How to Hook with NYLONS

Here is the mat  commissioned by the Stewart Hall Museum when the Grenfell Exhibition was on.Designed by myself and hooked on by several members of the St Henri Rug Hooking Guild iincluding myself.It was in Celebrations the next year and is hooked entirely with hand dyed panty hose-in horizontal lines as were the Grenfell mats.It is a good size ,about 32'' X 20''.Colours are better in real life of course!

A history of these mats can be found  by googling ' Grenfell ' mats.
Here as promised a few hints . . .on  

How to Hook with NYLONS or (Pantyhose)
Nylons can be hooked in any direction and into any type of design you want . The Greenfell-style mats are usually hooked in straight rows horizontally.
Nylons can be dyed easily –just as wool . . . . same methods. Small pyrex dishes  covered with saran wrap and a hole pricked in top. . . .. zapped in a microwave are  what I liked to use.
As with all hooking there are always different ways to hook with the fibre you have chosen.
I will try to discribe here what worked for me.
Use a good sharp pair of scissors and   jewellery tweezers are helpful to pull your loops and organize them neatly.
1.   Cut your panty hose horizontally across the legs about ½’’ wide – giving you circles.
2.   When ready to hook the circle- Pull stretched it and it gets narrower –sort of like a #3 cut in wool.
3.   Snip circles once to get a strip  . . .the edges will roll in towards the right side of the material . .
 NOTE* therefore if you dye the nylons put them inside out and then dye!
4.    Hook in almost every hole . . .pull the strip up higher than you would normally . . ..  as it is stretchy and shrinks back down after it is hooked.
 . . .remember that for smooth hooking the rolls of strip will be on the underneath side of loop.
Grenfell mats were finished with the ends to the underneath side of mat but there really is no need to do this.
-Bring ends to the top as with wool strips. Remembering  that tweezers  can help to adjust and shape loops once they are hooked !
Good Luck!


  1. Judith,
    Thank-you so much for this post! It's something I've always wondered about and would like to try. You make it sound easy and fun! A couple of questions if I may. Do you steam the rug as with wool? Was wondering if the nylons might melt in the process. Also, where does one find a supply of nylons? I quit wearing the darn things years ago! LOL Cathy G

  2. Hi CAthy- yes I steamed them - but very carefully (lower temp on iron-)using a wet cloth - They didnt seem to need much steaming to fall flat . . .
    Panty hose can be bought at Walmart-(yes I hate to go there also) but they have packs of 3 for $1-try the $1 store also . . .I get white then cut them in small pieces then dye them up in microwave or electric frypan!Easy!
    Use vinegar for mordat also.
    There is someone in Ontario somewhere that sells nylons by the lb but I am not sure who it is . .you can collect old ones from friends also . . . .Let me know what happens!

  3. Thanks you so much. Yes, I have now found your article on the pantyhose and the Grenfell mat. Wonderful article, VERY informative . . . so wish I had seen it before I started using flannel on the mat I am working on. Your rug is fabulous and so deserving of the praise it has gotten. May I link your article from my blog? (I so hope I can remember how) I really think others interested would want to read your blog. Thanks, Cynthia

  4. Thanks for the refresher on hooking with nylons. When I took a hooking course with Elisabeth Bastin in 2004, she showed us how we could use nylons in hooking and she showed us a rug she had done. I had forgotten about hooking with nylons until now. JB

  5. This is so interesting...thank you so much for the explanation.

    Love your rugs...Jill

  6. thanks Judith - a beautiful mat and excellent info! I'd love to link to our Quoddy Loopers blog also. Might get a few more in our group - and further afield - to try hooking with nylons, Grenfell style or not. I should do one in straight lines for the challenge - not my natural bent.
    Maureen in St Andrews NB

  7. Hi! Just saw this. Do you bleach your nylons first? That's what a lady told me but I don't know how much bleach to use and I can't ask the lady more questions. :(


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