What yarns work best for rug hooking?
Basically any yarn that is a worsted weight-bulky will work well for rug hooking, as long as it is not slippery. If you are looking at a label, any yarn that knits 3.5-4 knitted stitches per inch is great. Wool is just plain wonderful, but lots of other fibers hook up well, again, as long as they are not slippery. Figure that you will need around 4 oz of yarn per square foot of hooked area.
I make three different yarns that work well for rug hooking. Ewenique is a blend of fibers from our farm (65% Jacob wool, 35% adult mohair), Jacob’s Pride is a worsted-weight yarn that is 100% Jacob.
Handspinning yarn is a great way to design yarns with the exact features you want, such as thickness, texture, colors and fiber types. I do custom handspinning, but you can also check out spinning guilds in your area.
Handspun yarn is a great way to incorporate natural colors in your rugs. There is an amazing variety of breeds of sheep, fleece types and colors. This is a feature that is simply not available when hooking with fabric strips, and is something that I really enjoy in my rugs.
That being said, while I go through a ton of the above yarns, I also consume vast amounts of other brands. Halcyon Yarn (a mail order yarn company, also online) has three yarns that I love; Deco, Rug Wool and Botanica. Deco and Botanica are both worsted weight, Rug Wool is bulky.
Basically any yarn company will have a variety of weights, so look for their worsted/bulky offerings. Some of the brands I like are Patons Bulky, Reynold’s Lopi (lopi yarns are single ply yarns, lovely to work with, but not my first choice for floor rugs, not as durable as a plied yarn), Rowan Big Wool, Briggs & Little Super and Atlantic, Peace Fleece, Cascade Yarns,
Universal Deluxe Chunky, Araucania, Sensations Licorice, Lion’s Pride Organic Cotton, Blackberry Ridge, New Zealand Woolpack. I am always on the lookout for sales. (And by the way, Knitpicks.com is having a sale on wool yarns in worsted weight and bulky. I haven’t yet tried those brands but they look lovely!).
And one of the best sources of yarn is your very own stash! You have one, admit it. All those leftovers from knitting or crochet, or weaving, or macrame, whatever. All those gorgeous yarns you bought because you simply had to have them, regardless of what you might do with them. These are some of the most fun yarns to work with, because you can do such whimsical hit-or-miss designs.
Do yourself a favor, take out all those leftovers, all those yarn purchases and get them out where you can see them. Organize them by color, so color planning your project is a breeze. This will take up some space in your home studio, but it is so helpful. Every time I walk into my workroom, I feel inspired, like I get to ‘go shopping.’
The Featured Rug of the Month at http://www.littlehouserugs.com this month is a super easy hit or miss design, called Velkommen (Norwegian for ‘welcome’). Any and all of your leftover yarns will work great for this design, and it’s an easy way to get the hang of rug hooking.
Subscribers to this blog can get 30% off on Vilkommen kits and patterns at http://www.littlehouserugs.com/velkommenspecial.html.
Next topic: Which backing is best for rug hooking?