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Making a hand crafted hooked wool rug

hand hooked wool rug of flowers in a teapot
Flowers in the Teapot hand hooked wool rug

Let's go through the steps of making this Flowers in the Teapot rug.

Let's start with the idea and go from there.

Tea is a big thing in our family, as are flowers. We almost always have a cup of tea, or two , in the afternoon. My husband and daughters love to grow flowers. We have gorgeous bouquets on the table from spring through September. This got me thinking about both of those lovely things and this design was born , quite a few years ago now, in 2015.

The first rug with this pattern I hooked had a different background and feel to it. A customer bought it to have on her table for a tea party with her grand daughter- simply perfect!

Back to the steps. I sketched out what I thought might be a fun pattern, then tweaked it a bit to make it balance out. You don't always have to have a perfect balance in your rug of course, but this one seemed like it might be best suited to that design element. The cups in the corner were added later when I thought it needed something else to complement the bulk of the design.

After you measure the sketch ,and know the size you need, you should add about 4 more inches all around to know what size piece of linen to have it fit comfortably on the frame. This pattern measures 32 x 14 inches, so a piece 40 x 22 of linen would work. I try very hard to be frugal with my linen (and wool) since it is quite expensive. I try not to waste any if possible, but it doesn't always turn out that way so you sometimes have some left over little bits that can't be used for a rug but may be used in another way. I can talk about that another time.

hand hooked wool rug not quite complete
Flowers in the Teapot rug in the making

I like to serge my patterns for people so that the edges don't fray as you work on them. There are times that I don't serge for myself so that I can protect my serger from over use.

The amount of dust the machine collects wrecks havoc on it if you aren't careful in cleaning.

serger on linen
serging linen

When looking at this pattern the colors that were originally planned went right out the window. I had some very pretty small pieces of my own hand dyes that would make great flowers, so that is where it started. Adding some left over greens for the stems and borders by the teacups seemed like a good idea too. Time to cut. Mostly a seven cut was used, along with a little bit of an 8 cut. You can absolutely use different sized cuts in your rug as long as they end up being an even height in the end if you intend to walk on the rug. This isn't an absolute if it is intended to become a wall hanging. Anything can work there.

The rug was taking on a life of its own and becoming fun with these bright colors built into it.

hand hooked rug being made
close up of hooked rug in process

There were many times I found myself smiling as I looked at how it was coming together. Bright and cheery, that was what was starting to happen.

Lots of background colors were considered from teals, to dark blues, and few others I can't quite remember at this point. I would take different colored wools and throw them down beside my work to see what might look right in my minds eye. It sat for quite a few days with these colors on it before deciding. Backgrounds are my least favorite part of designing my rugs. I'm never sure what it might be until I am quite far along in the process. A neutral light background was what seemed to suit it best, so I went with that. I ended up taking out part of this background because I wasn't happy with how it looked. You can see how it was hooked in other images in the end.

hooked rug with exposed linen
keeping track of hooking time on my rug

Something I did this time around was to actually write the time I started and stopped on the edge of the linen each time I hooked. It was an experiment to see just how much time it would take to hook the rug and.... 20.5 hrs later, the hooking part was complete. Now that was an eye opener for me since I had never recorded the hooking time before. I don't believe I am a particularly slow hooker, but I guess I'm not the fastest either? In any case, it all added up to a lot of hours! Interesting practice that I will continue from now on .

Then it was time to press. I always press before I cut off the extra linen around the border. If I am going to whip stitch with yarn I leave a 1.5 - 2 inch amount of linen around the entire edge. That raw edge is then serged so it won't ravel and be a bother to work on.

I debated how to bind this sweet rug. Corded wool? rug binding tape? yarn? how about 2 different yarns this time- why not give it a try? I used a bulky neutral wool yarn and a stocking weight blue gray yarn to add a bit of interest. Both were done together at the same time giving the rug a fun almost striped effect. That process took almost 4 hrs alone. Phew.

One more time to steam press both front and back. I place my iron on a damp tea towel counting to 8 and then lift and move it to another spot, repeating the process until it has been completely pressed. I can't remember why I count to 8 , but always have and it is effective. Both front and back are done in the same way. Steam pressing is magic and pulls the finished rug all together. This is a step you should never ignore.

What I didn't mention earlier was that this particular rug was hooked on a pattern that I made a mistake on while drawing it on the linen. I couldn't sell the pattern as is , so hooked it again and I am so glad that I did! I really love this little rug and think it would be perfect on a tabletop, in a bathroom or in a child's room.

How many total hours went into this rug? I can't be sure since the hand dyeing, cutting, drawing and steaming weren't calculated. Sourcing the wools, dyes and linen could also be argued as a factor as well but I rarely think of that time. All of those things are time spent that can't be helped unless you purchase a kit where most of that is already prepared for you.

Rug hooking is a wonderful way to sink into a rhythmic meditation. I can get lost in the process.

So there you have it in a nutshell. This was a short version of what it really takes to make a rug come alive. If you have any questions about my process please reach out.

Creativity- it is what quiets the mind and centers you.

I hope that you have something that helps quiet your mind too.

What might you create today? Whatever it is, I hope you enjoy the process.

Please visit my shop- there will be more wools, patterns and finished work as it is completed.


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