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Ask the Experts: Hooking Right or Wrong

Right side or wrong side, that is

By: Gene Shepherd
Updated August 19, 2019

These strips came from one pass of a #8 cutter blade.  #1 and #2 (from left) show the “right” side, meaning the threads look a little more vertical (smooth or polished). The strip on the right shows the “wrong” side, meaning the threads look slightly choppier.

When teaching a new class, about day #2, when I am doing a demo with everyone standing close and looking over my shoulder, I say: Just in case you are interested, this is the right side of the wool and, (turning the strip over) this is the wrong side. I do that because I feel like I ought to share this information, as it is an educational tip that they might use. If nothing else, they should also know that I know! 

I certainly pay attention to right side/wrong side when evaluating each strip and how I will hook it. But a lot of very good rug hookers I know totally ignore the look of the different sides and still make wonderful rugs. In fact, as I have talked with many fiber artists over the years, there isn’t even consensus on what constitutes the right and wrong side. Some think it is about the direction you cut the wool, others think it’s the way the wool strips look, or a technique that makes threads of an individual strip hold together better. Then there are many who stare at cut strips and can’t see any difference at all.

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