The Latch Hook Covered Bridge Project, and how I screwed it up

I said I wouldn’t do another latch hook project. I swore I would not touch another latch hook project.

And then … against my better judgment … I placed an order for latch hook yarn, canvas and hooks to Herschnerr’s online.

It is official. Chuck has lost his mind again.

Explanation.

I’ve been debating whether I should enter this image of the Quechee (Vt.) Covered Bridge in competition. You know, this one I took back in October2021.

At the Edge of Quechee. Kodak Medalist II camera, Kodak Ektachrome film. Photo (c) 2021 Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.

Trust me. I love this photo. I really do love it. But part of me looks at it and keeps thinking that it was a castaway from a Thomas Kinkade art show. And those power cables that bisect the roof and the clouds, well, those power cables rob the photo of its timelessness. And digitally erasing them could leave nasty, noticeable smears on the image. Ugh.

I thought long and hard about this. Maybe I can’t enter this photo in competition … but I can still find a way to make this image competition-worthy, even if I have to consider another media for it.

Okay. I uploaded the photo into the online latch hook generating program leftsource.org, and instantly I received a pattern plan. The final project would be 50 inches wide, 35 inches tall, and would require two latch hook canvasses stitched together for completion.

Oh, yeah, and nearly 60 different colors of latch hook yarn.

And I need a goal, a finishing time. If I enter this in the arts and crafts competition at Altamont in 2022 (or if the NYS Fair has their arts and crafts competitions available that year), I’ve got all winter and spring to complete this image. There’s the goal. And if I can’t get it done in time for Altamont, I can at least aim for completing it in time for the Durham Fair, which also had a hooked rug competition category in their personal skills exhibition.

So let’s do this.

November 11, 2021. The order is placed. No turning back now. Rather than order ALL the yarn at once, I started with the border colors – black, navy blue, dark royal blue, coffee, brown – and worked from the bottom of the canvas upward. Since this was a large two-canvas project, I started on the right-most canvas, saving the left-most canvas for a later time.

How big will the finished project be?

It’ll be THIS big. I need enough canvas to not only create the rug itself, but also have excess to bind the edges down. Yes, this time I’m actually going to TRY to bind down the edges. Have mercy on my soul.

Okay. Right canvas. Let’s get that black border built, and build it back better.

November 21, 2021. Like a jigsaw puzzle, I finished two of the corners. Yeah, I said I would only touch the right side of the canvas, but I developed a bit of a creative itchie and finished a corner on the left canvas.

November 28, 2021. Worked on more of the right panel border, some of the interiors, and added a slight touch of red to the right panel. Also added a square in column 12 on the left panel, as well as a square on column 14 on the right panel.

December 16, 2021. Starting to add more colors. The immediate lower right corner now has some definition to it, as does a few squares on the top row. Apparently the yarn company shorted me on a pack of dark teal, which is why there’s an S-shaped gap in the upper right corner. Gotta wait for them to send me a pack of dark teal so that I can neaten up that corner.

January 30, 2022. Put together a big portion of the right panel. The whole right panel’s black border is complete, and I’m kinda proud of that. You can see some of the colorful foliage, as well as the bright sky. I even added some of the colors on the left panel, as well as some of that panel’s black border.

February 16, 2022. Nuts. I stitched up about 500 strands with the wrong pattern. Damn it. Gotta pull those out, and start over. Took a few days to get all the strands out. But as you can see, I made great progress in repairing my mistake. In addition, there’s now more definition along the bridge itself, as well as more of the foliage on the right side.

But after a few more squares were filled in … I realized …

I set up my canvas to have more squares than my pattern.

Which is why the bottom right corner of the canvas looks like I duplicated the pattern.

In other words, my earlier mistake wasn’t me going off-square. Because I jumped around from one section of canvas to the other without carefully counting every square, I had over-stitched the pattern onto the canvas. I had duplicated squares.

In other words … after three months of stitching … I ruined the damn canvas.

And at that point in time, I had three options.

  • (A) rip out thousands of yarns and fix what I could.
  • (B) start from scratch on two new canvasses and spend $$$$ on more yarns.
  • (C) submit it in competition as is. Make up some goofy name for it like “Unfinished Dream” or something, and then when people question why it looks sloppy and unfinished, I could give them he standard Pee-Wee Herman answer of “I meant to do that.”

And in the end, I chose Option (D).

I rolled up both canvases and put them in the closet. And that’s where they’ll stay until I feel like dealing with them again. Maybe it will involve re-hooking a new canvas, maybe it won’t.

As for the bridge itself, I’ll print out a version and enter it somewhere. It’s a decent enough photo. I’d hate to let it go completely to waste.

And I’ve still got dozens of bags of yarns.

May as well order another canvas and build something completely different.

I mean, if I hurry, I may get a new canvas done in time for, oh, I don’t know, Competition Season 2023. 😦

Ugh.