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How much yarn do I need to whip my hooked rug?

This entry is part 4 of 7 in the series Fold Forward Finish

March 2014 update: The calculator has been fixed. If it ever stops working again, please let me know. In case you are curious, here’s how to do the calculations yourself:

Width + Width + Length + Length = Perimeter inches

Perimeter inches divided by how many inches your whipping covers = number of pieces you need

Number of pieces you need * the length of strand you used = Number of inches of yarn needed

Number of inches of yarn needed divided by 36" = Number of yards you need.


Whipping a rug takes a long time. Ripping it out because you run out of yarn and have to start over with something else is a nightmare. Run the numbers before you begin.

Do a whipping test

Use a piece of scrap backing and prepare the edge so you can practice whipping. A section about 8″ long should be enough. Here are some posts to get you started:

I typically use a 5′ or 60″ long piece of yarn to whip my rugs. Do not let the yarn shop wind the yarn into a ball for you. Instead, leave it in a skein and untwist it so it is a circle. Cut through one place on the circle through all the strands. That will quickly give you strands of yarn that are approximately the same length, about 5′ long.

Use one piece to whip your scrap sample. Now enter your numbers above and count out the number of strands you need. Do you have enough? You’ll know right away.

No time to do a test? Most rugs will only use a fraction of a skein. You can whip 594 inches or just under 50 feet using my example of 4.5″ of whipping from a 60″ strip using my favorite whipping yarn.


Rug Hooking Rules: What you MUST do

rug hook
Ready for some rug hooking rules? Just one: Do what you think is right. It really is just that simple. This is an art form. Does the painter get criticized about how the brush is held? Do people turn the work over to check the back? NO!

Give yourself permission to be a little “wrong.” There is no right or wrong way to do anything and that applies to rug hooking. There are certain practices that generate certain results. For instance, I’ve had students apologize to me that they did not hook the sky on their rug using “my way.” My book, Pine Trees, Grass and Sky explains a step by step method to achieve a very realistic (and easy) sky. That is only one way to hook a sky. It is not the only way and may not be suitable for your rug.

Do what is right for you. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. My best work happens when I take a chance, rug hooking or not. What you MUST do is rug hook. Don’t listen to the criticism of others. If you ask advice, ask why they are recommending a method or a color. If they cannot tell you why, walk away. If it does not sound right, don’t listen. Smile and walk away. Do your own rug hooking. These are your rugs.

Here is an example of a question I received this week.

Hi. Can you go around and around starting at the outer edge and working inward to make a square? Or can you start in the center and work out toward the edges? More importantly, do you need to stop and start at the corners or can you just turn your work and keep going if you’re not ready to change colors yet? Someone told me not to turn corners. Thanks.

Kathy via comments

For everyone who tells you to never do something, you’ll find someone else who will say to always do it. You will need to find your own way in rug hooking, as in life. Always ask: why?

I never stop and start at the corners because I think stopping and starting at the corners makes the edge weak. Do I have evidence? No, it just seems right to me.

I like to start at the outside. I want a full even row on the outside and I really don’t care where the center ends up. I will often make more rows on one side just to throw the center off. Trying to find the exact center and working out is just too much trouble, IMHO, the same goes for circles.

I also turn rows when I am hooking the siding of a building. I don’t like the row of ends on the sides. “Hiding the end” just creates another illusion. I stop and start at random places in the center of the row and turn at each end. The slight bump is less “ugly” to me than a row of tails.

Download the Rug Hooking Rules to pass out at your next rug hooking meeting.


Sunflower Garden Footstool Rug Hooking Pattern

Sunflower Garden footstool rug hooking pattern

This pattern is the most detailed of the sunflower footstool patterns. Use a small cut and bring out the details or stay with #6 - #8 and simply fill in the shapes with wonderful textures. This is a pattern you can adapt to your … [Continue reading]

Full color plan for Annie’s Scroll Stair riser


Background 1/2 yard Scraps for the flower 2 pieces for the scroll outline 3 pieces to fill the scroll scraps of white for the Queen Anne's Lace … [Continue reading]

Price increases announced for Beeline Art Tool (Townsend Rug Hooking Cutter)


I received this email. Looks like the prices are going up. If you are planning to buy a Beeline Art Tool, formally known as a Townsend Rug Hooking Cutter, you may want to move up your plans. You have until Jan 13, 2014 Hello Fiber Arts … [Continue reading]

November 2013 hook-in at Holland, MI

rug hook

I received information for a hook-in at Holland, MI. The link below is a PDF with the necessary registration information. It is the 2nd annual event. I did not go last year. Did you? Leave a comment and tell us about it. Click here to … [Continue reading]

Sauder Village 2013 – My class with Lucille Festa

Minna's Roses Stair Riser

Some rug camps are more special than others. My week with Lucille was very special. I had a great roommate (Pam Alexander and I have been staying together at Sauder for the last 13 years), I had a great teacher, Lucille Festa, whom I consider a … [Continue reading]

A personal update


In February I attended a meeting for Wordpress, the software that runs my website. At that meeting I said out loud for the first time, that I would be retiring from teaching on the road. It was a decision that had been brewing for some time, and … [Continue reading]

Choosing my pattern for Sauder Village rug hooking workshop with Lucille Festa

Paper Roses by Lucille Festa

Everyone goes to rug camp for different reasons. Some of us are coming to learn something new, others are looking forward to spending time with friends and still others are just running away from the pressures of home for a week. For me, my reasons … [Continue reading]

Purple color scheme for Annie’s Flower Power footstool

rug hooked footstool pattern

Today in class Pat Mensing shared with us her progress on Annie's Flower Power footstool. She is hooking it for a member of her family. They both came to my studio a few weeks ago and picked out the colors. Pat used the instructions that come with … [Continue reading]