Claire Murray's
Nantucket Needleworks®

How to hook your Claire Murray Rug

   
About Rug Hooking

Rug hooking is an American craft that began in the 1600’s and has been passed down from generation to generation. Our 100% wool is carefully spun and dyed to assure that your rug will last for many years. 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. You are encouraged to relax and experiment. 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 jute, as your rug will be too stiff - similar to a sweater that has been knitted too tightly. Happy hooking!

About Your Rug Hooking Kit

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.

Getting Started

Get an overview! Compare the rug design in your color photo with the outline design on the rug jute. When you start hooking you will want to start with a color and motif that is in the middle of the rug. Roll your yarn into balls (not too tightly) keeping the color tag attached so you can find each color easily. Position is important! Select a comfortable chair with a back. If there are arms on the chair, make sure they don’t restrict your movement.

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 jute under your upper legs. Keep the jute 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 jute, attach a quilt hoop at least 14” in diameter and hold the hoop and jute 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 burlap. 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 burlap and catch your yarn on the backside of the burlap. Bring the yarn loop completely through the burlap until the yarn end is as tall on the surface (about 1” high).

When you feel comfortable making loops, it is time to start in on the printed areas. We recommend you start somewhere in the center of your rug design, then instead of jumping around and doing all of one color, work on the next adjacent colors. This will allow you to both see your work in progress, and the hook will easily go through the looser canvas working outward from hooked areas to unhooked areas.

Do not cross yarns on the backside. If you cannot go any further in an area, it is better to stop, make the ending tail and start again. Crossed threads will create a lump that will be discernible when the rug is on the floor and will be easier to pull if it catches on something. You will see canvas on the reverse side between your rows of yarn. This is normal. Looking at the back of your rug frequently while in progress is a good way to see if you are placing your loops too close or too far apart. We hope these extra hints are helpful. Everyone develops their own method of hooking and holding their hook. Try different ways, and have fun!

Step 1: With the rug jute on your lap or in the hoop, place your left hand (or if you are left-handed, place your right hand) under the jute. Your left hand will feed the hook and keep tension as you pull yarn through with your right hand.

Step 2:  Insert the hook into the jute and with a slight twist, retrieve the strand of yarn, which your left hand is holding, at an angle back towards your body, not straight up in the air.  Leave a “tail” of yarn, about 2” in length.

Step 3: To pull your first loop, insert the hook back into the jute leaving at least one hole empty and from your left hand, place the yarn around the hook, and pull up through the jute at an angle back towards your body.  Your first loop will determine your loop heights – it should be approx. ¼”.  Move over three burlap strands 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. The loops may seem to be too far apart, but they will fluff up. Continue in this manner, making sure to feel the tension as it tightens against your previous stitch.

Step 4: 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.

Binding Your Rug

To bind off your rug use a sewing machine or do it by hand. If you use a sewing machine, sew on a row of zig-zag stitching approximately 1/2” from the hooked edge of the rug. If your sewing machine does not have a zig-zag attachment, then sew two rows of standard stitching. Next, sew the rug binding along the edge of the rug about 1/4” from last row of loops. Trim the excess jute to 1/8” inside the rug binding tape. Now turning the rug binding under, and hand-stitch it to the back side of the rug. This will give it a finished look.

One other method we found satisfactory is to bind your rug using the same color yarn as your background color and whip stitch over cording.  Use cording that is approximately 1/4” to 3/8” in width and as long as the perimeter of your rug. Place cording on the underside next to the edge of the rug. Wrap the jute around the cording, which will be overcast with the same color as the edge of the rug. Completely cover the jute all the way around so the finished rug will look like it has a corded edge. Miter the corners. It will be a bit bulky, but it will lay flat in the end. When this is done, hand sew the binding as close to the cording as possible. Then trim the jute so the binding will hide the jute edge. Hand sew the other side of the binding to finish.  If you choose this method, you will most likely need to purchase more yarn as this is not figured into the total yarn needed.

We would love to see your finished project!  If you feel comfortable sharing, please send a picture of your rug to jimirie@clairemurray.com and we will include it in our gallery.  Of course, we will not share your info without your permission.  Thank you .... and happy hooking!