The NEBA Roast Beef – Mike’s Submarines Latch Hook Project

My original plan was to put this latch hook project off for a year or so. But when a different latch hook project got completely FUBAR’d, I had to take this one on immediately.

And now I’m on a deadline.

Let me explain.

A generation of Capital District fast food aficionados will swear by the delicious Mike’s Submarine sandwich shops and the juicy NEBA roast beef sandwich shops. Heck, there were some locations where you could park between both locales and get a tasty meal from each establishment.

Which explains the photo above. I scanned this from a sweet postcard, it’s a photo of an old Googie-architecture-inspired NEBA-Mike’s double-store restaurant, complete with colored arches and slanted roofs. So much mustard-yellow, ketchup-coral and seafoam-teal. I believe this may have been the NEBA-Mike’s on Colvin and Central Avenues in Albany, but I’m not 100% positive on this.

And although I can’t just simply submit this postcard as a BUILT entrant …

There’s nothing that says I can’t use that postcard to inspire a new latched hook rug. Plus, it may be my first-ever latched hook rug entered in BUILT. And for those of you who aren’t 100% familiar with the lingo here on this blog, BUILT is an annual art show / fundraiser where all the objects d’art are inspired by the architecture and history of the Capital District.

But here’s the problem. BUILT arrives around November of 2022.

Latch hook rugs take time. Lots of time. You have to get the yarns, you have to sit and patiently pull each strand of yarn into the canvas.

And I should have started this three months ago, if I wanted to make sure it would end up at BUILT.

Okay. The more I bitch about why I didn’t start this sooner, the less chance I’ll have to get it done now.

First things first. I scanned in the postcard, and used the website to generate a latch hook pattern. 52″ wide, 33″ tall.

Now in the past, I’ve bought two latch hook canvases and stitched them together to create a big rug. Not this time. This time, I want the biggest commercially available canvas.

And I snagged it.

All right, let’s start hooking this bad boy, and …

Wait. My latch hook won’t fit in the canvas holes. What gives?

It was only then that I discovered that my previous latch hook canvasses had larger holes. This canvas has smaller holes.

Which necessitated a smaller latch hook. Had to get these specialty hooks from a beauty shop, because those smaller latch hooks are used for styling dreadlocks and adding jewelry into hair.

And to avoid my previous mistakes of hooking the wrong colors into the wrong squares – you know, like I DID LAST TIME – I carefully labeled every square with an alpha-numeric code, one that corresponds with my printed directions. Whatever goes here, goes here. And I decided that instead of working all over the pattern, I would start at the bottom and work up. If I ran out of a certain yarn color, I would continue working on a different section of canvas until more yarn arrived from Herrschners. Even if the pattern required one strand of ecru, it’s better to just buy the 320-count bag of ecru yarn. Never know when the next art project might need more ecru.

Okay. Here’s my progress as of today, March 6, 2022.

Okay … it ain’t much, but you can definitely make out the reflection of the roof lights in the NEBA building. And I added a black-white border around the rug’s perimeter, to give the final image some definition.

Now let’s see how fast I can do this.

Optimal goal is to get it done by November, which would allow me to at least submit it for BUILT 2022.

If I can finish it by September, maybe I can also bring it to the Durham Fair and hope it earns a ribbon.

Hell, if I can get this finished by August, I could bring it to Altamont and see if it can earn two ribbons (one for Altamont and one for Durham).

Or a really strong goal – finish it by mid-July, and I could bring it as an entry to the New York State Fair, if the Fair brings back its arts and crafts categories that were postponed due to COVID-19.

But that’s four months away.

That’s a lot of work and not much time.

So I need to make this happen.

And you are my witnesses and my motivators. Every Sunday, from inception to completion, I’ll post my progress.

Let’s see if we can reach those goals.