Rug hookers uses strips of felted wool in different colors to create a design or picture. These strips of wool usually range in widths up to 1/2 inch depending on the preference of the hooker and the desired finished design. The wool strips are often referred to as worms. In this post for beginning rug hooking, I will show you four different ways of cutting worms for rug hooking.
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Tearing the Wool:
The most primitive way to make your rug hooking worms is to tear them. Use a pair of scissors to start the cuts at the correct width. Then you can easily tear the worms.
Tearing the rug hooking worms leaves a bit of a fray on the edges of the worms. This creates a more primitive look to your finished project. Normally, the torn strips are wider than cut strips.
This hooked pumpkin rug was hooked with different types of worms. The pumpkin was hooked with 1/2″ wide torn strips.
The background was hooked with some cut worms of various widths and some torn 1/2″ wide worms. This gives some texture and dimension to the look of the finished project.
The wider worms can be harder to pull through the foundation fabric.
Cutting Worms with Scissors:
Cutting rug hooking worms with scissors is very easy to do but it is hard to get perfectly uniform widths. That doesn’t bother me though. I like the more primitive look of antique rugs. Antique rugs would have been made with wool scraps and the worms would definitely not have been all perfect!
Here’s an example of a hooked rug that used a lot of different widths of worms. Notice the really narrow cream worms used in the heart.
This hooked rug pattern is available in my free pattern library.
Cutting with a Rotary Cutter:
Another way to cut your rug hooking worms is by using a rotary cutter, cutting mat, and clear ruler.
Line up the edge of the wool along a one inch line on the cutting mat. I was making 1/4″ cuts or #8 strips so I lined the ruler up for that cut and used the rotary cutter to cut the strip. Then I can just slide the ruler down another 1/4″ and make another cut and keep repeating.
Using the rotary cutter is faster than cutting with scissors and it is easier to get consistent width worms. However, I usually end up letting the ruler slip occasionally so I have some slightly wider or narrower worms. I think these abnormal worms just add to the charm of the finished piece.
Use a Strip Cutter:
The most efficient method of cutting rug hooking worms is to use a fabric strip cutter. The one I am using is an older Rigby brand.
The strip cutters clamp onto a table. As you turn the crank, the wool feeds through the machine and the cutters cut the worms.
The strip cutter creates nice, even worms for rug hooking projects.
Be sure to check out our other rug hooking tutorials.