Whipping Tips for Finishing your Hooked Rug

Written by Cindi Gay

  • If whipping is frustrating for you it may be because the wool gets tangled as you work. Hold the wool yarn as you would if you were crocheting using your left hand. (Reverse these instructions if you are left handed.) Insert the needle in the correct position and pull the yarn through while continuing to hold the wool with your left hand. Both halves of the yarn should be separated enough that they won’t tangle as you pull the yarn through. Release the wool in your left hand when you are ready to pull it tight.

    Finishing-avoiding tangles while whipping

  • Use a single strand instead of a double. You may have to go into some of the holes twice depending on the thickness of your yarn, but you will have an easier time of it.
  • Pull the yarn firmly but not extremely tight. You can hold the tension on the previous stitch with your left hand as you work. If you whip loosely the yarn will tend to move around and your backing will show through. By pulling tighter you will have a neater edge and probably a longer wearing one because friction will be reduced.
  • For rug warp and 3-ply Paternayan yarn, stitch once in each hole. If it looks like the whipping is too thin, double up every so often. Every yarn and every backing will be slightly different, so double up when you need to by stitching in the same hole twice.
  • As you stitch, the whipping may begin to lean. Stop every so often and gently adjust the yarn by tugging with your fingernails along the very outer edge to keep the whipping at a 90 degree angle.
  • If you are unsure of your technique, practice on the backing you cut off until you are comfortable to finish your piece. Be sure to practice a corner or two.

Having trouble finding the right color of yarn?

  • If your background wool is tightly woven you can cut strips from #6 – #8 and use these strips to whip the edge. You know the color will match perfectly but you will have to work slower to keep each strip from twisting and you will have more ends to begin and stop.
  • If you used a plaid for the final border (as in the picture above), the best solution may be to use a 3-ply yarn and separate the plys and reconstruct them using multiple colors. In the picture above I used 2 navy and 1 red for 2" then changed to 1 navy and 2 red. After whipping 2" I changed back to the previous combination. This edging was very subtle and goes well with the plaid. I wasn’t clever in developing this technique. I couldn’t decide if I wanted more red or more blue so I whipped 2" of each side by side. I liked the look so well that I continued this method around the rug. Experiment! Audition the wool – you can’t be sure what it will look like until it goes to work in your piece.
  • Don’t try to match the last row. Consider using a different color for the outer edge. Match a different color in the rug or use a dark neutral.
  • When in doubt use my favorite whipping yarn.

Guaranteed even results

A friend of mine, Starr Burgess, told me about a method she uses for whipping to get a consistent tension on her whipped edge. Check it out below and give it a try if you are struggling.

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