Rug Hooking Rules: What you MUST do

February 17, 2014 6 comments | Updated March 11, 2018

Written by Cindi Gay

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.

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