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  • How much wool do I need? Teach me to Fish!

How much wool do I need? Teach me to Fish!

There is nothing more frustrating for a textile artist then getting half way through your project, realizing you ran out of wool and to add insult to injury, you can't get any more of that particular wool.  I have been rug hooking for about a year now and a question I am constantly asking my mom, sister and aunt is, "how much wool do I need to hook this...?"  

Finally, I asked them all for their guidance so I can make my own decision going forward - teach me to fish!  

They all started out with a similar approach.  If you are hooking with a 2, 3 or 4 cut you need 4 times the size of the object.  A 5, 6 or 7 cut use about 6 times the size of the object and an 8 cut and higher 8 times.  In order to figure this out you can just fold the wool and lay it over your object.

Beyond that, they each had a few tips based on their experience.

Pam Kirk:  When hooking a background it is sometimes difficult to take the wool folding approach - so try to gauge how much the background takes up on your rug.  For example, in the rug below (Lindsay latest project "Green Mountain Design - Moxley Seth") you might estimate that the backgrounds takes up about 1/3 of the rug - so you could fold your wool over 1/3 of the rug.

If you run out of wool - say for a background, and you only have a small part of the rug left (a 6"x6" square) you can find something that matches pretty closely.  Then pull out small strands all through out the rug and put the new fabric in its place.  Then you can use the strips you pulled to fill in the 6"x6" square.

Stephanie Allen-Krauss:  When there are multiple objects all over the rug it is also difficult to use the folding wool method.  For example, how do you decide how much green you need for all the leaves in the rug above.  In this instance, you can actually measure the object and multiply by how many objects there are to get the total square inches you will need.  For example, each leaf is about 5"x3" and there are 16 total leaves.  So you would need 240 total square inches of fabric.

When using a dip dyed piece for shading you will want to make sure the dip dye piece is at least 4 times the length of the object you are hooking otherwise you will not have enough wool to make it from the bottom to the top.  

Mariah Krauss:  When using a swatch you can fold the swatch into 4 and see if it will cover the object.  When you are hooking in a 2 or 3 cut, you need to add a bit because the wool frays and becomes unusable when its that small.  Swatches you want to be a little more liberal because it is harder to match an exact value.  Even swatches that are off the bolt, you need to be careful of different dye lots – there is no guarantee that you will be able to match the color and that is a difficult problem to solve. 

How do you decide how much wool you need?  Do you have a different approach then the ones above?  Click on the title of the blog post and enter your thoughts in the comments section.  Look forward to hearing from the community!

Comments on this post (3)

  • Aug 08, 2020

    I have changed my email from to

    — Betty G. Howard

  • Aug 08, 2020

    In choosing amounts of wool to use, I have always ended up with too little or too much.

    — Betty G. Howard

  • Jan 30, 2020

    I can’t find anywhere on the site the width of the cuts? For instance how wide are the 1/4 yard, 1/2 yard, 1 yard cuts? GL

    — Gail Lee

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