At Ofo's advice I bought a plastic yarn needle last month (89p for 2) and cut it down to size. I didn't bother widening the eye or anything because my starter locs are so thin they fit easily. I read through Bajan-American (yes I had to mention the Bajan bit!) Nubian Locked Princess' post on interlocking patterns one more time (well more like 10 more times) and then brought out the mirror. Ps - Ofo is great for advice .
I separated my hair into four quadrants and began with the lowest row on the front right side. The first 2 were the hardest, I thought I'll just do a couple of rows so that my retight session won't take too long tomorrow (new consultant charges by the hour) and before I knew it I'd finished the first half of my head.
I guess it must have taken 3 hours because I watched about 3 long programmes with my daughter while I was doing it - good thing she was around too because I accidentally combined 2 adjacent locks a couple of times but when I showed her where she was able to reverse them so everything is still cool... well except one that for the life of me I couldn't figure out how to untangle to I took one loc down in order to save them both. Hopefully, my new consultant will re-'start' it for me, otherwise I'll just have to twist or braid it and leave it. Not bothered really.
I also left all the 'dodgy' (fragile) locs for the consultant to review, repair and retighten as necessary. I'm not an expert and I prefer to be able to blame the experts if they cock it up (not my own silly self!). PLUS most of the 'undone' or slipped locs are at the back - I need a professional to fix those.
I have oodles of new growth at the temples... it looks like a patch of heather or peat with long grass growing above it (the grass would be the locs that remain heheh). My last consultant had said there wasn't much she could do with the fuzzy patches because they were like baby hair, so it's like having a small soft curly afro at the front. (Must post a picture when I find what I did with the camera). I'd be surprised if the new consultant locs them into anything.
So what have I learned?
- It is easier to reverse accidentally combined locs than I would have imagined. If you catch yourself quickly enough, it's a doddle to undo.
- Using the yarn needle isn't as difficult as I thought it would be. I kept wondering how I would thread my curly bendy end through the peeny eye, but of course if you fold the loc in half, the bowed end is sturdier and slides through easily - now what's so hard about that? Chah! I was also scared that the loc would just keep slipping out but I've managed to devise a technique of holding it while threading it through the new growth which doesn't hurt my fingers.
- My wrists, arms. fingers etc do NOT ache after those couple of hours doing it myself. If I wasn't sleepy I might have attempted the back. I figure, I could do the front one evening and the back another evening and be done in 2 days.
- Remembering your pattern is a doddle once you've started. Mine is a 3 point rotation and I managed to do 2-3 full rotations on each loc (it's been about 2 months since my last retighten). Once you get the hang of which direction you need to interlock in and when - you can really fly through them!
I liked the freedom with doing my own hair. It's been ages since I felt like I didn't really have to depend on anyone to fix my hair - yes, I do my own washing and styling but relying on someone else to retighten felt disempowering to me. At least now I am one step closer to getting my groove back :)
ps - Thanks to my sisterLocked friends online and in the flesh who have continually inspired me to do more! God bless you!