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!
What do you think? Like them? I love em!
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