A hooked rug is carpet made by hand by pulling or pushing fabric strips or yarn through a foundation material. Hooked rugs can be made out of inexpensive leftover fabrics, and they may be simple or highly elaborate in design. Introduced to America by the European settlers, rug hooking enjoyed great popularity in colonial times and has remained a favorite needlework hobby.
Only a few basic materials are needed to hook a rug. The foundation fabric may be burlap, monk's cloth, linen, or any coarse and heavy cotton fabric. The surface design of the rug, often geometrical or floral, is drawn or printed on the foundation. In colonial times, strips of old or worn fabric were used for the pile. Although this material is still used, yarn has become more popular. Wool yarns are considered more practical for longer wear, but cotton yarns may also be used.
The foundation material is pulled taut over a frame and tacked in place. The fabric strips are then pulled through the foundation from the top, or right side, with a crochet hook having a thick wooden handle. If the faster punching method is used, the yarn is pushed usually from the wrong side of the material with a special punch needle or shuttle hooker.
The loops are left about half an inch long and are sometimes clipped when the rug has been completely hooked. A 2-inch or 3-inch border of material is left to be sewn under as a hem. Interesting surface textures may be achieved by clipping or shearing some areas of the design and leaving other areas uncut.
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