I’m Hooked by Coco Ihle

I’ve always enjoyed working with my hands to create original art pieces and because I’ve tried quite a few different areas of art, I rather quickly realized my likes and limitations and therefore developed a respectable appreciation for other people’s efforts as well. I’ve tried oil painting and water color and working in acrylics; wood carving, mask making and ordinary fabric sewing. When I was dancing, I created almost all of my costumes, which gave me experience in not only fabrics, but also in leather and silks and beadwork.

My sources for learning were teachers, friends and lots of books. In my day, there was no YouTube or Internet, so my discoveries were often somewhat different than they are today. I have to say, though, I really prefer learning from a person, in person, so that I can ask questions as I go and also get feedback and pointers from that teacher right away. If there is a certain correct way of doing something, I’ve also learned it’s best to learn the right way rather than try to unlearn a wrong way. This sentence recalls to my mind incorrect fingering while learning a new piece of music for either my piano or cello or bagpipes.

Now that the holidays are over and life is settling back to normal, I’ve been thinking I’d like to get back to doing a project with my hands, but didn’t know what I was in the mood to try. Years ago I used to crochet a little. That might be fun. And I’ve always wanted to learn to knit. I tried once and found I seemed to tighten up on my stitches as I went and my work didn’t look good at all. Maybe I didn’t give it enough time and experience. I didn’t have a teacher for that.

Then I remembered when I was living in Germany, my neighbors upstairs in my apartment building were avid latch hook rug makers. I remember they were a husband and wife who were working on a rug maybe 9’ x 12’ in size and they’d sit side by side a few feet apart, and work together on each row. It was a beautiful French pastel design and so elegant looking. They told me it was a kit, with precut yarn and they’d work on it whenever they were in the mood and had time. I was so impressed!

When I came back to the States, I found a latch hook pillow kit that was a 24” square and thought that would be a good size for me to see if it was something I would enjoy pursuing. I started it and really loved working on it and then somehow life stepped in and I got busy doing other things. Years went by and I forgot about it. So while I was trying to decide what project I could get involved with, I thought of finishing that one. I started searching for it and found it waiting for me in my studio. Luckily, all the pieces seem to be together and I still really love the colors and design of the pillow, so I think I’ll finish it. It’s about three-quarters of the way done. Here’s a photo. Wish me luck!

24″ Latch Hook Pillow









Coco Ihle is the author of SHE HAD TO KNOW, an atmospheric traditional mystery set mainly in Scotland. Join her here each 11th of the month.


Filed under writing

12 responses to “I’m Hooked by Coco Ihle

  1. Art

    Wishing you the best with your artwork adventure.

    • Coco Ihle

      Thank you, Art! I’m looking forward to finishing this project. Being a creative person yourself, I imagine you have projects going all the time. Have fun!

  2. I did this once upon a time. No known pieces survived. Now I’m wondering what happened to all of them? Maybe I gave them as gifts? Have fun!

  3. Coco Ihle

    I’m not at all surprised you tried this craft, too, Sherrie. If yours were gifts, I’m sure they were appreciated. I’m always fascinated by all the things you have accomplished. Keep it up and have fun, too! Thanks for your comment!

  4. Renee Latty

    Way To Go, Girl. I always have one thing or another going on and right now it is more face painting. I’m waiting to see the end result of your beautiful piece of art!

    • Coco Ihle

      Thank you so much, Renee. I’ve seen some of your face painting and it’s wonderful! Good luck with that! I’ll send you a photo of the pillow when it’s completed.

  5. Linda

    Well good luck, I have tons of unfinished projects. You are an inspiration, hope you get it finished soon!

    • Coco Ihle

      Thank you, Linda, for your comment. Years ago, my mother’s biggest criticism was that I rarely finished a project I started. Sensitivity to her verdict has helped me remedy that. Don’t beat yourself up like I did. I think we should enjoy our projects and not have any negativity attached to them. If I’ve helped you, I’m so glad. 🙂
      I’ve already found a place for the pillow when it’s finished.

  6. Susan Coggins

    Oh my. Your story reminds me of how many unfinished projects are in my craft room. That room brings sanity to my life (even when it is disorganized, which is about 50% of the time) and I shut out the world for a few hours at a time. I have done latch hook rugs and it is fun. Years ago while Bob was still on active duty, he made a latch hook design with his squadron logo and it turned out beautifully. That is when I discovered he had artistic abilities. People say they are not crafty or artsy but I believe each of us has a talent to share. And it is always fun to try new things. You have tackled so many different styles and types of art/crafts/designs and then you write. Your talents amaze me.

    • Coco Ihle

      Thank you, Susan. You said it, “It’s always fun to try new things!” I agree with you that every person is talented in something. The trick is discovering where those talents lie. I imagine that was a thrill for you to discover the talent Bob had. I remember he was good at doing skits, too! Thanks so much for sharing your comment. It brought back fond memories for me. 🙂

  7. Hi Coco! Long time. Love that you’re doing hand made hook items. I love hand hooked rugs, but can never figure out how to clean them. I’ve given so many of them away because of that. The yarns always pull out when using a vacuum, which I know instructions tell you not to use. Anyway, if you know how best to clean them without ruining them, I’d love to know. I still have one at my front door and because that door is rarely used, it still looks new. Love the colors in your pillow. Best of Luck!

    • Coco Ihle

      Great to hear from you, Maribeth! It has been a while. Good question. I’ve always made pillows, and I use a rug beater (I purchased in Germany when I lived there) whenever I have a pillow to clean or I’ve heard they can be spot cleaned. I’ve never had the need to spot clean though. I read somewhere that some people “paint” a latex type substance on the wrong side of the finished rug or pillow to prevent the yarn from pulling loose. I’ve never done that either. I’m afraid I’m not much help. Maybe if you could find an organization that consists of latch hook rug makers, you could get an answer there. Thanks for stopping by. Hope all is well with you. 🙂

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