Friday, November 17, 2006

My latchhook

For those of you who asked, or didn't but wondered, this is the latchhook I first used when I started latching my SL's. When I got the latching booklet, I immediately went out to Sally Beauty to find a latchhook. I figured I'd find one there. I wasn't sure this was exactly what I was looking for but I had made a decision that I was going to latch and, as usual, once the decision was made I wanted to get to it ASAP!

First, I started on my daughter. It wasn't because I wanted her to be the guinea pig, but because I'd be able to actually see what I was doing before trying to do my own.

Everything went well, for the most part, but I did have some problems. The latchhook above doesn't look that long (a little over 6 inches) but, in use, I found that it was cumbersome for two main reasons: length and straightness. When holding it and completing the rotations, the hook end was more likely to catch hairs from the neighboring lock that I wasn't working on, or the handle end would butt up against the other side of the locks or, when latching the locks down near the nape of the neck, it would butt into my back or shoulder, so it wasn't comfortable. As to it being straight, as soon as it went through the base of the lock I was working it, it would catch hair from the next lock.

So, being the amateur tinkerer that I am (I'll hack up anything to make it fit my needs!) I experimented with making it more comfortable and easier to use. Besides, it was only $1 and I figured I could get more if I totally messed it up.

One of the first things I did was remove the pink part. It was hollow there anyway. This was better, but still a little too long. Since the handle was plastic, I got a sharp knife, heated it up on the stove and cut off about half of the length of the green part, just below where the metal shaft of the hook was imbedded into the plastic. Better, but still not quite there.

The next thing I did was to slightly bend the metal shaft of the hook end. What this did was allow the hook end to curve up and away from the neighbor lock as I came out of the base of the one I was working on and lessen the chances of catching hairs. Much better, but still not quite. It was still too long and I thought I'd be more comfortable with a handle that wasn't as long or as fat.

Initially, I cut off the entire green part, leaving only the shaft of the metal hook. That didn't work very well because there wasn't anything to grip in order to manipulate the hook through the rotations. Since I had gotten several latchhooks, I got out my trusty knife and sliced off almost another half of the green part. I also cut down the sides of the sides of the green part so it was just enough to grip. The top latchhook in the picture directly above is the modified hook that I currently use to latch my new growth. At about 3 inches, it's comfortable for me and, unlike the Nappylocs tool, I don't lose it if I drop it!

Thursday, November 09, 2006


A friend emailed me and asked what I do with my hair. She said she had 6yo locks also and wanted some inspiration for new styles from someone who had similar length locks.

I replied that right now, I'm in love with my Softspike curlers. When I take them out, I get long Shirley Temple curls. I usually leave them intact for up to a week. After that I shake out what's left of the curl and just wear in in a loose curl with some of the hairties I made to keep it off my face. You can see a picture of those curls in the post directly below or in my fotki album. I don't use setting lotion, but I've tried the JML setting lotion (it's ok). Others use Lottabody, which I used when I was relaxed.

My daughter also has 3yo locks. She likes it best when I braid in about 20 sections and then take it out for a crimped look. I use crinkles and curls on hers because it seems hers doesn't hold a curl as long as mine.

I haven't really tried to do up-dos partly beacuse they feel heavy and partly because I can't seem to get it all up in something that looks like a style using only my two hands. I think I need at least one or two more hands to make it look like it wasn't a mistake! Plus, I don't do alot of parting because my crown area is thin. When I'm not feeling like curling, I just leave it straight and pull it back with a tie or pull it up into a high "I Dream of Jeannie" ponytail. This french braid is one hairstyle that I've mastered and can do quickly. Also, this style will last for several days, even if I don't cover it at night!

I'm looking for cute, but easy to do styles. But part of the appeal of SL's is that I can do nothing and still look good! I washed my hair this weekend and, since I'm getting ready to retighten, I didn't curl it. What was unusual was that rather than pulling it back, I just let it flow with no ties or anything, which is something I rarely do because I hate it falling into my face or having to constantly flip it over my shoulder. Stay tuned for more hairstyles.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Latchhook v Sisterlock tool

Several members of Lockitup have inquired about whether there are any differences in the look of locks that are maintained using the Sisterlocks tool and those that are maintained using a latchook. My SLs were started with the SL tool and my consultant maintained them for about 2 and a half years that way. After that, I began retightening them myself. I found the Latchin' e-booklet (there's a link for this on the side - I don't know how to link in my text yet!) because I had never taken the SL retightening course. I'm all about being able to do it yourself, as economically as possible, so when I read the booklet, to me it felt and looked like what I saw my consultant doing.

Since I didn't actually take the retightening course, I'm not saying that the way that I latch my locks is exactly the SL way that they were originated. The Latchin' booklet advises that a 2 point pattern be used. I did follow those directions, but after hearing others talk about "4's" and "reverse 4's," I started using a 4 point circular rotation to maintain my locks. I also know that the Nappylocks tool has instructions for a 6 and 8 point rotation, although I've never actually read those instructions for myself. I also started my daughter's locks myself from 2-strand twists and then retightened using the latchhook instructions.

As I said, I've had my SLs for 6 years now. Other than trimming off the relaxed ends over the first 4 years, I've never cut my actual locks in the back. My best estimate is that the bottom third of the locks is the SL pattern and everything from that point up to the root is from a latching pattern. So, for those of you who are concerned whether there's a discernable difference from one to the other, see for yourself. If you see a difference, or think there'll be a dfference in yours, then take the retightening course and use the SL tool. If you think not, save your money and purchase the latching e-booklet (for about $10-$15) and a latchhook (for about $1) or purchase the Nappylocks tool (for about $15) and the instructions. I don't know how much the instructions cost, but there's also a link to Nappylocks on the side.