As loyal blog readers & fans of Very Serious Crafts, are well aware, I developed an obsession with a new yarn craft this spring and summer. And that obsession goes by the name latch hook. The project I’m sharing today is special – it’s the project that launched a creative compulsion that shows no sign of stopping. The basic idea behind this four panel latch hook piece was simple: find a way to beautifully use and share the massive quantity of yarn scraps in my stash. What you’re looking at here is more than 20 years of ends from knitting, crochet and yarn craft projects, all of which were collecting dust for one reason or another.
To be quite honest, I’ve had this particular project done for a little bit and have been sitting on it because I couldn’t quite figure out if this made more sense as a tutorial, a pattern, a tips & tricks for success guide, or simply sharing some photos of this project that I love. In the end, I’m going with kind of a combo of the two. If you’re a dog lover, you’re in luck, because Woodrow & Storm (viewers of my Instagram Stories will be well acquainted with them…) decided to help out with the photos. And they did a very good job.
The other unusual thing about this project & today’s post is the fact that everything is very strikingly contemporary looking. Instead of my usual primary colors and quasi-vintage vibe, this rainbow latch hook is positively present-day! Shocking, I’m sure.
Supplies required for this project
rug canvas (I used a piece of 24″ by 30″canvas cut exactly in half vertically and horizontally. Each quadrant of this 2 panel by 2 panel piece measures 12″ by 15″.)
latch hook tool
yarn (particularly scraps in as many colors as possible)
Don’t forget – if you’re new to latch hook, don’t forget to check out this basics tutorial for more helpful information.
Intuitive Latch Hook
In my head, and then in person at my contemporary latch hook workshop last month, I’ve been referring to this style of latch hooking as “intuitive latch hook.” Instead of working from a pattern or having a limited number of colors, textures, weights and yarns to work with, you work basic latch hook stitches on 4 identically-sized pieces of rug canvas. But before you begin, you simply map out what colors you want to focus on for each square. The way my scrap stash broke down was like this: the upper left rectangle ranges from light pinks to dark oranges, upper right from buttery cream to deep evergreen, lower left covers aqua to eggplant, and the bottom right is simply pure white to pure black with browns sandwiched in the middle. (Apparently I haven’t been a huge knitter of earth tones in my knit & crochet career.)
Why do this? It’s simple, really. I didn’t want this yarn and all of its attached memories of learning and developing my craft go to waste. Sewists have quilting and other scrap fabric projects to show off their handmaking history in beautiful detail. Why can’t yarn crafters have the same? And by the way, it was super fun to make this! It gave me a chance to meditate on color and mastering a new technique (which, again, I’m addicted to for real right now). Plus taking a long, hard look at the detritus of my stash, and by extension my entire career from childhood crafter to professional handmaker. It was a very interesting, introspective process.
And if I’m being a little emotional/woo woo here for your taste… In the end, this is freaking pretty and I like it and I can’t wait to smile as I walk by a pretty yarn rainbow in my house. The end.
Tips & Tricks for Intuitive Latch Hooking
All of the pieces of yarn used to make this latch hook piece measure 3.75″ to 4.25″ in length, all were hand cut.
If you’re working with yarn that’s particularly thin (think DK/sport, fingering or lace weight if you know your yarns), work several strands held together as one to form your latch hook knots for that section. So you’ll cut 2 (sport/DK) or 3 (fingering or lace weight) strands of the yarn in question and work a single stitch using all of those strands as if they were a single scrap of yarn. That way you don’t end up with skinny little yarn pieces in your rug canvas that not only leave visual gaps, they also tend to undo and fall off! Pro tips, friends. Pro. Tips.
If you’re working with heavier weight or bulky yarn, don’t latch hook in every single cell of your rug canvas. It gets too dense and makes the canvas curl back on itself and not lay flat. Skip every other cell like a checkerboard and you’re golden. (see the back detail shots of this project to see what I mean.)
Don’t forget to leave yourself a perimeter of 1-2″ of unused rug canvas around your work for each panel of rug canvas for finishing your work.
If you’ve got a LOT of one color, only use part of it at a time. You’re manually cutting your latch hook yarn into scraps piece by piece, so chip away at a single color section and then switch it up. Just like I learned my stash is pretty lean on browns as I worked this project, you might find that you really have a thing for blues and purples. (And hey – if you’re hue-exclusive, you could do an entire tapestry or two in just gradients of one color family. Just sayin’!)
The closest thing I have to a pattern for this is the following doodle I made in my design notebook. I used straight up Crayola Markers – the 8 or 10 pack – to give myself a rough idea of where each color was going to go and remind myself that the red and neutral panels’ gradient ran top to bottom, and that the green and blue panels ran left to right.
Check out what the back of each panel looks like, particularly for handling extra thick or thin yarn.
In the end, remember this sort of project is all about having fun while learning a new technique! Plus, this lets you clear out those last bits of your yarn stash that might not otherwise have a home. Whatever you make is going to work out just fine – this is all about playing with color, texture and pattern. You can do whatever you want, but hopefully these tips & tricks will help guide you to success with your own intuitive latch hook! As always, if you’ve got any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out in the comments or via email at heidi [at] handsoccupied [dot] com.