What is Hooking With Yarn?
Rug hooking with yarn is an easy and fun craft that anyone can learn. Using good wool yarn and a linen backing, these rugs can last over one hundred years and be enjoyed by many generations to come. They are relatively easy to clean and repair. But best of all, they provide an unlimited creative outlet for people who like to work with yarn!
This blog is dedicated to that craft. We will feature articles on the how-to’s, as well as share information on upcoming shows and classes on the craft. Every month we will feature a rug, and provide ideas and tips to stimulate your creativity.
You are encouraged to comment and ask questions on subjects that are of interest to you. If you are curious about something, you can bet there are a lot of folks out there with the same question. As a subscriber to this blog, you will receive exclusive discounts on products from our website, http://www.littlehouserugs.com. New subscribers can request a free rug hooking yarn sample card from Little House Rugs, so what are you waiting for?
Let’s get started!
Wrap the backing around your legs, design side up. Push in your hook from above and pull up the end of the ball of yarn that you hold underneath with your other hand. Then skip a thread and push in your hook again to make your first loop. (Leave the tail sticking up for now, you will be getting rid of it later)
It is important to keep the yarn under control, especially since you cannot see what is happening underneath the backing. Step two shows how you can hold the yarn without it flopping around or getting tangled. When you push in your hook, slide down the yarn with your hand underneath, and lift that up onto the hook. (In the picture, I am lifting the part of yarn that I want to connect to the hook, held between my fingers)
As soon as I have gotten the yarn on my hook, I fold it over the hook and keep pulling down on it, to keep the yarn on the hook and avoid splitting the yarn. Step three shows what my hand is doing underneath as I pull the hook up through the backing.
As soon as I have gotten my hook past the backing, I can stop pulling down on the yarn underneath, and just feel the slack pull tight across the back. The loop you see in Step four is being pulled up from above, and will pull tight across the back. I feel for that with my hand underneath, so I know when to stop pulling up. (It is important to feel when the yarn has pulled tight when you are hooking, because if you keep pulling after it has pulled tight, you will pull out the previous loop.)
Step five shows what it looks like when you have pulled up all the slack and the yarn has pulled tight across the back, and your hand is ready to pull down on the yarn to create the loop on top.
After you have pulled the yarn tight across the back (Step 5) you can pull your yarn down from underneath, so the loop is the desired height. Short, densely packed loops wear the best, so aim to make your loops approximately 1/8 inch high. When you have made the loop, you can skip a thread and push in your hook to make the next loop. (Steps one through 6).
This is what it looks like underneath when I have hooked a section. Keep in mind that yarn spreads out above in those loops, so they need room to spread out. Step seven shows that there is space between the rows, but those gaps don’t show on top (Step 8 below) because the yarn has filled in the space. Basically, you want your loops close enough together that you can’t see the backing from the top, but not so close together that the rug won’t lay flat. If you are overpacking the loops, when you look at the underside, you may not see any gaps between the rows. Just remember that the yarn needs room to spread out, that’s what keeps the loops in place.
When you have finished a section, bring up a loop just as you did before, but cut the loop on the top and pull the remaining yarn out to the back. This will leave a tail on top, just like when you began. As soon as the tails are surrounded by loops, (as they are in Step eight above) you can cut them even with the loops around them. Those tails will be held in place by the pressure of the loops all around them, and they pretty much disappear.
I know what you’re thinking: What keeps the yarn in place? We don’t glue or latex the back, and we don’t tie any knots in the yarn, what the heck is keeping those loops from pulling out? Magic. (Just kidding) Actually, it is a combination of factors that keep the loops in place. First, we are pulling thick yarn through a tiny hole, so it naturally wants to spread out on top. Second, we are using yarn that is not slippery, it has some texture to it, and the backing is also rough-spun burlap or linen, which helps the yarn to stay where you leave it. And finally, with practice, you will create loops that are the same height, which makes a dense mat that is difficult to pull on.
Difficult, but not impossible, but that is precisely why these rugs are so durable and long lasting: they can always be rehooked. So in the event a loop gets snagged (kitties are often the culprits), they can easily be rehooked. So really anything that may happen to the rug, whether it gets stained, moth-eaten or just worn, it can always be repaired, good as new!
As you follow this blog, you will learn everything you need to know to hook your very own masterpiece. Topics include what types of yarn work best for rug hooking, what type of backing to choose, how to get your design on the backing, whether or not to use a frame, how to create special effects like shading or primitive rug hooking, and even how to clean and repair hooked rugs.
You can now watch our whole award-winning DVD on youtube at http://youtu.be/1WAqNkrDM5E
Thank you for visiting, and see you next time!