Monday, September 12, 2016

AUCTION IS OVER! THANK YOU BIDDERS!! NEW AUCTION CELEBRATING INTERNATIONAL CROCHET DAY 2016

First off, I apologize for not posting for as my grand daughter would say, "like evuh".  No excuses and lots of excuses, none of which you'd want to hear, so I'll move on....

Happy International Crochet Day!!   This day, Sept. 12 was created, perhaps with a bit of whim and more as a time to focus on the good and gentle things after the horror of Sept. 11.  Goodness and gentleness is quintessential to crochet.   Tis in my mind an excellent day to promote such a gentle art. So I wish you the very best ICD "evuh"!

My blog has been very inactive lately... to the extent that I've lost followers.  I'm sorry for that, but hay (as the horse ordered when he walked into the bar) whats an aging and forgetful whittler to do but try to get the rusty gears meshing and let out the clutch.  Lower speed, but still moving, eh?

So here's what's offered up for bids at LONG last.....



Granted, it's been a long time but it's not that I haven't been thinking hooky thoughts.  More on that in a minute but first lets get into details of the first group which I like to call Crick Rustic.  That's the two hooks on the left side.  In fact to ease identification for bidding, lets assign numbers to the hooks in ascending order from left to right..  So:

 Hook #1 is the first of the Crick Rustic group.  It's hand carved by me from a fallen branch picked from the forest floor near the ranch up on Deadman Crick.  Lots of rustic in this hook.  Lots of comfortable years of crochet too.  I flattened an area near the heal and labeled this hook with it's size and the Jimbo TM.  It's a K (6.5mm) , has a cozy thumb rest and is 7 1/8 inches long.

Hook #2 is rustic too, just not "crick" rustic.  This one harks from a beautiful Lilac Bush.  Actually Lilac grows wild up near the Ranch but in honesty, this one came from a really pretty bush at a friend's house in Spokane.  A wee bit larger diameter for your ergonomic gripping pleasure, a generous thumb rest surface, beautiful bark character, and a unique size (5.75mm) all go together to make this a hook that you might enjoy using regularly.

Hook #3 is unique and made in response to a review conducted by crocheters in southern France!  Here's a link to the review if you've a notion to see how Jimbo Hooks measure up to some pretty stiff competition (including the one touted to be "the only luxury hook in the world").  In the "cons" of the review, balance was the main issue.  This comes from crocheters as you can see in the link pictures, who use the "pencil" grip style.  Looking at those photos, I can see the concern.  So Hook #3 is a new version with more hook forward balance that should eliminate that particular concern. If you're an overhand, pencil gripper, this hook shines  If you're an underhand toothbrush gripper, this hook will work well too because the heel extends just beyond the heel of the gripping hand. Sizewise this is an I (5.5mm) and is 6 3/4 inches long.
A special thanks to Sylvie Damie http://chezplum.com/ for her excellent and through review.  I'm hoping this is the first in a line of similar style hooks.

Hook #4 is another newbie.  A sliding grip, double ended H.  Good idea?  I think so.  Thing is, the cork grip will slide, though not too freely, along the hook shank so you can use it as a normal crochet hook with whatever shank length you'd like (up to oh about 7 1/2 inches); or slide the grip completely off for use as a double ended hook.  Amazing eh?  As stated, the hook size is H (5mm), constructed of bamboo (upgraded from a knitting needle) and has a tip to tip length of about 10 inches.  Doubt you'll find anything like this anywhere else but here on the Porch.

Hook #5 is a Bloodwood beauty.  Bloodwood is a very hard and beautiful wood.  Hardness and bouts of decent eyesight lets me make a rare smaller hook size.  This one isn't awful small but is getting that way for eyes that tend to cross much too easily lately.  It's a G (4mm).  A unique feature of this hook is a an abnormally large "gullet" as I call it (others call it the "bowl" or "groove").  The large gullet will allow use with bulkier yarns that would normally not be used with a G hook.  That said, I don't see any reason it couldn't be used with lighter weight yarns as well.  Oh, and the hook's 7 inches long

Hook #6 is an unusual beauty.  Bocote has rich dark colors and much lighter blond highlights.  You see that effect very pronounced in this beautiful hook.  Looks a bit like the blond wood was laminated to the darker wood, but nope; its all one piece.  Honest.  It's a size I (5.5mm) and is 7 1/2 inches long.

Hook #7 is both pretty and big (size wise).. It's made of figured Maple (a most favored wood for crochet hooks for it's strength and weight.  I like it too because it's such a warm friendly wood.  So it's a good big size.. a P (11.5mm), but easy on the hand due to it's light weight and minimal length (7 5/8 inches).  Rugs?  Bulky yarn projects will love this hook.

Last but right up there with the big boys is a genuine Deadman Crick Tamarack Egg Hook.  Now if you know Jimbo hooks, you know I've been making Egg hooks for a long long time.  In fact, the Jimbo egg hook just might have been the grandpappy of this hook style.  And it's been a sure footed staple that lots of folks who have grip issues love.  This one is a bit unique because I shaped the neck and head to somewhat resemble a Boye style.  It's still "in line" because the hook lip doesn't poke out beyond the shank, but the sides of the neck taper to the head.  Works very nicely.  It's a K and is 5 1/2 inches long.


Ok now the crass commercial stuff.  We'll run the auction till  Tuesday, Sept 20 and close on that date at 10pm Pacific Time.  Please send your bid via email to      (Jimbocrochetwhittler@yahoo.com) with your bid amount.
I'll post bids as soon as possible (however I don't hang around the computer all the time, especially when I'm up on the Ranch).
If you are out-bid and would like to raise the bid, please increase the previous bid by a $5 minimum (done to eliminate penny increases at the last minute).
Tying bids will be resolved in favor of the earliest bid received.  I do charge postage now ($2.50 for US regular mail... more for foreign or speedy mailing and/or insurance).
I do take proxy bids if you prefer but again, tying proxy bids will be resolved in favor of the first received.
Thanks once again.  I appreciate everyone who drops by, bids or not.
Jimbo

Bids:

Hook #1

Hook #2
Barbara bids $30
Linda bids $45

Hook #3
Sylvie the lovely French Alp crochet designer bids $30
Pat goes $40
Linda bids $50

Hook #4

Hook #5
Sharon bids $10
Deb goes $30
Barbara says $50
Deb up's it to $60
Linda bids $65

Hook #6
JoAnn bids $30
Barbara with $50

Hook #7
Doug's in with $35

Hook #8
Pat bids $30
Linda bids $45




Friday, April 01, 2016

April Hook Auction's OVER but see too the Annual April 1 Rock the Crochet World Revolutionary Hook

Carol is the high bidder.  Thanks everyone for stopping over!



This has got to be one if not THE most beautiful hooks I've made.. so much so that a display stand is included.







I'm back!  So here's the scoop on this beauty that I've been saving and working on off and on for some time now.  The hook started as what looked like an "ordinary" blank of Cocobolo, one of the most beautifully colored woods with striking grain color variations found anywhere.  Actually it's from Central America and is prized for it's beauty and adaptability especially for musical instruments.  You'll see it on beautiful high end guitar bodies.  And I've used it before for hooks.  Amazing wood with natural oils that hardly need a finish, it machines so smoothly.  But this one does have a precautionary coating of polymerized oil, kind of a belt and suspender thing, to assure longevity.  So as the hook emerged from the blank, always a wondrous surprise for me to see how grain emerges, this angular dark-to-black-to-variegated orange emerged; with the confluence happening right where the thumb rest should be.  You can see it in the top picture.  So with careful placement of the hook, the thumb rest became outlined by the black stripe.  Not quite happenstance but impossible without the kind help of the wood.  A truly amazing hook emerged.  So much so that I decided this one deserved a display base.
Now the base is also made of a really beautiful wood, Wenge.  Wenge is one of the more difficult woods to work because it splinters so easily.  But it was chosen for the wavy and complimentary variegated grain pattern that leads to the hook.  
A unique hook and a unique size.  It measures at 5.25mm (between H and I), partly intentional because I didn't want to interrupt the grain pattern that was going so well, partly because it's not a hook size you'll likely have in your arsenal, and partly to encourage freestyle work (shouldn't an artsy hook make artsy crochet?).  Length is a bit more standard for Jimbo hooks, 7 1/4 inches (18.4cm).
A hook that, thanks to the natural beauty of the wood, can be enjoyed as a useful tool and as a piece of art.
And it's up for bids.  

Ok now the crass commercial stuff.  We'll run the auction till  Tuesday, April 12 and close on that date at 10pm Pacific Time.  Please send your bid via email to      (Jimbocrochetwhittler@yahoo.com) with your bid amount.
I'll post bids as soon as possible (however I don't hang around the computer all the time, especially when I'm up on the Ranch).
If you are out-bid and would like to raise the bid, please increase the previous bid by a $5 minimum (done to eliminate penny increases at the last minute).
Tying bids will be resolved in favor of the earliest bid received.  I do charge postage now ($2.50 for US regular mail... more for foreign or speedy mailing and/or insurance).
I do take proxy bids if you prefer but again, tying proxy bids will be resolved in favor of the first received.
Thanks once again.  I appreciate everyone who drops by, bids or not.
Jimbo

Bids:
(I'll be gone to the Ranch from today (April 7) till Sunday (April 10) but send your bids anyway... I'll post them when I get back.  Have a great week end!)

PK's in first with $15
JoAnn raises it to $40
Carol bumps it to $60















And now for something totally shocking and revolutionary to the world of Crochet....

THE ALL ROUND JIMBO HOOK
Yes folks I've done it again.  Never will you ever have to go searching for that thumb rest in order to orient your hook the right way.  This hook needs NO thumb rest whatever!  Why, you ask? Because, I answer, it has an all round hook!  No matter where you grip the hook or your grip style, this hook always has the yarn catching throat in the correct position.  "Why didn't we think of that!!??" cry major hook manufacturers in utter anguish and despiration while reaching for the phone to contact their bankruptcy attorneys.  And my answer..... "Duh, because you didn't think of it on April Fools Day!!"

Heh.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Jimbo Crochet Hook Auction......is over! Thanks bidders and visitors!

This auction is in the books!  Thanks everyone who stopped by,  I enjoy your company! And to the winning bidders, please consider using paypal by clicking on the little yellow box labled "make a donation" in the left margin of this home page, and include postage ($2.50 per hook) in your payment for regular postage.  Thanks again everyone!
Jimbo



Oh it's been ever so long since I did an auction and I apologize.  Just can't seem to get these old bones moving lately.  Thanks for your patience!
Ok lets get right toit.
The first hook is the Red Heart hook at the bottom of the picture.  It's not for sale but is a give away for a contest in Ravelry, celebrating National Crochet Month.  Here's a link if you'd like to enter.  Ravelry  Hopefully you can find the rules for the contest there and don't have trouble entering.  The hook is a K and is knockout beautiful in color and grain figure.
Moving right along to the hooks up for auction.. lets move from left to right and number them 1 - 6.

Hook #1 we'll call a Slipstitch Hook.  Why?  Slipstitch crochet wants a very pointy hook. This hook is very pointy.  You know I'm not sure anyone else is making Slipstitch hooks.  And I've only made a few, but saw a youtube thing on slipstitch crochet recently and decided there might be a bit of a market for such a hook.  It's a Birdseye Maple beauty and hits the size scale at L (8mm).  Lengthwise it's 7 5/8 inches long.

Hook #2 is a Rosewood beauty that's not quite so pointy but you know what they say.... "You don't have to have a point to have a point" (Obleo).  This beauty is a size 7 (4.5mm) and is 7 5/8 inches long.

Hook #3 came from a chunk of Elm a friend gave me.  I like it for the little pieces of bark that I was able to leave on the handle.  Bark likes to be hooks too, so I include it whenever possible. Adds character and natural beauty to the hook.  This one's an M (9mm) and is just shy of 8 inches long.

Hook #4 is a hybrid.  A dark Bocote handle with a very high quality coated aluminum hook in size B (2.25mm).  The hook is a bit after the Boye style (not inline).  An ergonomic Jimbo B hook!  I don't think my aging eyes and hands could carve one so small, so I did what I could.  Made a comfy handle and attached a tiny hook.  Oh, and this one's 7 inches long.

Hook #5 is the old Jimbo original Egg Hook style, with a bulbous handle that fits like an egg in the palm of the hand, a feature that is of great benefit to many crochetiers with hand issues... plus it's so smooooooth it will easily stand in as a "worry stone".  Size?  I (5.5mm).  Length? Overall, a touch over 5 inches.  Bulb diameter?  1 1/2 inches.  Oh and the most important part!  It's made from a chunk of Deadman Crick Apple, from the tree has such meaning to me.  Real Deadman Crick pedigree.

Hook #6 is a Maple H (5mm).  Maple is my go-to hook wood.  It's easy to acquire (I've four Maples in my yard here in Spokane, and lots of the bush variety up on the Ranch).  It's light weight for it's strength, and always has beautiful color and grain.  This one's 7 7/8 inches long.

There you have it, folks.

Ok now the crass commercial stuff.  We'll run the auction till next  Tuesday, March 22 and close at 10pm Pacific Time.  Please send your bid via email to me here (Jimbocrochetwhittler@yahoo.com) with your bid amount.
I'll post bids as soon as possible (however I don't hang around the computer all the time, especially when I'm up on the Ranch).
If you are out-bid and would like to raise the bid, please increase the previous bid by a $5 minimum (done to eliminate penny increases at the last minute).
Tying bids will be resolved in favor of the earliest bid received.  I do charge postage now ($2.50 for US regular mail... more for foreign or speedy mailing).
I do take proxy bids if you prefer but again, tying proxy bids will be resolved in favor of the first received

That's about it... lets get this show on the road!

Thanks again for your patience!!
Jimbo
.
.
.

BIDS:

#1 Doug bids $40
     Janet jumps in at $45

#2  Janet again with $40

#3 Doug with $40

#4  Vicki bids $30

#5  Vicki goes $40
      Mona bumps it up to $45

#6  Mona with $30







Sunday, December 06, 2015

CRIMMIS HOOK CONTEST 2015 is over! Rita the yarn doodler wins!!

The 2015 Crimmis hook winner is Rita who emailed here entry for me to post.  The auction is also over and Barbara wins the Red Heart hook!  Thanks to all who entered, and a Merry Christmas to all!



Ah the very best time of year in my view.  And once again I've made a special hook for the occasion. In keeping with the tradition of giving at Christmas time, I made this very special Jimbo Crimmis Hook("Crimmis" coming from my middle son at about age 3).  Why is it special?  Well for one thing, it has a removable very real Christmas glass ball decoration on the heal end.  For another it's made of a traditional Christmas wood, Holly.  And yet further, its made in an odd size (8.5mm) purposely to encourage true freeform crochet work (I'm a huge fan of one-off, creative work).  This is not a hook that will want to be used to follow a complicated pattern and dampen your enjoyment of the season, no. This one's for rocking by the fahr ("fire" to those not versed in "Crick" lingo)  and letting your creative juices flow; maybe while sipping a hot cocoa, letting the pine smell of  Christmas tree take you back to happy Christmas times in the past.  This hook was made with that very same spirit at heart.
So ok lets get on with the contest!
Rules
ONE entry per person please
Enter with a "What I'll make with this hook" comment here (preferred) or by emailing me at jimbocrochetwhittler@yahoo.com.
Contest will be over on Dec. 16th at 10pm Pacific Std time.
Winner will be arrived at by a random drawing.

Hope this Christmas is your BEST EVER!!
Jimbo


And for those who would as soon purchase...  Here's a new auction.  One hook for now but with luck I'll add more as we go.


 A truly beautiful piece of Read Heart wanted to become an heirloom hook, so I did what I could to help it realize it's dream.  One gauge makes it out as a 7mm size but I just checked it against a Bates gauge and it shows the size as a K.  Go figure, eh?  One thing for sure..it's 7 1/4 very comfy inches long.

Care to bid?
Bidding rules:  We'll run the auction on this particular hook until 10pm Pacific Time on Dec. 16th.

Bid increases in $5 increments or more, please.

Please email your bids to me at jimbocrochetwhittler@yahoo.com .

Tying bids will be resolved in favor of the first received.

I do take "Proxy" bids if you choose to do that as well but if we get a tie on highest proxy bid, resolution will again be in favor of the first bid received, but in this case I'll notify the later bidder of the situation.

I'm not always close by the computer (actually I'm at the Crick whenever possible and there's no internet there ((yay))), but I'll try to post your bids as soon as I can.


Bids:

Redheart K/7:
Nicole's here from Down Under with $35
Barbara takes it to $40
Nicole goes to $45
Barbara raises to $55


ps If I get a chance to add more hooks, I'll do so and simply extend the auction close date for those particular hooks.  Good idea??  I'm not sure but it seems like it would work.  We'll see.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Broomstick needles revisited and Noste Auction IS OVER!

Thanks to all bidders and folks who dropped by.  High bidders please consider paying via paypal by clicking on the little orange box in the left hand margin of this page, marked "make a donation".  If you wish to pay otherwise, please email me and we'll discuss arrangements.  Postage in the US will be an additional $3.50 if that's ok.
Thanks again!
Jimbo




Up for bids!!  A kinda new idea for Broomstick Crochet and a large Spalted Aspen Nostepenne.






So I've been interested for years in trying discover new ideas in the field of Crochet.  And this Broomstick Needle is, I think, a step in the right direction.  I inquired of Broomstick crochetiers and researched videos on Broomstick Crochet and found that most have resorted to using Kni##ing Needles as Broomstick Needles.  One very famous and good looking Crochet Designer was heard to say something to the effect that she'd like to throw that needle across the room.  Why?  Well for one thing, Kni##ing Needles have a long tapered point.  To gather a loop on the shaft and set the loop size, the Broomstick Crochetier must first stretch the loop out and poke the needle point through the opening, then slide the captured loop all that distance down the taper till it can be cinched up on the needle shaft.  Slow and cumbersome.  Answer?  A shorter point.  Cinchy.  I also noticed some effort being exerted in poking a hook head under loops gathered on the needle shaft.  A difficult and frustrating task.  Answer?  A patented needle with an access notch (see detail photo) that will permit easy hook access.
So this is the first of possibly many Broomstick Needles to be produced by the folks (me) at Jimbo Hooks.  And it's up for bids!
Specs:
shaft length 10 inches from shoulder to notch
shaft length including notch (knob to beginning of taper, 11 inches)
overall length knob to tip, 14 inches
shaft diameter about 32mm (1 1/4 inches)
Material is figured Maple, knob is Cherry

Nostepenne
Not new but really beautiful spalted Aspen Nostepenne is up for bids.  This is a bit larger version than my usual with about 6 inches of usable shaft, tapering from about an inch to about 7/8 inches. The slight increase in shaft length allows for a larger center pull yarn ball than my previous Nostes.
What's really beautiful about this Noste is the spalted figure in the wood.  Makes me proud that the piece came from the Ranch.
What's totally new in the known universe is an addition of a removable yarn stop flange that should allow build up of more than the usual yarn in the center pull ball.  Screw in the stop before finishing the ball, finish the ball while the stop keeps yarn from falling over the end of the noste, then unscrew the stop when the ball is finished and easily slide the ball from the noste.  The stop can be used also to keep the ball in place on the Noste for storage without worry that the ball will come undone.
Flange is Cherry, knob is BEAUTIFUL Olive Wood.




Bidding rules:  We'll run the auction up until 10pm Pacific Time on Monday Sept 28th.  Please email your bids to me at jimbocrochetwhittler@yahoo.com .

Tying bids will be resolved in favor of the first received.

Please no "Proxy" bids this time, due to a blog hiatus that will happen for a few days.  If we get a tie on highest bid, resolution will be in favor of the first bid received.

I'll not be close by the computer (actually I'm at the Crick whenever possible and there's no internet there ((yay))), but I'll try to post your bids as soon as I can when I get back (building a wood shed... Yahoo!!).

Please increase bids by $5 minimum.

Thanks once again for dropping by!
Jimbo

Bids:

Broomstick Needle:
Barbara's here with $25
Deborah takes it to $35


Spalted Aspen Nostepenne:
Sherri's here!  $35
Deboran bids $40
Karen bumps it to $50
Diana moves it up to $75

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

INTERNATIONAL CROCHET DAY CONTEST!! HO0K AUCTION! and WHY I'VE BEEN SO LATE POSTING

Auction is over (Barbara gets the hooks)
and the winner of the ICD hook set is:
CARLA

INTERNATIONAL CROCHET DAY APPROACHES (SEPT 12)

Just had to include this link... a celebration of  International Crochet Day, AND a really clever tutorial
crocheted cactus!  Check it out.  Amazing!

International Crochet Day started back, oh, about 8 years ago as a twinkle in Jimbo's eye and has grown leaps and bounds  since.  Still not recognized as a paid holiday and no postal stamps have been dedicated to the event, but Crochetiers all over the globe are coming to know the day as one for celebrating the gentle art of Crochet.  How are YOU going to celebrate?  I'm having a contest and giving away an instructor and student hook!   I made them both the same hook  size (M) but very different lengths so an adult instructor using the big hook will be able to crochet the same pattern with a child student using the baby hook.  The instructor is 8 inches long; the student is 6 inches long.  Fun, eh?  
So to enter the contest simply post a comment here,  or email your comment to me at jimbocrochetwhittler@yahoo.com.  All you have to do is say Please enter me.  I'll do the rest.


Since I'm so late in starting the contest, we'll run it a bit past ICD and announce the winner after 10pm Pacific time on September the 16th.  Please only ONE entry per person.
Happy International Crochet Day!!!  Spread the word!






AND WE HAVE A NEW AND TOTALLY UNIQUE AUCTION!  


I've been working my poor old arthritic hands to the bone making up a one of a kind set of 9 hooks that I'm guessing is new in the known universe.  A set of  VERY large  hooks, ranging in size from Mongo, the 42mm hunk-o-hook on the far left, to the more standard "N" (10mm) hook on the far right.   Why'd I make such a set?  Uh, well I can't really answer that except to say that that big size hooks are rare in wood and I like to do rare things. 
The really big hooks have tapered cheeks to reduce that "bump" you often experience when sliding a loop on to the shank.  And all but Mongo are carefully crafted of good ole American Maple.  Mongo is made of even gooder ole Deadman Crick Red Fir  (very light weight for the size).  These hooks are just itching to be making BIG, FAST projects and should be a real joy to work with.

To be a bit more specific, the hooks can be identified from left to right as ..

A: Mongo (42mm) 
B: V (25mm)
C: U (20mm)
D: T (16mm)
E:  S (14mm)
F:  Q (13mm)
G:  P (12mm)
H:  O (12mm)
I:   N (10mm)

Bytheway, the auction hooks are in the range of  8 1/2 to 10 inches long.

I'd love to sell this bunch as a set but realize that might be a bit much.  Even so, I'll set a price for the whole bunch at $400. We'll still offer up the individual hooks at auction, and if the total amount bid on the individual hooks add up to more than $400, we'll break up the set.  If the total is under or matches $400, I'll take the $400 offer and sell the set.  How's that? 


Bidding rules:  We'll run the auction up until 10pm on Wednesday, Sept 16th.  Please email your bids to me at jimbocrochetwhittler@yahoo.com .

Tying bids will be resolved in favor of the first received.

I do take "Proxy" bids if you choose to do that as well but if we get a tie on highest proxy bid, resolution will again be in favor of the first bid received, but in this case I'll notify the later bidder of the situation.

I'm not always close by the computer, but I'll try to post your bids as soon as I can.

Please increase bids by $5 minimum.

Let the auction begin!

Offer for the set ($400)
Barbara!

Individual hook bids::
A

B

C  Doug starts it off with $40 bid

D

E  Nellie bids $35

F

G  Missy goes $30

H  Debbie says $30

I  April bids $30
   Nellie goes $35


WHY I'VE BEEN SLOW POSTING.....



   If you know the general location of Jimbo's Front Porch, you may be aware that it's located  in the midst of the largest forest fire in Washington State history.  This half burned Colville National Forest sign is down the road from the Front Porch about 4 miles.  The fire got within 2 miles of the Ranch and was seriously threatening to burn us out.  We were at level 3 evacuation for several days, dozers cut a fire line around the house and crews came in to move combustibles safe distances away.  I placed a sprinkler on the roof , packed up family treasures, evacuated, and prayed for a break but with bleak hope.  We were told several times that there was no hope.  The wind was blowing the flames down our canyon at a frightful pace and we were in the direct path... and then the blessed rain came and the wind died down.  What a relief!!  Jimbo's Front Porch was spared!  The firefighters are amazing and we're all right, at least for now.  None of the three fires that threaten the Ranch are out by any means, and it's said they won't be till snow flies, but they've been slowed by our firefighter heros and mom nature, and I'm finally starting to breathe again.   About 80,000 acres of our forest has burned and more's to come, but it looks like our little place will (knock on wood) be spared.  Whew!!


Friday, June 26, 2015

JIMBO'S HOOK WHITTLIN TUTORIAL REVISITED

How to make a Jimbo Hook II

So what we have here is a re-enactment of a set of posts I put together several years ago, as a tutorial for those who would like to try their hand at whittling a crochet hook from a stick.  I'm re-writing the post to and see if maybe I can add a little more here and there and make things a bit more clear. 
Ok here we go....

For any who wonder..."How does Jimbo make a hook?" I decided to show you. Hopefully all will go well and at the end you'll see a finished crochet hook you'll be proud to pass on to future generations.

The first step I didn't show, but would have been one of me sawing a hunk of bush maple from one of the many bushes we have up on the crick. The selection process is grilling... it involves going to the crick, enjoying the scenery, visiting the chipmunks, listing to the wind singing in the trees above, and wandering around (some might say aimlessly) to find a volunteer stick.   Sorry I couldn't show you all that but it woulda taken up too much space.
It'll have to suffice to tell you about how to select a stick.  Lets start with types of wood.  Hardwood is best for hooks, but not all hardwood wants to become a crochet hook.  Certain open grain woods like Oak, Ash, Mahogany aren't so good just because the pores in the wood are large and hard to fill.   It's best to pick a hardwood branch that belonged to, oh, maybe a fruit tree (old growth preferably).  Maple is a wonderful hook wood.
Notice I said branch.  Tree branches are amazing things.  They're made of the same wood as the trunk but the annular rings are far more closely spaced (making them stronger).  Always pick a branch.  Besides trunks are not so easy to saw.
Speaking of saws, I like to use a folding pruning saw.  They're not expensive and I can carry one around in my back pocket.  That way I have both hands free to fend off  the ground when it comes charging up (the ground seems enjoy tripping me much more as I grow older).
If you're going for a stick rather than a store bought wood blank, pick one that is dead and dry and not cracked and that doesn't have a soft pith (the center core of the stick).  I emphasize the dead and dry part.  If you whittle a green stick, it's almost a sure thing that the result will be a bent and or cracked.  Dead and dry.  
If this is your first whittling experience, it's also best not to pick a stick with lots of knots.  Knots are extra hard to whittle.
It's a good idea to pick a stick that is, oh, maybe four to five times the diameter (size) of the hook you want to make.  For example, lets say you want to make an H (5mm); pick a stick that is about 16 - 20mm in diameter.  You'll whittle away all of the hook shank that's not 5mm, and leave the rest to become the handle of your dreams.  Oh, and make it longer than what you anticipate as the finished hook length... that way you have more to hold onto while your whittling.  I like about 9 - 11 inches.  You can always saw off what you don't need.  I long ago figured out that no matter how many times I cut a stick,  if it's too short, it'll still be too short.  Take my word for it.
Picking a hook stick is an adventure.  If you can, pick a stick that has some meaning.  How about a stick from the tree where you and your sweetie smooched?  Or from a tree (like my old apple tree on the ranch) where you used to play as a tike.  Hooks that have meaning like this are more than hooks.  They're reminders of places or people dear to you.
There's probably lots of stuff I've left out up to this point, but I think we're in pretty  good shape for you to move on to the next step so we'll pick up on the old tutorial here with slight modifications here and there...

You've selected a stick and are ready to move on to the next step, roughing out the blank.  I did this, as you see, with my trusty Buck pocket knife, all the while watching for the best grain to show and trying to leave a bit of bark to keep the character of the donor.. bark can be pretty too you know.
But we'll see if it stays. I never know just what the look will be till its all done. Form follows function; so its a bit of a compromise through the course of making the hook to see how much bark can can be left, all the while making a functional hook.
A bit more here about knives.  I'm using a pocket knife in these pictures.  That's ok as long as it's razor sharp.  If you don't know how to sharpen a knife to an ultra sharp edge, there's lots of sites on the internet for that sort of thing.   Better to use a fixed blade carving knife, but absolutely NOT one of those removable blade hobby knives that look kinda like a scalpel.  If you can afford to, buy a detail knife like a Flexcut .  I love these knives and will tell you so even if they're not paying for the plug.

I'll show one more whittling step next before going to sand paper, then to the saw, then whittling again, then sandpaper again, then finishing.

MORE WHITTLING



You might have noticed that this hook is really REALLY big. I'm doing that so the steps that I do can be more easily seen. Still, if you're doing a hook for the first time, I think its a good idea not to try for anything under, say, an N. Tiny hooks are a bit more difficult when you're starting and besides if your N doesn't look just right you can always take it down a size or two smaller to remove a little boo-boo. Be careful not to remove too much material.. your hook will look funny if you have to glue shavings back on.

Note to that the first photo shows the tip already shaped. I got a little ahead of myself here. I should have shown a photo of the blank after I whittled the shank to a rough diameter slightly larger than the size desired. You do that first, then shape the tip. That way the tip curvature will be closer to a tangent (remember geometry when the little acorn grew up and noticed "Gee, ah'm a tree"?) (sigh)
Anyways, once a fair length of the shank is shaped as close to circular as you can get it..you can shape the tip. Take it easy. Hold the stick in one hand by its handle, with the point facing away from you. Now use the thumb of that hand to push against the thumb of the hand holding the knife (the knife holding thumb is placed against the back of the blade). Take a chip off the end, turn the blank, take another chip, turn the blank, take another chip... get the picture?
Here's a picture that's repeated later on when I'm discussing throat forming.  The grip and finger/thumb positions are the same for whittling the shank, forming the point, and tapering the throat.  It's a safe, powerful grip for whittling whether it's for crochet hooks or, oh,  a marshmallow stick (something your hook WON'T become, right?). 

Ok, moving on.... Make the shape akin to what you want the pokey end of your hook to look like. "Pokey" I like that.
Next up.. Sanding... or how to loose 10 lbs while making yourself a crochet hook. Get yourself some sandpaper. I like a progression of paper (Norton is good stuff) starting at about a hunnert grit. Later on you'll going through the grits up to 320.
Oh and the sawing part is coming up too. I'm telling you this in case you need to get a saw. Chainsaws are really cool, but for hooks, I like to use a tiny Gyros backsaw that I got at Woodcraft for teeny weenie hooks. I also use a little Japanese "Dozuki" type saw for the larger hook sizes. Both have a reinforcing rib along the back to keep the blade rigid, and both take a very thin "kerf" or cut thickness. Such thin really sharp blades reduce the amount of tear-out (splinters) you'll get at the ends of the cut. Borrow one if you can cause they're expensive. At least $20.
Oh and if you're shopping (or borrowing), consider picking up a small can of polymerized wipe-on oil finish. I use "Minwax Wipe on Poly" and I hear that Woodcraft's General finishes makes an excellent wipe on polymerized oil too. One can ($10-$14)will do a gazillion hooks if you play your cards right. Plus you can use it to re-finish your hook later. Oh, and start looking for some clean white cotton scraps for the finishing steps.

HOW TO LOOSE 10LBS SANDING:




Ok.. so you want to sand off all those purty little knife marks. No better way I know to do it than by hand and sandpaper. I don't like to use really coarse paper so I start with 120 grit, and then move to 220 after I get rid of the whittling evidence. Wisht I could do away with sanding because its tedious and makes me sweat buckets.. but I'm not aware of a better method. I've tried power sanding but you just cant get the smooth curves you need.
Ok so you sand and sand and sand and you end up with what you see above for the first couple inches. I don't bother with the rest of the hook handle right now cause if I screw up the hook there's no point in having a finished handle, eh?.
You didn't loose 10 lbs sanding? Me either. So I exaggerated.

Next up, the exciting part! Sawing the notch!

NOTCH SAWING OR OOOPS I NEED ANOTHER STICK
And now we get down to the nittus grittus, the defining moment. If you do this one wrong, you'll be an embarassment to your whole family and they'll be wearing sacks on their heads to hide their shame.

Ok with such a upbeat peptalk... lets cut the notch. Use that brand new saw you just bought... the one with teeeny teeth... the teeneyer the better.

Check the shape of the stick to see where you want the notch in relation to the rest of the handle. Picture where the grip needs to go. Hold the stick as you will when its a hook. Rotate it in your hand till you find where your hand feels the most comfortable, then spot where the notch HAS to be. In sum..its good to use the natural curvature of the stick rather than try to hack out an un-natural shape after you've cut the notch and cast the die.

Cut the notch at an angle that appeals to you. Don't make it too shallow or it might break. Don't make it too steep or it won't hook yarn. Make it just right. Or for those who insist on being anal, use a protractor and make the notch 42.5 degrees +- .00037 minutes up from a horizontal plane.

And the depth of the cut counts too. Too deep and the hook head's in danger of being easily broken off, too shallow and it won't grab yarn. So I suggest going roughly halfway through the thickness of the hook. Once again for you precision freaks.. measure the hook diameter, divide by half, and stick a piece of tape on your saw exactly that distance from the teeth. When you've completed the cut, remove the tape, wash and wax your saw, wrap it in a lightly oiled cloth and put it back in your saw holder, then go iron your underwear.

Now for the rest of us, and while those other folks are underwear ironing... Go get another box of Band Aids.... MORE WHITTLING COMING UP
See you later.... Right now I have to go get a new supply of head sacks for the family.

THUMBS UP


I'm showing this picture again cause I'm particular proud of it, and  to show you I'm all thumbs.  I'd have posed for this one sooner, but I had to go get my nails done first. (That was one of those burly logger jokes you know...really. Actually I do my own nails..... with a tar-ahrn n 50 grit sandpaper)

Ok nuff bragging. The steps I'm starting here are best done with your knife gripped as shown and with the thumb of your hook holding hand helping push the knife toward that slit you just cut with your shiny new saw.

Start close to the saw kerf (cut) just as you see me doing in the photo and whittle a teensy little chip. The chip should break off at the kerf and leave you a tiny little ramp. Move the blade back a smidge and take another itsy bitsy slice.. you now have a little bigger ramp and the edge of the hook part is starting to show. You might have to help the chips along by prying a bit. Just don't get carried away and whack the end of the hook off. Thats why i'm showing you this (shhhhhhhhh)totally exclusive ultra seceret Jimbo knife hold. You have MUCH more control of your knife when you use this whittling technique. "What?" you say, "every book on whittling ever written shows that knife hold". "Well just Oh yeah!?" I say back.

Ah but i digress.

Keep shaving and chipping away to enlarge your little angled ramp, making it as smooth as you can, till you finally make the ramp join the very bottom of the saw kerf. You should now have a V shaped notch made. Don't worry about how it looks... you're about to work magic with........ you guessed it....... MORE Sandpaper!!

Next up... melt off another 10 lbs and exfoliate your fingers at the same time!!



OH ITS STARTING TO LOOK LIKE A CROCHET HOOK!



NOW! Here's one of the funnest parts, shaping the gullet (us lumberjack hook whittlers like to call it a gullet cause it looks like the gullet of a saw blade).
Take your sandpaper, oh about 120 - 150 grit and roll it up to the size of the gullet you want and start sanding across the V groove you just made. Now here's a little secret just for you. If your sandpaper wants to crack and balks at being formed into a nice smooth rounded surface, apply a strip of duct tape across the back. The tape will hold the paper against splitting. Nifty eh?

Now as you sand.. check both sides of the hook from time to time to make sure you're sanding both sides of the gullet evenly. Then move the paper to an angle so you form a smooth groove leading into the gullet. As you do this, the paper will also start shaping the hook overhang. Ooooooh aint it purty!

When you get the basic shape you want, switch to finer paper; rolled up the same way and keep sanding till its oh so smooth and the shape is just begging to gather some yarn. Also check the sharp edge of the overhang part and very lightly sand it so it isn't too sharp or it'll catch stuff you don't want it to. Make it the shape you want... its YOUR hook you know.

Now look at what you made. Holey cow but its a georgeous thing; a work of art! Isn't it amazing what a smooth and sensual shape you and your little stick just created!?

Congratulate yourself and go have a glass of wine to celebrate, cause the rest is really easy... you're almost done! Heck you could use the hook now if you wanted to.

Next up.... shaping a handle that cuddles with your hand.

SHAPING A CUDDLY GRIP

This will be a quick post without pictures cause I don't have any to show you.. sorry.
Ok, lets do the crochet hook grip of your dreams. This can also be a really fun thing, and I imagine a REALLY fun thing since you have your own hand as a model. I have a disadvantage here since my custom hooks are made from photos of the customer's hand holding a hook. You have the real thing!

So what you do is hold the hook as you would while crocheting. Heck, you might as well do a bit of a chain or something just to make sure you're holding the hook as you'd like. But pay close attention first to the location of your thumb and whichever finger you use to grip the hook. It makes a big difference how you make the grip, depending on whether you're a toothbrush gripper or a pencil gripper. Smart folks call these overhand and underhand grips but I've found those terms can be confusing.

Now if you have a helper, you can trace your grip on the handle with a pencil or you can simply eyeball landmarks on the hook where you'd like to make a special shape.

The thumb and finger indentations should go first. And, mind you, you don't have to do both. You can do just the thumb, or just a forefinger indent or both. However you do it, take it easy and start by whittling a small dent in the wood, try the grip, whittle some more, etc. Then sand. Try the grip again and note where the rest of your hand touches the grip. If you've a big hook like the monster i'm using as a model here, you might like a little "dogleg" on the end for you to use in pulling thread or rag for rugs.

Take your time, whittling and sanding till you have shaped a grip to die for. OOOOO we'er sooo close to being finished!  What an adventure eh?
FINISHING
Now when I first started making hooks, my thought was to not use any finish whatsoever. That way the hook would develop its own patina by way of the user's hands and the yarn being used. The finish would be a true mark of the owner. I still like the idea. It'd be a great thing to do for your decendents, because they'd be able to pick the hook up and know that your hands and your yarn made this hook the wonder that it is. Plus, since I smoothed the hooks to a velvety smoothness anyway, I figured they'd work just fine. And they did.
But practicality creeeps in. So I started waxing my hooks to protect against moisture and such. Treewax did fine, as did beeswax. Just apply coatings liberally and rub it in, hard. Of the two waxes, I'm finding that if you want to wax, I'd suggest beeswax, just because the stuff I have smells like honey. mmmmmm  With beeswax, you can make a hook that'll have you hankering for a little peanutbutter and honey sammich... but I digress again. So... wax (paste) can work .. just rub it in; let it set a spell, and rub it off. Might as well burn a couple hundred calories while you're at it eh (ie, rub hard, real hard)
A caveat here about wax.  Some waxes might leave a finish that squeeks against yarn.  Lots of crochetiers don't like to hear their yarn sound like a poorly tuned fiddle.  So if that's a concern, move on to a harder, oil based finish.
I much prefer to use poly-oil type finishes over wax. General Finishes makes a really good one in a can with a paint can style lid so you can dip the hook easily. Others like Minwax make theirs in a can with a screw or pop-top that will let you dip too, if the hook's not too big around. Anyways, the idea is to get a good generous amount of finish applied to the hook, either by dipping or applying the oil to a cotton rag (be sure NOT to wad it up and throw it away when you're done... this stuff can start a fire just from spontaneous combustion.  So leave the oil soaked rag open and well exposed to air when you're done).
Rub the oil in, hard.... very hard. Make the wood heat up from friction cause you're rubbing so hard. Get ALL the hook including the tip and gullet especially. Rub till the finish is barely tacky, then set it down to dry. It won't take long to dry... maybe oh an hour max. Now pick it up again and rub the beegeebers out of it again this time with a clean rag.. no more finish. You can consider the hook done, or if its a softer wood, or if you are one who irons your underwear, you might want to do more coats just like you did this one... just be sure the first coat is bone dry when you go to apply the second coat.  Then be sure the second coat is dry before you apply the third coat and so on.  Rub rub rub between  every coat. 
Your FINISHED!! 
So you've just made yourself a beauty of a hook that is now an heirloom to be passed on from generation to generation.... or to be eaten by the dog, or whatever. No matter what happens YOU did it and you should be proud. Imagine the wonderous things your very personal hook will make.
Please send me pictures of your hook, and what marvelous things you've made with it.
Thanks for your patience.
Jimbo




Uh, It occurs to me that I've putting alot of time into this thing and that some unscrupulous copier might take advantage and copy it for their own unscrupulous reasons. So this is a notice to unscrupulous copiers... this stuff is subject to and I am exercising my Copyright to all materials in this blog that are subject to Copyright under any applicable law. Also, if someone would like to publish this... I can be bought.  Not to say you can't link this post.  I welcome that but please don't copy without permission.