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May '08

Please Help Me Letter

A regular reader has sent this photo of a rug that has her stymied. It is a nice little hooked clock pattern from Patty Van Arsdale that she started several months ago. Although she is frustrated with it, I don’t think she has that much to do to spruce it up a bit. Here biggest problem is that she has lost her enthusiasm for the piece. She’s asked that it be discussed on the blog as “this is her hooking class.”
She writes: “I am very much aware that SHEEP is hooked in the wrong color. However, I was told to always re-hook “letters” and I will do so in a cream color. The sun and sky are causing me problems and I would love to know how to finish it.”

Before we talk sky:
I agree that the word SHEEP is lost and you can easily re-hook it in a cream. Many people suggest hooking lettering and diagonal lines as a two step procedure – and they usually do improve when they are re-hooked. I’ve done it myself and tried to figure out why that works. I notice, when I re-hook, that what I really do is crowd in some extra loops that fill out the space or shape of the lettering better than the first time I hooked it – that’s why it improves in appearance. I think our eye automatically prompts us to put in the extra loops to complete the shape. If you look at the “g” in “together” at the bottom of the pattern, you can see that the top arc of the g goes from wide to thin to wide – all that’s needed there is an extra loop or two to fill in that thin space better. Knowing that principle, when I hook lettering now, I usually crowd it to begin with, thereby negating the need to pull it out and re-hook.

I would re-hook “Sheep” now as it will immediately improve the artists attitude towards the piece. I would also re-hook “together,” only, make the cross piece on that “t” just a loop or two longer at the top, right hand side. As hooked now, I can’t tell that it’s a “t” – it rather looks like a letter that can’t make up it’s mind if it is a t or a c. A loop or two of background at the intersection of that cross piece will also help define it.

The lettering at the top of the piece says “time to.” (The whole thing is supposed to say: “time to get your sheep.” “Get your” goes around the hole of the clock hands on an applied piece of fabric.) The “time” is hard to read at this point, but should improve when filled in. The “t” in “to” has the same problem as the “g” already discussed. Crowding will make it stand out better. Once we figure out the sky and the background is put in around those letters, that will also improve the artist’s attitude towards the piece.

When you have a piece that you are tired of, immediately correct all the little things you can. It WILL improve your over all attitude towards the project and help you get going again. We’ll talk sky tomorrow.

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