Thursday, February 18, 2010

Signature Ornate Crochet Hooks

Greetings everyone! I've just posted six new crochet hooks yesterday and five more today on eBay! Check them out!

I wanted to tell you a little about what goes into my Signature Ornate Crochet Hooks -- a very special segment of the fiber arts tools I create.

Each is different, often inspired by my own life, what is happening around me, the seasons, etc.

Even before turning begins, I specifically choose each piece of wood to become one of my special hooks. As I turn, I carefully measure to make sure that the area of design is out of range of hand holding. (There's nothing worse than using an uncomfortable tool!) All of my hooks are designed to be extremely comfortable and delightful to work with.

After finishing the crochet hook on the lathe, then carefully carving and hand-polishing the hook, I take in the character of the wood -- what does it want to be? I then drill a carefully-sized hole where I would like the gemstone to sit, then walk inside to the studio...

Once comfortable, with bright lamps turned on, I look at the hook again, and start doing the hand-carving. I accomplish the wonderful texture in the carving by using a pyrography tool. (No, it's not a dirty word! pyro- = fire, -graphy = drawing/writing.) I literally burn the design into the wood. This has the advantage of burning off the finish (allows the paint to stick), and also creating a wonderful dappled texture, like beaten gold, or copper.

I do all of my pyrography work freehand, without a template. Natural woods are much more conducive to pyrography than the Dyed Hardwoods I sometimes use. (And smell MUCH better!) After burning, I then take up my paintbrush and go to it!

I like to use metallic acrylic paints because they shine, have a little bit of sparkle, and add extra visual texture to the already-stippled "canvas." I add between 3 and 10 layers of paint, different colors, in order to give the hook a more jewel-like appearance.

After all the paint has dried, I then set the gemstone into a Sterling Silver or 14k Gold setting. Remember the hole I drilled earlier? The setting fits EXACTLY into this hole, and besides having this tight jam fit, I also secure it with epoxy. This allows the stone to have a proper countersink with which to sparkle beautifully! (I wish I could capture the sparkle better in my photos!)

After the hook is completed, I then sign it with my artist's mark, a double-K/snowflake symbol.

When posting them on eBay, or Etsy, I also try to include a story about the piece, what inspired it, or a story that the hook itself inspired.

These hooks represent a huge amount of time and effort to create a piece that is truly special, and something I hope their owners will cherish through generations to come.


  1. Karen, these beautiful crochet hooks are really stunning and I enjoyed reading about your process. There is something so 'moving' about creating a piece with this intent. There are many woodturners, but finding ones that put the "special" touches into their work is a gift. Your post makes me want to take up crocheting! :)

  2. These are truly beautiful, but a bit overpriced --even if they are hand made.

  3. Hi Barb,
    My work is an example of some of the finest turnery in the world, and the prices I set are extremely reasonable for the amount of time, materials, and skill I have in each piece.

    My crochet hooks (and other fiber tools) are usable and collectible, individual works, not comparable to the mass-produced items one might find in retail stores. My clients and customers are very loyal and I've never gotten a negative comment about the workmanship of my pieces -- only positives. Please see my Feedback on eBay and Etsy.

    Of course, as a practitioner of many crafts, I would heartily encourage you to take up turning and create some yourself! There's a LOT of hard work involved. The signature hooks talked about in this post are original works of art. I have less decorated hooks for sale in a lower price range.

    Best wishes,