What is Nantucket Rug Hooking?
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Nantucket Rug Hooking is a craft that goes back as many as 400 years in Europe, but is little heard from nowadays!  It is a craft whereby yarn is pulled through an open-weave backing to create a tufted side (the finished side).  It is very easy to learn, and every single rug hooker approaches the craft in his or her own unique way.

All you need to hook your own rugs is a simple hook, much like a crochet hook, mounted in a handle, and some backing material, usually burlap or linen.  The yarn can be handspun, commercially spun from a knitting store, or leftovers from knitting, weaving or crochet projects!  For more ideas of where to get great rug hooking yarns, check out my book, Joy of Hooking (With Yarn!).
Figure 1
Push your hook through the backing where you want to begin.
Figure 2
Pull up the end of the yarn with the hook, leaving about a 1" tail sticking up.  Push in your hook next to the tail.
Figure 3
(View from the underside.) 
When you push in your hook, your left hand pushes up, to give yourself something to push against.  Notice that I still have hold of the yarn underneath.
Figure 4
Making your first loop. 
(View from the underside.)
I slide my left hand down the yarn, and raise it up to the hook.
Figure 5
(View from the underside.)
I wrap the yarn around the hook, pulling down to keep the yarn on the hook while I pull the hook through to the top.
Figure 6
(View from the underside.)
The yarn has been pulled through to the top, but I still keep control of it with my left hand as it pulls up.
Figure 7
(View from the underside.)
My left hand continues to feel the yarn pulling up until the yarn pulls tight across the back.

Figure 8
(View from the underside.)
This is what it should look like when the yarn has been pulled all the way up.  There is a tiny bit of yarn pulled tight between the tail and the first loop, and to the right is the remaining yarn supply.
Figure 9
This is the view from above in Figure 8.
I have pulled the extra yarn up, until it is tight across the back.
Figure 10
When I am satisfied that I have pulled the yarn tight across the back, I pull the loop down with my left hand until it is the desired height.
Figure 11
The loop is the desired height, so I push the hook in next to it to make the next loop.
For way more information, check out my books, Joy of Hooking (With Yarn!), and Rug Hooker's Guide to the YARNIVERSE!
If you are familiar with hooking with fabric strips, you will notice that there is a lot more pulling up and pulling down with yarn.  Yarn is fantastically durable, and by breaking the action down into simple steps (pulling up and pulling down), it actually allows you to hook much faster, once you get the hang of it. 

If you have ever learned to knit or crochet, you went very slowly at first, as your hands learned the process, but very soon, you find you can knit quickly, without even thinking about it.  That's what it is like hooking with yarn.

For detailed instructions on finishing your rugs, click here.
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