Rug hooking has not changed much over the centuries, and with the simplicity of skill needed to create exquisite designs, why should it? Once you learn the foundation of skills involved in pulling up loops of fabric or wool, you can make virtually any design you desire. From simple barnyard animals to complex artistic images, your ability to create pieces of art is limitless when you know how to make a wool hooked rug.
Draw your design on paper. Anything you want to include will need an outline planned for it. For beginners, create a simple design without many details or shadings.
Lay your base fabric down on a flat table or floor. Place a strip of masking tape along all the sides to keep the base fabric from fraying. Review your paper pattern, and follow it to transfer or draw the design onto the fabric base with a marker. The marker lines need to be dark enough that you can see them, but do not make them too wide, or you will not know where you should be stitching.
Hang your base fabric over your frame once all the outlines of your design have been transferred. Stretch the fabric gently to create an even, flat surface to work with.
Fill in the rug by working the outlines first. Hold the rug hook in the hand you write with, and position it over the top of the frame. Bring your other hand under the frame while holding onto your first strip of fabric. Poke the hook through to the back of your base fabric, and pull up one end of the strip of fabric in your other hand. Following your pattern, push the hook through to the back just a few threads away from where you started. Pull up a 1/4- to 1/2-inch loop over the base fabric, while holding the strip in place with the hand on the underneath side.
Move over a few more threads, and repeat the process to pull up the next loop. Continue to follow your outlines while your hand underneath keeps the strips steady so previous loops are not pulled out as you work. When you get to the end of the strip or of an outline, pull up the entire tail of the strip. Snip the beginning and ending tails to the same height as the loops.
Form all your outlines using different colors of wool or fabric strips as desired. Once all the outlines are created, fill in the design areas much as you would color in a coloring book. Finish the rug by pulling up loops for a background once your patterns are fleshed out.
Remove the masking tape from around the edges of the base fabric once the entire design is complete. Sew rug-binding tape along the edges to finish it. Add a signature label with the date on the back of the rug when you are done to identify it.
Start small if you are learning how to make hooked rugs for the first time. A large rug takes a lot of time and energy, so you will want to know if you are up for the challenge before you begin a large rug.
Let your hands move in curves, rather than all straight lines, while you fill in the designs and background. These extra spirals, swirls, and curves can develop a sense of depth and flow to the rug that makes the piece more interesting.