Travels on my mind


This year Ali Strebel and I will be teaching a rug hooking class called techniques. One of the things that I will be talking about is the fact that quite a few of the rugs that I create are actually punch hooked.

light green background

One of my latest designs, Jane Austen, is an example of a punch hooked rug. You can see from this photo that there are no design lines on the front.

green and red strips for hooking

That is because to punch hook a rug, you are working on the wrong side. I often use longer strips than is typically used for rug hooking, but this is not necessary. You can use strips that are much shorter.


I think that you might be quite surprised at which designs I hooked traditionally from the front versus punch hooked from the back. This is a close up of my punch hooked pillow called Gazing Ball.


The rug in the center, Summer Basket, has been punch hooked. The look is slightly different, and if you know what to look for you may be able to tell the difference.


The truth is I love both techniques and it gives me more options to create.


Here is the back of my design Madame Odier which is punch hooked with the rug crafters speed tufting tool.

mademe odier

One of the things I love about punch hooking is the antique, textural look.


I like rug hooking to be my own personal vision of beauty. Since I love vintage textiles it pleases me to create something that has mystery and seems to have a history built into it.

Thanks for stopping by today ~ Karen



21 thoughts on “Travels on my mind

  1. Karen, You crate the most beautiful colors of wool I have ever seen, especially for the autumn time of year. Your Jane Austen pattern is my favorite – is it available in a smaller form? enjoy the sunshine! Kerry


  2. I enjoyed your tutorial on punch hooking and I love the way it looks. Your colors are always inspirational to me. What size is the Jane Austen rug? Patricia


  3. very interesting to know that you utilize three different techniques! I like to punch hook too, meaning, punch my motifs with my oxford, then traditional-hook my backgrounds ~ thanks for letting us know your creative ways!


  4. Hi Karen, is punch hooking something I could teach myself to do? Is the tool you mentioned readily available? Thanks … I love your rugs!

    holly gleason


    • hi holly! i think you certainly could teach yourself. look for the tool on ebay, making sure you get the instruction booklet, threader and gauge. put the tool on the shortest setting it will go. experiment and practice! check out for other helpful hints.


  5. Hi Karen – I like the Oxford punch, too. I agree that the punching looks great when combined with traditional rug hooking, Mixing wool strips and yarn is fab! Where are you teaching your class?


  6. Hi Karen, I have done both hook and punch, I do like the look of a punched rug. I do think that for those who have trouble keeping their hooked loops even and consistent, punch hooking might help them. Great post!!


  7. I’ve made a rug using an Oxford needle but had a hard time keeping the foundation taut enough to work well – what’s your secret?


    • you need carpet tack strips on the frame, or gripper strips. gripper strips are not all alike — some are for finer fabrics. also, your frame should not be too large. fabric in a larger frame may stretch out more easily.


  8. I have punched a mat using the oxford punch needle ,,,, enjoyed it very much,,,, but still go back to the traditional way,,,,, love your mats , and colors u use,,,,
    Thanks karen,,,, enjoy your posts and pictures very much,,,


  9. Karen, thanks for verifying what I was thinking of trying. My Mother gave me a rug speed hook, thinking I would never use it; I got rid of it. Feeling stupid.


    • it is about 3 3/4″ tall measuring from the top of the frame to the tabletop. the tool should not touch the table as you punch it down through the fabric. your fabric will give a little, so this should be taken into account.


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