Nantucket Rug Hooking is an easy, fun craft that has been around for hundreds of years, although it is something of a "lost art" today. It involves the process of pulling loops of yarn through a backing material, such as burlap, Monk's cloth and linen. For more detailed information and instructions, click here!
How do you clean and care for hand-hooked rugs?
When I demonstrate rug hooking, people are often amazed that I put my rugs on the floor. "After all the work you put in!" But really, my rugs are made with the very best wool yarn available and hooked on a durable linen backing. This makes it so that they will survive many generations on the floor, with normal wear and tear.
Basic care and cleaning: Vacuuming the rugs is very good for them, because it lifts the dirt off the surface of the rug. I recommend vacuuming the top and the bottom of the rug. (Before vacuuming, check the rug for any stray bits of yarn that may have pulled through and re-hook them.)
To clean the rugs, I just use a simple solution of a tablespoon of laundry detergent in about 2 cups of cold water. (I use laundry detergent because it doesn't get sudsy) I'm told that a splash of vinegar in the soap mixure is good for the wool. I also keep a bowl of clean water nearby, to rinse out my sponge.
Dip the sponge in the soapy water and squeeze it almost all the way out. Then scrub a section of the rug in a circular motion. Rinse the sponge in the clean water, and go over the same area to remove some of the soap. Repeat for the rest of the rug, top and bottom. Lay the rug to dry where it can get good air circulation, on a rack or on the laundry line on a sunny day. If you want to dry your rug inside on a towel, it is a good idea to turn it over occasionally while it is drying.
No! Just remember, this craft goes back hundreds of years, long before the invention of latex, and many of those rugs have lasted literally hundreds of years!
If your hooking technique is right, you don't need latex to glue the rug together. The yarn will happily stay in place with normal traffic. If you should ever pull up some of the yarn, the rug can easily be re-hooked, unless of course, there is latex on the back. You see, contrary to what you might think, latex doesn't keep the yarn from pulling out, it just makes the rug impossible to repair.
But there is another reason to avoid latex: you could rot your rug. Since hooked rugs are quite dense, when we wash them, some moisture gets inside the rug, and it takes good air circulation to keep the rug in condition. Latex cuts off the air supply to the back of the rug, so when it gets wet, it rots. That would be a terrible waste! Without latex, your rug will last generations, so don't use latex!
How can I keep my rug from slipping on a hardwood floor?
Purchase a rubber rug mat at a carpet store, and cut it to the desired size.
What is the difference between rugs hooked with yarn and rugs hooked with fabric strips?
Both crafts come under the heading of "Traditional Rug Hooking," which goes back to the 1700's in Europe. It was started by weavers looking for a use for the warp yarn leftover after the cloth had been woven. Soon they discovered that the precious remnants from sewing garments could also be cut into narrow strips and hooked into rugs.