Dianne here….and in addition to not knowing how else to show it is me, I have lost the long draft I made for this blog post! Grrrr.
Anyway, I have shipped the alpaca rug that I have been working on for the last month or so, working on it on our fiber trip and it is as close to 3’x5′ as a rug can get and still be handmade so it is done!
Several of you have asked about the alpaca and about the rug commission, so here is the story.
Several years ago I was at the Pendleton Woolen Mill outlet in Portland, located in one of their old mills. They get weekly shipments of scrap wool and selvages from their two operating NW mills. I asked if they had any wool and the young man looked and said, no wool, just this box of alpaca….I said ‘let’s see’.
It was reasonable by the pound so I made ‘three bags full’ of the three patterns, thinking I could use it for beginning students. I wish you could feel it; it is so soft, but you can see it has a fringe on each side which adds to the plumpness of the braid, but added to the softness of the fiber, makes it frustrating for beginners, so I have made several baskets, this one with the white plaid, matching the plaid on the butted rows.
Last summer my youngest daughter was going to a baby shower for her friend who lives in TN. Two days before she asks me to make a small basket with the baby room colors (green, brown, white!). I got busy and used the white plaid, again matching the plaids on the butted rows, and introducing green wool with matched alpaca plaid on the last row. I did not get a pix of the finished basket as I was a little rushed!
The friend was thrilled and in the Fall the husband called my daughter and asked if he could commission me to make a 3’x5′ rug to match for the baby’s room as a surprise for his wife. I started a continuous with the 2 white alpaca plaid strands and one green wool and tapered before beginning to butt all the subsequent rows, starting with the darker alpaca plaid and brown wool. I ran out of the green, but remembered Christine and I had bought from the same source several years ago and she agreed to bring her green on our fiber trip. Alas it was a different green but we made it ‘work’ by using both.
I am pretty pleased with it and it is on its way to TN. Should arrive in a couple days. I hope it will wear well, but it will sure be soft on the feet!