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Day 94 How to hook crooked rows not straight ones

This entry is part 15 of 35 in the series Room Sized Rug
Antique Rose Runner hooked by Cindi Gay, design by Karen Kahle

Antique Rose Runner hooked by Cindi Gay, design by Karen Kahle

My focus for the last two years has been to “get crooked.” I thought I had made a breakthrough with Karen Kahle at Sauder Village in 2006. I was working on her Antique Rose Runner during the lunch break. All the other students were off eating and I was so excited about what and how I was hooking that I decided to work through lunch.

A woman came into the classroom to see what we were working on. I sat on the far side of the room. When she made her way to me, I stretched out the backing so she could get a better view. “Nice,” she mumbled. I then explained how I was concentrating on making everything crooked. She brightened up and said, “Oh, it is supposed to be that way.”

She probably felt sorry for me. This poor hooker can’t hook a straight line!

I love this story because that week changed my hooking dramatically. I explained the feeling to my friends as “hooking naked.” I had no cares about what row I was hooking in. I grabbed whatever color was on top. I turned my brain off and hooked away. I had that rug finished within two weeks of coming home. I usually return from camp with less than a square foot hooked.

Day 65 room sized rug straight border lines

Day 65 room sized rug straight border lines

I applied this mind set to the design of my room sized rug in progress. The four corners are slightly different. Nothing is perfect. But when I got to hooking the boundaries for the hit and miss, I hooked three rows in perfect alignment. I was unhappy about the look, see the post for Day 65! It took me this long to figure out what was wrong. This is one reason I always move out to the borders ASAP.

Crooked lines make a rug look more antique

Day 94 Trying out the new cat's paw border

Day 94 Trying out the new cat’s paw border

I decided to make the border lines more wobbly as I did in Antique Rose Runner. I decided to use the line I drew for the edge as a guideline only. I wavered three holes left and three holes right at random. Then I hooked another strip on each side for the three rows I wanted. Much better. In Day 065 you can see how much of the straight line stuff I ripped out. You can also see how I adjusted the width of the hit and miss border. The crooked lines instantly softened the tone of the border and I think makes it look older.

Cindi Gay Rug Hooking Newsletter


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About Cindi Gay

I always felt like an artist looking for a medium until I found rug hooking. It satisfies all my creative outlets.
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  1. Cindi, I’m a little confused. Was the observer meaning lines are supposed to be crooked? Was she asking, “Is it supposed to be that way?”, or was she saying “It is supposed to be that way”.

    I think a little crooked looks better too! More natural and interesting to look at. So were you saying what she said helped you to loosen up a little? To hook with a little more random and not as much planning?

    I’m really trying to do some thinking too about how get that primitive, not so perfect look. I’m really enjoying and getting a lot out of your posts. Thanks!

    • I took her comment as “Oh, you really meant them to be crooked…hmmm.” She seemed to be expecting straight rows.

      Loosening up and using the lines as a guide only will really help you to personalize your pattern and to get a more primitive look.

      I have since designed a pattern with crooked lines. I call it Supposed to Be, inspired by this story.

      Supposed to Be Rug hooking pattern

      • Cute pattern! That looks like it’d be fun to hook!

        I guess some people like straight lines and perfection, but other’s like us sometimes actually like the look of slight imperfection. I think rugs look older, more antique that way. More old timey, homey and primitive too. That’s just more my style. It’s tricky hooking to get that look though. I’m learning. You’re giving some great tips here.

        I think some designs look nice pretty straight, but other types look better a little off. I’ve heard of that wonky hooking. I guess the crooked lines are part of it. I want to learn more about it.

        There are just so many good patterns & ideas for hooking. I think I need to be working on a couple at a time. Just small rugs for now. I think the only way to do it, to get better, is to just finally start again, finish a rug, even if I don’t have just the right colors, or totally love the pattern to start. Give one a break if it gives me trouble & work on the other’s.

        I love this site of yours. I’m going to read up on your other posts too and buy some supplies from you when I get some extra money.

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