Sunday, January 9, 2011

Learning the Art of Hooking

My floors are bare, every one of them. There’s not a rug or carpet to be found with the exception of a couple of bath mats and only by necessity. We made this decision after years of indoor cats and dogs that seemed to have a 12 month molting season plus two cockers with bladders the size of atoms. Today we’re down to one indoor cat and one super fabulous gotta –have- it Furminator deshedding tool, the most miraculous invention since the toaster.

In my quest to learn the Old Ways, I decided that I needed to learn rug making. A braided rug requires more wool than I have on hand; however, I discovered a small rug hooking kit at a woolen shop during an annual German festival in Marthasville. This is not a latch hook kit although the techniques are similar in some ways. This uses strips of wool along with burlap on which a primitive picture has been drawn- very similar to a coloring book picture. The burlap is stretched on a frame, or in my case a hoop due to its small size. The tiny hook is held like a pencil on about a 45 degree angle. You insert it into a hole in the burlap reaching for the strip of wool held beneath the frame by your other hand which slightly wraps the fabric around the hook. The hook is then pulled up through the same hole leaving a small loop. You outline the area to be completed and then fill in the middle. Not every hole in the burlap will have material in it, just enough to adequately fill in the area so no burlap is visible. The picture of the project will be similar but not necessarily the same as the completed project since it is hand drawn and the woolen strips vary by availability.

It takes a few tries to be successful, not grabbing the burlap strands with the hook. I’ve only completed the sheep’s face but so far, so good. There are some lovely rugs produced using this method, some combining wool, yarns and other fibers to create various textures. I’ll work on this between quilt squares but I’m not certain what I will do with it when I’m finished. Maybe I can incorporate it into a larger piece at some time.

Patriotic Sheep


Mary Christine said...

I have always wanted to make rag rugs.

I have no patience for hooking a rug - I have tried it.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

The rag rugs seem so overwhelming to me. I sat with a woman who was making one and there was so much folding and stitching. Maybe if I broke it down to its small steps I could try sometime. They are really nice though and much more practical. I'm not sure I could walk on one of the hooked ones!