Hand Tools for Rug Making

According to rug maker Deanne Fitzpatrick, rug making began in the 1800s in North America's eastern seaboard.. Rug makers used primitive tools, amounting to nothing more than a curved nail on a wooden handle, used to loop scraps of material into an old burlap feed bag. Today's tools are a mixture of high-tech devices and old-fashioned improvisation.

Handtufting Machine

A handtufting machine, or tufting gun, is a hand tool for making rugs and carpets. You squeeze the trigger and the machine pierces the special backing fabric, then sends the yarn through. You can use the gun for both cut- and loop-pile styles of rug. Operate it as a cut pile gun, and you'll notice a blade severs the yarn, after which air blows the tuft through. When you've completed tufting, a latex binding and secondary backing completes the job. You can change the height of the pile or the colour of the yarn.

Toothbrush Needle

The toothbrush needle works similarly to an old-fashioned bone or wood needle. Rug maker Maymee Campbell makes her own needle by shaping the handle of an old toothbrush. Campbell selects an old toothbrush with a hole in the end. This will be the needle's eye. Campbell cuts off the bristle end and discards it. She files the remaining piece to a sharp point and the needle is ready.

Trigger Grip Tool

A tool designed to help with grip has a hook fitted into an ergonomically designed, solid wood handle, similar to a trigger in shape. The makers claim it reduces the stress of rug making by relieving pressure on your fingers, hand and wrist. You can hold and use the tool in either hand. The hook is available in three sizes: fine; traditional, or medium sized; and primitive, or large.

Other Tools

Some places also sell the flat hooks, available in a range of different sizes. A latch hook is a different design, as it has a hinged latch used to form knotted piles. As of April 2011, these are £1.90 each. Regular plastic crochet hooks, used to pull loops through backing, are slightly more expensive.

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About the Author

Frank Luger had his first educational resources published in the early 1990s. He worked on a major reading system for Cambridge University Press, became an information-technology adviser and authored interactive whiteboard resources for "The Guardian." Luger studied English literature and holds a Bachelor of Education honors degree from Leeds University.