turn.
Hey! I hope all is well? Please click on the pic above to go to Episode 54 of my crochet podcast. This one is mostly me chatting about The Crochet Sanctuary because I went there last weekend! You can also go HERE to YouTube! That’s where you’ll find my channel. Ta very much. x
You could argue that I grew up with tortoises. Sam was my dad’s tortoise, he found him when he was a boy. When I was little, Sam lived in the garden at Nanna and Grandad’s house. Whenever he ran away (which he did, every now and then), he was always returned because his name and address were painted on his shell. He had two semi circles cut out the back of his shell; leftover evidence that someone had once drilled into his shell to make holes so he could be tied down. Sam eventually moved to live with Dad again, along with a few other tortoises that had been acquired along the way. Sam died about three years ago. I was always fond of him.
Around the time Sam died I had an idea that I’d like to have a tortoise of my own. I learned that neighbours of the in-laws were tortoise breeders. They offered teeny tiny babies who would need a vivarium and lots of care. I’m well lazy and knew I’d not be able to give them the proper attention needed so declined the offer. A few weeks ago we were told that the breeders still had tortoises ready and waiting (the same ones, in fact). They were hibernating through winter now and a lot less vulnerable, would we like them? Yes please! So at three and a half years old, Pod & Ludo have moved into our back garden (they have an indoor bedroom for night time). They are Hermann’s tortoises.
I love them. I have to stop myself from kissing them (they can carry salmonella and parasites so it’s best to refrain). They’re really cute. Ludo likes broccoli, Pod likes tomatoes. They both like having a bath.
When they have play time, they walk around the whole edge of the lawn. They’re always accompanied because there is a drop down onto the gravel. You’d be amazed at how clever they are. They know exactly what they’re doing and never blindly plop off the edge. We’ve also bought some fencing to make them a bigger, better space. I need to set it up in a place where there are no poisonous plants but half the plants in the borders are really not tortoise friendly, ugh.
There’s still a lot to learn. I got some good advice from the vet about their diet and it seems we’re doing everything correctly. They’ve been micro-chipped because people love to steal tortoises. I was told that they might cry out when they were chipped but thankfully neither of them did. I felt terribly guilty. Tortoise skin doesn’t heal the same way as mammal’s so they had to be super-glued back together 😦
On hot days they’re very frisky and bomb it about the garden. I am still waiting for the perfect photo but they keep moving and it’s very tricky. On colder days they sleep more and I feel sorry for them. They bury themselves under their bedding and wait for the sun to come out. Whilst we don’t quite get temperatures of the Med, the UK climate is still alright for them. In the winter, they’ll have a giant snooze in the safety of a box in the shed, ready to start again when the weather improves.
I know they’re not everyone’s cup of tea but I really rather like them!