Latch hook is a yarn craft that involves short pieces of yarn that are tied, or “hooked,” onto individual squares of a canvas grid to create a patterned finished piece, usually a rug. Though this craft was not an early form of rug making, it does stem from rug hooking, an earlier, cheaper alternative to machine-made rugs. Latch hook rugs vary in size but are often relatively small, so the finished piece is often used as a wall hanging rather than an actual floor covering.
There are many different kits available to make this type of project. A kit contains a heavy-duty plastic canvas grid with a pattern printed on it, pre-cut pieces of yarn in specified colors, and the hook or "needle" used to attach the yarn. The hook itself is similar to a crochet needle, but has a hinged pin that closes the hook around the yarn. Each piece of yarn is hooked over the end of the needle, which is inserted into a square, and then the yarn is hooked onto the needle and pulled back through the square until it is firmly tied on.
Most projects involve multiple colors of yarn that form a picture as the pattern is completed. Depending on the size of the canvas and the time spent hooking, a latch hook project can take days, weeks, or even months to complete. Smaller projects with simple designs are best for beginners. Larger projects, especially those being made for use as an actual floor covering, require a little more experience and a better grade yarn than that sold in most kits, although there are kits available for making floor coverings.
Though latch hook requires a little practice, it is a simple enough process for even young kids to learn. It is one of the simplest yarn crafts and requires no previous experience with knitting or other yarn craft. Experienced and ambitious crafters can create their own design on blank canvas to make a unique, one-of-a-kind piece for hanging.