Hand-Hooked Rugs: What You Want for Less

Hand-Hooked Rugs: What You Want for Less

Hand-Hooked Rug Construction

A hand-hooked rug fits neatly within your budget while still giving you all the comfort and style you want out of a rug. Luxurious in appearance, durable in quality, and modest in price, you can look to the hand-hooked rug for a simple decorating solution.

What Is a Hand-Hooked Rug?

Hand-hooked rug in a bedroom

Soft, supple, stylish — but durable. A hand-hooked rug is the less expensive alternative to other handmade constructions. Essentially, this type of rug has the same makeup as a hand-tufted rug, but it uses a crochet hook rather than a tufting gun to push yarn through its pre-made design.

The major difference, however, is actually in the pile (or lack of pile). A hooked rug’s fibers aren’t cut down in the final stage, so the loops are left rounded. This gives a hand-hooked rug just the sort of knobby, embroidered look you’d expect from handmade decorative needlework. Overall, the effect is charming and lovingly, ornamental but a little less sturdy.

How a Hand-Hooked Rug Is Made

How a hand-hooked rug is made

Hand-hooked rug construction starts with a canvas, burlap, or linen backing that has a design drawn onto it. While that backing is held in place by a frame, the weaver pushes a crochet hook with yarn through the stenciled pattern.

Once all the loops are in place, that first backing is covered with latex. This provides an adhesive binding, giving the rug stitches some strength as well as some slight cushion underfoot. The surface will appear coarse in comparison to smooth tufts or intricate knots, but because each loop can be pulled through individually, the design will end up looking more precise.

Key Differences in Hand-Hooked Rug Quality

Hand-Hooked Rug Quality

Look and Feel:

Hooked rugs have bumpy-looking loops because they’re not sheared down on the loom like tufted rugs. The texture is perfect when you’re opting for more of a chunky, hand-sewn appeal. These rugs are often elegantly embroidered with borders of medallions or florals, which lend themselves just as well to humble farmhouse designs as sophisticated traditional interiors.

Durability:

The finer the wool used in your rug, the less it will shed and the more stain-resistant it will be. That being said, exposed, uncut loops will naturally have shorter life expectancy than other handmade constructions because the lack of density makes the stitching vulnerable. However, with proper care, these rugs get 3-10 years of good use in a low traffic area. Look for wool hooked rugs with a cotton foundation for the most durable construction that will last the longest.

Placement:

Hand-hooked rugs offer a gorgeous aesthetic that beautifully complements bedrooms, studies, dens, and offices. The loops of a solid hand-hooked rug shouldn’t tug free quickly or easily. However, you may find that this type of rug construction is more prone to snagging than others. Avoid placing this rug in areas populated by curious or rambunctious pets, who might pry the loops free. To get the most out of your hand-hooked rug, place it in lower-traffic areas like a bedroom or study.

Tip: Because of the absorbent foundational materials typically used in a hooked rug’s backing, you’ll want to keep it away from moisture-heavy spots like entryways, kitchens, or bathrooms. The wetness will cause the rug to rot over time and unravel from the inside.

Care:

Shaking out your rug regularly is the best way to keep it free of debris and dirt buildup. When shaking your rug, avoid beating it to release dust — this is too rough on the nubs. Instead, gently sweep your rug or shake it out. The vacuum is an enemy to the delicate nature of a hooked rug. If you prefer to vacuum, do so without the beater bar attachment, which could ruin the sensitive hooked surface.

For stains, spot clean with clear dish soap or laundry detergent for less extreme saturation. Again, never oversaturate a hand-hooked rug or soak it in water, which will split the backing. Instead, blot gently with a damp, light-colored cloth until the stain is absorbed.