Making your own hooked rugs is a rewarding experience, but it can be challenging to know where to begin. The popular craft calls for specialized tools, well-cut fabrics, and methodical planning of colors and shapes. Whether you are interested in learning about primitive, traditional, or modern rug hooking, there’s an abundance of guides that distill the essentials and offer tips on how to make your first or next rug a success. Learn about this long and rich tradition in one or more of our favorite books below, which are all written by top experts.
1. The Art of Rug Hooking
At just 128 pages long, Anne Mather’s guide to rug hooking provides a succinct and compelling overview of the traditional art. Mather, an accomplished rug hooker herself, discusses basics, including necessary supplies, fabric preparation, and simple hooking techniques. Accompanying her text are detailed patterns and projects to hook and even dye your own works. Finally, a photo gallery of rugs serves as a vast trove of inspiration and eye candy.
2. Punch Needle Rug Hooking: Techniques and Designs
If you’re interested in punch needle–style hooking, there’s no better person to learn from than Amy Oxford. Oxford, a longtime rug hooker, has not only invented her own needle but also runs her own punch needle company and affiliated school. Consider her book the bible of this late-19th-century craft: It presents a fascinating history of punch needle hooking and clear guidelines on how to design, set up, and hook your own creations as well as tips on what kinds of supplies to use. The one downside is that it does not include patterns, but there’s an abundance of photographs to inspire you to take Oxford’s instruction and embark on your own projects.
3. Wide Cut Primitive Rug Hooking
If you’re interested in primitive-style rugs, which have an antique look, a great starter resource is this primer by Wendy Miller. A renowned rug hooking artist and teacher, Miller also contributes to Rug Hooking Magazine, and her writing is descriptive yet easy to understand. She details many hooking techniques and offers diverse patterns for working with wide-cut fabrics. There are also many photographs of finished rugs to encourage you on your rug-making journey.
4. Wool Rug Hooking
If you want to apply your rug hooking skills to all kinds of projects, consider this book by artist Tara Darr. It features comprehensive instructions and patterns—including full-sized, pullout ones—for making not only flat rugs but also handmade pillows, trivets, footstools, and an entire cabinet. Her designs range from primitive styles to traditional ones, and are suitable for hookers of all levels. Darr even shows you how to dye your own wool and transfer patterns so that you can pursue your own designs.
5. Hooked on the Wild Side
This eye-opening book offers a wealth of tips and tricks to hook realistic animals, including goats, zebras, wolves, and tigers. Written by experienced rug hooker Elizabeth Black, it shows you, step-by-step, how to replicate specific areas of animals in yarn. Black painstakingly explains how to properly render ears, noses, and eyes to convey expression, with accompanying illustrations that are clear and detailed. She even shows you how to draw and design your own creature, so you can hook, say, your own pet.