Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Rug Hooking Frames

I get asked a lot, and see the same inquiry posted on rug hooking groups about what the best rug hooking frame is. Since each person's finances are not the same, their needs are not the same either.  So I will share my personal experience and opinion on what works best for me.  Please, if you sell any of these frames and are not happy with what I've said, just remember this my humble opinion so don't crucify me.

When I first started I began with a humble embroidery hoop.  But since I needed to guide the strip of wool with one hand and pull the loop with the other, it was rather awkward with the loop rested against my belly and against a table top.  But I stayed with using it to see if this was something I wanted to continue and buy better tools.  Yup, loved it and figured the proper tools were needed.

Sixteen years ago there were not the multitude of rug hooking businesses available so the the 'Cadillac' of rug hooking frames was said to be the Puritan.  I bought one, hated it both as a lap frame and on the stand and sold it for a song.

Then, when the exchange rate was better between Canada and the US I purchased a sit upon  from Quilter's Workshop in Canada.  I loved, loved that frame and after getting it wished that I'd ordered the larger one.  I still have this frame, still love it and use it for smaller pieces.

 360º Gripper Frame with Sit-On Base

After using this size for a while and had a few extra pennies to rub together went on the hunt for another frame but the exchange rate in Canada was not as good so hunted in the US for something larger.  Voila, by then Rughooking101 had a frame so purchased it.  I still have it and still use it.  This one does give my rotator cuff a work out because it is solid oak.  Also the paddle is larger and not as sleek as the one above, and really, it is the thigh which secures the frame and you don't really put your spine on the paddle.

Then decided that a floor stand was needed so that when I went to rug camps I would have the floor stand for the class.  Luckily I was able to purchase a used rughooking101 floor stand for the frame and had the smaller Quilter's Workshop sit-upon to hook in the sleeping room at night.

More time passes and at rug camps there are women who have just gotten the Snapdragon frame.  Oh my be still  my heart.  It keeps the linen drum top tight and easily snap the underside paddles to release the pattern so that no wool strips get pulled or teased out.  Well don't you know that I had to find a way to 'get me one of those' beauties.  So I have the Snapdragon with the Big foot floor stand.  Frankly, I used the Snapdragon on my Rughooking101 floor stand for a while but decided to get this floor stand too.
K's Creations Big Foot Floor Stand
And, after much deliberation and on an impulse purchased the Townsend Orbiter.  Actually, before that I had the red lap top portable and just do not care for any lap top frame so sold that one.
Bee Line Townsend 14" Orbiter Floor Frame
I purchased this during the past winter in anticipation of taking it to rug camp so I can roll it in and set it up in a flash.  It is for larger and more heavy rugs and wish I'd had it when I was hooking Domestic Zoo.  This is a very expensive piece of equipment.

So now you ask, which do I recommend.  That depends on your finances.  If you have the financial resources I would recommend the Snapdragon hands down.  It is less expensive than the Townsend Orbiter but more expensive that the sit-upon frames.

If you don't have that kind of money to put into a frame, then the sit-upon is a good way to go. However, if you have an opportunity to go to a local hook-in or meet up with some hookers that would be a good way to 'test drive' hooks and frames and most of us are very happy to let other hookers try them out.  That way you would know what is best for you.  

And then if neither option seems financially feasible at this time, there are people who have constructed their own box frame and used heavy duty thumb tacks to secure their pattern to it and moved around and re-tacked the pattern when time to hook another area.  Or you could purchase the    artists frame sections, join them and tack your pattern onto that.  

Hope this has helped, but if you have further questions, please feel free to ask.  Happy Hooking.



  1. I <3 my Snapdragon, too! It's especially great for people who like to use yarns, fleece, roving, or other fuzzy textures, since the backing is completely released and there is none of the messy "shredding" on the back of your work that happens with other gripper frames. Not only can you make your backing drum-tight, but it happens so easily. There is no real room for improvement on this frame IMHO ;-)

    I only use it as a lap frame at the moment, but I will be looking at adding a floor stand to it.

  2. Saundra ~
    My first frame was bought on eBay and was awful. It did not hold the linen tight at all. I then bought a used Puritan that I am still using. I also got the floor stand and have never used it. I like the Puritan but I would like a frame that tilts. One of these days...sigh!
    Is this post a response to an inquiry from Karen?
    Pug hugs :)

  3. I have and like a titling lap frame

  4. Yes Lauren, I'm glad that Karen posted her question to me so that this post would happen. THANKS to both Lauren and Karen since I welcome inquiries and questions about hooking.

    Thanks for visiting.


  5. Hi Saundra...I thank you so much for all the information you gave me in the e-mail and now here...how very helpful.
    Not sure which one I will buy but it will for sure need to swivel and tilt...THANKS AGAIN.

  6. Hi, Saundra,
    That was very useful information on rug hooking frames. I still use my very first frame which I got on Craigs List before I even began to learn to hook. It is a rectangular lap frame. I sit and hook with my feet up on a footstool, so a lap frame works for me. I actually bought a fancy octagonal frame that turns, but I don't like it and go back to my original.

    I have started hooking on the sheep pattern I bought from you.

    Off topic question, are Ruth Hall patterns copyrighted? There is one I really want to hook called Putnam Historic, a book said it was available at Cushings, but I can't find it on their website. Just curious if you knew anything.


  7. Hi Saundra ~ we have a tilting/rotating frame that my husband builds. Very nice pegged construction with a hand-rubbed oil finish. They're on the left margin of my blog if your readers would like more information!!

  8. *****that's a lot of frames!!! i'm
    equally trapped with hooks...between the woolley fox hook and the ault's hooks...i have
    quite a collection!!! happy hooking...tom

  9. Hands down, the Snapdragon is for me. Have had 3 Puritans and simply hate and cuss them! The Snapdragon on a beautiful sturdy floor stand is the way to go.

    There's a Wooley Fox hook????? I had no idea.


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