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My favorite backing: rug warp

Sheri’s question:

Hi Cindi, what’s the difference in rug warp and say primitive linen. That’s what I usually hook on but it’s so darned expensive. I use an 8, 8.5 and 9 cut. I am also experimenting with monks cloth. It’s not too bad and a lot cheaper than linen. And where do you get to rug warp? Dorr?
Thanks for the help.

Rug warp is the heaviest backing that I know of. It lays on the floor like a rug. My linen rugs are often a pain because they tend to wrinkle and I have to straighten them. In my opinion, a rug should not wrinkle.

Rug warp is made of 100% cotton just like monk’s cloth so it is easy on alergies, but much heavier and not nearly as prone to stretching. If you pack, avoid monk’s cloth.

I’ve heard some comments that rug warp is not straight. It may not be at first, but pull on it! It straightens out every time. I will work on writing up a lesson on transferring a pattern. If you use the threads to draw the outlines of your rug, and then tug until the box is square before transferring your motifs it works like a charm.

Rug warp will hold your loops tight. If you have problem with the loops pulling out as you work, consider rug warp. If you have pets, rug warp is the best backing of them all. I have two of Kim Nixon’s footstools sitting in front of my couch. The two cats consider them their own scratching posts. I know all animals are different, but I have no problem with them.

And last, but not least, rug warp is cheaper than linen but it costs more than monk’s cloth the last time I checked. You can buy it here on my website:

I planned a large rug, Antique Rose Basket, to hook at Sauder Village last year. Because I wanted to use 8.5 and 9’s I drew it on linen. I tried hooking a bit on Monday night and ended up running home Tuesday to get rug warp. I haven’t worked on it since because of the large rug, but I am glad I made the change. Be sure to use a hook with a thick shank such as a Hartman Hook. You can buy these hooks at Dorr Mill Store.

And for those that prefer linen:

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. jane fitzpatrick says:

    I have just heard about rug warp as a substitute for monks cloth and for using with yarns uinstead of wool strips. is this what i am looking for?

    • I don’t enjoy hooking with yarn, but I would guess that rug warp would be perfect. It holds the loops nice and tight and is not as floppy as monk’s cloth.

  2. Fran Blackwell says:

    The rug warp you have listed at 60″ doesn’t tell me number of yards, my mother-in-law wants to do a 36″ X 60″ rug on warp. Is your piece 1 yd that is 60″ wide?

    • You need a minimum of 4-8″ on all sides, so in order to hook a rug that is 36″ x 60″ you would need to place the skinny side of the rug across the 60″ giving you (60-36 divided by 2) a 12″ margin along the long sides. This piece would have to be at least (60 + 6 + 6) 72″ long, or 2 yards.

  3. Fran Blackwell says:

    Your 60″ wide rug warp, do you sell it by the yard, so that $20 gets a 60″X36″ piece?

    • The rug warp is on a big roll. The backing is 58-60″ wide. You can order it however long you need.

  4. Bonita Tong says:

    Hi Cindi,
    Received my order yesterday – Thank You! Question: What is the smallest cut you would recommend to use on Rug warp? Ready to transfer a Karla Gerard pattern onto a backing, either Rug Warp or Linen based upon your answer. Thank You again! Blessings, Bo

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