Loopgram: tips for hooking a BIG rug

All in the Family is 3'7" by 9'.  It is a BIG rug.  It is heavy and cumbersome already, and I am just over 1/3 complete.  What have I learned so far? 

1. If you want to hook a BIG rug, just go for it.  Don't let the size overwhelm you.  It is just a rug, and you will hook it in stages, and give yourself a break to work on another project when you need to.

2. Select the widest cut size your design will allow.  This will result in faster hooking so when you work on it, you will see measurable and reassuring progress every time you hook.  I am using #9 and I always feel that progress is being made.

3. Start in a corner and hook in 8-inch swathes. Do not start in the center.  Do not hook all your motifs and then your background.  If you do either of these things, you will never be able to handle the weight and the bulk of the rug.  So figure out the direction you hook.  I hook left to right (like I read or write) and from top to bottom (downwards).  So I have started in the upper left corner of the rug, and I hook 8-inches across, working from the top of the rug all the way to the bottom.  When I get to the bottom, I have a full 8-inch swath hooked on the left side of my rug.  Then I move my rug to the top again and hook down the next 8-inch swath.  As the rug develops, it falls to my left.  I prop it on a big basket or a chair to balance the weight so it isn't pulling down my stand.  I can get under the rug to hook it because I don't have anything in my lap except unhooked foundation.  If you hook right to left (as most ruggers do) you will want to start in the upper right hand corner and hook down, and move the rug to the right as you progress.

4. Use a stand.  I can't imagine trying to do this using a quilting hoop or a lap frame or a table top.

5. Think about marking your progress in stages.  I take a picture after each row I hook and put it up on my blog.  I also have broken it down into thirds, so I can measure how much more I have to go, and how much I have already done.

6. Set a goal to finish.  I did this by seeing how long it took to hook the first few swathes.  My goal is to have it hooked, bound and mounted by June 1.