Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Rug Hooking Class

At the Western Watauga Community Center on Mondays from 10AM-2PM, a rug hooking class is offered. Although Sandy couldn't go, we have been very interested in learning this tradition perfected and adopted on its own, by the North Americans. I practiced with the ladies for a bit, learned what supplies I needed, and took some photo's of their work. Of course, I want to get started on a goat pattern, so stay tuned.
"Hooking" was a craft of poverty, rugmakers put to use whatever materials were available. Antique hooked rugs were created on burlap after 1850 because burlap was free as long as one used OLD GRAIN AND FEED BAGS. Every and any scrap of fiber that was no longer usable as clothing was put into rugs. In the United States, yarn was not a fiber of choice if one did not have access to thrums. Yarn was too precious, and had to be saved for knitting and weaving. Instead the tradition of using scraps of fabric evolved.

Traditional Rug Hooking is a craft where rugs are made by pulling loops of yarn or fabric through a stiff woven base such as burlap, linen, or rug warp.  The loops are pulled through the backing material by using a crochet hook mounted in a handle (usually wood) for leverage.

The rug hooker, with her right hand above the pattern, and the material scraps in her left hand underneath, pushed the hook down through the burlap, catching it on the cloth strip and drawing it back up to form a loop on the top of the burlap.

Traditional Styles
Fine Hooked Rugs with thinner strips of material and a variety of shading techniques are used.
Primitive Hooked Rugs use wider strips of material and generally little shading is involved.
Tools for Traditional Styles
The tools are the same in either of these forms. 
Here is a list of the basic equipment needed:
1.  A hand hook - to form a loop pile on the surface of the backing material
2.  A Frame -  to hold the base material in place for hooking, there are many different types of frames from very simple needlepoint frames to large floor frames
3.  Scissors - These are normally small scissors with a bent handle that allow the "hooker" to cut the material very cleanly
4.  Cutter and Blades - Used to make strips of wool (or other material) from larger pieces.  The thinner the strip of wool the finer the finished product will be.
5.  Rug Pattern - The pattern is drawn on the Backing Material and is used as a guideline for hooking.  The backing material is usually either burlap, monk's cloth or Linen.
6.  Wool Material - Wool can normally be purchased by the yard of the piece and can be purchased in many different colors.  You can also use old wool clothing for this and more experienced "hookers" will often custom dye their wool for a specific project. 

Latch Hooking
Latch hooking is what most people think of when someone mentions rug hooking, but it is very different than the other methods of making rugs.  Latch Hooking is a newer style of rug making than Traditionally hooked rugs. It uses pre-cut yarn strips, one strip per knot, and forms an open, knotted pile on the surface of the rug. The backing material weave is typically larger than that of Traditional or Punch hooked backing material.  


annie said...

I have been wanting to learn for awhile, this was a good post, thank you.

Foothills Poultry said...

You know I love that rooster and hens pattern.