Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Magic Wands, Part II

For Part I of this article, visit:

Magic Wands, Part II
     I love the warmth that wooden crochet hooks provide and I have quite a few in my collection. Unlike metal or glass hooks, wooden crochet hooks do not rob your hand of warmth which can cause early fatigue when crocheting. In addition, the hooks can be carved to provide individualized comfort, which can involve variations in hook length, handle style, balance, and coloring. In other words, crochet hooks can be just as innovative and inspiring as the crochet work they produce!

     When I first met Jimbo’s crochet hooks over at, it was love at first sight and I fall in love again each and every time I view his latest carved creation! Each hook is crafted by hand. He uses the wood from branches that he collects on his ranch. His goal was to raise funds to build a porch on the front of his cabin, hence the blog name "Jimbo's Front Porch".

Selection of Jimbo's beautiful handcrafted hooks.

     I love chatting it up with Jimbo, and recently I got the opportunity to ask him some questions about where he draws his inspiration from and about how he got his start:

Q. You carve crochet hooks from some of the most amazing wood, including from fallen branches from an apple tree that was on your family property dating back to when you were a young boy. Where do you draw your inspiration from?

A. Trees. There's much in a tree to inspire. Inspiration to make hooks from branches came from whittling and sentimentality. I used to whittle away at a branch just to see what was under the bark. And while it's gratifying making nice long curly shavings, it always seemed a shame and dishonor to the tree who worked so patiently and hard to create such beauty only to have its branches become kindling. They're all much too pretty to simply provide some warmth; such a waste of beauty. Then it hit me. I thought gee, my sister crochets and what a special thing it would be to make her a hook from a branch of the old apple tree from the ranch where we spent such great times together so many years ago. That old tree gave us apples for mom's pies when we were tykes. So I carefully whittled Sandy a couple hooks, sent them to her in California and hoped she would find them useful and maybe think of the old place when she crocheted. She wrote me back, telling me the hooks made her cry, thinking of the ranch and the old tree. See how a tree can be so inspirational? But more than that, they worked! She's been crocheting with those hooks ever since, and every time she picks up her hooks, she's holding a piece of the old place in her hand. Even little pieces of the old tree inspire.
Jimbo enjoying whittling.

Q. It is amazing the finer details you put into your work, including crafting beautiful handles for the Bates Interchangeable thread set. When did you start working with wood, and what inspired you to focus on crochet hooks?

A. Aw thanks, Dee. Welp, I started working with wood the day my Dad let me have his old Case pocket knife. I expect it was a good knife to give a 6 year old because it only had one blade and the tip was broken. Ah but that blade would make shavings, and anyone who whittles knows its all about shavings. I've been whittling ever since, but it wasn't until about 10 years back that I began making crochet hooks. Sandy (my sis) was my inspiration to continue. She took the hooks I whittled to her yarn shop in Ventura and the owner was impressed enough to order a few and it all began; a good excuse to whittle with the bonus of having something other than kindling come out the other end.

Jimbo's handcrafted handle for Boye Interchangeable hooks.

Q. I am sure {ahem} you received some "interesting" requests from your customers. Can you share with us some details the craziest, whimsical, and zaniest hooks you've designed? Have there been any requests that you've said "no" to?

A. One "interesting" request came from this really good looking and amazingly talented crochet maven who asked if I could make her daughter a crochet hook that looked a bit like Harry Potter's magic wand. That was a really fun project and I'm told the hook actually works. I made it especially so that when pointed at a crochet pattern and the spell " Confundus" is pronounced, the pattern will immediately become confusing.

Harry Potter theme hook Jimbo crafted for Mini~Dee

There's been heart felt requests. I made hooks from a Pecan tree (below) that was damaged by the Oklahoma Tornado and others from trees as special to the customer as the old apple tree is to me. I like doing that. I even made a hook from a piece of a 45,000 year old tree that was discovered in a mud bog in New Zealand.

Hook crafted from a Pecan tree fallen by the Oklahoma Tornado.

No crazy requests other than designs I seem to hatch about once a year. You can see several in the archives of my blog. It's pure coincidence that they seem to appear on the first of April.

Jimbo is very technosavvy with this hook design.

The only requests I have to say no to are those who ask to have a hook made from wood that just can't be cajoled into becoming a hook.

Q. You talk about your childhood on your blog, having whittled a sling shot. Have you ever thought of designing a crochet hook that looked like a sling shot?? Maybe with slightly different sized heads?

A. No, but I have now. Let’s talk slinghook….

Q. You crafted the Diplohookticus Jimbosei; has it been officially recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest hook in the world? And do you have plans on carving even larger crochet hooks?

A. Aw that's one of very few heartbreaks in my hook making career. Dippy as he's called by his fans, was destined to be recognized by the folks at Guinness. In fact there was an event in Portland Oregon where the record was to be consummated. Famous people gathered to actually use Dippy to crochet. Dear friends and wonderful crochet artists gathered for the event. Inga Hamilton came from Ireland, Bonnie Pierce came down from Seattle, as did our Fearless Leader of the Crochet Liberation Front, Laurie Wheeler and they all crocheted with Dippy to make a huge spider web. All for naught. The wise folk at Guinness informed us that the largest crochet hook in the world wasn't "unusual" enough to merit recognition. Dippy has since made cameo appearances at CLF retreats but largely languishes under Laurie's care, nursing his wounded pride.

Guinness World Record Attempt:
World's Largest Crochet Hook?

Plans for carving an even larger hook? Dippy weighs 28 lbs, stands almost 5 feet tall and is somewhere near 8 inches in diameter. He's an armful to say the least. I've not thought of looking for his big sister. But you never know.

Q. What other designs/products do you see yourself possibly offering in the future?

A. Lately I've been toying with some ideas dealing with a double ended hook designed for different weight yarns. Imagine working with bulky at one end and fine at the other? Oh and yeah, I'm considering doing a slinghook. Otherwise we'll see what comes up this next April.

Illuminating into the holiday spirit; another original concept by Jimbo.

     Thank you Jimbo. And for those interested in learning how to craft their own wooden crochet hook, Jimbo has outlined the process here:

     If you have ever run your fingers over a crocheted project and wondered about what kind of hook helped craft this, then you are well on your way towards discovering the true magic every crochet hook possesses. You may even be ready to start your own crochet hook collection! They may vary in length, material, shape, color and design -- just as any magic wand would -- but their true power is only realized once in the human hand. Conjure up something wonderful with your favorite hook and yarn in hand; pixie dust optional.

For more information on Dee’s growing Crochet Hook Collection, and their crafters, visit, and for other crochet related topics, visit Dee’s website at

All photos used for this article are used with permission.

1 comment:

Jimbo said...

Aw Gee! Thanks for the great article, Dee! It's a real honor to be interviewed along with Heather! She does such amazing work!
All the best to you, Dee,