Talavera Tutorial

Talavera Tutorial

Posted by Laura Kenyon on

Did you see the new Halloween pattern called Talavera pumpkin?  The pattern is inspired by the colorful Mexican pottery.  I couldn’t wait to hook it myself so I thought it would be fun to do a tutorial.


I’ll go through it over the next few weeks and you can join me to hook as we go, or just read along.  If you are new to hooking, this might give you a little comfort that you can ask questions as we go. Maybe pick up a hint you might want to try. Or chime in if you know a better way. That is what the comments section is for.

OK, first things first.  I am hooking in an 8 cut for most of it.  I  used a 6 cut for the dark blue outline of the pumpkin and the ribs  Some of the fine outlines are in a 4 cut in dark blue, but don’t panic, not that much.  If you don’t have a number 4 cutter wheel, you could cut the number 8 strips in half by hand. You may decide that you don’t even need the fine outlines.   I’m using colors and the outline technique to mimic  the pottery.

talavera dishmexican talavera pot

Here are the colors:  Bright blue, dark blue, yellow orange, orange, green yellow, yellow green, medium green, very light, light and medium rose, light and medium turquoise, medium warm brown, black, and white (or natural).

I dyed the pieces that I didn’t already have in my stash.  If you would like to know a dye recipe, leave a comment. Now, I didn’t sit down and color plan the whole rug. I don’t usually work that way.  I just picked a palette and started hooking. I just hope I don’t hook myself into a corner as I go.

So let’s get started…

The rule for hooking portraits is to do the eyes first. I don’t follow the rules but it’s nice to know them.  Anyway, this is so not a portrait but it is fun to see him smiling back at you as you hook. So we’ll start with black to “Cut out” the jack-o-lantern eyes and nose with sharp straight edges.

Hooking the eyes


  For beginners, remember to start the outline inside and  not directly on the drawn line, then fill in the area.  If you hook on the line, it will actually make the eyes half a strip width bigger.

Then “paint” around them with white. The best way to get a sharp edge is to hook the first white strip very close to the black so the loops hold each other tight.  Then onto the mouth.  Because of the teeth,  I found it easier to hook the white first and then fill the black.


I hooked the stem and the leaf next, just because it is simple outline and fill.  To outline the pumpkin and the ribs, I used the dark blue in a 6 cut I think an 8 cut strip might have been to prominent especially hooking the ribs.  Notice that I didn’t hook a border around the white. I don’t have a good reason except that I think there is enough contrast without it. 


So, like I said, I didn’t color plan ahead, but I sort of knew where some colors were going.  Because I saw the scroll needing to be the lighter orange color,I started on the farthest rib on the left.  I know everyone else in the world would start at the right since we read from right to left.  Maybe because I’m left handed, I started on the left. Hook the scroll in the lighter orange. Two strips fit perfectly.  Then outline the scroll in 4 cut, setting it close. I hooked the leaf in the yellow green with a dark green stem. The flower half is dark rose with the yellow green center.  Then outline in the blue.  I know, now I am really backward, filling then outlining.  But the outline is so flimsy in the 4 cut that the outline got pushed all around when I tried to hook inside it. 

The exception is before filling in the pumpkin in that rib, I hooked the outline of the shoulder motif. Now to fill in around the motifs and finish that rib.  Hook  one row all the way around the inside of the 6 cut borders to keep them nice and straight, then fill at will.

  Now let's go to the section on the opposite edge of the pumpkin. Turquoise was chosen for the “flags” above because I planned to use turquoise on the big field to the left of the pumpkin.  That design reminds me of clouds.

flags on left edge

To balance the two shades of orange in the first section, hook the big zigzag in the light orange as well, and use the pumpkin color for background. 

zig zag     contour of paisley tip

I accented with a little more turquoise on the paisley designs.  One word for beginners. To hook a tight curve, either turn your hand or your frame so the hook is perfectly perpendicular to the direction you are hooking.   To contour at the tip of the paisley, or to fill a skinny space, turn your loop 90 degrees to the direction of your hooking.

Finished paisley

That is enough for now.  We’ll tackle some of the trickier ribs next time.  I’ll give you a few days to catch up.


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