Sunday, February 28, 2010

Lessons learned from my Cheticamp frame.

After many, many, many hours working on Max on my Cheticamp frame, I came to realize that it has taught me a few valuable lessons. 

When I am at home, I generally hook on my sit'em which is a blessing and a curse all in one. Being able to turn your work means that you generally hook in your preferred direction. For me that is from left to right. And I turn my work so that I can pretty much always hook from left to right. Not sure if that's laziness or habit. (I know that when I first learned, I had to hook in all directions, but turning is just soooo much easier.)

Not so with a table frame. And certainly not so with the Max project. To recap, this piece is 6 feet long by 2 feet wide and will eventually hide the side of my stacking washer and dryer. To keep such a large piece interesting, I have incorporated a lot of directional hooking. The logs are all horizontal. The legs on Max are now all vertical. And the bear and raccoon both have lots of diagonals and curves.

So the directional hooking gives me a lot of variety within the one piece. I move from one area to the other if I start to grow weary of all horizontal or all vertical. In doing so, I've realized that with every area change, there's also a change in how I am hooking. I can't do left to right everywhere - although that is what I do for the logs.

With all the directions, I am hooking away from myself. I am hooking towards myself. I am hooking down on a diagonal and also up on a diagonal. And I realized that in moving from area to area and direction to direction, I was also doing something else. I was completely changing my hand position and the way I was holding the hook.

These pictures probably explain it best.

This is how I usually hold my hook. I nearly always hook with a pencil hook - I just find I like them better. I'm a south paw and I usually hook with my hand above the hook (like I hold a pen for writing).

However, when I'm hooking towards myself or away from myself in a vertical or diagonal, I hold my hook with my hand below - as this picture explains.

The added benefit I discovered to this moving around is that my wrist doesn't get so tired. And that's a good thing. In fact, this week at class, one of the students was having wrist pain from a combination of hooking, keyboarding and a little skiing bump. It was sore enough to keep her from hooking for a week - boo hoo - none of us like that. 

I suggested that she try a different hook and that she try a different direction and see if she could notice less strain on her wrist. She did!! It's good to know that simple changes can deliver not only interesting visual results in a piece, but also ergonomic benefits to our wrist and hands. 

I'm going to keep changing it up - even on my sit'em, since I know that I'll be all the better for it. And I have my Cheticamp to thank for my new found wisdom.


maureenm said...

Good for you, Wendie - I find hooking in different directions helps my wrist/arm, too. I have been lusting over the Cheticamp gears at Deanne's shop, but our little house has no place to set it up. Unless I dispense with the idea of having a 'proper' living room... hooking by the fire would be rather nice. I hook in a hoop, or on a fixed, padded frame - not easy to spin - and sometimes with no hoop/frame at all, esp once a piece gets well along and I can use the weight of the hooked portions as ballast. Happy trails... maureen

Bunch's Place said...

Maureen - Just wanted to tell you that your picture about holding your hook is worth 1000 words - it has helped me so much. Thanks for taking the time to share this. /Deb

woollylottrugs said...

I know this is a really old post but can you tell me, where does one fine a cheticamp frame to purchase? I live in Pennsylvania, USA and thank you for your help


woollylottrugs said...

I know this is a really old post but can you tell me, where does one fine a cheticamp frame to purchase? I live in Pennsylvania, USA and thank you for your help


Sandi's Excellent Adventure said...

You can order a Cheticamp Frame from Deanne Fitzpatrick who has a rug hooking studio in Amherst, Nova Scotia. Her website is

Sandi Howard

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