After you've hooked your project... what do you do next?
The first thing you will need to do, is steam your project. Take it and lay it hooked side up on your ironing board. Wet a towel, wring it out good, and put it on top of your piece. Then put your hot iron on top of the wet towel and steam it. Make sure that you "press and lift"... don't rub the iron over the towel. The steaming action should makes your loops the same height and hide the ends of your strips.
After you've finished the steam process, lay your project flat until it dries completely.
After you've steamed your project, you need to finish the raw edges...
There are several ways you can finish your project. There isn't a right way or a wrong way... it's however YOU want it finished.
If you've hooked a small piece, you can make it into a pillow, a chair seat or perhaps even a Christmas stocking. If that's what you choose, then you would sew the pillow or stocking back to the hooked piece and you're finished. If it's a chair seat, then staple the unhooked area onto the bottom side of the chair frame.
But, if you've done a larger piece that will be used as a rug or a wall hanging, then you'll need to use one of a couple of more traditional ways. You can either "whipstitch" the edges of your piece, then apply rug binding tape and sew the binding tape down by hand. OR you can finish it with only the rug binding... for obvious reasons, I prefer the later.
Rug binding is a cotton twill tape about an 1 1/2 inches wide. Choose a color that will match your background color or your border color... whichever will be the closed to your tape.
Again, there are a couple of ways to apply the binding, you can turn ALL of the binding down to the bottom side of your project and sew it in place (Fig B) or you can leave about 3/8" showing and about 3/8" turned under (Fig A)... I prefer this way. It gives the piece a finished edge and keeps any of your hooked areas from bending over the edge.
One of the easiest ways to apply the binding is to stitch it on the pattern before you start hooking. You place the smooth edge of the rug binding tape on the same side of your backing as the pattern is drawn. I place the binding tape directly over the outside border line of my pattern (overlap just a TINY bit on the pattern area). Then you machine stitch around the pattern, on the very edge of the tape. Now you're ready to start hooking.(Fig C)
When you're finished hooking, cut all but about 3/4" of the backing off around the pattern. Turn the remaining backing and the binding to the back of your hooked piece and stitch it down by hand. Sorry, but there isn't any other way to do it!