Sauder Village 2019


Kris McDermet (left) with her award-winning rug:  “The Understory — A Tree is the Passage Between.”  It won People’s Choice in the Mixed Media Category at Sauder Village.  

Last year, Kris and I curated the Contemporary Braided Art Rugs exhibit at Sauder Village Rug Hooking Week and it was a very special time.

This year, I went for more practical and mundane reasons:  I signed up for two classes on dyeing wool.  Yes, I know how to dye wool… but I need a little more finesse about the whole process.  So I took two classes on dyeing.

I also met up with Kris McDermet, who overlapped part of a day and a breakfast with me.  Here’s a photo of the two of us in front of her rug — see above.  Her husband Stewart took the photo.

First, I have to complain.  I always have to complain.  I drove 5 hours across a bit of western PA and most of Ohio.  Ohio is FLAT.  I took a photo of what I drove across.  It was hour after hour of this flatness.  I’m not used to the lack of hills, valleys, and twists and turns!  Well, I had a particularly bloody audiobook on so at least I didn’t fall asleep.


This is what driving across Ohio looks like.

There were a few braided rugs there at the rug hooking exhibit!!  Here they are:


Rug for “Wing Chair Challenge” — made by Janet Kiekhofer 

This rug, above, was made by Janet Kiekhofer and has a braided background for a hooked wing chair with a sweet little antimacassar.  This rug was a part of a group challenge to make rugs with a wing chair.


“Life is Good,”  by Sandy Kub.  Also part of the Wing Chair Challenge.

The next one, made by Sandy Kub (above), has a hooked scene with a carefully made braided rug that the wing chair is resting on!  Technically I think the rug is plaited, but it’s quite pretty.  A braided border surrounds the piece.

Entitled “Unusual Find,” this braided rug was part of the Antique Rug exhibit.  Ali Strebel of Dayton, OH contributed the rug.  Here’s what she says:  “A friend who knows I love unusual rugs sold this to me after he found it while antiquing.  I love the colors and the graphic look of the “log cabin” design.  In trying to figure out the technique, I believe it was braided and sewn first to a fabric background, then sewn again to burlap.”

I like it very much.  I’d call it more of a Hit or Miss in continuous braided squares that are made of colorful cotton and then stitched together.  I particularly like the borders at the top and bottom, which are short braids stacked against each other.

Alas, that was the extent of the braiding.  But, Kris and I will see if we can get a bit more braiding on display next year.

Here are two of my own favorite hooked rugs from the Sauder exhibit:


Peggy Hannum, “Geranium Oval.”  Designer:  Heirloom Rugs.  Category:  Commercial

Isn’t this hooked geranium rug just wonderful?   I think it’s gorgeous.  Personally, I could never be bothered with hooking such tiny tiny strips.  But I can appreciate the work of those who do it.


Jane Anderson designed and hooked this “Frankie’s Big Night Out” rug.  

This Frankenstein rug is just charming.  Look at the Art Deco corners, and the Jacob’s Ladder electricity sparking against his neck bolts.  Delightful!  Here’s what the maker says:  “Frankenstein’s monster, as portrayed by Bela Lugosi, is not a piece I would normally consider hooking.  It was requested by my son, Adam, a vintage monster movie buff… it became a dare that I finally accepted.”  Jane thanks her teacher, Donna Hrkman, for a class on monochromatic hooking.

On to my classes:  The first class I took was on Tie Dyeing and Color Planning with Nancy Parcels.  So, you read “tie dyeing” and you think 1970’s, rocks and rubber bands and swirls, right? No.  We actually used silk ties, and transferred the pattern onto wool.


My “tie-dyed” wool (left), and the original silk necktie (right)

My friend Dianne heard about my big goof and practically laughed her head off at me on the phone.  (Did you even read the class description, Christine?)  This little 1/8 yard piece of wool is all we ended up with after cutting open the tie, rolling it up with wool, adding detergent at first and then citric acid and simmering it for an hour.  I think I’d need about 50 ties to get any sort of yardage, so this is NOT exactly a practical approach for braiders.  Nonetheless the teacher was a lot of fun and very informative; I enjoyed the class.

The second class was taught by Marian Hall and focused on dyeing “spectacular spots.”  We each made our own spot dye (I think of it as more wet chopstick dyeing) and also had a lot of fun.  I think I chose a more limited range of colors than most of my classmates, who had rainbow mixes going on.  I stuck with a pink, a red, and two browns, and was happy with that.  I do think this is something that I will use in the future, so I was pleased with the class.


My “spot-dyed” class sample

It was a fun time, and I plan on going back again next year!

Working on

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Current Flower I’m working on

Christine here.  No, I haven’t finished my fairy tale rug that I wrote about in the last post.  I ended up starting a new rug, because I am mulling over how to put the dragon’s teeth on the outside of it, and whether or not teeth are enough or if fiery breath is needed also.  The fire, in particular, has me a bit stymied.  I’ve been sketching alternatives and just keep thinking about it.

In the meantime, I started another flower.  This time, I decided to put in two rows of petals… and that’s what’s giving me grief right now.  I put in the first row of petals, and then decided that the second set of  larger petals would have to come out between the earlier petals.  Summarizing days of braiding and unbraiding:  the only way to put petals in between the earlier ones is to make a separate spoke.


Separate spoke

The separate spoke is shown, right.  It has a pointy region at the top that will fit into the crevice between the earlier petals, and two double corners off to the sides that will hopefully help me to start rounding the side points around the spoke.


Second set of spokes, surrounded by one additional row.

The photo left shows the second set of spokes plus one row of braiding.  I plan on continuing with my salmon pink and brown colors, ombre’ing out to mauves and dark brown.

I haven’t tried a second set of spokes before, and I’m kind of curious as to how long it will take me to fill in those deep points on either side of the spokes.  The rug is pretty big now so it’s taking me quite awhile to braid and lace each row.

In the meantime, I’m still thinking about fiery dragon’s breath and how to depict it in braids.








My Fairy Tale Life


“The Path of the Handsome Prince”….in progress; dragon’s teeth are (hopefully) coming.

Recently, I’ve been thinking about fairy tales.  Beautiful princesses, evil witches and trolls, handsome princes, dragons, impossible tasks, and the like.

You know how, as our lives get increasingly complex, it is possible to maintain two entirely fixed beliefs in your head at the same time?  Somehow, I had the idea that I was going to go to a meeting Friday out in Eastern PA, and also that next weekend I was staying home because my husband was away Thursday – Saturday and someone would have to take care of the animals.  The problem was that “Friday” and “next weekend” never resolved themselves into the same entity, until my husband questioned me further.

I do this a lot, unfortunately:  maintain two conflicting beliefs at the same time, until someone else points out the inconsistency.

But sometimes it’s good to have a “flexible” mind like this, right? While working on my current rug, I’ve decided that it would be good to frame my own life as a fairy tale.

While this belief is clearly inconsistent with reality – I am not a beautiful princess and my home is definitely not a turreted castle and where, oh where, are my maids and servants? – but why not live in a fairy tale…. simultaneously with living in our strident reality?  Don’t we all deserve to be a beautiful princess?  And while, due to a recent irritation, at the moment my husband is more frog in my mind …. don’t we all deserve a handsome prince? Or a heroic, chain maille clad, dragon-slaying knight, at the very least?


The “impenetrable thicket of thorns” pattern

And I’m sure we all have a few colleagues and neighbors or in-laws who could easily fulfill the ogre or troll category, with a scattering of evil witches. While we’re at it let’s put a few of our most disliked political figures off into an adjacent country.  (I won’t let them live in MY country, so they have to live elsewhere… although I could think about a beheading, purely to entertain the masses).

Hmm, if it’s my own country, maybe I’ll make myself a Queen rather than a princess, and my husband can be my prince consort.  I’d be much better at ruling a fairy tale land than he would.

This is the sort of thing that I think about while I’m working on my current rug.


Geometric Rose, or 2-braid square spiral

One of the problems and one of the blessings of making a large braided rug is that you have time for contemplation and reflection.  Although I often fill the time while my hands are braiding with a sci-fi or thriller audiobook, I sometimes enjoy the silence and peace that allow your thoughts to spin and your mind to meditate.

Isn’t this quiet time, really, the time for rest and repair of our own psyches?

People often ask me, “how did you get into rug braiding?”  And I often reply that I had a stressful job and I needed a creative outlet to keep my sanity.  I strongly believe that the repetitive tasks inherent in a lot of textile arts are necessary for mending our mental outlook and getting us through difficult times.  Rug braiding, especially as you get out into those larger outer rows, has a lot of straight braiding and regular lacing, where your mind doesn’t have to be actively engaged in the repetitive processes.


Caverns of darkness

This is the time, when the house is quiet, and your hands are busy, and no one is interrupting you yet, to create your own simultaneous belief system. There is Reality, yes, but for the moment, it is through a mirror, or on the other side of a wardrobe, or at least at the edge of your kingdom’s (queendom’s?) property line.  You live in a vast fortress in the woods, with magical songbirds and flowers and greenery, and a lake upon which to sail in swan-shaped boats. Your kingdom has peace, and prosperity, and beauty, and you have armies of sufficient power and fierceness to defeat the witches, trolls, and ogres that occasionally beset your castle.  You have serenity, and power, and peace.

Here is my current rug (above, top), which has some links to the Sleeping Beauty (aka “Briar Rose”) fairy tale.  The 2-braid square spiral at the center is a labyrinth, a puzzle, a predicament.  At the same time, I can see it as a geometric rose in the Mission style of decoration.  It is surrounded by caverns of darkness:  the enlarging and narrowing swells of black just outside the labyrinth.  The pattern in the outer braided rows is a wall of briars, as in the impenetrable thicket of thorns that surrounded the castle with the sleeping princess.  Next I’m going to work on creating either larger thorns or dragon’s teeth, with some sort of fiery entrance to the path…maybe.  I’m calling it “Path of the Handsome Prince” or something like that. 

I think I’ll stay in my kingdom for the rest of the day today, and let the outer Reality eat dragon’s breath.

Dianne & Christine’s Excellent Adventure

Dianne and Christine’s excellent adventure started in Buffalo, NY, where Dianne landed on Monday at the Buffalo airport.  Christine picked her up and we proceeded east:  destination Oneida.


Oneida Community Mansion House & Museum

Oneida, NY is home to the Oneida Community Mansion House and Museum, where the braided silk tapestries of Jessie Catherine Kinsley are on display.  We had seen two of the braided tapestries at the Sauder Village display, but we wanted to see the whole collection.

Jessie Kinsley (1858 – 1938) was born into a religious utopian commune called the Oneida Community.  This utopia included some interesting ideas about marriage and child-rearing.  Overall, it was a good cooperative community that was a happy place.


One of the panels in “Bewitched,” by Jessie Kinsley.  Exquisite borders, velvet braided tree trunks, and notice how she wove some sparkle through the braid in the top border.

Jessie married when the community broke up and raised a family.  As a widow in her 50’s, she turned to braiding as her artistic outlet.  She collected scraps of silk and velvet, braided them together, and made beautiful landscapes that were embellished with braided people, sheep, trees, etc.  Many of the tapestries were quite large, covering entire walls, although she also made smaller ones; they were often inspired by poetry that she embroidered onto the works.  More info:


Dianne in the sun outside the museum

We then headed northeast to Burlington, VT.  Relying on our GPS while we chatted away, and with only an hour remaining before we were due at a reception, we suddenly found ourselves on the edge of a lake at an empty ferry dock.  We were quite dismayed, because Lake Champlain is a BIG lake with no bridges.  We thought we were going to have to drive an hour south or several hours north to get around the lake, but then the ferry sailed into view and we were saved.

In Burlington, we made it to the opening reception for Kris McDermet and Anne Cox, the two featured artists at the Green Mountain Rug Hooking Guild’s rug show, “Hooked in the Mountains.”  Many of Kris’ beautiful hooked and braided pieces, as well as collaborative works and student works, were on display.


Kris McDermet in front of one of her rugs in her Featured Artist Exhibit at “Hooked in the Mountains,”  Essex Jct, VT


Also on display was the Contemporary Braided Art Rug exhibit.  It was a real treat to see all of the rugs on display, and right across from Kris’ exhibit!  There were a few new pieces added to the display from the Sauder Rug Hooking Week exhibit.  This exhibit will also travel to Philadelphia in the spring, where it will be shown at Schwenkfelder Museum.

THEN if that wasn’t enough, we drove to Methuen MA where we are attending the New England Braids conference.  Dianne is teaching “Beyond Wool for Hooking and Braiding” and Christine is teaching a small braided flower.  It is always so much fun to see everyone and see the beautiful braids that everyone is making.

Truly an excellent adventure!




We Need A Museum List

Christine here.  We rug braiders don’t have a national museums, like the quilters and rug hookers do.  Maybe in the future there will be enough recognition of the Art of Rug Braiding to allow the creation of one.  For right now, we are very pleased when we even get our braided rugs on exhibit, as in the recent show in Sauder Village of Contemporary Braided Art Rugs.

I am delighted to say that the Sauder exhibit — or at least, a goodly portion of it — will travel to two other sites:  (1) The Green Mountain Rug Hooking Guild’s “Hooked in the Mountains” show, October 17-21, in Essex Junction, VT, and (2) the Schwenkfelder Library and Museum, in Pennsburg, PA… in the spring, but dates uncertain.  I’m hoping that we can either build an trip to the exhibit into the VF Spring Braid in weekend, or else suggest that people stop on the way to the braid in (it’s about 40 minutes south of Bethlehem, PA).

But in looking for braided rugs that are permanently on display… that’s hard to find.  So I thought we should create a Museum List, so that when we’re traveling, we have new and innovative ways to aggravate family members while we go gaze reverently at antique textiles.

I have a few places that I know of for us to start with, and I’m hoping that other braiders from around the country will write in with other destinations for braided textile art.

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    One of Jessie C. Kinsley’s braided silk tapestries on display at the Oneida Community Mansion House Museum in Oneida, NY

    Oneida Community Mansion House Museum.  This museum in Oneida, NY is home to the large collection of braided silk tapestries made by Jessie Catherine Kinsley.

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    Jessie Catherine Kinsley           (1858-1938)


    The Oneida Community was one of those breakaway religious communes striving for utopia that grew up in New York in the mid-1800s.  Jessie was born in that community, and after her death, the community collected and displayed her braided pieces.  These large braided works are wall pieces, and the museum is definitely worth a visit!  You can also stay at the mansion, which is a hotel, if desired.

    Oneida Community Mansion House Museum
    170 Kenwood Avenue
    Oneida, NY  13421

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    Pinwheel Braided Rug, by Annette “Nettie” Nelson, is part of the collection at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum

    The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum in Colonial Williamsburg, VA has Delsie Hoyt’s great grandmother’s pinwheel braided rug in their collection.  I don’t think it’s always on permanent display, but the rug is clearly valued — it was just part of an exhibit that traveled to New York City in 2017.

    Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum
    326 Francis St W, Williamsburg, VA 23185

  3. The Shaker Village in Mount Lebanon, NY is home to three of the 5 known knit and braided rugs made by Elvira C. Hulett (c. 1805 – 1895).
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    Knit and braided rug, made by Elvira C. Hulett, part of the permanent collection of the Shaker Village in Mount Lebanon, NY

    These stunningly beautiful wool and cotton rugs have complex knit designs that are surrounded and, in some cases intermixed, with rows of braid.  The rug shown here is a knit rug with a 5-strand braid then a 3-strand braid.

    Shaker Village/Mt Lebanon
    202 Shaker Road, New Lebanon, NY 12125

  4. Screen Shot 2018-10-04 at 10.57.23 AMAnother Shaker Village, this one in Pleasant Hill, Kentucky, has at least two rugs of mixed textile techniques that feature braided borders in their designs.  The beautiful horse rug, above, has a 5- or 6-strand braid at the edge, I can’t quite tell which.  The Shakers were amazing in their innovative rug designs!

    Shaker Village/Pleasant Hill
    3501 Lexington Road, Harrodsburg KY 40330

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    Country Braid House made the new rug for the Nancy Hanks Lincoln Hall in the Lincoln Boyhood Memorial and National Park in Lincoln City, Indiana

    The Lincoln Boyhood Memorial and National Park has a huge, 20 foot diameter braided rug in use in the Nancy Hanks Lincoln Hall.  The photo above shows the new rug resting atop of the old one, just to make sure the size was right.  The rug was made by Country Braid House (,  and the new rug was installed earlier this year (2018).

    A braided rug was chosen for the hall honoring Lincoln’s mother because they wanted the very best of what would have been available in her lifetime.  There is an interesting history on the making of the first rug for this site, and while I won’t go into it here, let me pique your interest by bringing up:  state mental institutions and the US Navy.

    Lincoln Boyhood Memorial and National Park
    3027 East South Street
    PO Box 1816
    Lincoln City, IN 47552
    Does anyone know of other sites where braided rugs are on display or at least part of a museum’s collection?  Let me know!



9/15/2018 Meeting

We had a nice time at the meeting on Saturday.  We’ve already got several things lined up for the spring braid in (April 26-28, 2019) for our guild:  our speaker will be Susan Feller — more about her in another post — and so far we have several classes lined up.  I hope we’ll get a few more…

Classes so far:
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  1.  American Star Chair Pad.  Instructor:  Deb Weinhold.  Isn’t this a great design?  It requires knowledge of butting, but other than that it’s a simple arrangement of colors, and a little tricky lacing to make the star.
  2. IMG_1314Wrapped German Buttons.  Instructor:  Heidi Boldt Diefenderfer.  Using a ring as the base, the ring is wrapped to create intricately designed buttons.  Heidi had several of these buttons displayed on her challenge piece for last year.  The designs possible range from very simple to incredibly complex.
  3. IMG_0595 (1)Wrapped Fringe Strip Rug.  Instructor:  Marjorie Kauffman.  Marjorie developed this method of making a strip rug with two advantages:  no sewing across the ends, and no fabric -wasting — or at least, dramatically less than the typical method.  She has devised a way to color-plan at the start of each row, so that each row begins at the exact location that will make the Starts straight across (no shifting each row up and down to match up a zigzag).  Likewise, the Finishes are also straight across, which limits the fabric waste.  A very neat technique!
  4. nettiesswirlPinwheel.  Instructor:  Delsie Hoyt.  Delsie is ready to teach the pinwheel method again.  Yay!
  5. Maker:S,Date:2017-8-31,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-YNeedle-felted Pillow.  Instructor:  Mary Bird.  (I think Mary can do ANYTHING).  Using a background of wool fabric, create a needle-felted pillow.  You’ll have to purchase some basic supplies and some fleece to felt with, but look at how beautiful this is!  We’ve also seen some felting onto braids — I’m remembering one of Heidi Diefenderfer’s challenge rugs, and another by Pam Rowan — so once you learn this technique, it can be applied to braids as well.  Mary says the felting deeply incorporates the fleece into the base fabric, so it doesn’t slowly shed away:  it’s applied very firmly.
  6. IMG_18103-D Kitty Cat.  Instructor:  Jenn Kiarsis.  I wish I had a better photo of these.  Jenn will teach how to braid and embellish these kitty cats.  This photo shows two of them snuggled together on her recent exhibit rug, “Bedroom Buddies.”  Aren’t they sweet?
  7. P1060220BraidBowl.  Instructor:  Kris McDermet.  Learn to hook a small center for the bowl, then how to pad and line the hooking so that butted braids can be attached for the sides.
  8. Beginners
  9. Butting

I usually try to come up with something a little tricky to teach at the braid in… so far my mind is a blank, but hopefully I’ll come up with something.  I think we need a few more braiding-only projects, as well:  we’ve got a lot of adjacent techniques represented, which is fun, but I think we need some Just Braiding classes.

Other cool things coming up:

Kris and I finished the Contemporary Braided Art Rug exhibit at Sauder Village in August.  Some of those rugs will be on display at the Green Mountain Rug Hooking Guild’s exhibit, but not quite all — there just isn’t space.  That show, “Hooked in the Mountains,”  (Oct 17-21), has two featured artists:  Kris McDermet and Anne Cox.  If you’re going to the Methuen Braid in (Oct 19-21), do try to catch the show in Essex Jct., Vermont just before going to Methuen.

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AND, we have another opportunity for the show in the Spring of 2019!  The Schwenkfelder Museum in Pennsburg, PA has agreed to display the Contemporary Braided Art Rug Exhibit either starting in March or starting in January… depending on whether another exhibit is pulled together before us or not.  The exhibit will remain up through the VF Spring Braid in.  I’m not sure whether we’ll have a few van-loads drive Saturday afternoon down to the exhibit (40 minutes) or whether we’ll ask people to go there first.  In any case, it’s a tremendous opportunity for all of us who have rugs in the exhibit — please try to see it in person; the photographs don’t really do the show justice.

Here are some photos from the meeting:  (next meeting Oct 27)



Judy is showing her pretty pinwheel


Look at the neat label that her friend printed up for her.


Marjorie made a sweet little watermelon rug


Robin and Sharon working away


Eileen finished a pretty hit or miss rug


Colleen was able to join us!  She is starting on a dining room rug.



Dianne’s Debut at Sauder Village

My hooking friends were so supportive of my vending at Sauder through the months of preparing and worrying-they asked me to write an article for our guild newsletter.

Reprinted from the Camellia City Rug Hooking Guild newsletter

September 2018

By Dianne Tobias

When my two friends were asked to curate the special exhibit on rug braiding at this year’s Sauder Rug Hooking Week, they were offered a vending opportunity. Knowing I love to dye stretch velvet and taffeta for hooking and braiding, they asked me to be the vendor.

That was last August……I was grateful….and then intimidated….and then grateful and said a wavering “yes.”

I had heard Sauder was the biggest rug hooking show in the country, attracting wonderful rugs, the Celebration finalists and this year a Celebration Hall of Fame for those who have won Celebrations more than 5 years.

As an inexperienced vendor but passionate about my velvet, I was ‘in.’ I began making small braided items like snippet baskets, putting them in a covered bin and asking a few braider friends to make small braided items I could sell. And I dyed about 150 pieces of velvet, strips and taffeta. When it came time to open the bin, I was surprised at how industrious I had been!

Full bin!

Since I was flying and my two friends were driving with many of the commissioned braided rugs for the exhibit, they brought some props for my booth. At the last minute I asked Christine to bring her large braided fish in case we needed height in the booth. It ended up being a hit and covering the white wall which we could not attach anything to! A trip to the Dollar Store to get two mop handles and wire and we hung the fish. I learned one needs to be flexible to be a good vendor!


Dianne Tobias in her vendor booth  a Sauder Village 2018

I wanted to highlight the hand dyed  fabrics so I hung my frog, Jeremiah, in the booth. He brought interest to using other fabrics.

Jeremiah, designed by Karla Gerard, hooked with mixed fabrics by Dianne Tobias.

The show was amazing; I only have ATHA to compare with, and this was much larger, perhaps 500 rugs hung in a huge Founder’s Hall.

In addition to the special rug braiding exhibit, there were smaller special exhibits: “Healing Mats,” Maud Lewis, a famous Canadian folk artist whose life was portrayed in the film Maudie; a couple vendors have licensed rug hooking patterns for some of her paintings, Jessie Kinsley from the early 1900s who braided landscapes with silk and embroidery and I am probably forgetting others.

Goose Girl, designed and hooked by Jessie Kinsley.

Here are a few pictures of the braiding exhibit  As a vendor, I was pretty tied to my booth and didn’t ‘get out much!’

Fddleheads by Cathy Winship


                                                                  Moons by Kris McDermet

Sauder is in Archbold, Ohio, somewhat near Toledo. There is corn, corn and soybeans. The town is small. Sauder Village is a historical recreation of an old village with a spinning house, weaving house, blacksmith house, etc. There is the huge Founder’s Hall which hosts many events such as Rug Hooking Week during the year. If you get the chance I would recommend a visit! Ω

Japanese Fan, designed, hooked and braided by Dianne Tobias.

Editor’s Note:

Dianne is a member of our guild who enjoys hooking with velvet and other fabrics. She hand dyes alternative fabrics and sells them via her website at

Kaleidoscope designed, hooked and braided by Mary Bird

Setting Up at Sauder


Kris McDermet is up on a ladder hanging rugs for the exhibit

Well, Kris McDermet and Dianne Tobias and I got to Sauder Village on Sunday to set up the rug exhibit.  Actually, Dianne is here for manning the vendor booth for braiding stuff + her own business, which is “The Velvet Hook” (  But Kris and I are here to teach classes and most importantly, to set up the Contemporary Braided Art Rug Exhibit.

We are finishing the exhibit set-up later today and it will be on display through Saturday late afternoon.  Over 5,000 people are expected to stroll through the exhibit, which also includes exquisite hooked rugs from “Celebrations,” and several other exhibits besides ours.    But ours is the “special exhibit” this year and the braided rugs have a place of prominence within the exhibit hall!

We have a bit less space available to us for display, in part because a few of us went way over the size restrictions for the rugs, so we have a slanted board taking up some display area (darn it!)  We’ll still have everything up, but it will be a little more cramped than we hoped.  However, all of the braided art rugs will still be up, plus the chair pads.  I think we may have to sacrifice a few of the antique rugs, though.

It turns out that hanging rugs for an exhibit is a LOT more complicated than I realized.  Sometimes you hang two rugs next to each other and it just absolutely makes both rugs look bad.  The colors not only have to work with adjacent rugs, but also with the “flow” of color across the exhibit.  Then the space issues further restrict placement.  Then there’s also the matter of making the overall display interesting.  I guess I thought that we had, on each panel, room for one rug on top, and one rug on the bottom.  But if we had them just stacked like that all across the display, it would be boring.  We have some things hung at an angle, some square things we tried on point… all to make it look good.  And to fill the spaces, so that we have room for everything.


Kris in our sunroom

Placement of the rugs within the exhibit is just so much more complicated than I realized!!

But, back in the hotel room, we have an exquisite suite for the 3 of us.  Kris had reserved the room 2 years ago in anticipation of having the three of us stay here, and I think we have the premier suite.  There’s a sun room, and a living room, and a kitchenette/dining area, plus sleeping areas.  It’s huge, and sun-filled, and the only problem is thermostat control among the three of us (ie, I’m having hot flashes, and they aren’t).


Walkway to our suite on the second floor

Here’s a view of the area where our room is located.  It’s just a lovely place.

Today I’ll get some photos of Dianne working on setting up her vendor booth, and some more photos of setting up the exhibit.

Changing My Name to…

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My beautiful daughter

Last weekend, I moved my daughter into her new apartment out in Landenburg, PA.  Where is Landenburg?  She lives less than a quarter mile from Delaware, in that rounded little southeast corner of Pennsylvania.  It is 5 hours away from Pittsburgh and NO, she doesn’t have a job to support herself yet, so the costs are all on us.  My husband has given her 6 months to get on her feet and find a job or he threatens to move her back home.  (He misses her terribly and texts her silly cat and dog pictures 10 times a day from what I can tell).

So the house has been in upheaval.  Somehow, with Katie moving out, everything in the house has been shifted or moved or is being re-evaluated.  Even my husband’s and my roles are changing.  Even with one child still at home, things are just… different.

There are bags of clothing in the hallway, containing items that she decided to give to Good Will rather than take with her.  I haven’t yet taken the bags there yet, in the misguided belief that I will go through my own clothing soon also.  An abandoned fan and printer sit on the front porch that I also need to get rid of, since her apartment is air conditioned and they have no space for a printer because the apartment is so small.  And her bedroom doorway stands strangely open into a stark space without the usual mayhem of laundry baskets and journaling supplies laying everywhere.

The dining room is also in upheaval.  I’m in the midst of working on my rug for the exhibit, and the dining room is where I usually work on rugs, so that means no sit-down family dinners.  Instead, we eat in the living room in front of the TV or a laptop, catching up on episodes of “Timeless” (a favorite time-travel show) or watching bad 1950’s-60’s sci-fi.  We used to watch PBS News over dinner, but the current machinations of politicians have enraged me so much that I just refuse to watch it.  Yes, I know that’s a cop out, but I don’t feel empowered to change anything presently, so stamping around the house yelling angrily about politics furthers nothing.  I will resume watching the news in October, when the November voting opportunity looms, and until then I want peace in my house, and in my own mind.


My dining room table

The exhibit rug has grown, and grown, and I am way past all ideas of fitting into the size requirements. As a co-curator, I decided that I had some leeway, but this is getting ridiculous.

I finished the roughly oval center about 4 weeks ago, and since then I’ve been working on making 4 roughly identical corners, which will turn the oval into a rectangle.  I thought I would be finished by now.  I hoped that it would be finished by now. But I had forgotten how incredibly long it can take to make little curlicues and triangles and oddly-shaped fill-ins.

I have changed my name from “Procrastination Princess” to “Queen of Fill-Ins.”  I think that’s an improvement.


The back of a taper, with frayed ends sticking out.  

One good thing:  I have always been unhappy with long skinny tapered ends.  The ends always seem to fray and either create lumpy loops in the row below where the ends are buried, or if I try to keep them out of the row below… just don’t look good.  Here is an example of a taper that I am NOT happy with, left.  It is held in place with a pin because it doesn’t lay right without the pin — I’ll have to re-work this.  Not happy with it at all.



The front of a new taper, reduced down to one strand that doubles back on itself to rejoin the original braid.  

I have now figured out how to drop from three strands down to one, twist it around itself in a “twisted center,” and rejoin the 3-strand braid.  It makes a MUCH better-looking long skinny taper.  So that’s at least one good thing that has come all of my sitting and braiding.


Another thing that I’ve enjoyed is the process of figuring out how to place triangles around an oval to make it into a rectangle.  First, there are two different triangles that are mirror-image of each other:  2 pink, and 2 blue.Screen Shot 2018-07-01 at 9.12.44 AM

But, I couldn’t make simple triangles for my rug…  I had to put spirals inside them.  And, since the “oval” isn’t just an oval, I traced the outside edge of the corner of a rug onto a large piece of foam core board, then sketched how I wanted to fill it in.



The lower left is my tracing of the outline of a corner of the rug’s center.  The upper right is a rough idea of my design for the corner, drawn onto a piece of foam core board.

For awhile I was stymied as to how I was going to get a mirror-image of this design without spending a lot of money at a copy center (to get a large photocopy made and then trace the design on the back).  But after making the first corner, I realized it was easy:  I just turned the braided corner onto its back, and there was my mirror image all ready for me.

So, while I am probably going to be braiding up until the last week before the exhibit, I am learning some cool stuff along the way that I will find useful in the future.

Eventually, I will even be able to have a family dinner at the dining room table again.  I’m hoping to change my name back to just Christine again, once this nightmare of a rug is completed.

Wheel Rug, Revisited


Shaker “Wheel” rug.

Christine here.  In the July 2014 issue of the newsletter, I wrote an article on the “Wheel Rug,” which is a large central circle (or rarely, oval or square) surrounded by a lot of smaller circles. No, I didn’t give it that name; it was a name given to similar rugs in the early 1900’s, when the style was popular and common in both crocheted and braided rugs.

Since the next issue of the newsletter (if I can ever get it finished) is about flower rugs, I was thinking about wheel rugs, which are kind of flower-like, right?  So I decided that I wanted to make a large wheel rug.  Then I wanted to figure out how big a given number of braided rounds would need to be in order to fit neatly around a larger center circle.  I didn’t want to do this by trial and error.  I wanted to know ahead of time just what I was in for, and not have to add or subtract from a central circle in order to get everything to fit properly.

Another Shaker Wheel Rug -- from

Another Shaker Wheel Rug from the Doug Towle Catalog

I took my usual course whenever I have a math question:  I went to my Math Professor husband and said, “Please figure this out for me so that I get a formula.”  He looked at my example of a large circle surrounded by 18 smaller ones drawn out on the back of an envelope and frowned.  “I’m grading quizzes,” he said, hedging.  “Whenever you can get to it,” I said.

He returned 2 days later with a formula that involved the radius of the center circle, and the cosign of something else… and a theta symbol… and my eyes crossed.  But he was proud of himself for figuring it out, so I sat there and listened to his (long) explanation of different approaches he had taken and how he finally figured out how to solve the problem and generate a formula for me.  I thanked him for all of his hard work, patted him on the back in congratulation, and promptly buried his formula calculations in a stack of papers that I will surreptitiously throw out.

I like math, I really do, but my last course in trigonometry was 39 years ago.  The cosigns and the theta in the formula creeped me out.  I’m good with algebra, but prefer to leave trig alone.

So, I did what I should have done to begin with:  I googled it. “Size of circles around a center sphere,” and this wonderful website came up:  It has blanks for you to fill in the size of the center circle, the number of small circles you want to place around it, and it will do all the math for you and spit out the exact size of the smaller circles that you need.

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This is the sort of image you get when you pick your sizes and colors from the website

Now, the only problem – and it’s a minor one – is that we’re used to thinking of our braided circles in terms of diameter.  The website requires you to enter the radius of the center circle, and it gives you an answer for the size of the outer circles with their radius also.  So you just have to remember that the diameter that you want is two times the radius.

Example:  I have a 72” (6 feet) diameter circle, so I enter the following:

Radius center circle:  36
Number of outer circles:  20
Gap between outer circles:  0
Click on “calculate and plot” and you see:  Radius outer circles:  6.6”.
So, the diameter of the outer circles is 2 times the radius or 13.2” to place 20 of them around a 6 foot center round braided rug.

And look!  You escape trigonometry.  Wonderful!