Troubleshooting Your Technique

As of January 2020, Hooking With Yarn has moved and has a new name, Rug Hooking Adventures. Same monthly posting, with tips & techniques, Featured Rug of the Month, web specials and more (just no more pesky ads!). Click here to sign up for the new blog. Thanks!

As my show and class season winds down for the year, I’m thinking about all my students that I had in class. I hope they’re doing well with the craft, and I thought it might be a good time to go over some common problems that beginners can encounter. Words and pictures can be helpful, but I have a couple of YouTube videos that can sometimes help more.

For a basic overview of hooking rugs with yarn, try https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WAqNkrDM5E&t=6s

And for hooking with T-Shirts, try https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExEbox_Hpns&t=3s

Even if you’re primarily interested in hooking with yarn, I really recommend the video on hooking with T-shirts, because the technique is almost exactly the same as hooking with yarn, but with this short video, we really made an effort to film from below. I have found that when you’re learning to hook, one of the biggest challenges is that you can’t actually SEE what your hand is doing under the backing, so the T-shirt video really shows what the process looks like in motion.

Some of the most common problems people encounter when they start rug hooking are splitting the yarn and pulling out the previous loop. Let’s go over the basic steps to address those:

109. 2 tbear hooking

Here you can see that I’ve pulled up the first tail. Next I’ll push in the hook next to the tail to make my first loop.

111. 4 tbear hookingFrom below, I slide my hand down a little bit and lift the yarn up to connect it with the hook. Notice that I don’t grab the yarn close to where it comes out of the back (if I did that, it would be very easy for me to pull out the loop or tail I just did). Giving myself some slack before I connect the yarn to the hook makes it possible for me to pull up the yarn tight in back without disturbing the previous loop. So if you find you’re pulling out the previous loop, try to remind yourself to give some extra slack.112. 5 tbear hooking

Once I have connected the yarn to the hook, I pinch down on it. This prevents me from splitting the yarn as I pull my hook up to the top. I keep downward pressure on the yarn until the hook is through to the top.

113. 6 tbear hooking

Now that the hook has been pulled through to the top, I can let go with my hand underneath and just feel that loop (slack) pull tight against the back as I continue to pull up with the hook. When I’m satisfied that I’ve pulled the slack up tight against the back, I remove the hook from the loop above, and just pull the loop down until it’s the height I want.

How high should the loop be? If you look at a loop from the side, it should look round, like a little ball on top of the backing, it should spread out above the hole. If the loop is too high, you could push it over. That makes it difficult to fill in the space and it’s easier to snag a loop that’s hooked too high. What you want is a loop that spreads out and fills in the space around it. If the loop is too short, it will look stubby from the side, and won’t look like it spreads out above the backing. What holds the hooking in place is that the loops spread out, and are then packed in all around them.

117. 10 tbear hooking

As soon as you’ve surrounded those tails, trim them from above, even with the loops around them.

How do you know if you’re overpacking the loops? The rug won’t lay flat, for one thing. Ideally, your loops are close enough together that you can’t see the backing from the front, but if you flip the rug over, you should be able to see gaps between the rows (like in the picture below).

118. 11 tbear hooking view of backside

This month’s Featured Rug is by Margaret Magic from Bellingham, WA. Click here to read more about it!

margaret magic bunny cropped for web

Bunnies, 14″x14″ Designed and hooked by Margaret Magic

Do you have a rug you would like to see featured on Little House Rugs? Let me know! If your rug is featured, you will receive your choice of a free half-yard of linen or our rug hooking totebag that says “FIBER is good for you!” It can be a rug you’ve made, found or inherited. Every rug has a story and we love to hear all about them, so what are you waiting for?

And just for poops and giggles, check out this video of my little goat who think’s she’s either trying out for the circus, or the Brementown Musicians!

As a special holiday thank you to my blog subscribers, everything on the website is 20% off (that includes kits, frames, and rugs, as long as they’re in stock) through December 31, 2019. When you order, be sure to put in the note to the seller that you’re a subscriber and your 20% will be refunded. Not yet a subscriber? It couldn’t be easier, just look for the Follow button at the bottom right-hand side of your screen. Happy Hooking Everyone!

Judy Taylor


5 thoughts on “Troubleshooting Your Technique

  1. Robin Chubak says:

    I understand your need for sponsorship for your business but your use of conservative Republican advertising turns my stomach. Please remove my name from your mailing list.


  2. I’m sorry that the advertising can be so obnoxious. Just wanted to let you know I have no control over what ads go up on my blog, and I don’t make any money off them. I pay a fee to WordPress to host my blog, and make it available to anyone to read for “free,” but of course, it’s not free, the price is that you will be targeted by advertisers. Charging people to read my blog doesn’t sit well, so unless I can find a blog provider that doesn’t do ads, I will continue with WordPress. In the meantime, I can’t unsubscribe you from the blog from my end. The way to do it is for you to log into your WordPress account. You will see a list of blogs you follow. Click on the Manage button. When you see the Hooking With Yarn blog, there will be a button that says Following. Just click that button and you’ll be out. Sorry for the inconvenience.


    • I just wanted to let you know I figured a way I can offer a blog without any ads. It’s going to involve doing my website all over, but I think it’s worth it, considering how irritating those ads can be. So if I haven’t lost you yet as a subscriber, stay tuned. I’ll be announcing the new ad-free home for the blog in the coming weeks. Thanks for bringing up the issue.


  3. Cathy Ware says:

    do you offer color cards for your yarns? I went to your site and saw the sample ordering which is nice but I would like to have what’s available in front of me when I order. How do I order and what is the cost? I couldn’t find that info on your site. Thanks, Cathy

    On Fri, Nov 1, 2019 at 6:06 PM Hooking With Yarn wrote:

    > judytaylor2013 posted: “As my show and class season winds down for the > year, I’m thinking about all my students that I had in class. I hope > they’re doing well with the craft, and I thought it might be a good time to > go over some common problems that beginners can encounter. Word” >


    • I don’t have color cards, because all my yarn is done custom, meaning I can do pretty much any color or blend you want. I charge $5/oz for most yarns, and $6/oz for handspun yarn. The samplers I offer on the website are for you to try hooking with my yarn to see if you like it. From there, if you can supply me with your colors (fabric swatches, paint chips from the hardware store, etc) I can create yarns for your project.


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