etsy mini

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Hooked rag rugs

Today I will give you a quick tutorial on how to make hooked rugs. Very few tools are needed and the design possibilities are endless. This is my favourite type of rug.
In the picture above you can see the main tool used in this process - your hook. There are 3 different sizes, primitive for large scale work, medium and fine. I would recommend that you start with a medium hook. The fine one is only suitable for small scale work where you are hooking very thin strips of fabric or yarn.
You will also need a sharp pair of scissors.
A frame. This type of rug really needs to be held taught on a frame. It is possible to do without or use a large quilting frame but much easier on a large frame. A quilting frame is fine if you already have one but you can also screw 4 pieces of wood together a few inches larger than you want your finished rug to be.
Marker pen.

For the base of your rug you will need a piece of hessian ( burlap). Originally feed sacks were used but hessian can be bought at fabric shops. Get a medium weave.
Fabric to hook with. For the most exciting results use as many different textures as possible. T shirt fabric is very easy to hook as it has stretch in it but try to mix it with other fabrics and yarns. For lots of texture sheeps fleece can be used either as it comes or dyed. It is best to sort through your old clothes and see what you no longer wear. Start with what you have in the house. In the photograph of a sheep being shorn I used sheep's fleece for the sheep, old jeans for the shearers jeans, t shirt fabric for his t shirt and various other fabrics for the background.
As you can see it is possible to make a picture for the wall with this method as well as an actual rug. The fabric needs to be cut in to strips about 1/2 inch wide or slightly less. Thick fabrics should be cut thinner and fine fabrics thicker. The strips should be as long as your piece of fabric allows.
Design - You can create quite elaborate designs. A scene, something geometric, stripes or whatever takes your fancy. The design should be drawn straight on to the hessian with a marker pen. If you are not confident make paper templates and draw around them. If you prefer you can make a meandering rug. This means that you draw one line on your rug in a shape which pleases you and simply take which ever fabric you feel like and meander around the first line in a free form fashion. I have seen some very attractive designs done in this way. The unfinished rug in the picture above is a meandering design reminiscent of a sunset. You can see the hessian in the unworked areas.
Now fix your hessian to your frame. I use a staple gun for this but it could be stitched as well. Make sure it is quite taut. Find a comfortable position to sit in. It is often convenient to sit in a chair next to a table with one side of the frame resting on the table.
To hook - hold the hook in your dominant hand on top of the hessian and hold a strip of fabric  in your other hand underneath the hessian. Bring the fabric strip up so it touches the hessian and hook a loop of it through with your hook. Your loop should be in between 1/4 and 1/2 inch tall. Move along a few holes in the weave of the hessian and hook another loop through . That is all there is to it. When you want to change colour simply snip of the remaining fabric and start with another. Because the loops are squashed tightly together they will not come out unless you pull them really hard.
To finish remove from the frame and hem the unhooked edges to the back. You can line the back with a piece of calico but it is not necessary. As you can see in my 'paisley forest' design above the rug can be any shape you want it to be!
Happy hooking.
Next time we will look at a different type of rug.

1 comment:

  1. I have never heard of rug hooking projects explained so simply. That is amazing. Sue, you are so talented. I admire all that you do. Good job!