Hook a spiral chair pad with me – Part 2

Yesterday we started our hooked spiral chair pad. And I hope you were able to get started on hooking the spiral line. Since we are working from our leftovers, I envisioned us using all different cuts with most of them being around an 8 cut (1/4″ wide strips). I think mixing cuts looks dynamic in a rug design. Our next step is to draw some secondary lines to work our hit or miss colors.

Draw 3 gently curving lines that begin close to the spiral centerpoint and curve to join the hooked spiral line. The top line has more curve to it than the other two lines. The lines create a kind of pinwheel look. These guidelines will be the start of your hit or miss design.

Choose neutral colored strips that are light, medium, and dark values. The value of a color is its relative lightness or darkness. As you choose your dark strips, it is important to choose colors that are not quite as dark as the spiral hooked line. They should read a little lighter in value. Why? Because this way your spiral line will pop. And that will make the spiral more recognizable through all the busyness of the hit or miss lines. That is the plan.

It is good to have a plan to shoot for. A concept. And there are times when the concept just does not work. And then you have to modify. This is all part of the creative process. I have to admit, that sometimes crying is part of the creative process. Every artist sheds a few tears from time to time. But then we rise above and do something different! We cannot foresee everything at the beginning. But that doesn’t keep us from trying. And so have a concept to start with!

A good way to judge a color’s value is to squint your eyes. Hit or miss is really all about values. And the more you learn to notice a color’s value, the better you will get at seeing it naturally. Seeing value is really the key to unlocking the mystery of color. Here is an example of hit or miss lines. See what I mean? A light line shows up because it is hooked next to a medium or a dark line. Two dark lines would not show up if they were hooked next to each other. They would blend instead and become one, thick line. The goal is to make each line distinctive from its neighbor.

You can begin by making a small pile of light valued neutrals, another of medium values, next to it your darks. You can add a few muted colors to each pile. Remember 90% neutral colors, 10% muted colors.

Take some time with the value piles. Some wools may be in-between one or the other. Take note of that. Some wools may be difficult to classify because they are a texture or plaid with a lot of variety of light and dark threads of color in them. So some of the strips will have to be wild cards and you will just have to experiment with them.

One more step may be helpful. Showcase several strips next to each other to see how each stand out from the other. If you like the arrangement, let these be in your lineup to hook.

The next step is to hook the 3 newly marked lines in 3 different light values. When you complete that, continue hooking next to the bottom  most line, hooking a row to its right. Repeat hooking rows until meeting up with the next light-valued line.

I would also like to mention that if a strip is not long enough to hook a whole row, complete the row in something similar enough in color and value so that it looks like a complete line. It being close in value is very important to make that work.

You will notice that there may be some odd little spaces that need to be filled in. This can be the trickiest part, because you will need to find a wool that is a different value from what is on either side of it. It is fine if your value change is very subtle. In fact it is better to have some lines be subtle value changes, and some bolder value changes. We call this variety. This is what gives hit or miss that effortless, by-chance look. Now you know that it isn’t an accident, it is intentional.

Now that you have filled in up to the second line, begin hooking from there to the next line, filling in as you reach that line. The last section is small and that is all you have to hook now to complete your central spiral. You might have noticed that I did change out the one rust/white textured wool row you see above. I thought it had too much white in it and that whiteness jumped out. Like a scream. So I replaced it with a more subtle light neutral.

Can you see how even though the spiral is busy, the dark spiral line still shows up?

Stand back from your work to see how readable the lines are. Can you see each line? Or do the lines all blur together? If you can’t see your lines that means you do not have enough value contrast from one line to another. Now is the time to fix this. That may mean only one or two lines have to be changed. If you can’t see your spiral line, that means you used some colors that were too dark in value. Switch them out with a wool that is slightly lighter in value. Notice my maroon-red wool and my deep brown wool are my darkest values. They are not quite as dark as my spiral line. When you squint can you see this?

When you are done with the center, take some time to finish drawing out your pattern plan with your marker making gentle curved lines every 4 or 5 inches apart until you get near the outside edge of you circle. Notice that I have not finished hooking my black spiral line completely yet.

This is where our design takes us next time. ~ Karen


6 thoughts on “Hook a spiral chair pad with me – Part 2

  1. Hi, Karen! I love this!! I’m hoping to start my chair pad VERY soon. I credit you with granting me freedom in my hooking. Ever since I saw one of your first articles in RHM, I have hooked being more value conscious than color. I tend to do that now whether I’m painting or weaving or knitting, etc. It really draws people in because when the colors slightly change as they go along, folks can’t just take a quick look and walk away… they want to look and look and look! If you look at my flickr site, you will see my “Happy Rug” or my “Bless This House” rug that make use of this. Thanks so much for sharing!


      • I am so glad you are sharing this lesson. A always thought hit or miss was random and I was afraid to try it. Using values from light to dark and repeating them works and adding another color every so often adds a spark/pop of color. Perfect day today….all snowed in…..sitting in my nesting spot…. surrounded with wool and hooking away. Thank you so much Karen for sharing and helping me see the light with hit or miss. Hope you share more lessons/tips in the future. A very happy hooker!


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