The #1 priority is to find or make a pattern that you'll enjoy hooking. Start with something easy and work into the harder, more detailed patterns. If you start with a complicated pattern, you'll get discouraged and probably won't finish it.
I recommend starting with a primitive design... they're very simple, have no shading, and you don't have to worry about prespective and scale. If you look at primitive designs, houses are smaller than the cow or pig, and an apple on the tree may be half the tree size. Again, choose something simple.
Because we're using my grandaughter Katies' frog in our tutorials, I thought we'd use it in this series as well.
After all, he IS kind of cute...
After you've chosen your design, you're ready to transfer the pattern onto the backing fabric. Measure your design and then add 5-6" on all four sides. That will give you ample hooking room and keep the edges from fraying into your hooked area. Use a copier machine to enlarge your pattern to the correct size, if it's not already.
The easiest and quickest way that I've found to transfer, is to use tulle.
That's the stuff wedding veils was made from. A friend told me about this method. It's very inexpensive and works beautifully.
First, place the tulle over your pattern and trace the entire design with a pencil... you can use a permanent marker, but you'll be marking on your pattern too. So I use a pencil to draw the pattern on the tulle.
Next, take the tulle and lay it over your backing fabric and pen it into place.
Then, take a permanent marker and trace the pencil lines that are on the tulle... the marker will penetrate the tulle and come through onto the backing.
You're ready to start hooking!
There are other ways to transfer your design...
You can use an iron-on transfer pen and an iron to transfer the design to your backing material. This is what I had been doing before my friend told me about tulle. It was very frustrating and took a lot of time.
You have to trace your design on paper (Butcher paper works well.) With a marker and then turn the traced design over, so that it's backwards (or in reverse) and trace your design with the transfer pencil.
Once your design is on the butcher paper, turn it over and use the TRANSFER PENCIL to repeat the design that you've traced on the other side of the paper.
Now you're ready to use your iron to transfer the design from the paper to the backing.
Place your HOT, dry iron on top of the tracing paper and press and wait, then move the iron to another area and do the same until you have the entire pattern transferred onto your backing.
You can also transfer a design using red dot tracing paper. I had a hard time finding it, either at Hobby Lobby, Michaels, or our fabric store. And if you're using burlap, the red dots don't show up very well.
Again, for me, using the tulle is by far the easiest.