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Hooking with Yarn

By: Betsy Archer

Circling Koi, 20" x 20", variety of yarns, including Halcyon bulky wieght wool yarn, on linen. Designed and hooked by Christine Pellerin, Montague, Massachusetts, 2011. 

At a meeting of a hooking guild, I overheard someone recalling that an instructor told them once that if someone is not hooking with wool strips, then they are not really hooking. To be honest, when I first thought about learning to hook rugs, I didn’t know some people used wool strips and some people used yarn or other materials. I thought everyone used yarn!

I was first exposed to hooking through the work of Massachusetts-based rug hooker Margaret Arraj (Mill River Rugs). While on a studio stroll, I stumbled upon her workspace and was immediately drawn into the depth of color and texture in all of her work. Of course, I now know that many, many people (if not the vast majority) hook exclusively with wool strips. There are, however, many people who not only prefer to hook with yarn, but also hook exclusively with yarn.

This article is from the March/April/May 2013 issue. For more information on our issues, check out our issues page.


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Everyone is entitled to an opinion. I have used both. I prefer wool yarns when I hook. They are smooth, and do not create a lot of lint and string residue. I also like using the yarns because in southern states, it is hard to find usable garments made of wool to recycle. When I create, and I need a certain color, I want to know the consistency is there, as you find in wool yarns. Hooking can be completed with many other fabrics. Real primitive rug makers used what they had to cover their floors. I don't think they were as "pinched" in their ability to create as some are now. The act of hooking is in the movement of the hook, not the material being hooked. The Koi rug is fun. Love the movement and the ripples. Good job.

Seeing beautiful rugs like "Circling Koi" done complete in yarn is inspirational to me. I love the balance between the white koi and the orange koi. I love how you can see the subtle ripples in the water. What I love best is the lightweight, yet detailed "feel" and appearance of the rug. Here's to more yarn hooked rugs!


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