This is the dilemma every hooker faces when planning to hook a pattern.
The time honored way to “guess-timate” is to take a piece of wool, fold it anywhere between 4 to 8 times, lay it on your pattern and guess that will hook the area it covers.
I’ve been teaching and selling rug hooking kits and patterns for a long, long time…I always use the “6 layer” method when kitting. I rarely run short, unless the hooker pulls their loops extremely high…or packs their work too tight.
If you are tired of guessing and being nervous that you don’t have enough, I’d like to share a little exercise that will prove a valuable tool for all your future rugs! This is something I have all my design students do before starting to color plan their projects.
If you knit or crochet you will recognize the term gauge swatch…a must do when starting a pattern to make sure it will fit correctly. Everyone’s tension can be a bit different, yarn and needle or hook sizes very…so it is an important step that will save a lot of time and frustration.
We hooker’s have an advantage in that even if we hook with multiple cuts (widths of wool), we usually settle into a similar height and spacing…so a fat quarter wool will usually hook the same size area!
In a few hours you can make your own personal “Hooking Gauge” . A tool that you can use to help calculate wool requirements for all your future rugs! Here is how…
You will need:
* rug backing…if you work on a variety of backings, you might want to hook a gauge on each type. The amount of wool you need may vary depending on your backing. Most people hook tighter on Monk’s Cloth than they do on linen.
* a Fat 1/16th of wool…while you could certainly take the time to hook up a full fat ¼…it is much quicker to multiply later! For those you aren’t familiar with the terms fat 1/16th, fat 8th, and fat ¼…these are measurements hookers have borrowed from quilters. Wool measures differently than cotton, so our measurements are slightly different.
Generally a washed yard of wool will shrink to about 32” x 56”. “Fat” means that you are dividing the yard into quarters both horizontally and vertically. If you are a visual learner like I am this diagram should explain it better than I can…
Cut your wool into strips. Whatever size strip you normally use…#8…8.5…hand cut…whatever size you prefer!
Now hook all of these strips into your backing, making a rectangle. Hook as you would normally hook any project.
If you leave long or short tails to trim…or if you hide your tails…it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that this is YOUR hooking gauge and you want it to be an accurate sample!
When you finish hooking, steam your sample so it lays flat. You can trim the excess backing, leaving enough to fold over and hem to the back so it doesn’t fray, or zigzag stitch around your hooking. I fused a piece of wool to the back with a fusible web like Wonder-Under and then trimmed away the excess backing.
Using your Hooking Gauge…
Lay your gauge over the area you want to calculate wool for. You can see in the pictures below that I flip it over and count how many times it takes to cover the motif.
To cover the pineapple it took 2 times my hooked Fat 1/16th…which equals a Fat 8th of wool!
Do the same for all the elements and background on your pattern. Obviously for small elements and area you will still have to estimate.
I hope this information and exercise have been helpful to you!
Happy Hookin’ ~ Laurie