You will need the following items to make a latch hook rug;
- Pre-cut yarn
- Latch hook canvas
- Latch hook tool
- Pattern (if not pre-printed on canvas)
- Liquid plastic
- Large pointed needle
The yarn can be made from either wool, acrylic or a combination. I've read that acrylic is more durable, so you will have a longer lasting rug. Make sure the yarn is colour fast. The yarn you get in ready made kits is already cut, however you can cut your own with scissors, or a wool cutter tool. Using the yarn is around 2.5 inches long, and is approximately 4 ply. Use a heavier density yarn for a more "lush" rug.
Latch Hook Canvas
Latch hook canvas can be 100% cotton, 100% acrylic, or a combination. I've personally not noticed any differences between any of them, however, if you intend to wash your rug, you may want to avoid the 100% cotton in case it shrinks in the wash. The canvas is measured in holes per inch (hpi), and mostly sold in sizes 3.75 hpi or 5 hpi. The closer the holes (for example the 3.75 hpi), the more dense your rug will be. If you are using a pattern and buying your canvas separately (as opposed to using a kit), make sure you have around 3 inches border around your picture so it will be easier when it comes to binding your rug at the end.
Latch Hook Tool
The latch hook tool can be either bent (sometimes called "off-set") or straight. I prefer the bent version as I find it easier to push the tool through the canvas, however it will be a personal choice. You will notice a "latch" on the tool (hence the name) which will open and close, this is used to help pull the yarn through the canvas.
In most kits the pattern is pre-printed on the canvas already, however you may wish to use a blank canvas and complete your rug in much the similar way as you would a counted cross stitch pattern. A handy hint if using a pattern on blank canvas would be to use a highlighter on the pattern as you complete each "stitch".
The binding is not strictly essential, but I prefer to use it on all the rugs I personally make as it gives them a better finish as well as durability. You can hand stitch the binding to the back of the rug to protect it from fraying.
Again, this is not strictly necessary, but if you would like to make your rug non-slip, you can paint this handy stuff on the back of your rug. A good brand will also be machine-washable.
How to Latch Hook
1. Start at the bottom, left hand side of the pattern. Insert the latch hook tool so that you have it going through the first hole, and coming back up and out the hole directly above it.
2. Take one strand of yarn and wrap as shown above around the neck of the latch hook tool.
3. Open the "latch" on the tool, then take both ends of the yarn and feed it so that it is above and through the "latch".
4. Close the latch, ensuring the yarn is through the "hole" in the latch hook tool.
5. Gently pull the tool through the bottom hole. It should pull through smoothly, if it isn't, check that the "latch" hasn't caught on the yarn as the yarn may split. When you have completely pulled the tool through, you will see that yarn has looped through itself to form a knot.
6. Clasping both ends of the yarn, pull firmly to ensure that the yarn stays in place. Continue this way until the pattern has been completely finished.
7. When you have finished attaching the yarn to the canvas, carefully cut around the stitched areas with some sharp scissors. Ensure that you have around a 2 inch border of un-stitched canvas. Once you have finished cutting away the excess canvas, fold the remaining un-stitched area towards the back of the rug, and sew down with some heavy cotton and a large, sturdy needle. Don't worry too much about your stitches, but try to make them smallish if possible.
8. Once the canvas has been sewn down, begin sewing the binding to the outer edge of your rug. Try to use small neat stitches if possible. To re-iterate, sew the binding to the outer edge first, this is especially important if you are finishing a circular rug.
9. Finally, sew down the inner edge of the binding, pleating if necessary on a circular rug. See above diagram for an example.
10. Now you are done!
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