Darci Spilman / Artist

Woolen folk art 

Hooked Rugs may be used in a variety of uses around the home.  They add warmth to any space. 

step seven


  • On top of a table
  • Chair pad
  • Pillow cover
  • Wall hanging 
  • Floor mat

step six

Whip stitch  

There are several methods to finishing a rug but I prefer the whip stitch method   Select 100% wool yarn which compliments the piece.  Start by turning the outside edges of the foundation cloth in once, than again, and whip stitch the entire circumference.   

How to make a hooked rug

start to finish  The basics to the technique have changed very little in the past 150 years.  

  • In the 1800's Rug makers used old feedbags made from burlap for their rug foundation cloth.  Fabric used for hooking the rug came from discarded tattered garments worn by family.  Hooking tools were made using a bent nail from the barn. 
  • ​​Rug Hookers Today still use burlap, but other backing materials are also used such as Belgian linen, which can last far longer than burlap.   My hooking tool is made from rosewood and brass.  I find my wool at thrift stores and also purchase from Dorr Mill Store in New Hampshire using the internet.  I like to dye my wool using W. Chushing Perfection Acid Dyes which do not run when washed with mild soap and water.  The materials and how we get them have changed, but the process and joy of hooking lives on.

step four


The concept is simple, easy to learn, and repetitive once you get the hang of it.  Think of it as COLORING WITH WOOL using a hooking tool.  Hold the cut strip from underneath and pull strip up through hole to begin.  Next move two holes down and pull up a loop, move along until you either fill in the drawn object or run out of wool.  Cut the loose tails off even with the loops, there is no knotting.  

step five

prep for finishing

After the rug is finished it's time to prep for finishing the outside edge.  If the rug is to be used on the floor I choose a whip stitch yarn border. This assures the outside edges of your rug are sturdy to cut down on wear and tear. Measure 1 1/4" from the last row hooked and draw a straight line all around and miter the corners.  Using the sewing machine, zigzag on the line.  Trim with scissors.  

step three 

Cut the wool into strips

Special machines are used to cut wool into a variety of widths used for hooking rugs.  The handle on the right turns the blade as the fabric moves through.  A variety of cutter head widths are available.  Frazier cutters are available at www.fraserrug.com.  Wool cutters are very expensive and there are alternatives to using a machine.  Contact me and I'll give you my method used prior to investing in a cutting machine.

step tWO

Select wool colors

I find 100% wool in thrift stores by reading labels.  You can also purchase from my ETSY store or wool mills.  When selecting colors I try to place my background color down first and then add other colors on top.  Stand back and see how they react to one another. All my wool is pre washed, dyed, set with vinegar to prevent running of color, then dried in the dryer or on the line to shrink.

step one

Select a pattern or draw your own design

Choose a pattern you find visually pleasing.  Beginners should start with a smaller project to see if hooking is something you enjoy.  I sell patterns on this site or select a pattern from my portfolio page and I would be happy to draw it for you on foundation cloth.