Since I’ve been relating the chronology of my hooking, I thought I’d include the progression I’ve gone through in hooks. It reminds me very much of ‘scissors’. (This was one of my pet peeves as a grade one teacher…we give children blunt, dull scissors and try to teach them to cut well with a tool an adult wouldn’t think of using). We start cutting with these basic, non-sharp scissors, and move on as our skills develop to sharper and more accurate ones. Gradually demanding ones designing specifically for particular tasks. I have many pairs now, special ones for a variety of chores…ones for paper, embroidery, fabric, bent handled for hooking, kitchen scissors etc.
The same thing has happened with my hooks. I started hooking with a general purpose Moshimer hook ( hook number 1 in the picture) which was included with my first pattern). The ‘scissors’ analogy breaks down here, because the Moshimer hook is an excellent tool unlike children’s scissors. I held it pencil fashion. (I was a teacher after all!) I used that for the first two phases of my hooking. Somehow I now have three Moshimer hooks, and I have no recollection of getting them….I think they must spontaniously reproduce!
After I started hooking with June Baker, I bought a pencil hook (which I have since given away…it was too thick for me and I never found it comfortable) , then got a finer one (hook number 2) which I really liked the feel of and used for quite some time.
As I started hooking more, I gradually began having difficulty with pain at the base of my thumb joint. I bought support gloves , but nothing really helped and I would have to stop hooking for days at a time to let the pain subside and the swelling go down. I mentioned this to a vendor at the ‘Annual’ in Midland a few years ago, and she sold me a hook designed to aid those with arthritis (hook number 3). It has a groove for the thumb to fit against, and she demonstrated it being palm held. It took me some time to convert myself to palming the hook…unless I concentrated, the hook would magically revert to a pencil hold. I found it less painful, but awkward with the shaft out straight, and I had to use a whole arm motion to hook. When I began reading Gene Shepherd’s blog each day, I quickly became aware of his dedication to the bent hook. I was moving to larger cuts, and needed a hook designed for them so I bought Gene’s 6mm bent hook. (number 4 in the picture) What a difference! I was converted. I no longer have pain, and the bent hook allows me to use a rolling motion to hook. The 6mm was a bit large for 5 and 6 cuts, so I purchased a lovely Irish bent hook from Rittermere’s, which I use for medium cuts. … hook number 5
Luise Bishop heard me talking one day about wishing I had a fine bent hook. She whipped out a little gadget (actually a small piece of wood with a hole drilled in it) inserted my fine Moshimer hook, and bent it backwards. … I had a bent hook for fine cuts! (numbers 7 and 8) Hook number 6 had been in my tools box forever…no idea where it came from either. I had never used it because it was bent, and the handle isn’t particularly comfortable. I use it frequently now because the size fits between the Irish and the Mosimers and it’s handy for adding a small piece for a special effect.
I now have this array of bent hooks which I use according to the cut and the backing. I’m a bent hook convert. (with a pain free wrist)