What’s your favorite shape?

Dianne here….I am making a 3×5′ oval rug for a friend of my daughters. I had made her a basket for her baby shower with the baby room colors (white, brown, green!) out of some alpaca strips I had bought at Pendleton in Portland a year or so ago. Here is the unfinished basket. I neglected to take a pix of the finished row which had two green wool strips and the alpaca and I matched the plaid part on the last row….imageApparently it was a hit because the husband has asked my daughter to ‘commission’ me to make a matching rug for the baby room….

Here are the strips imageI had thought I could have students use them for making baskets but they are a little difficult to braid so have not tried that. I have made a number of baskets myself including one for our 8# fox terrier Cisco.


But now the oval rug….I much prefer making round rugs to oval. There are many reasons for this; some negative (I don’t like lacing the center braid; I don’t  like the straight lacing for the sides; I don’t like running out of fabric half way down a row) and some positive to rounds (I like the challenge of increasing just the right amount to have a flat rug; I like the ‘blossoming’ of the rug as it grows from a small coil to a round rug; you can change colors just about anywhere without worry) but alas they want an oval rug and so I will make one with the two versions of alpaca, the green and some brown later on. I plan to braid/lace about 5-6 rows then taper and butt the rest of the rows so I can change colors more readily. It will be a pretty random rug because of the variations in the alpaca but I really prefer that look to more traditional banded rugs for myself and hopefully they will like that. Here it is so far. I am pleased it is laying flat and pretty straight. I will keep you informed.

imageWhat shape do you prefer and why?

10 thoughts on “What’s your favorite shape?

  1. Hi Dianne,
    I’ve never made a round rug but after reading your comments, I think that may be my next
    rug! I’ve learned a valuable lesson this past two months. I’ve been working on an oval rug for my sister. At first, I planned to do a 3×5, so did a middle for a 3×5, but then she decided it will go in front of her fireplace and needs to be 5 feet long! Well, guess what? My 3×5 is more like 4×5 and instead of it being an oval its more what I’m calling rouoval! Live and learn! Im pleased with the colors and she will love it!!

    • Ha!
      Yes the two critical things in an oval (of many!) are the beginning measuring, the area you increase in (the curve) and the center braid lacing to try to get flat and straight….lots think about instead of enjoying the braiding! I made a small rouval early on but on purpose. It was for an entryway and I wanted it that shape; I don’t remember the beginning measurement but I curved it on the ends on purpose and was pleased with it. I am finishing the 4th row of the alpaca and I must say it is getting more enjoyable! Thanks for the comments….Dianne

  2. Christine here, commenting on Dianne’s post. I think — having made my first rug as an oval — that I still prefer an oval as my relaxing, “I-just-want-to-sit-and-braid” type of shape. I have never managed to get a perfect circle in my round rugs, and I find it stressful to remember, “how many loops before I make the next skip…” in each round row. In an oval, I like the lack of forethought required by the straight sides, and the precision of the one-to-one lacing. The curves require just that little bit of thought to keep it interesting. So, my vote is for an oval!

    • Dianne here…..wouldn’t be the first (or last) time Christine and I disagreed; ask us about writing the book sometime (mainly kidding)….but yes I am enjoying the oval now that it is taking shape….so set yourself free Christine and next time do a round (no need to mark the increases once you get past the first few rows of every other increase)….Let the lacing tell you.

  3. When I started braiding I didn’t have any “Teachers” around. Just a group of women who liked braiding as they had been taught years earlier. One who I call my teacher said” this is the way I do it, but it is not the only way. Just the way I do it.
    When she showed me increasing it was the same on a round rug as the curves of an oval. “if it ( the loop you are adding on) falls behind, leave it behind” I have used this method all along and always have flat and even rugs without counting, placing pins, steaming or pressing. Give it a try. It might work for you too.

  4. The alpaca colors are so beautiful and natural. Please remember to send out a photo when you’re done. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I have done mostly ovals, but that’s because they seem to fit spaces better than round. I am so excited to see all the different shapes that you all are showing, such as flowers, hexagons, etc. I’m hoping to find some directions for these somewhere! As a “lone” braider I am enjoying this site very much – thanks to all.

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