Tag Archives: rug hooking

Give Rug Hooking A Try For National Craft Month!

Happy National Craft Month! Although we believe in celebrating year-round, the start of spring seems like a great time to explore a new craft. Why not give rug hooking a try?

Rug hooking is an accessible craft that is easy to master. It’s not only a useful skill, but quite relaxing, too! Even a novice can create an impressive work of art – just click here to download our free guide to get started.

This sometimes-overlooked craft has its roots in creating practical (yet beautiful) items for everyday use, but there’s no reason why you have to limit yourself to just making rugs. In the gallery below, we share some of the incredible must-make projects we’ve spotted on Pinterest to inspire you; click on each image below to view a larger version.

Featured Projects
Top Row, L-R: Sheep PortraitCow PortraitFloral Foot Stool.
Middle Row, L-R: Houses PurseGold Finch Pillow, Zen Doodle Pillow.
Bottom Row, L-R: Star CoastersSunflower Coasters, Fox Coasters.

If you’re totally new to the craft, we recommend starting with a project kit – we have a lot of options here on our site, but our Henny Penny rug hooking  kit (which was featured in our free guide) is 100% beginner approved!

Happy hooking, and be sure to share your projects with us on social media using #thewoolery in your post!

All the best,

Wave, Perri & the entire Woolery team

Who’s Worthy of a Handmade Gift?

It’s that time of year when friends, family, and sometimes even acquaintances might start hinting that they would like (or perhaps even expect) a handmade gift under the tree. Sure, they see you spinning, weaving, hooking or knitting, and they might have some idea of all the time and effort such a request entails – but are they truly worthy of a handmade gift? We’ve created a handy flow chart to take the guesswork out of this process for you so that you can enjoy your fall and winter crafting stress-free:

WooleryGiftGuide_FinalV2

Click image to view full size!

Be sure to pin and share with your crafty friends, or click here to download a printable PDF version to keep handy!

Rug Hooking: Necessity, Art Form, or Both?

Ask a fiber artist why they do what they do, and you’re sure to get a lot of different answers. It can be a stress reliever, a fun challenge, a form of self-expression, or a way to create useful objects for everyday use, among many other reasons.

The discipline of rug hooking has historical roots in necessity; for example, in the United States in the 1800s, rugs were made out of scrap materials as a way to reuse old clothing and blankets. The resulting rugs were then used on the floors in the summer and on beds in the winter for added warmth (source: woolkeepers.com).

Early American Hooked Rug

Early American Hooked Rug

Interestingly enough, there is evidence that the Vikings may have used rug hooking techniques which they then introduced to the British Isles (for more on this topic, click here). However, the origins of modern rug hooking are generally traced back to New England and Northeastern Canada. Wikipedia notes, “In its earliest years, rug hooking was a craft of poverty. The vogue for floor coverings in the United States came about after 1830 when factories produced machine-made carpets for the rich. Poor women began looking through their scrap bags for materials to employ in creating their own home-made floor coverings. Women employed whatever materials they had available.” This isn’t to say that the results weren’t eye-catching or artistic, of course, but it wasn’t til the 21st century that decorative rug hooking really caught on in the United States.

Many credit Pearl McGown with reviving the craft in the early 1900s; McGown popularized strict guidelines for rug hooking and formalized its study. The 1950’s especially seemed to see a sharp increase in interest for rug hooking, as evinced by the many photos dating back to that era such, such as this image from a rug hooking bee which ran in Life Magazine circa 1951:

rughookingbee

Today, the McGown Guild is still dedicated to the preservation and promotion of this (nearly) lost art.  And while modern technology and mass production has seemingly removed the “necessity” of  many traditional handcrafts, there is still great interest in those who are interested in exploring the process or creating something unique that can’t be found on the shelves of store! Not having to worry about the end result of the finished project allows fiber artists to explore materials, designs and techniques, and in the world of rug hooking, this has produced some astonishing results (click each image below to visit source site):

beabrockphoto

Broken Heart Mixed Media

pegirish

If you’re interested to give rug hooking a try, we invite you to check out these informative posts from our blog archive:

All the best,

Wave, Perri & the entire Woolery team

Sheepy Resolutions for the New Year

IMG_5224The start of a new year is always an exciting time! It’s also a great opportunity to evaluate the year before and set new goals for the time ahead. Since 2015 is the Year of the Sheep (according to the Chinese zodiac calendar), we’d like to share some of our own sheepy resolutions for knitting, spinning, weaving, and rug hooking. We hope they inspire you to expand your crafting horizons in 2015!

  • Knitting: Now more than ever, knitters are able to find a variety of breed-specific yarns to explore the wonderful world of sheep. Even if you aren’t a spinner, the range of options has increased exponentially in recent years to move beyond generic “wool” which used to a common sight on a yarn label. Challenge yourself to seek out yarns with new fiber content in 2015: Masham, Blue-Faced Leicester, Targhee, Tunis, Corriedale, and more! To get you started, there are some fantastic resources for sourcing breed-specific yarns on Beth Brown-Reinsel’s informative website here.
  • bookoffleeceSpinning: The world of breed-specific fleece and fiber is well-covered territory here on the Woolery blog, and we know that many of our customers have been using such excellent books as The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook  and The Spinner’s Book of Fleece as their guide. Now is a great time to take stock of your past spinning projects and make a list of goals you’d like to accomplish in 2015. Perhaps you’d like to explore spinning with more unusual sheep breeds such karakul or dorper; click here and here for more sheepy suggestions from our blog archive. Another goal might be to try your hand at combining a variety of fibers to create unique batts or art yarns; click here for more art yarn inspiration from the Woolery blog archives. If you have a lot of natural colored fiber, playing around with DIY dye techniques might be in your future: click here for a tutorial from our blog archive featuring traditional dyeing techniques; click here for a guest post from our blog archive featuring natural dyeing techniques; and click here  for more specific instructions regarding the dyeing of fleece and prepared spinning fiber using kool-aid dyes from the Knitty archives.
  • Image ©Hello Hydrangea blog

    Image ©Hello Hydrangea blog

    Weaving: Many of our customers delight in weaving projects made with their handspun yarns, many of which are spun with breed-specific fleece or roving. What’s a non-weaving spinner to do? We spied this clever tutorial demonstrating how to incorporate roving and uncarded fleece into a tapestry piece to achieve a stunning effect.

  • Rug Hooking: Though rug hooking is traditionally done with strips of wool fabric or yarn, we have seen some very interesting tutorials and projects featuring spinning fibers recently. Click here for a photo tutorial on the Spruce Ridge Studios blog demonstrating how to use both fleece and roving to add texture to a hooked rug project. Our friends over at Strauch have shared a photo tutorial here on Flickr showing a locker-hooked rug project from start to finish which uses carded fleece. We also have more rug hooking inspiration on this post from our blog archive!
Image © Strauch

Image © Strauch

We look forward to making 2015 the sheepiest, most fibery year yet. Thanks for joining us!

All the best,

Chris, Nancy, and the entire Woolery team

Rug Hooking Materials: Form & Function

Earlier this year, we blogged about the various types of backing materials for rug hooking projects; on today’s post, we will be talking about the wonderful world of materials which can be used to create your next masterpiece!

sheeppillowWe’ll begin with the basics: wool yarn and wool strips are the traditional materials that were used to hook rugs, and they are still the best choice for hooking an actual rug. Even in a low-traffic area, a rug placed on the floor will need to be sturdy in order to last. With that in mind, we recommend using a tightly spun yarn that won’t pill; another good option is medium to heavy weight wool strips which have been fulled.

Fulling is the practice of washing woolen cloth in hot water to shrink it slightly. This practice tightens up the weave of the cloth and makes for a sturdier end product.  It will also help keep down fraying when you cut your strips!

rughookfabric

Just because you want to stick to sturdy materials when making a rug doesn’t mean you are limited in your design choices! Wool fabric and wool yarn come in a rainbow of colors and patterns: use houndstooth, herringbone, plaids, and stripes to create texture in your design as you hook. You can also get hand dyed fabrics which have natural variations in how the dye was applied to the fabric to create depth and interest in your final project.

Tweedy, variegated, and striped yarns will do the same thing if you choose to use yarn instead of wool strips for your rug. You can also explore dyeing your own fabric and yarn to create the specific shading or textured effect that you desire.

rughookornaments

For creating a wall hanging or other piece, you will want to look at how sturdy you need the finished object to be. A bag, pillow, or seat cover will definitely need to be sturdy to hold up, so you’d want to select your materials in the same way you would when making a rug as outlined above. The last thing you want to have happen is to have all of your beautiful work fall apart due to the stress of everyday use!

santaA wall hanging or other decorative object is a completely different story, however. Making an item for display rather than everyday use affords quite  bit of freedom – the sky is the limit! Do you want to hook a puffy cloud? Get some locks of wool or wool roving and hook that into the shape of your cloud. Do you want to re-create the shine of light on water?  Cut some strips of silk or use a shiny yarn like silk or bamboo to create a glimmering effect.  Do you want to make an animal which looks like it has fur? Use a bulky, fuzzy yarn to hook it; you can even hold an additional strand of eyelash yarn with it to create an even fluffier look.

Don’t be afraid to experiment by using thick and thin yarns, fabric strips, ribbons, paper, or other materials  within your piece. Play with color, texture, and fiber components to see where your imagination takes you!

2014 Fiber Toys of Christmas

FT14BANNER

Our annual holiday promotion, the 12 Fiber Toys of Christmas, is in full swing! Each Friday, we feature a favorite fiber toy with a special deal and a chance to win that particular toy (tool). Weekly specials and giveaways will be posted on our Facebook pageTwitter feed, and it will also be included in our newsletter.

These are weekly specials which expire every Friday (when the new one starts), so be sure to check the links above so you don’t miss out!

All the best,

Chris, Nancy, and the entire Woolery team

 

We’re here to help you get hooked!

One of the hardest parts about trying out a new craft is making sure you have everything you need to get started; of course, having all of the supplies you need on hand will make learning something new much less frustrating! Many of our customers are curious to try rug hooking, so we’ve not only assembled a list of supplies you’ll need to get started (see below), we’ve created a short video as part of our “Ask the Woolery” series on YouTube!

You can watch the video above to get an overview of several techniques and tools used to create beautiful hooked rugs. From beginner to advanced, there is a rug hooking project for everyone – and after watching this video, you’ll have a better idea of which type of technique is right for you!

Ready to get started? Make sure you have:
Backing material such as Scottish Burlap (click here to see more backing options in our YouTube video):

backings

L-R: Scottish Burlap, Monk’s Cloth, and Linen.

Strips of cloth, yarn, or lengths of ribbon (left) and a frame or hoop to hold your work (right):

rugstripsandframe

One or more rug hooks:

rughooks

How-To Books:

rugbooks

Before you know it, you’ll be hooked on rug hooking!

All the best,

Chris, Nancy, and the entire Woolery team

Spring Crafting, Spring Cleaning!

In our last blog post, we shared some of our favorite inspirational projects for revamping your home décor this season. If you’d rather embark on a little Spring Crafting instead of Spring Cleaning, here are some creative ways to accomplish both at the same time, guilt-free!

RUGS!
April showers may bring May flowers, but they also bring muddy feet to your doorstep.  Here is a simple tutorial showing how to recycle old t-shirts into a fashionable and functional (not to mention, machine washable!) crocheted rug. Of course, a woven rug is another option to try: by choosing thick, sturdy yarns in ‘spring-y’ colors, you can add your own personal touch to your front door. In fact, there are plenty of ways to dress up your doorstep using colorful, easy-care yarns, whether your weave, knit, crochet or rug hook. Below are just a few of our favorite ideas for spring!
rugs

KNIT & CROCHET BASKETS
Organize your life with easy-to-make knit or crochet baskets! Baskets are a great way to use up leftover yarn in your stash, but you can also be strategic in your color choice by using cones of yarn to create matching sets or color-coding your world by using an assortment of yarn colors. Smaller sizes are perfect for holding small trinkets or craft supplies, while larger sizes can house your yarn collection, toys, reusable tote bags, or any number of items that need to be contained!
baskets

ECO-FRIENDLY SPRING CLEANING
Save money and the planet by making your own reusable floor sweeper covers! Choose machine washable yarns in bright colors to create an array of color choices to make you smile. You can find lots of easy patterns to knit or crochet on Ravelry, many of which are free. Reusable towels and scrubbers can also be knit, crocheted, or woven, and are an excellent way to save money and the planet!
cleaning

Here’s one more spring cleaning tip to try: Eucalan wool wash does double duty; here is a video tutorial from Youtube which uses Eucalan to freshen up curtains and drapes for spring!

For more crafty inspiration, click here to view our Welcome Spring inspiration board on Pinterest!

All the best,

Chris, Nancy, and the entire Woolery team