Rug hooking became popular in the 1820s; at that time, feed sacks and fabric from old clothes were used as fabric. Rug hooking is a technique that is used for creating rugs using small, hand-held tools. To form the rug, loops are created from yarn or fabric strips. Regardless of technique, the finished rugs look similar. Tools for rug hooking include the punch needle and proddies. The backing is made of burlap, monk cloth or jute.
Using a Punch Needle Tool
Rugs can be created using a punch needle; the technique is called speed hooking. This type of hooking is fast and makes it easy to create rugs quickly. The tool punches yarn or fabric strips through the backing on the back of the pattern. The backing can be stretched onto a frame or stretched with a hoop while creating the rug or for displaying the finished item. Each time the tool is punched through the backing, a long thread is made on the right side of the rug. When you lift the needle, a loop forms. The loops pack together, forming the rug.
Using a Proddy Tool
Proddy rugs are made with the proddy tool and are also called clippies, stobbies, pricked or clootie mats. This type of rug hooking was created to make utilitarian rugs, such as doormats. The pile created by this technique hides dirt well. Proddy rugs are made by poking strips of fabric through linen or burlap, from the backside. Using a frame is recommended. Fabric pieces can be rolled before hooking to give the design volumetric effects.
Creating Fabric Strips
Cutting strips of fabric to hook can be time consuming. To speed up the process of fabric cutting and to help ensure that pieces are the same length, you can make a tool. Use a 10- to 12-inch hardwood dowel with a 1-inch diameter. Using a router, cut a ¼-inch groove along the length of the dowel. Cut the fabric into strips in the required width for the project. Place one strip of fabric at the groove of the dowel. Wind the fabric around the dowel. Place the scissors at the edge of the groove and cut the strips along the groove. The strips are then ready to use.
Hints, Tips and Finalizing
The fabric loops must be placed properly. If too close, the rug will pucker, if too far apart, the backing will be visible. A finished rug is surface washable only. If the rug is immersed in water, the backing will disintegrate. To ensure that the rug does not unravel, use welting to keep the backing fabric from fraying and falling apart. When welting the edges of the rug, use two zigzag stitches, side by side, around the edge of the rug. Then, use a straight stitch over each zigzag stitch. Cut the excess fabric off and zigzag the raw edge. A finished rug should be steamed before use.
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