Making Hooked Rugs

Learning to make hooked rugs is easy. And who knows, it could develop into a profitable sideline if you do quality work.

| January/February 1983

  • hooked rugs - looping strip around hook
    Wrap a wool strip around you hook like this.
    Borgne M. Keith
  • hooked rugs - wool strips, hand hook, scissors, burlap
    The equipment and materials you'll need to make hooked rugs include wool strips, a hand hook, scissors, and burlap. For intricate patters and hoop frame also helps.
    Photo by Borgne M. Keith
  • hooked rugs - pulling loop through mesh pattern
    Pull a loop up through the backing.
    Borgne M. Keith
  • hooked rugs - man holding completed rug
    A completed rug. With practice you might be able to profit from your hobby.
    Borgne M. Keith

  • hooked rugs - looping strip around hook
  • hooked rugs - wool strips, hand hook, scissors, burlap
  • hooked rugs - pulling loop through mesh pattern
  • hooked rugs - man holding completed rug

On a frosty morning, when you start to swing your dreading-to-touch-the-cold-floor feet out of your snug bed, wouldn't it be nice to know there's a cuddly hooked rug waiting for them? That floor covering can warm you inside, too, if it's an "heirloom" that you made yourself!

And you can create a cozy treat for your toes, because hooked rugs require neither special needle-working ability nor a big budget. If you've got a rug-sized scrap of burlap to use as backing, some odds and ends of old wool clothing to recycle, a dollar or two to spend on the one necessary tool, and a few stay-at-home hours to spare, you can soon be a homestead rug hooker.

What's more, if you become really good at this craft, you can use it to turn a profit. There's quite a demand for fine handmade floor coverings, you see, and the price tags on quality hooked rugs can run from $100 to $1,000.

How to Get Hooking

There're about as many techniques for hooking a rug as there are materials available to do it with. To narrow the field, a beginner might be wisest to learn hand-hooking first, using salvaged or inexpensive burlap and wool strips. This is by far the simplest and least costly method.

To get started, buy a hand hook (it'll cost around $1.25) from a crafts supply store. Then scout out some nice scraps of wool fabric (you'll need half a pound for each square foot of your rug), either in your own closets and basement or at a thrift shop or flea market. Wool is far superior to any other rugmaking material, simply because it wears so well. What's more, it's easily dyed ... so you needn't limit your color scheme to the shades you find. If you do plan to dye your raw material, though, you'll want to buy or scrounge as much light-colored (preferably white or beige) fabric as you can.

Design Preparation

In order to create a pleasing rug, you'll need to work from a well-planned, interesting design. That's interesting, not intricate. So for your maiden attempt either beg, borrow, or sketch your own uncomplicated floral or geometric pattern, perhaps one that will require various hues of just one color. It's all too easy for a beginner to get bogged down in a design, no matter how beautiful, that calls for lots of color and line changes. Keep your first attempt simple, then, and work up to complex details gradually as you become more proficient at the technique.

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