traditional colonial rug hooking?

February 3, 2012 by
Filed under: Traditional Rugs 

Traditional rugs
by CarpetView

Question by AddieMom13: traditional colonial rug hooking?
I went to a heritage craft festival last year, and there was a lady making rugs. It was at a Colonial period mansion, and she said the rugs were found in the storage of the family, and never finished. So she was using similar materials, and following the pattern to finish them. I guess it was rug hooking, but I don’t remember her calling it that. She would take a very thick piece of wool and pull it through the backing to make a little loop, then, on the same piece of wool, just make a loop in the next hole, no knots, no cut pieces..she said the fabric was so tight and the wool so thick that it would hold it in, and eventually the bottom would become felt from walking on it (she showed me the older portions of the piece). Is that the same as regular modern rug hooking? it doesn’t seem like it…
does anyone know if this sounds right? does anyone rug hook like this?

Best answer:

Answer by knittinmama
There are many different rug making techniques still used today. A magazine called Piecework recently had an article about rug making similar to what you described. There are other publications dedicated to rug making. Try googling rug hooking and you can find a lot of information and hopefully can learn more about this technique.

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2 Comments on traditional colonial rug hooking?

  1. zipknitter on Fri, 3rd Feb 2012 12:13 pm

    It can be called punch rug or rug hooking also have heard it called by other names that are used just in certain regions of the country.
    With a rug hook you reach through a hole you make in the fabric, grab hold of the fabric underneath and pull loops of the fabric(or yarn )through to the top of the fabric to make a loop. It is usually done with burlap backing, or you can buy rug backing made especially for it.
    For punch rugs you have a tool that the material or yarn is threaded though. You push it through the rug backing and hold one hand underneath to hold onto the loop so it won’t pull out when the punch is pulled back out and moved to make the next hole. Aunt Lydia Yarn Co used to sell a lot of the kits to make them and also the patterned rug backing along with how much yarn you would need to make them, but I think they totally dropped that line.
    If the loops are made too closely together the rug won’t lay flat, it will buckle from too much material being forced into too small an area. I have made over 40 hook rugs and easily twice that many punch rugs over the past 35 years. Have made them with wool material cut into narrow strips, cotton material and cotton or polyester yarns too. They are fun and can last for a lot of years. It takes a lot of patience and doesn’t take long before you can get the hang of how closely to place the loops.
    Have 3 upstairs now that I keep putting off starting because of a lot of other projects I need to finish first.

  2. mickiinpodunk on Fri, 3rd Feb 2012 1:00 pm

    Depending on whether or not she was pulling or pushing the wool through depends on what the technique is called.

    Pulling wool strips through a burlap, linen, or monk’s cloth backing is traditional rug hooking and it originated, a bit later than colonial times, mid-18th century actually. Proddy rugs have wool strips pushed through the backing with a blunt dibble-type prod. Punch or needle punch rugs use a tool with a sharp-tipped, hollow needle through which rug yarn is threaded and used to push yarn loops through the backing–patterns for this type of rug are printed on the top side of the backing in reverse, since you are working from the back surface of the rug. Yarn loops pulled through the backing with the same type hook as traditional rug hooking uses is called Nantucket style rug hooking. None of these are the same as latch hooked rugs.

    You can find more information on these on-line at .

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