Locker hooking is quickly becoming my new favorite pass time, especially if I am sitting in front of the tv (with our Cat, Huffy) and I feel like I should be accomplishing something. Locker hooking is a rug hooking technique that originated in Great Britain and is recently going through a major resurgence. The craft is quick and easy to do. Locker hooking is a fun way to give your home fantastic bohemian style.
Here are the directions to get started locker hooking:
rug hooking canvas (the kind also used for latch hooking)
Pencil or marking pen
Yarn, sari fabric strips, ribbon or other fibers
Black cotton yarn
Large eye tapestry needle
Coordinating fabric (to back finished project)
Fiberfill (if making into a pillow)
Needle & thread
Preparing Your Canvas
Start by preparing your latch hook canvas. Decide the final dimensions you would like your project to be. I suggest making a square pillow for your first project. My pillow canvas is 13 x13. So this gives me 51 latch hook canvas holes to work with in each direction.
Next, add on 3 canvas holes to each side of your project. I like to mark these with a pen or pencil so I know where to cut my canvas. I also like to mark the actual boundaries I will be stitching within. If you are stitching a particular design, you will also want to mark the center of the whole project and other select places, such as where your design starts or where you plan to change colors. The markings will all be hidden once you locker hook over that area.
Once you cut your canvas, fold over the extra 3 canvas holes to the back on each side of your project. This will provide reinforcement for your completed project and extra strength if you are attaching a backing to your locker hooking.
Estimating How Much Yarn You Need
There’s nothing worse than starting a project and then realizing you are short on yarn. Yikes! I’ve been there! Take a look at the back of the yarn wrapper. You’ll find a key that will tell you what size needles to use if you are knitting or crocheting and how large the item will knit up on the recommended needle size. And most importantly look at the number of yards in your skein of yarn. All of this data helps you estimate how much yarn you will need to complete your project.
With locker hooking, it depends on how big you make your loops how much yarn you will use. I make my loops around ¼ inches tall for fabric loops and 1/3 inches for yarn loops. By the inch, I think it’s pretty comparable to the knitting and crochet estimates on the label. To truly check, try locker hooking a few inches with your yarn, then pull out the loops and measure how much you used. From there, figure out how much yarn you would use to locker hook a row and then multiply that number by the number of rows to get the yardage you need for your completed project.
Or, if that’s too much math for you, (as it is for me! Math hurts my brain!), just buy extra yarn. You can always return it to the store or use it in another project. For this pillow, I needed 2 skeins of sari fabric yarn that was sold in 75 yards per skein. (I ended up using 1 ½ skeins).
Starting to Locker Hook
Now we are ready to get started locker hooking!
Thread the needle eye of your locker hook with black cotton yarn. Place your locker hooking yarn under your canvas.
Pick a place to start locker hooking. Some people like to start in the middle of their project and work a swirl pattern outward. My pillow consists of simple rows, all in the same sari fabric yarn. The edges are the most difficult to get through since they are doubled over, so you may want to start in a single canvas area until you get the hang of the stitching.
From the top, push the crochet end of the locker hook down through the hole in the latch hook canvas, and catch the fabric yarn in the crochet hook (you don’t have to do a full loop, just catch it), then pull the fabric up through the hole to make a loop on the front of your canvas. Bring the fabric loop up about ¼ inches. Go to the next hole and repeat.
Once you get six or eight loops, you will then pull your locker hook across the top of the canvas through all of the loops, locking the loops in place with your black cotton yarn. Leave a tail of 2 to 3 inches on your yarn, enough to weave in later. Then continue locker hooking more loops and locking them in place.
When you are working the edges of your project, make sure to bring your loops through both layers of the doubled over canvas. It can be a bit difficult if your folded canvas doesn’t line up perfectly (mine never does), so just carefully finagle your locker hook and your yarn through as best you can. If you tug too hard, you may break the canvas.
Finishing the Edges
Once you get done locker hooking, you will notice the canvas showing on the edges of your project. You will also have yarn ends sticking out all over the place. No worries, we’ll get to those in a moment.
To cover the edges, take your sari yarn and overstitch all the way around your project. On the corners, overstitch twice, once on each side of the corner. This overstitching will give you a nice finished edge and looks really nice if you are making coasters, trivets, placemats, or rugs.
Tying Up Loose Ends
Now it’s time to deal with all your fabric yarn and black cotton yarn ends that, if you are like me, are probably driving you crazy.
Start with your black cotton yarn tails that are sitting on the top side of your project. Thread your large eye tapestry needle with an end piece and then slide the tail into several locker hooked loops (not the same loops the thread is coming out of as that will unlock some of your stitches). Then just clip close any excess yarn.
Once you have all the black cotton yarn tails woven in, turn your project over to deal with the cotton sari yarn ends. Thread the fabric yarn tail onto your tapestry needle and carefully push the needle and fabric through one of the canvas holes to the front of your project. Then weave the end into the locker hooked loops and clip, just as you just did for the black cotton yarn tails. This process will give the back of your project a clean look and is especially nice if the back of your project is going to stand alone. Cleaning up the back of the project is less important if you are going to be adding a backing such as rug canvas or when making a pillow. However, finishing all ends will further lock in your loops on the front and keep them from slipping when your project is in use.
Displaying Your Completed Project
The back of your completed locker hooking project usually looks as cool as the front, so for some projects such as coasters, table runners and placemats you will probably want to leave the back as is. For rugs, you may want to add rug canvas or non-slip strips to the back. If you’d like to hang your locker hooked project on the wall, it may look nice hung from a branch or driftwood.
Here’s an example of what the completed back looks like on my project:
If you want to make a pillow out of your project, cut out fabric that is 1 inch larger than the completed locker hooked area. Folder under the fabric 1/2 inch and then 1/2 inch again and press so that the right side of the fabric is facing out. Then carefully stitch the fabric onto the back of the locker hooked area. Leave enough room open to stuff the pillow with fiberfill, then continue to stitch shut.
And that’s it! Locker hooking is an endlessly fun, easy and creative way to use yarn and other fibers in your boho crafting. What a great way to add happy pieces to your bohemian style! For more project ideas check out Theresa Pulido’s books on modern locker hooking and follow her on Pinterest. Plus check back here for my next projects.
Happy boho crafting!