Details… Details…

One of the best things about hooking rugs with yarn is that you have so much control over detail. Your rugs can be simple, primitive and homey, or packed with intricate detail and shading.

I wrote in the previous blog post that I was taking on a project challenge: to try to hook my version of the Lady and the Unicorn tapestry. The project is coming along, and I thought I would share one of my techniques for sharpening up details.


Lady and the Unicorn, in progress

In my book, Joy of Hooking (With Yarn!), I likened rug hooking to coloring with crayons, partly because we all share fond memories of the uninhibited freedom that coloring with crayons gave us as kids. Crayons make a mark that is very similar to the width of a strand of yarn, so that is one reason for the comparison, but what I really meant was that we don’t second-guess our artistic efforts when we color with crayons. We are just like “Harold and the Purple Crayon,” we just let our imaginations go.

So crayons are well and good, but sometimes you really want a pencil. When you are hooking with yarn, you can always add more detail. Here’s an example.


Detail of the blue underdress, first attempt

The Lady’s light blue underdress has some shading, but it also has some sharp lines where a fold of fabric is resting on another bit of fabric. I hooked those lines between the folds first, then I hooked the shading (above). You can see that by hooking the lines with yarn that is the same thickness as the surrounding loops, the lines look like I drew them with crayons. But what if you want those lines to be a bit more subtle?


Underdress rehooked

I consider those first lines that I hooked as placeholders. I unhooked the grey lines and rehooked them with a single strand of embroidery thread, because I know that it is much easier to hook fine lines after the area surrounding the line is already hooked. Because the embroidery thread is so much finer than the original grey yarn, I added some of the background yarn alongside it, so the embroidery thread showed up.

Hopefully, you can see the difference. The first example looks like the lines were drawn with crayon, the second looks more like the lines were drawn with pencil. The basic shading remains the same, but I got a sharper line separating the folds. The great thing about hooking with yarn is that you can always add more detail! For more techniques on adding detail to your rugs, check out Rug Hooker’s Guide to the YARNIVERSE! at

This month’s Featured Rug at Little House Rugs was made by Lisa Ballou.


Lisa Ballou with her Stars Rug

Lisa is new to rug hooking. She started with a small beginner kit, and produced this lovely first rug! You can read all about it right here:

Don’t forget the drawing for the Good Dog rug!

terrier finished for web better

Irish Terrier rug, re-hooked with new background

For every $50 you spend with Little House Rugs between now and November 26, 2016, you will be entered to win this rug! If you were thinking of shopping for Christmas or treating yourself to anything from the website, now’s the time. You might win the rug!

Happy Hooking everyone!




2 thoughts on “Details… Details…

  1. moomstex says:

    As they say…Thanks for sharing! I hope it helps me with some letters I am doing. When you say embroidery thread…do you mean needlepoint wool? Or could you use sport weight instead of DK. Obviously I need to get your book.😊


    • Thanks for that question. Now that you mention it, I have hooked with embroidery thread, but what I used in this rug was a single strand of tapestry wool (is that what you’re calling needlepoint?). It is called Laine Colber DMC, 100% wool, 3-ply. So I cut a 12″ piece and literally untwisted the strands, so I was hooking with a very fine yarn. As I said, it is much easier to hook with such a fine thread if the surrounding area is already hooked, but you need that placeholder, otherwise there is no way to know where the line was supposed to be.


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