I've been hooking yesterday and today with polar fleece, creating the first square of Got Wool?. So here is my rating of it as a rug hooking material and some tips for using it.
Cutting ease: on a scale from 1 to 5 with one being "Cuts like butter; easy as wool" and five being "So terrible don't bother," polar fleece gets a "3". First, it can't be ripped in a straight line. So scissors are a must. Second, it HAS to be cut with the selvage, not across the selvage. If you cut it across the selvage and try to pull it into a loop in the rug, it gives and forms a curly string, like paper ribbon that you curl with a knife. It has to be cut straight with the grain or it gets funky when you try to hook it. Straight is hard to maintain because you can't tear a straight edge. My Bliss cutter will cut it, but just barely. I am using a 6-cut and it holds together well.
Hooking ease: on a scale from 1 to 5 with one being "Hooks like a dream; easy as wool" and five being "Why am I trying this?", polar fleece get a "2". It is a little slippery, so it pulls nicely through the linen, very much like wool. After a couple hours of hooking, my finger tips started to feel a little strange from the nap of the polar fleece. It is easy to see the "right" side and pull it consistently. It is stretchy, however, and therefore I notice two things about it. One, you can't crop your tails as close to the top of the other loops as you do with wool. In other words, if you pull on the tail and then crop it, the cropped end will sink down further in the rug than is desirable, leaving a slight indentation. Solution is: don't pull the tail taunt when clipping; just hold it gently and clip near the surface of the other loops. Second, when the material is hooked and stretched in the process, there is a slight color change. The color seems to lighten, so my bright red has become a red-coral when hooked. This is important to keep in mind when color planning. You might want to hook the polar fleece first to see the actual color it will be before buying or dyeing the materials for the rest of the rug.
Overall look: on a scale from 1 to 5 where one is "gorgeous like hand-dyed wool" to "bad look even for a bad hair day", polar fleece gets "1". I am stunned with how beautiful the piece is looking. I show it here in the unfinished block. It is amazing that a firetruck polar fleece blanket is turning into this!
Average evaluation: 1.2 out of 5 or "Almost wool!"