April 11, 2017

Upcycled Rug Hooking Project + Free Rug Hooking Pattern

Yay for finished projects!

I am notorious for starting craft projects and not finishing them. So I feel a little proud when I actually do finish something!

I discovered and fell in love with the craft known as rug hooking not too long ago, and decided to trial my own project.

I love colour and texture, and this craft combines those two loves. Not only do you get beautiful nuances of colour (especially when you use mottled or patterned fabric), but the texture of the little bumps of fabric is something I fell in love with when I first discovered this craft.

I made this project to be a wall hanging. I sewed a thin piece of dowel to the back near the top. I placed it a little bit down so I could hide the wall hook when hanging. The stiffness of the hooked rug means that the top of the rug stays up and doesn't sag.

I didn't have the correct tools or supplies, but I tend to make things up as I go, and overcome problems one at a time. I think any project is doable; you just need to break it all up into baby steps.

I used second hand scrap fabrics. I found my favourite fabric to use for this project was jersey fabric; the stuff t-shirts and leggings are usually made of. It's forgiving, it cuts up well, and it doesn't fray. It's made from our old clothes. They live on! Traditionally, wool is used for rug hooking projects, but you can really use whatever fabrics you like. Have a play and see what your favourite is. I found some fabrics really hard to pull through the hessian.

I have made a free rug hooking pattern for this project, so if you like it, you can make one of your own! Read on for the instructions.


I used some ordinary hessian from the fabric store; but if you can find some loose weave hessian I think that would be a lot easier to work with.

I used a crochet hook, but there are special rug hooks available that are dedicated for the task. Some people use latch hooks but for this small scale I couldn't get the hang of using one.

I cut my strips of fabric in about 1cm (3/8") widths. Experiment before starting with the width of strip you'd like to use, and what you feel comfortable hooking through the hessian that you have. Larger holes in your hessian will mean you can use wider strips and fill the space faster. I do however like the detail the small strips give in this project.

You don't have to use the colours I have used either. Use what you have. I chose to do a pale background with darker motifs, but you could switch that and do a dark background with lighter motifs. Keep in mind contrast; if colours are two similar next to each other, the elements of the design may not stand out.

Each square represents 2". Finished project measures 16 x 14 1/2". 
Leave 2" of hessian all around the edge of project. 

Enlarge the pattern by drawing up 2" squares on a big sheet of paper and drawing the shapes in. You can then place your hessian onto your drawn pattern and hold up to a window and mark the shapes with a black felt tip pen. (You won't see any pen marks on the finished piece.) Draw in the edge lines too.

Leave two inches of hessian all around the edge of your project, and zig zag around them with a sewing machine to prevent fraying.

Decide on your colours and cut some strips. I just cut as I needed them.

Here's my basic instructions on how to rug hook.

You stick your hook into the hessian and pull up loops. You can wriggle your hook around a bit when it's in the hessian to make the hole bigger for extra ease when pulling fabric strip through. You want to pull your loops up to a similar height (1) . In this project mine poke up from the hessian about 1/4". You start and end a strip with the ends poking up the top, not left dangling underneath (2). The fabric underneath is laying flat against the hessian, not in loops (3). 

You want to kid of twist your hook in the direction of that first arrow so you are pulling slack from the working end of the fabric strip (1). If you just pull straight up you will be pulling from both sides and you may pull out or alter the height your previous stitch (2). Once you start hooking you will get the hang of this. If you make a loop too big you can just pull the working end a little so it matches the height of the previous stitches.

If you make any mistakes you can just pull them out.

What the hooked rug looks like underneath. 

You don't need to pull loops through every hole in the hessian, otherwise they will be too tightly placed together. You want them close enough so that the hessian is covered, but not packed too tightly. My stitches are approx 5 to an inch for this project. Again, it will depend on the thickness of your fabric, the width of your strips, and the size of the weave in your hessian.

I worked in patches or flowing lines. It reminds me of those drawings you did in school where you traced your hand and then continued to draw lines around and around until all the lines fill the page :)

I didn't use a frame or anything, but yours may turn out less wonky if you use something to hold it taught while you work. (I think there's charm in wonky work!)

Once the project is finished, fold under the edges and stitch in place with a needle and thread. Sew your dowel to the back and attach a hanger to the dowel.

I attached a hanging hook to the dowel

Done! Yay! Superstar!

If you have any trouble or questions please let me know and I can clarify steps or add in extra tips.

I hung it up in our upstairs living area, above an artwork by Miss S. 

I hope you enjoyed my rug hooking adventure.

Jules :)

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