Monday, April 7, 2008
The Right Tools for the Right Job
In hooking, as in everything else in life, the job at hand is always easier with the right tools.
In the beginning, the right tools for hookers were a bent nail stuck into a wooden handle, a grain sack, and scraps from whatever worn out clothes were at your disposal.
Over time, we have evolved into an industry that has gadgets and gizmos for just about everything. The more people I meet and places I go, the more I discover things that make the life of a hooker much easier.
When it comes to hooks, they’ve sure come a long way. There are palm hooks and pencil hooks, bent-hook hooks, ergonomic hooks for easier gripping. There are even beautiful hand-turned hooks with beads on the end that have inter-changeable heads. (I have one and it is a thing of beauty.)
To cut your fabric, there are $40+ scissors and $700 + cutters with interchangeable multi-head cartridges. There are red cutters and electric blue cutters and there is a special adapter that can be added to your Bliss cutter to make it motorized.
There are frames that you can sit on your lap, that you can sit on, that can sit on the floor - that come with gripper strips, padded covers and some that collapse to fit into their own cases.
And I have just purchased a mini-gripper frame that is the perfect size for small projects. Someone brought one to one of my workshops and I could see right away that for travelling, and for small projects, this would be wonderful. And it is. The picture above shows it with a purse front on it - which is just 7" x 9". As you can see, it's a perfect fit.
Now I need to come up with some sort of cover to protect my wrist from the gripper strips - like the one on my larger gripper frame. I think I will try a steering wheel cover....
I’m sure that every evolution of the tools, like in the evolution of other tools, comes with input from the users. Some of the best tools are ones that you can see were definitely the brain child of a hooker versus a manufacturer.
There are simple things like handmade woollen pockets with magnets that attach to your frame. They not only hold your clippings but also keep track of your scissors. There are nifty small wooden handles that allow you to tighten your hoop without taking the skin off your fingers. I think these were probably fashioned by husbands who were tired of being asked to tighten the frame. There are dollar store metal combs for cleaning the gripper strips on your frame.
I truly believe that the right tools not only make the work go faster, but keep the logic side of the brain as busy as the creative side. It's wonderful to find - or even better to invent - the right tool for the job.