Directions for my Rag Rug Cafe special kits in my Etsy Shop

Since I've sold a couple of "Rag Rug Cafe Specials" from my etsy store, I've decided to post my directions here. I'll send a print copy with the kits, creative people sometimes misplace things, so you can come here. :)

I first tried to just copy and paste into the authoring area here, but lots of gobbeldy gook appeared... so will do it the old fashioned way and just retype it in.


Like may simple tasks, describing how to do it, is actually harder than the doing.  Before starting, watch the 4 videos I’ve selected from You Tube at this web address.  After clicking the first video, the others will be visible farther down the page. The first video shows a left handed hooker. Last video by Gene Shepherd at the bottom of the web page is the best. It is about 9 minutes in length. My written directions will make much better sense~ after watching his video a couple of times.

  1.  Place the design portion of the linen in a hoop.  Design side up. For the small piece, you can try hooking without a hoop. (This was easier for me).
  2.  In this kit the strips may have a variety of lengths. This is because they are upcycled* wool. If you purchase wool from a hand dyer many sellers will precut them for you. These strips are an #8 cut for primitive rug hooking.
  3. As shown in the picture, you'll be hooking a multicolor star with a neutral background. Or you could reverse and hook a neutral star with a hit and miss background. Using a variety of colors and alternating them. When I hook an example of that, I'll post a picture. But using the multicolors in the star gives you a small area to hook at a time. It's your call.

finished rug kit frontfinished rug kit front

***********************Directions for hooking***************

  • Hold a wool strip in your non dominant hand under the linen drape it across your palm.Hold the foundation in a loose grip between your thumb and index finger.  Using the hand you write with to hold the hook like a pencil, insert the hook down through a hole in the linen mesh, catch the wool strip and pull a loop to the top. The loop should be a bit bouncy(able to be pressed down). Skip the next opening in the linen and pull the next loop to the surface. Basically, you’ll repeat this one motion over and over again.
  •  I generally start by hooking a row or two around the edges. This helps to keep the sides of the mat straight.
  • Then on to the motif. In this case the star- I'd begin at a point of the star tip with a strip folded in half. Pull a loop at the tip and then use the strip tail to hook down the side of the point. Go back to the tip and using the other tail hook down the other side.
  • As you run out of the strip, pull the tail to the top, and pick up another strip the same color. Pull one end of the strip to the top in the same hole as the tail you just finished.  Moving in from the outer row(the edge of the star point, fill in the center area. This star was hooked with colors coming in to the center. If you are hooking solid, I'd still go to the next tip of a point to begin the hooking. The center could then be filled in with your color.
  • *Be sure not to cross the strips over on the back. Later you will also want to take care not to twist the strips as you bring them to the top. But for now focus on keeping loops the same height and hook about every other hole in the foundation.


back of workback of work


After finishing hooking the design it is fairly easy to pull out the strip by gently tugging on the tip of a tail. This is called reverse hooking :) and although you may not need to do this, rehooking the first point, by the time you've hooked a bit, might improve the look of the whole mat. I hooked points of a different color across from each other, and tossed a third color in. This helps to give the look of an older rug, as they often "made do" with what they had to use.

Fill in the background by first hooking along the space immediately outside the cleavage of the points. As you get to the point tip, pull strip end to the surface. Begin at the narrow part of the background and work toward the outer edge. When you fill in all the space to the first row you hooked, you’ve finished the hooking :)


Finishing your mat...

finishing the edgefinishing the edge


Cut the linen foundation following the thread. I followed the thread at the outer edge of the twill tape out to the edge to begin cuttining. This ensures a straight edge. Linen is VERY prone to raveling, so don't cut until you are ready to sew. On a large rug, I usually cut about 6 to 7 inches ahead of where I'm sewing.

You are going to fold the linen over twice to fit it under the twill tape. Then sew the twill tape to the back of your rug - I personally prefer doing the blanket stitch with upholstery thread.

After the twill tape is securely stitched down, you place the finished mug mat face down on the ironing board. Dampen a kitchen towel and lay it over the back of the mug mat. Press with steam iron set to wool. Flip the rug over and again cover with a damp kitchen towel and steam from the top. Do not press the iron down too hard. This steaming will set the wool into the linen base more securely and is an important step.   

*Upcycled wool
is wool from a sportscoat, skirt, or other type of wool garment that has been washed in hot water, rinsed in cold water, and dried in a hot dryer. This causes the wool to shrink and become more stable. So upcycled wool is clean and safe to handle.



Awesome post.

Awesome post.