How to make hooked rugs

July 29, 2015

Contemporary, stylish and an essential for your home décor, hooked rugs make a statement in any room. This simple hobby is easy to get a hang of, and doesn't require a lot of equipment. Here are some tips on entering the fascinating hobby of rug hooking.

How to make hooked rugs

The ABCs of hooking: a repetition of simple steps

Traditionally, a barbed steel hook was used for hooked rag rugs. Specialist suppliers may stock these. Otherwise use a four millimetre medium crochet hook; its point must be tapered to part the hessian without breaking fibres.

  1. To start hooking, hold wool strip beneath hessian backing and push hook through so that its tip catches the strip. Next, press hook's shank sideways to enlarge hole and pull the end of strip up through the hessian.
  2. Continue hooking by inserting the hook into the next hole of hessian. Wrap a loop of the strip around the hook tip and pull the loop up and through until it is about 6 millimetres (1/4 inch) above the hessian. Twist the hook slightly to release the loop.
  3. Continue hooking, occasionally skipping a space so loops do not become tightly packed. After an entire strip has been hooked its tail end must be pulled to the top of the backing, and both ends must be clipped to match the height of the loops.

Making curved rows

Once you learn to hook straight rows, try making meandering ones.

  • Draw large, sweeping S-shaped curves on the backing and follow them as you hook.
  • Make each row parallel to the one before. Fill left-over spaces with shorter rows.
  • With practice you will not need to draw lines to follow.
  • Use curved rows to make a rich background texture and to fill and outline any design.
  • At the beginning, start by filling in the design; then outline the area with your background colour.
  • Next, hook along the rug's outer edge and fill in the background.

Making your own pattern

With experience, you may want to attempt a rug based on a pattern of your own invention. The simplest way to create a pattern is to draw freehand with indelible ink on the hessian. Another method is to trace around cardboard cutouts. You can also plan a rug on paper, then transfer the design.

  1. One way to make the transfer is to place tulle net over the completed design and trace the design onto the netting.
  2. Next, place the netting on the hessian and retrace the design, using ink that will bleed through onto the hessian.
  1. As an alternative, prepare your design on tracing paper, turn the paper over, and trace the lines with an iron-on transfer pencil (available in craft shops).
  2. Pin the paper to the backing so that the transfer marking lies against it and then iron over the design to transfer the markings.

Scaling a design

You can plan a scaled-down design, then enlarge it to full size.

  1. To find the right proportions, draw a diagonal line on the backing between two corners of the planned rug.
  2. Draw a smaller rectangle on tracing paper, two corners of which fall on the same diagonal.
  3. Plan the design on the paper then transfer to backing using a square grid as a guide.

While making hooked rugs is easy, creating an elaborate rug design isn't for beginners.  With a lot of practice, there's no limit to the rug designs you can create.

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