Types of foundation cloth for rug hooking

Rug hookers can have strong opinions about which foundation cloth is best. There are a number of choices for the backing of a hooked rug, the most popular are:

  • Linen
  • Monks Cloth
  • Burlap
  • Rug Warp
A woven fabric made out of flax plant. The weave itself can vary, usually measured in the number of threads per square inch (for example, 12x12 threads per square inch, or for more fine styles of hooking that use smaller cuts, 13x13). Linen can be unbleached, partially bleached (or mixed), or fully bleached. Bleached fabric is used in projects where parts of the backing might show, otherwise unbleached or mixed are fine to use.
Monks Cloth
Made from cotton, this is a common backing for different types of crafts and can sometimes be available at local craft stores. Monks cloth has more threads per inch, but has more flexibility and loosens easier than linen. Monks cloth is typically less expensive than linen. Typically threads per inch are 12x13 double threads (24x26 threads per inch).
A rougher fiber to work with, burlap is typically made from jute or hemp. Due to the roughness of the fiber, this backing can shed, and be harder to work with. It is more likely to disintegrate over time, and therefore many rug hooking artists are likely to choose more durable options. Floor rugs or projects that might need to be washed over time should use a stronger fiber than burlap.
Rug Warp
Like monks cloth, rug warp is also made from cotton, but is a stiffer fabric with less stretching. Rug warp tends to be less expensive than linen, but more than monks cloth. If you're prone to packing your loops, this can be a better choice over monks cloth because of its stiffness.


Loopy Wool kits use either linen or monks cloth. Buy foundation cloth here.


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