Turning a Hooked Mat into a Pillow

This month’s post is PACKED full of info, so keep on scrolling.

We’ve covered the basics for hemming your projects, but never gone over the steps for making a hooked mat into a pillow, so I’ll take you through the steps below.

Then you can read about our new Mushroom Rug Hook, the best one I’ve tried so far. Then other fun stuff like did you know you can order your copy of T-Shirt Treasures now (see link below)? You can read about this month’s Featured Rug and find out how blog subscribers can save 20% on the design. I’ve got a show in Monroe, WA this month, and don’t forget that for every $50 you spend between now and November 25, 2018 you’ll be entered to win the Antique Flower Rug (holiday shopping anyone?)! And I’ll close with some thoughts on contacting me via email.

finished pillow for web

But first, here’s how you make your hooked mat into a pillow. First I’ll show the basic way, then a fancier way, if you prefer.

trim edges and corners for web

Trim the backing away about 2″ from the hooked edge, and cut off the corners about 1″ from the hooked corner.

folding down corner for web

Fold down the diagonal, close to the hooked edge.

pin corner one for web

Fold down one side, close to the hooked edge and pin in place.

pinned down total hem for web

Repeat for all the sides, so the extra burlap is pinned down all around.

tacking down edge for web

With a regular needle and thread, baste the folded edge down close to the hooked edge. Be sure you are grabbing the burlap in the hooked side, not a loop of yarn. It isn’t necessary to baste down the cut edges of the burlap, but you can if you want. When you have basted all around, you can remove the pins.

trim backing edges and corners for web

Lay the hooked mat over the material you want to use for the back of the pillow. Trim to about 1″ all around, cutting off the corners about 1/2″ from the hooked edge.

fold backing corner for web

Turn your work over. Tuck the back material diagonal corner under, so you can just see the hooked corner of the mat.

pinning backing down corner one for web

Fold the back material under along one side. Pin down close to the hooked edge.

folding backing corner down two for web

Fold the second corner down, tucking the excess back material inside and pin down, close to the hooked edge. Repeat all around the sides and corners.

first stitch for web

With a regular needle and thread, stitch the two layers together. Come in from the back of the pillow, making sure you are sewing through the burlap (not a bit of yarn along the hooked edge). When you have pulled your needle through, come in from the hooked side to the back material. Stitch back and forth in this way (as opposed to stitching around and around). As you stitch, pull the back material tight against the hooked edge, so no burlap shows through along the edge.

stitching continued for web

This picture shows the back material closely stitched to the mat so the burlap doesn’t show.

the gap for web

Keep stitching the edge all around, leaving a 4″ gap for stuffing.

stuffing for web

Stuff with polyester stuffing. Put in small handfuls (hands full?) at a time to avoid lumpiness.

pinning gap for web

When you’re happy with the amount of stuffing, pin the gap closed, and stitch.

If you want to be really fancy, you can bind the edge of your hooked mat first, just as if you were making a floor rug. Then follow the steps above to sew the backing on.

hemming 1 rotated for web

For this method, wrap the backing around a cotton cord (cord shown on top).

hemming 2 for web

With a regular needle and thread, tack the cording in place, sticking out beyond the hooked edge.

hemming 3 for web

Stitch right up to the corner.

hemming 4 for web

Keep stitching around the corner.

hemming 5 for web

Here’s what the corner will look like from the back when you’ve tacked the cording down all around.

hemming 6 for web

Fold down the backing on the diagonal corner.

hemming 7

Pin down one side.

hemming 8

Pin down the other side. Stitch the mitered corner together and remove the pins.

hemming 9

With matching yarn and an upholstery needle, come in from the back to the front, leaving about a 1″ tail in the back. Whip stitch a couple of times around from back to front, sewing over the tail in the back.

hemming 10 for web

When you have established the stitching, come in from the front with your needle, instead of going around and coming in from the back. Do this once, and when you come to the end of the yarn, your final tail will be in the back as well. Then you’ll continue with another piece of yarn, coming in from the back to begin with, this time whip stitching around both tails.

hemming 11 for web

When you come to the place where you began, just put your needle through about 1″ of the whip stitching, pull it through and trim. Now all the tails are covered. Follow the steps above to sew the back material on your pillow.

Introducing The Mushroom Rug Hook!

mushroom hook cropped

I know what you’re thinking. “That’s the weirdest rug hook I’ve ever seen!”

It’s also the most comfortable, ergonomic hook I’ve ever tried.

There’s lots of hooks on the market, in every shape imaginable, from fancy wood handles to curved hooks (the metal part). They can get spendy, too (up to $40). Most of those hooks have longer, narrower handles. But this one is designed to be perfect for rug hooking. Why? Because the wider end gives me more to push against with my palm, and since my fingers are naturally curved around it, no effort is required to hold onto the hook when I’m pulling it up.

pushing hook in

Pushing the hook in with my palm is easy with the wider handle.

pulling hook out

My fingers are relaxed when I pull up on the loop.

The metal part is 2 mm, which is perfect for all types of backing. It’s my ideal hook. At only ten bucks, it’s a great deal.

T-Shirt Treasures is available now. It’s everything you need to know if you want to try hooking durable, machine-washable, beautiful heirloom rugs with T-shirts!

t shirt cover scan for web

Even though the book is out now, I’m still interested in adding new T-shirt rugs to future editions, so if you have hooked, are hooking, or are thinking of hooking a T-shirt rug, please send me your photos!

hearts hit or miss for web

Hearts Rug, 18″x30″, Designed and hooked by Judy Taylor

The Featured Rug of the Month at Little House rugs is the Hearts Rug, done up here with the multi-colored hit-or-miss background. What a fun way to use up leftover yarn! Blog subscribers can get the Hearts Rug pattern on linen, custom kit (in your choice of colors) and the Special Package (custom kit, hook and Joy of Hooking With Yarn!) all for 20% off, but only until October 31.

I’m going to have a booth at Fiber Fusion October 20 and 21 in Monroe, WA. It’s my last show of the year, so come and say “hi!”

antique flower rug cropped for web

Antique Flower Rug, 33.5″x24.5″ Designed and hooked by Judy Taylor

It’s not too late to get yourself entered to win the Antique Flower Rug (a $550 value). For every $50 you spend with Little House Rugs between now and November 25, 2018, you’ll be entered to win this rug. Good luck!

On E-mailing me: I have noticed over the last couple of years that when I respond to an email, sometimes I get another email from the person, wondering if I got the first one! Yikes! And those are the people who thought to ask. I assume there’s lots of other people who never heard back from me and just thought I was ignoring them!

So clearly, some of my responses are getting bumped because of spam filters. There’s two things you can do if you want to email me (or if you want my reply to get to you!): One, be sure you include your phone number on the contact form and two, add littlehouserugs@hotmail.com to your contact list. You’d think that a spam program could recognize that you sent me an email, and thereby realize that you kinda wanted me to reply, but I’m no tech wizard. Their magic is beyond my pay grade.

Whew! I guess that’s it for this month. Happy Hooking everyone!

Judy Taylor



2 thoughts on “Turning a Hooked Mat into a Pillow

  1. Hi,

    I had sent a question through the ‘contact me’ link on your website but it is probable that you did not get it.

    I am looking for a copy of the “Yarniverse” book and probably the new T-shirt book as well. Do you have anyone stocking copies of these books in Canada? I would look at buying direct from your site but the shipping and customs for such a small order just add way too much to the cost!

    Thanks Michelle in Nova Scotia, Canada

    On Facebook…. Michelle’s Jewelry & Textile Studio



    • I definitely do ship to Canada. If you have a favorite yarn shop in your area, you could ask them to order wholesale? They can email me at judytaylor@littlehouserugs.com. Shipping one book to you costs about $12.75. Slightly more if you order two books (not double). If Paypal charges you too much on shipping, I always refund any excess so you won’t pay more than the actual cost for shipping. Takes about two weeks to ship to Canada.


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