Rug Hooking Tools

Written by alex burke
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Rug Hooking Tools
Use a rug hook to pull yarn or fabric loops through the backing material. (rug making image by Alison Bowden from

Artisans use the technique of rug hooking to create a rug by pulling fabric strips or yarn loops through a woven foundation material (backing). Loops are pulled through the backing with a rug hook. Frames are used to keep the backing in place while the artisan works. A cutting machine makes fast work of cutting appropriately sized fabric strips for a specific rug-hooking pattern. A pair of well-maintained scissors aids in the rug hooking process.

Cloth Cutting Machine

A cloth cutting machine makes for easy cutting of fabrics used for rug hooking. Hand cutting is possible but not as efficient or uniform as a cutting machine. Cutting machines are typically rotary mechanisms that move the cloth through the blade (cutter head) by turning a handle. Cutter heads come in a variety of sizes and can be replaced to cut fabric strips in a wider or narrower width as needed. Most cutting machines are tabletop models that use a clamp (clamped to a sturdy work surface) to keep them in place during use. Smaller models can be found that enclose the cutting mechanism and don't require a clamping mechanism to stay put.

Rug Hooking Frames

Rug hooking frames hold the backing fabric in place as the rug maker works. They come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, some are easily held in the lap while others have a stand attached, allowing the rug maker to adjust the height. The frames use a length of pronged metal (much like a metal Velcro) attached on the outside edge of each side of the frame's shape to keep the stiff backing in place. The fabric is removed from the prongs and adjusted as needed.

Rug Hook

Rug hooks look like crochet hooks attached to a wooden handle. Rug hooks are hand-held tools used to pull yarn or fabric through a stiff woven backing or base fabric (linen, burlap). The hooks come in different sizes and shapes. One hook size or shape is not better than the other, but each rug maker's hand is different. The rug maker may be more comfortable handling one style of rug hook over another, making the choice of a rug hook a personal preference only.


Scissors are used to cut the yarn and fabric loops when required. Although any style scissor will work, a bent-handle style aids the rug maker in snipping close to the backing when needed--the design moves the hand up and away from the rug surface. In general, needle-nosed or pointed-end scissors work well in rug hooking because they are an alternative to the rug hook when necessary to coax loops into place. Simply close the blades and use the scissor point to lift and adjust loops as needed. Keep scissors sharpened for best results.

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