Pattern Design: Design your own pattern or choose from many commercially-available patters and kits. To design your own, sketch your design on paper. Trace design onto red dot tracing fabric. Cut a piece of foundation 6-8 inches larger, along both length and width, than your pattern; you need 3-4 inches on each side to attach to your frame. If you are using a quilting hoop, allow about 16 inches additional foundation in both length and width. Use a permanent marker to mark perimeter measurements on the foundation, keeping lines straight on grain. Position red dot tracing within marked measurements, and then slowly re-trace pattern lines; marker bleeds through red dot tracing and onto foundation. Zig-zag stitch or serge around foundation edges to prevent raveling as you hook.
Color Plan: Choose wool colors that complement one another. First decide if you will hook a dark or light background. The background color will help you choose the remaining colors for the design. Medium value colors against a medium value background will cause everything to visually merge and your design will be lost. Find the right contrast in the wools that will touch the background so your design stands out. Choose a focal color and then repeat that color in at least three areas of the design. The focal color usually is the color used for the larger design area (not the background) – carrying it into other areas of the rug helps to ground the design and create a cohesiveness.
Use a color wheel to select complementary, analogous, or triadic color schemes that include your focal color, and choose wools that fall into these color schemes. Incorporate shades (darker) and tints (lighter) of the colors you choose. Remember that textured wool (plaids, herringbones, stripes, tweeds) not only help bring in dimension and texture, but also add several colors to a design by using just one wool. The colors used in textured wools are designed to complement and work well together. You can take color cues from those wools, as well. Find more information online for using a color wheel by searching “color wheel.”
Wool: There is much to learn about choosing the correct wool for rug hooking. Fabric stores do not usually carry wool that is best for rug hooking. You can recycle wool clothing if it is labeled 100% wool and is not worsted, twill, or gabardine. There are many online retailers that carry wool specific for rug hooking.
To determine the total amount of wool you need to hook a rug, use this formula: Multiply length x width of your design to get total square inches. Multiply the result by the strip width you will use; e.g. #8, #9, etc. Divide that result by 2052 (number of square inches per yard.) To determine the amount needed of each wool, cover the element to be hooked with 4-5 layers of that wool. For example, if you have a red flower in the design, cover that flower with 4-5 layers of the chosen red wool to ensure that you have enough wool to hook the flower.