Recently, while sitting in a waiting room cross-stitching, I noticed another woman doing a craft that I had not seen before. She was using an odd type of crochet hook, pulling loops of fabric through a rug hooking canvas. Locker hooking, she explained, and pointed me to the website of MCG Textiles, where she bought her hook and books.
Locker hooking is a simple craft that creates durable, attractive items, from rugs to purses and more. The two essentials are a locker hooking tool and rug hooking canvas. The other items can vary. A locker hooking tool has a crochet hook on one end and a large needle eye on the other. The crochet end is used to pull loops of your material through the holes in the canvas mesh. After you've pulled up a few loops onto the hook, then the needle eye, threaded with yarn or cord, is pulled through the loops, locking them in place.
I'm working on two locker hooking projects right now. The first is a hot pad, using fabric strips. It is the beginner project from this book by MCG Textiles. To create the fabric strips, I notched a yard of fabric every inch and tore several strips at once. To lock the loops, I'm using the cord from MCG Textiles. It is precut into handy one yard lengths. The edges of my rug canvas were turned under a few rows, and whip-stitched with a fabric strip, using the needle eye of the tool, to create a finished edge. The first row of locker hooking is the trickiest on this project. The first square in the lower right corner has 3 layers of canvas, because of the edge, and is partially filled with the whip stitching. The next rows were easier, and I became more comfortable with the up and down motion.
I've heard reports that fabric locker-hooked rugs still look beautiful after years of use and machine-washing. Looking at my little hot pad, I can believe it. It is very sturdy, and has a nice country style to it.
My second project in progress is a purse from this book by MCG Textiles and Lion Brand Yarns. This time, I'm using Lion Brand Homespun yarn as both the loops and locker yarn. I'm making the purse pictured on the front cover. The yarn locker hooking is a little easier than fabric, since the yarn is thinner than the fabric strips. It's creating a great nubbly texture, that also looks to be very sturdy. This is one yarn purse that will not stretch out or sag. The two pieces of the purse are made separately, then stitched together to form a simple purse. In the pattern, they embellish the top edges with an eyelash-style yarn, but I may use a ribbon yarn or continue with the Homespun yarn. We'll see when I get there.
I've also read about Australian locker hookers using rovings from their herds of sheep for the loops. I think this is wool fiber that's been washed, but not spun into yarn. Sounds interesting. Rovings are available in colors or natural from sheep farms online.
Locker hooking is an easy, relaxing craft. Patterns are drawn on the canvas, so no counting of rows or stitches. Depending on the size of your project, it's easy to take along, and easy to put down when the need arises. I find myself picking it up in the evenings to relax. MCG Textiles has photos and instructions, plus all the supplies and books on their website.