Rug Hooking Instructions

Rug hooking is an American craft that began in the 1600’s and has been passed down from generation to generation. Our kits are carefully assembled with everything you need to complete your Claire Murray® Rug. A numbered diagram has been included to show where to insert the corresponding yarn colors, but feel free to change or rearrange as you like. Remember, this is a creative process, so you shouldn’t worry about minor changes that you feel personalize your rug. Since a kit is not reusable, we cannot accept the return of your once you have begun working on your project. I think you will find rug hooking easy as well as rewarding. But, it is important that you read this information and your rug hooking instructions before starting your project.

Because rug hooking is a leisurely craft and not an exact art such as needlepoint or counted cross stitch, it allows much room for personal expression.  The principle is to outline an area and fill it in with color. It is not necessary to count stitches or rows, and please do not fill every hole of the cloth, as your rug will be too stiff - similar to a sweater that has been knitted too tightly. Happy hooking! 

How to Hook Your Rug

Hooking on your lap:  One of the nicest things about rug hooking is that a frame is not necessary. This makes your rug project very portable. You should now be in a sitting position with your feet placed several inches apart on the floor. The ball of yarn should be on the floor between your feet with the strand reaching to your lap. Tuck the rug under your upper legs, keeping it taut as though it is on a frame with your legs. Keep the section of the design you are hooking positioned in the middle of your lap. 

Alternative method:  You may find that it is easier to hook with a quilt hoop - which is the way I prefer.  Starting in the center of the cloth, attach a quilt hoop at least 14” in diameter and hold the hoop and cloth on your lap or on a hoop frame.  Just make sure to remove the hoop each time you finish a section so that the hoop does not leave dents in the area you have already hooked.

It is very important to hook a gauge swatch to see how to space your loops. Mark off a 1” square somewhere on the plain border of your cloth. A 27” length of yarn should fill this square. We recommend you mark the 27” inch on one of the yarn lengths and try to hook the squared area. If you come up short or have excess, pull out the yarn and begin again. Begin by poking the hook through the cloth and catch your yarn on the backside. Bring the yarn loop completely through the cloth until the yarn end is as tall on the surface (about 1” high).

To pull your first loop, insert the hook back into the cloth leaving at least one hole empty and from your left hand, place the yarn around the hook, and pull up through the cloth at an angle back towards your body.  Your first loop will determine your loop heights – it should be approx. ¼”.  Move over one or two holes to insert your hook through the canvas again and again pull up a 1/4” loop. This spacing is very important because it allows the yarn to puff out all around. If you space the loops too closely together and try to pack them in areas, you will run out of yarn. Continue in this manner, making sure to feel the tension as it tightens against your previous stitch.

Continue with this process until the color you are working on is completely filled in.  Bring your last loop up approximately one inch higher than your regular pile. Clip the loop in the center leaving a tail. It’s best to leave the tails on your rug until you are totally done hooking that area. Then you can come back and clip them even with the surface. When you think you have completed your hooking, turn over to look at the rug from the back to see if there are any spaces that need filling in.

Finishing your rug

Trim the excess cloth to about 2" from your last row of loops.  Fold over twice to make a "hem", and stitch to the back of the rug.  The rug warp cloth has a tendency to fray easily, so you may want to sew a row of zig-zag stiches, or re-serge the edges if you have a machine to do so.  

You may also use the alternative method of sewing rug-binding tape to the cloth about 1/8" from the edge of your loops, then fold that over and stitch to the back of the rug.