Which Backing Is Best?

Choosing A Backing For Your Rug...

There are several types of backings used for hooking. Each one has it's own qualities, some good and some not so good. Remember when making your selection, that you will have spent several hours working on your project, so you want something that will last...

Burlap has been used extensively in hooking from the very beginning.

The Colonial women used burlap feedsacks as the backing for their rugs. The feedsack burlap wasn't designed to last a long time. As a result, very few of those rugs are around today.

Angus burlap...
This type of burlap is called "rootball" or "angus". It's course and the threads are uneven is sizing, spacing and coloring.

But, I'll admit, when I first started hooking, this is what I used.... it's inexpensive and can be purchased at Wal-Mart for about $3 a yard.

Scottish burlap...
A much better quality burlap, available in 48" and 60" widths. The threads are pretty uniform in spacing and size, making it a very stable backing. It works well for primitive hooking. The only drawback to using burlap, is that it's rough to feel and it "sheds" a little. Scottish burlap sells for about $15-17 a yard.

Monk's Cloth... 
Seems to be the backing of choice among hookers. It's a very soft and pliable, even-weave cotton fabric available in widths of 72" to 144". Unlike burlap, it doesn't shed at all and some of it even has a "grid" thread woven into to it. You can use monk's cloth for either primitive/wide-cut or narrow/cut wool and like Scottish burlap, it sells for $15-17 a yard.
Scottish Linen...
It's the most expensive of the backing fabrics. It's an offwhite even-weave fabric... very strong, flexible, and easy to work with. It will also probably outlast other backings. It comes in 60" widths and sells for $25-27 a yard.