Rug hooking patterns include geometric designs, figurative designs that look like people or animals, and narrow designs meant for stair risers. Other patterns that have enjoyed evergreen popularity include stars and landscapes or pastoral scenes.
Common subjects for rug hooking patterns include houses, seasonal patterns, patterns for specific holidays, and simple geometric shapes. Floral patterns are especially popular. Many designs are general purpose, but some are meant for specific end-products. For example, the website Folk 'n' Fiber has rug hooking patterns for pillows and runners. It also offers a unique design for a wreath made entirely via hooking.
Rug hooking has a long history, and patterns vary in popularity over time. For example, baskets or vases full of flowers were a popular pattern from the late 15th century until the late 19th century.
During the early days of rug hooking, patterns were either drawn free-hand or traced from cardboard guides directly onto the canvas that served as a base for the rug. Around 1868, businesses began to sell mass-produced, pre-fabricated patterns for general use. As of 2015, many designs and patterns are available for download directly from the original designers. Many companies host rug hooking patterns online, including Blue Tulip, Bug in a Rug, and Folk 'n' Fiber.