Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Rug Hooks Then and Now

These are old rug hooks that I purchased at a local antique store.  They were made with chiseled or bent nails and inserted into a crudely carved piece of wood for the hooker to hold.  When I did shows I carried these with me to show those who had an interest in the process of rug hooking.  Thought it would be nice for them to see the tools the women used back then.
 I also took this latch hook, which I have no idea how to use, because the response from most people when seeing me hooking is...."I used to do that when I was in college".  That is when lesson #1 started ~ by explaining what I was doing was TRADITIONAL rug hooking not latch hook.
Below is the basic hook I first learned to hook with.  The hook is small but it would pull up a #8 strip just fine by holding the hook just right.  The price was right compared to the cost of today's hooks and it served the purpose well.
I had a friend who used a crochet hook and she was an experienced hooker and preferred to use that.  There are pencil hooks available with a more substantial grip on them but for the very new beginner, one could always buy a crochet hook and wrap duck take around the top for a better grip.  That would surely work until you discovered if you like the art/craft.  No way I could use a pencil hook as my old hands would eventually cramp up.
AH, my favorite hook of all is the Hartman hook, I love the ball in the palm of my hand, like the weight and the shank is thick so as to make a nice hole for the wide strips to pull thru the linen easily.  Yes they are costly, particularly for a newbie starting out at $35 plus shipping.  Or at least that is what I paid.  At first I purchased one (the bottom one on the left).  If you look closely you will see indentations.  When my girl Shadow was a pup she thought it was a toy and started chewing on it.  Thankfully the wood stayed intact and didn't splinter.  Immediately I went out too the garage, got myself a piece of very fine sandpaper, smoothed it down and oiled the wood.  It was then I decided to buy another ~ in case something should happen to the first I'd have another as a back up.  

But then I wanted to have a hook in each of the baskets where my different projects were started because goodness if I should go somewhere and not have my hook.  Yes, these are all mine.  The two to the right have an ergonomic thumb hold and as you can see is an elongated grip.  I thought it would be nice and good for my hands to have a change in grip.
And then I was at Cape May camp and my friend Cheri Reid was hooking fast and furious with a hook so of course I just had to have one too.  The one on the far left has a great flat surface and large hook for even a hand torn strip.  The others I purchased 'just because'.
Two other great tools to have are the gripper strip cleaner and loop lifter.  Ya know how when your loop needs to be adjusted and you put your hook in to fix it and the hook gets stuck?  Well the loop lifter works great.  I purchased the strip cleaner at a rug camp and I've had the loop lifter so many years can't remember where that was purchased so don't have a contact for either tool.  But the person from whom I purchased the loop lifter they also had gorgeous pencil type hooks in similar silver designs.
There is also a tool called the burling iron to help straighten out or lift your loops.  Yeah, I know, it doesn't look like an iron but that is its name.  And frankly, for the cost of this vs. just a plain pair of cheap tweezers, as a newbie I'd go for the tweezers.
Burling Iron for Rug Hooking
For you newbies just finding my blog, I've previously done tutorials on frames, foundation cloth as well.  All you need to do is go to the top left of my blog and type in what you are looking for in the search box.

Have a fantastic day and thanks for dropping by.  Comments are always welcome.  And if anyone has a topic which I haven't already covered (and you can't find on my blog) please feel free to write me and I'll see if I can help.



  1. This was so interesting ! My hooks are very plain & I have several , so I can always find one ! I really want to try a Hartmen hook & see what it is like. Your loop lifter is so pretty !!!

  2. I could not hook without my Hartman and I finally bought a second one "just in case". I have others but the Hartman spoiled me.
    I am jealous of all your old ones. I think I only have two...sigh.
    Returning home today. Back to reality...ugh...but my hook and frame are there so it's not all bad.
    Hugs :)

  3. You are the best. Thanks for sharing.

  4. One thing I found, is that I cannot hold a hook with metal at the end, it bothers my fingers so I use ones that are all wood.


  5. Love seeing all those old hooks...and your new ones...I'm a pencil hook girl all they way...give me a Miller fine my fingers fly...at least that's how I remember it!


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