söndag 11 april 2010

Trapper Joel's Hook

Trapper Joel sent me pictures of one of the beautiful crochet hooks he has made out of a spoon handle. Here is one of the pictures:

Flat hooks like this one have been used for Bosnian crochet, at least in Scandinavia. Sometimes they are made from silver spoons.  Silver is a wonderful metal, so I am now looking for an old silver spoon that Joel could transform into a crochet hook for me. If you want to buy one of Joel's hooks, you can contact Amy at The Yarn Stash in Minot, North Dakota. She is yarnfloozie on Ravelry, where you can find links to her shops on her profilepage. I bought one of the two Joel-hooks she had only yesterday :) Joel says it's difficult to find spoons to make hooks from.

You can read more about Trapper Joel in Carol Ventura's blog. If you already haven't read the interesting article about Bosnian crochet "From Carpet to Jourabs" that Carol links to in her post "History in Making", remember to read it! But for Joel, scroll down until you find him! Look at his amazing hats!

On Ravelry you find Joel as Trapper336. He is now working on hats in Bosnian crochet, look at his Ravelry Projects. Joel says he likes increases better than decreases, so he works from the top to the bottom. I understand why he does that, because in crochet increases often look better than decreases. I'm very taken by the fact that Joel is left handed, but learned to crochet with his right hand. I'm right handed. The last few weeks I have tried to learn how to crochet left handed, but it's NOT easy! In some amigurumis you  crochet backwords in a round without turning the piece.

Joel also mailed me copies of articles he had gotten from Mr. Larry Smith last year. One of the articles is "Old World Crochet", written by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts, and published in the summer issue of Spin Off 2001. I greatly admire her way of making both history and technique visual and easy to understand. If you have that magazine in your bookshelf, do look at it again, there are some great photos! Gibson-Roberts lists some of her resources at the end of her article. Among them are some very interesting publications, that I now have in my wish-list. I didn't subscribe to Spin Off that year, so I had not seen that article. I'm happy that Interweave is now publishing digital editions of back issues, as this is not the only year I thought I could survive without that magazine! There is a tutorial article in the same issue, written by John Yerkovich: "Old World Crochet Bags".

One of the articles was from a Swedish book I have read some 20 years ago, but did not try to find for my article about Bosnian crochet in western Finland: "Gamla textila tekniker i ull", written by another of my favorite authors on textile: Kerstin Gustafsson, a very skilled spinner and weaver. The book was published in 1988 by LT förlag. It's a fantastic resource when you want to get a first look at old techniques where wool is used. It's interesting to note that Kerstin Gustafsson did not know all the Swedish terms we now have for Bosnian crochet. When Kerstin published her book, there was almost no elder books in Swedish where Bosnian crochet was mentioned, and little was known about it at that time. The picture shows how you hold the flat hook:
It seems to me that this hook is made of bone or wood, but I can't say for sure. The picture has traveled around the world in different shapes a few times :) It shows a hat, that is crocheted from the brim up to the top. In Joel's Ravelry Projects you can see his version of this hat, crocheted in a beautiful coopworth yarn.

Intermezzo, lament: Oh, all the books and magazines I have seen and read during my 40 years as a librarian! And oh how many of them I should have bought when they were published and still available for a reasonable price!
Back to more of the interesting texts Joel sent me:

In a letter from Larry Smith to Joe, Larry writes that the flat hook has been used in "pjoning", which is one of the terms for Bosnian crochet in Norwegian and Danish. Larry Smith mentions that some people find it easier to use the flat hook than a standard hook in pjoning, and that is what I have found, too. You hold the hook inside your hand, like a knife, and cast the yarn with your hook hand the same way as in twined knitting (twoendknitting, Swedish tvåändsstickning). Once you get used to this technique, you find it very comfortable and natural for Bosnian crochet.

On copy was from a Norwegian book, "Strikke, hekle, binde" by Gjertrud Saglie, published in 1989 by Landbruksforlaget. In this excerpt I got more terms in Norwegian than I had before: krokbinding, påting, bosnisk hekling, gobelinhekling, mosaikkhekling. Here is a picture from that book, showing an old and a new hook:

Thank you, Joel! You sent me some interesting texts and pictures. I will add them to my library ( my private one, not the one where I work!)

Now I'm sitting here wishing that someone with much knowledge and skills would write a book about Bosnian crochet in English. There is a lot of information that could be put together: history, culture, fibers, yarns, hooks, a lot of pictures, and some patterns, too. A thick book printed on good paper, and in a bind that stands opening and reading over and over again.

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