How to Design Your Own Rug

This topic might not be considered a beginner's topic, but why not? If you have mastered hooking wool strips into the backing, you may already be thinking about a rug you'd like to make.

The first step is to have an idea you'd like to explore, or an actual design of your own to make. Drawn rug designs are simple generally almost like a coloring book page. Of course a complicated design of a floral or a paisley will need more design, than a simple four leaf clover.

Start with a sketch of your idea. Next use a piece of paper the size of the finished design. For larger rugs, I've taped tracing paper together to fit the design area. Draw your design, keeping details simple as can be and enough space between the lines to fill in with some color. When you are happy with the design, (okay I left out the details for drawing, but remember that primitive rugs aren't like painting the Mona Lisa). Simple childlike drawing or just a word, Simplify   ~  Harvest     ~  Give Thanks      ~ Joy      Believe me, you can do this!

Next measure out your backing. I prefer linen because it lasts, its easier to hook(in my opinion) and doesn't stretch easily. Earlier posts include sources for the linen backing.  Make sure if you are buying linen for a 24 inch wide rug that you add an additional 8 inches to allow borders for putting on your frame.   Next, I generally measure out the design area plus the 8 inches added for top/bottom and also side/side. So 24 x 36 would be 32 x 44 inches. I follow the thread and mark with a Sharpie along the ditch.(furrow between 2 threads) That goes easier side to side than top to bottom. You just have to go slowly and carefully. An ironing board can provide a good work area for a large rug. After marking, carefully cut background. Go immediately to the sewing machine and zigzag the edges. Linen, or other backings ravel easily, so directly to the sewing machine!

Use the Sharpie and a ruler to measure the 4 inch border on all sides of the rug. This is NOT the time to realize you only added 4 inches to 2 or the 4 sides!

Once your design area is marked you need to stop and take a break. You've accomplished a lot. You need to look at the design carefully. Does it have lots of straight lines? Not any straight lines?(organic like a plant/flower) Straight lines need to be marked carefully on the straight of grain. However many old rugs show items put on at an angle, so find a rug with a look that you like, and  use your drawing in the same way. Working from a photograph you've taken is another good way to design.  Another simple rug is just using up the worms you have in what is called hit and miss. This style looks simple, and can be done with a totally random, don't look, just reach in a bag for a wooly worm. (Fill the bag with worms, shake them up. If you like the general look of the colors, it will probably turn into a rug you like. Now throw in a couple of sparks like 2 or 3 lime green, purple or orange strips that don't match all the rest.) Have fun, you can always reverse hook and choose a color you like better.