Latch hook rugs aren't just for kids anymore. The craft kits you may remember from childhood have given way to a more sophisticated art form. Fiber artists sell photorealistic latch-hook work at craft fairs and online. If you don't want to wait for a pricey digital transfer onto latch-hook cloth, create your own pattern the old-fashioned way. Graph paper allows you to plot out your design by hand and transfer it to latch-hook fabric at home.
The Basics of Latch Hooking
Latch hooking is named for its central tool: a metal hook with a handle that looks similar to a crochet needle. First you wrap a piece of cut yarn around the middle of the hook, then you insert it through one square on a piece of stiff cotton canvas fabric. The fabric looks like a grid, with square-shaped holes just large enough for you to insert the end of the hook. When you wrap the two ends of the cut yarn around the hook and pull the hook back through the first wrap, you secure the yarn around the top of the square. By filling the grid with different colors of yarn, you can create a pattern.
Creating a Transfer
By creating your own iron-on paper, you make a design you can transfer to your latch hook fabric. Start with a piece of graph paper and blow it up in a copy machine until the grid is the same size as the grid of your latch hook fabric. As an alternative, buy premade latch-hook transfer paper in a craft store. Draw your design on the graph paper. Next, outline it with fabric transfer crayons, which you'll find in craft and fabric stores. Color the picture in if you like.
Transferring the Image
Transfer your design to the latch hook fabric just as you would an iron-on decal to a T-shirt. Lay the design on the fabric with the colored side down, then iron the entire back of the paper with an iron on the warm setting. When the fabric cools, peel it away to reveal your design. Remember that the design will be backwards from what you drew, so take that into consideration when designing so you're not surprised after ironing.
Acrylic yarn creates a durable, washable design, making it perfect for rugs. When you buy pre-cut latch hook yarn in a craft store, chances are it's acrylic. Another advantage to acrylic yarn is that you can buy a giant skein for a few dollars. When you cut your own yarn, you have a choice of how long to make it, which determines how shaggy your latch hook will be. For more artistic pieces meant to be hung on a wall, try wool and novelty yarns.