By Home Decor Contributor Alyssa
I was basically in a constant state of euphoria during the holidays this year. The decorations, the music, the cocoa, the movies. It seems like everyone is in a better mood when the holidays are near. For me, it’s because of the opportunity to give meaningful things to the people I love. As I’ve mentioned before, my most prominent love language is gift-giving, so Christmas is like an IV of euphoria being pumped straight into my bloodstream.
This craft is actually a gift I created for someone who has contributed to this blog, Jessica! I was verrrry tricky and sneaky when I asked her what colors she was using to decorate her new apartment (“Hey! What colors are you using to decorate your apartment?”) She replied with an exact color palette, so nice, and I went to work on this hand-knotted wall hanging, hoping to help fill her blank walls with something warm and unique with an interesting mixture of textures.
You will need:
- Blank latch canvas rug
- Latch hook
- Several colors of yarn, chunky and regular
- Something to wrap your yarn around (cardboard, books, etc.)
- Super glue
- Wooden dowel
In this tutorial, I’ll refresh your memory regarding the traditional latch hook technique, and teach you a latch hook technique that I totally love and might be new to you. You’ll go from thinking of latch hook as an art of coloring inside the lines (I’m looking at you, Nala from Lion King latch hook I did as a kid), to realizing just how creative and artistic you can be with this super easy to personalize method of crafting.
To start, lay out your rug and decide what size you want your wall hanging to be. Mark out your edges with a marker, then draw your design. Cut it out with four or five holes extra on each side and end, so you’re not looping or knotting right along the edge of the mat.
I drew inspiration from other wall hangings online that I thought I could recreate. Do some Pinterest-ing, there are tons of designs out there!
To make things easier for myself along the way, I sketched a quick, slightly more detailed version of my design on a piece of paper and labeled what color each section would be, drew tassels where I wanted them, etc. I did end up changing a few of the colors in the end, but this really helped me along the way.
The two latch hook techniques I will be showing you are knotting, and I’ve seen the other one referred to as “looping.” The knotting technique includes the long, tassel-like sections you see in my wall hanging above, and the “looping” technique can be seen in the flatter sections that more closely resemble something woven. I would HIGHLY recommend doing all of your knotting first, then moving on to your looping sections. The looped sections are pretty delicate and need to be handled carefully.
To begin making your knotted sections, find something that’s close to the same length as you want your tassels to be, like a book, which I used for the longer tassels. You could just cut out a piece of cardboard that’s the correct size as well. Wrap your yarn around the object evenly,
then cut it straight across at the bottom, giving you a pile of yarn pieces that are the same length.
You can now start knotting. Hooray! Begin by wrapping one piece of yarn around the neck of your latch hook, making sure it’s the same length on both sides.
Next, poke your latch hook through one of the holes and pull it back toward yourself so the hinged arm of the latch hook is at a 90 degree angle.
Bring the yarn up so it’s under the hinge, then wrap it around the arm, like this:
Now pull! The hook will grab onto the yarn and create a looped knot. Simple as that!
Continue knotting until your knotted sections are complete (obviously). To create a fuller look, I did three rows of knotted tassels in each section.
Here is my piece with all but one knotted section completed, which I chose to save for very last (I’ll explain why later). I did do one looped section, which was when I realized I should have done those after I’d done all my knotted sections. Don’t make the same mistake I did!
I’m not going to lie, this is not a finish-in-one-night-while-binge-watching-lifetime-christmas-movies craft. It’s pretty tedious, and I put upwards of 15 hours into it. But the basic steps of the craft are incredibly easy to get a hang of, and once you start, you’ll really get in a rhythm. The hardest part is finding a way to sit comfortably on your couch with a giant rug on top of you. It’s a very relaxing craft, though, and a great way to keep your hands busy when you’re feeling antsy.
On to looping! The most important thing to keep in mind for this is to use chunky yarn. If your yarn is too thin, it will slip back through the grid of the rug and your looped section will turn out funny (and just plain will not work).
To begin looping, grab the end of your chunky yarn (still attached to the rest of the skein) and measure around six inches down. You’ll want a pretty good-sized tail. Bring the yarn under your rug.
Poke your latch hook through the first square in your looped section, and grab the yarn with it.
Pull the yarn up and through the grid, so a loop of about two inches remains on the top side of the rug.
At the beginning, the loops will seem loose and easy to unravel, but the more you make the more tightly packed and harder to unravel they will become (but they are pretty delicate, so be careful! No kitty claws allowed near this project).
Move to the square next to the first one and repeat with your working yarn. Poke the hook through, grab the yarn under the rug, and pull it up and through the grid. When you pull the new loop through the grid, it will pull yarn from your first loop, making the first loop closer to a quarter of an inch long, and your new loop two inches long.
This is good. This is what you want to happen. Repeat this process all the way across your first row. I like to divide my looped sections into smaller parts and loop each smaller section separately, it makes things much easier. Occasionally you will have to pull your loops manually with your fingers or pull your working yarn to make your new loop smaller, it’s all part of the process.
After I’d finished the bulk of my dark brown section, I decided I hated the color and wanted to switch it to white. Two hours of work down the drain, but it was totally worth it! I also filled in the section below my first row of tassels with the same chunky white looped yarn. I then added my green (was supposed to be blue) and pink sections:
My pink yarn was SUPER chunky and hard to work with. Avoid ultra chunky yarn.
I knew I wanted the knotted section that would be hanging from the bottom of my piece to be very long, so I saved it for last. Didn’t want them getting tangled in everything. It worked out great! I wrapped my yarn around the arms of our very ugly recliner to make the pieces super long and cut it, just like I did with my book. Be careful when working with the edges of your mat, as it can come loose and unraveled. Try not to pull too hard on pieces of yarn near the edges.
Finishing your piece:
I dwelled on how to do this for a while, then decided to knot the tails of all my looped sections as close to the first loop as I could, and glue the rest of the tail down to the back.
I don’t really have a surefire way of keeping your looped sections from coming undone except being very, very careful while handling your piece. It won’t just come unraveled on its own, but if it gets caught on something, disaster can strike.
To cut the edges, I took a small pair of scissors to each piece of the grid individually and cut it as closely as I could.
Find a dowel that is close to the same length as your piece. Wrap the top around the dowel and hand sew it together using a color of thread similar to the color of yarn you used. Then just hang the piece from the dowel with nails, or tie a piece of string to the dowel like I did and hang it from that.
Even though this craft is time consuming, the effort is well worth it. You’ll get a gorgeous, expensive looking piece of art out of it, and you can tell all your friends you were the one who made it. Win-win!