Tips & Tricks: Filling in Holes in Your Hooking (aka Holidays)

Many of us spend a lot of time hooking our motifs with great care, only to find after completing a section that we left holes in our hooking. These holes are called holidays – they are areas in your rug that should have been hooked in loops but weren’t. I’ve noticed holidays in my hooking most frequently when I work on projects that require a lot of wandering, tight curving loops, often referred to as higgly piggly hooking. Since holidays are hard to spot from the front of your work, finding them to fill them in can be a source of annoyance for us.

My friend, Sandra Porter, suggested a really great tip on how to find holidays, and I’ll share that tip with you now:

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It’s hard to tell from the front, but this petal has a holiday in it.

First things first, maybe some of you are asking “are holidays so important to fill in? What harm can it do it ignore a few?”

The best way to prevent uneven and unnecessary wear and tear in your project is to ensure all of the hooks in your rug are uniformly distributed and equal in supporting weight on the rug. If you don’t fill in holidays, that introduces weak spots to your project that will wear down earlier than other areas of your rug.

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From the back, the holiday can be clearly seen.

Holidays are often tricky to find though, because they aren’t obvious from the front of your project. The best way to check for them is looking at the back of your rug. Some of us struggle to keep track of which areas of our rugs we need to fill in when we flip our work back over to start hooking.

This is where Sandra’s tip comes in: tooth picks!

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Push a tooth pick through the backing…

Grab a tooth pick, and poke it through the backing where the holidays are. When you flip your work over and place it back on the frame, you still know exactly where all of your holidays are, and you can happily hook away.

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…and when you flip the work over, you can still clearly tell where you need to hook!

Do you have any tricks you use for finding holidays? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!

2 thoughts on “Tips & Tricks: Filling in Holes in Your Hooking (aka Holidays)

  1. I’ve used the toothpick process before with great success. Sometimes though, I’m not sure if it’s a ‘holiday’ or a ‘breathing’ space. Currently, I fill it in if there is room for loops, if not I leave it. What are your thoughts on holidays vs breathing room?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leaving enough space for ‘breathing’ in a rug is important, it allows for an even hooking with out crushing loops and not straining the fibers of the backing material. Using the back of the rug as a guide, when there are open spaces, ‘holes’, within the foundation and I can fit loops in comfortably without packing, I will fill in that ‘holiday’. I usually start a rug with two strips in holes adjacent to each other, and then every so often, depending on the size of the cut, skip a row or two to allow for ‘breathing’ room. In general, the larger the cut the more unhooked foundation I leave for breathing. In those areas the threads do come together and close off the holes and allow for the rug to hold the loops well, without over packing and putting a strain on the foundation cloth and loops.

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