Sunday, March 27, 2011


Since I do mostly wide cut hooking my favorite type of backing to use is primitive natural linen.  I have used burlap, monks cloth, hairless linen and rug warp. 

Burlap is not a favorite of mine because it is scratchy and too brittle for my liking.

Even tho it is soft, I do not like hairless linen because when I've purchased yardage of it and went to pull a thread to cut on the straight of grain the thread kept pulling apart and I chased down that same thread all across the width of the linen.   And that was not a random event because it occurred every time I pulled a thread from either direction anywhere on the yardage.  So I figured that if the fibers were so weak to tease easily apart then I did not want my hard work to go into a rug for the floor which would disintegrate before my eyes.  I still have some left and will only use it for mats and something which will not get much use.

Monks cloth I don't like for a couple reasons.  For one, my hook would aways get caught between the small threads that make up the weave and then I'd have to pull the hook out and cautiously insert hook again.  Another issue is the cotton seems to stretch to much for me, I find myself packing too tighly and the rug won't lay flat; so didn't go back to using that either.

I have used rug warp and liked it....not as much as linen, but I really don't have anything bad to say about it.  I hear all the time that rug warp is for fine cut; and so it may be, but I have successfully used an #8 cut to hook the rug you see below.  Sorry I didn't take a picture inside before I sold it because it looks all washed out in the natural sunlight on my back deck.

So I know from personal experience that rug warp can be used with an #8 cut.  Now, I use a Hartman hook which has a nice thick shank which aids in pulling wider loops thru backing easier.  So perhaps the hook is part of the key to sucess.


  1. Saundra,
    I am with you on my preferred backing. But it took me a bit to discover how much better primitive linen is for what I prefer to hook. Unfortunately, I have a large number of patterns on monks cloth.

    While on some, I have, and will ask the designer if I can transfer the pattern to linen. So far, I have not had anyone say no, but I am going to have to go through my stash of patterns and sell the ones on monks cloth and the few I still have on burlap from my earliest purchases.

    While there is never too much wool, I think I have reached where I can have too many patterns!

    Thanks for all the tips, you are a wealth of information.


  2. Saundra ~
    My backing of choice is also linen. I use the hairless ... I will have to try pulling a thread and see if it breaks easily. I tried monks cloth and did not like it. I've never used burlap or rug warp. I think you are correct in your assessment of the hook. I also use a Hartman ~ I've bought others and pull about a dozen loops and return to the Hartman.
    Thanks for a great post!
    Pug hugs :)

  3. I've been using natural linen, but just recently switched from burlap. I started with burlap for the cost effectiveness, but as I get better, I want better stuff to work with. I love linen. It is so much easier to use. Plus, I feel that I don't tend to over pack my loops like I was doing with burlap. It, too, stretches with use. I still have a pattern or two with the burlap, but in the's linen or nothing for me!

  4. Saundra,
    I'm with you...I like the linen too. My favorite is the bleached linen from Cushings....a lot of hookers don't like it because of the little hairs, but I just love it!

  5. Thanks for all the info Saundra. So helpful. I've used the 2" marked monk's cloth several times, and it was just fine...but I think the quality of it can really vary. I got mine from Gene and didn't have a problem with it splitting. My backing of choice is primitive linen.


Thanks for taking the time to visit and I always welcome comments.