Hooked rugs are created by pulling loops of fabric or yarn through a woven base that is stiff material such as rug wrap, linen or burlap. The tool used to pull the loops through the base material is a hook with a hinge mounted on a handle made of wood for the purpose of providing leverage.
There are two groups of hooked rugs and include fine and primitive. The strips used to create fine hooked rugs range in length from 3/32 to 10/32 of an inch and 1/32 to 5/32 of an inch wide. The pieces are cut by machine and over dyed to create finer shading.
Primitive hooked rugs are 6/32 to ½ inch wide and are usually hand torn to create the primitive or rustic look. The wide cut of the strips used in the primitive look use textures to accomplish shading and highlights. Persons hooking rugs typically follow a commercially produced design that can be as simple as a flower or as complex as something with a geometric flair.
Hooked rugs are often used for wall hangings or area rugs. Care should be taken when using hooked rugs as a wall hanging and an area rug.
When using as a wall hanging the weight of the hanging should be distributed by hanging the run from a dowel inserted through a hand sewn fabric sleeve. The sleeve should be made from a non-stretch material and sewn to the back top surface of the rug. The dowel should come in contact with the rug itself as wood can be a source of acid and cause discoloration of the rug material.
When using the hooked rug as an area rug, place the rug in an area of low traffic and away from areas that generate a lot of moisture such as the kitchen and bathroom. Use a high quality rug pad to protect the backing of the rug. Since hand dyed material is subject to fading, choose a place for the area rugs that are out of direct sunlight. Never coat the hooked rug with scotch guard, latex or any chemical preparation. Avoid using an underlining or fabric backing on a hooked rug as dirt and grit will eventually get trapped in the foundation and pile and destroy the fibers.
To clean a hooked rug, use a gentle hand held vacuum or an upholstery attachment that is covered with a piece of cheesecloth. Never clean the rug by immersing it in water. The burlap backing will become saturated and the pile will prevent it from drying out, and the backing will eventually rot.