Butt Booklet for Right Openings Available Now

Dianne here

In a recent post, “Annie’s Fanny“, I described a new innovative butt technique devised by a good friend Anne Morton Caldwell. My co-blogger Christine Manges has incorporated instructions and as usual, her wonderful diagrams for this new butt in a Butt Booklet which I described in the post. Check out that post for a complete description of the Booklet.

NOW she has made a new edition for you right opening braiders. It is available for $15 postpaid. Contact Christine at ccmanges@gmail.com for information.

Unabashed Advertisement for Braiding Class

Dianne here…..

with apologies if you feel this is inappropriate for a blog post but I am writing this to tell you about a new class offered this summer at the      John C Campbell Folk Art School (www.folkschool.org) in North Carolina:

Braiding Around Hooking (https://classes.folkschool.org/class_details.aspx?pk=17820)

taught by ME!

The school is pretty unique: from their description: “provides experiences in non-competitive learning and community life that are joyful and enlivening. Located in scenic Brasstown, North Carolina, the Folk School offers year-round weeklong and weekend classes for adults in craft, art, music, dance, cooking, gardening, nature studies, photography and writing“.                                                                                                      The scenery, lodging and atmosphere seems surreal and very appealing.

More than a year ago, Anne Morton Caldwell (Annie’s Fanny) prodded me to submit a proposal to teach at Campbell.  She had learned braiding from an instructor there and thought I would bring additional skills to what was offered. I submitted several proposals, and they approved a 5 day “Braiding around Hooking” class for July 26-31 as they already had both hooking and braiding classes.

The description reads: “Simple or “fancy” braids can beautifully compliment or contrast the wools in your hooked rugs and mats. Learn basic skills of braiding, lacing, and butting to create a braided border for a small hooked round (6-8″), created at home and brought to class. Then choose to add more braided rows to create a braided/hooked bowl – or you may bring various hooked shapes (square, rectangle, heart, oval) or a rug-sized hooking to enhance with a braid. This class is for practicing rug hookers, but prior braiding experience is not necessary”.

That’s the good news: the bad news is only one “local” student has enrolled and they need 2 non-locals to run the class. The class is for braiding around hooking, but I will bring braided chair pad kits and hooked

combination braided/hooked chair pad/mat

combination braided/hooked chair pad/mat

borders can be added for a combination fancier chair pad or mat.

The 5 days provides many options for the student to explore various braiding skills.

If you are interested or know anyone who might be, please contact Campbell at the web site above OR me at detobias@aol.com

BEFORE  7/1/15

as that is the decision date to hold or cancel the class.                      Thanks for listening!

Annie’s Fanny Butt

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Dianne here: Well I have finally unpacked from the Valley Forge Braid In (both my large suitcase and the duffel I bought at the Bethlehem Goodwill to carry more woolen treasures home).

One reason for the slow unpacking was that my son got married the Saturday after the Braid In and I wanted to tell you that despite DSC_2658suggestions that I wear the pillbox hat/basket that I modeled in the Fashion Show (see left) that Christine described in her last post, I didn’t!

As Delsie advised me, the groom’s mother should ‘wear beige and be quiet’!  So I was….

But I want to tell you more about the ‘new butt called Annie’s Fanny that Christine described in her next to last post (Reflections on Teaching at the Braid In). It is named after an experienced braider and quilter Anne Morton Caldwell from GA who experimented to determine where to cut a strip in order to easily make ‘right angle’ seams for butting. She showed three of us her method when we visited her in February and we went home intrigued. I tried it successfully several times then unsuccessfully a few more. It frustrated me no end, because I knew there were clear advantages to her method (dubbed Annie’s Fanny by her) over the several others I am fond of, and so I kept trying. Descriptions of my failures were helpful to Christine as she translated Anne’s instruction into text and diagrams; always want to be helpful!

The result is a clearly explained and diagrammed ‘fool proof’ butt which has several advantages to my thinking (these are for left openings: Christine is working on diagrams for right openings): It is logical in how the pins are located (start over finish, open folds up, pinned in the same location on start and finish); it takes less loops to butt so good in tighter spaces; because more intuitive, I think easier to butt when using all same fabric which I often do; the seams are right angled in the same way as we seam new strips so easier to do on machine; seams are hidden easily; and quite amazingly, there is little manipulation needed after the last seam to get the braid ‘back to normal’.

The first reason, logical butt, is worth expanding upon. Most other butts I have learned (and even liked) seem magical and not as intuitive as this one or the enclosed end butt we describe in the book (which is best used for fancy braids) so much so that I have needed written instructions each time I butt…..this method is so logical that I can easily repeat the butt without the instructions after just a few tries!  Why then did I fail initially? It was in the rebraiding step; I inadvertently crossed the seamed strands-Christine worked on that misstep and came up with a logical way to place the stopper pins to prevent this from happening.

How can you learn more?  Order the 28 page Butt Booklet from Christine for $12 plus shipping by contacting her at ccmanges@gmail.com.

Here are some photos of the booklet: apologies for all the white space: I CANNOT seem to move the photos, grrrrr.

Spiral Booklet 28 pgs

Spiral Booklet

Annie's Fanny directions

Annie’s Fanny directions

Historical Review of Butting 4 pgs!

Historical Review of Butting 4 pgs!

Butting Fancy Braids

Butting Fancy Braids

Braided Fashion Show

Christine here.  As promised, I’m going to use this post to show my photos from the Fashion Show held at the recent Valley Forge Guild’s Spring Braid In.  It was hysterically funny, as you can tell by the photos.  Pam Rowan emceed the show and made most of the hats and a few other garments, although others contributed some significant entries!

Bobbi Mahler models Pam Rowan's

Bobbi Mahler models Pam Rowan’s “Cat in the Hat” braided hat

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Raye Wood strolls down the catwalk with a braided sunhat.

Left is Bobbi Mahler modeling Pam Rowan’s Cat in the Hat braided hat.

Right is Raye Wood modeling Pam’s braided sunhat.  A closer view of the hat is below.

Peggyann Watts with a braided hat and scarf

Peggyann Watts with a braided hat and scarf

Closer view of braided sunhat, worn by Raye Wood and made by Pam Rowan

Closer view of braided sunhat, worn by Raye Wood and made by Pam Rowan

You can see Pam laughing in the background of these photos after she introduces everyone.

Carolyn Newcomer wears a variety of her braided items in a colorful mélange

Carolyn Newcomer wears a variety of her braided items in a colorful mélange

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Delsie Hoyt wears a braided cowboy hat (made by Pam Rowan) and wool serape, and carries 2 six-shooter c-clamps

A closer view of Delsie and the braided cowboy hat

A closer view of Delsie and the braided cowboy hat

Cheryl Hanline saunters down the runway with a braided hat

Cheryl Hanline saunters down the runway with a braided hat

Delsie Hoyt models one of her purses with a striking moonrise image

Delsie Hoyt models one of her purses with a striking moonrise image, and a braided bowler hat

Dianne Tobias models her pillbox hat with flower, and a pretty braided purse

Dianne Tobias models her pillbox hat with flower, and a pretty braided purse

Pam Landry made this funny beanie, complete with helicopter at the top

Pam Landry made this funny beanie, complete with helicopter at the top

Kris McDermet made this amazing braided and appliqued dress, with a matching hooked purse

Kris McDermet made this amazing braided and appliqued dress, with a matching hooked purse

Debbie Wykosky wears an exquisite zig zag purse with hand-beaded shoulder strap

Debbie Wykosky wears an exquisite zig zag purse with hand-beaded shoulder strap

Deb Lynch channels Jackie O in her pillbox hat, sunglasses, and gloves

Deb Lynch channels Jackie O in her pillbox hat, sunglasses, and gloves

Close-up of the zig zag purse.  Didn't catch the name of who made it, but it's beautiful.

Close-up of the zig zag purse. Didn’t catch the name of who made it, but it’s beautiful.

Nancy Young reveals what's under her shirt:  a braided bra and sarong wrap.  Made by Pam Rowan

Nancy Young reveals what’s under her shirt: a braided bikini top and matching sarong.  Made by Pam Rowan.

Pam Rowan and Nancy Young paraded around the room in their matching bikini tops and sarongs

Pam Rowan and Nancy Young paraded around the room in their matching bikini tops and sarongs

I think the feathers and beaded fringe on the bikini tops were especially nice touches.  Who knew such modeling talent existed in us braiders??  I could barely take the photos from laughing so much.  What a good time.

Reflections on Teaching at the Braid In

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Braiding Teachers at the 2015 Valley Forge Spring Braid In: Deb Weinhold, Dottie Pepe, Nancy Young, Christine Manges, Pat Beltz, Dianne Tobias, Bobbi Mahler, Pam Rowan, Kris McDermet

Christine here.  OK, after a long silence, I am returning to the braiding post.

What kept me busy (and not blogging) for a long time was the preparation for the Spring Valley Forge Braid In, which I think was especially wonderful this year.  Those of us who are interested in teaching met early on Thursday night and went over a handout on short to long teaching topics.  Pam Rowan and Bobbi Mahler brought some of their one-day and shorter classprojects for us to view.  We reviewed syllabuses for several week long classes, such as tote bag or chair pad or oval rug.  And we (tried to ) talk about teaching left-handed (not left-opening, but left-handed) braiders, which I think everyone still left a little confused about!

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One-hour Braiding Class: Pam Rowan’s door-hanger: braided strands with embellishments

I bring up that session on teaching first because I think teaching braiding to others is really important to keeping our craft alive and flourishing.

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5-strand Strip Rug by Peggyann Watts

My other classes — Beginners (although Dottie Pepe and Deb Weinhold taught more of that) and Continuous Square and Multistrand Strip — went well overall (check out student project photos!) although I hadn’t quite realized just how fussy and meticulous the C. Square is.  Several people made early braiding or lacing mistakes (braiding a quadruple corner instead of a triple; lacing a crossover loop, or miscounting a side) that affected each and every row thereafter.  I think in the future, I have to seriously limit the class size for this shape, and insist that after each row of braiding, and each row of lacing, I check the square before people move on.  Well, at least I know that for next time!

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Continuous Square made by Peggyann Watts

The final class that I taught was on butting, and I don’t think I should have left it to Sunday morning.  The class centered on the new Annie’s Fanny butt, which Anne Morton Caldwell came up with and which I find clear, simpler than many butts, and I’ve never made a mistake with it yet, which is saying something!  I think everyone found it interesting, but not many people stayed to try it after I demonstrated how easily it came together… I think many were just thinking about the long drive home and packing up.

Many people did buy the booklet with full diagrams of butting straight braids, same-color braids, and butting in tight spaces, so hopefully that will be useful.  (Butt Booklet:  $15 postage paid, contact me at ccmanges@gmail.com).

If there’s one thing that I always remember after teaching at braid ins, it’s the difficulty of working with braiders who have their openings on the other side from me.  I braid with left openings, a fact that I blame on Norma Sturges for her excellent and informative book The Braided Rug Book — because we all are “victims” of our first rug braiding instructor’s preference for openings.  Our brains settle into an immutable pathway and we’re stuck, comfortable only with the first way we learned to braid.  As I progressed to more complex shapes in my braiding, I also used Verna Cox’s Illustrated Guide to Rug Braiding — also a left-opening braider.  Then I got to know Dianne Tobias and later Kris McDermet — both left-opening as well, so clearly the Force is with us LO people, right?

Unfortunately, when it comes to braid ins, people come from all over and from a history of being taught not only by LO, but also RO, teachers.

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5-Strand Strip Rug with Diamond Pattern, by Colleen Blaisdell

Pam Rowan and Bobbi Mahler both are right-opening braiders who helped me out in classes.  I think, from now on, that any advanced class that I teach should be taught in cooperation with a right-opening braider.  There are too many of them out there, and my mind just doesn’t bend that way.  So, I need the assistance of RO teachers — particularly for hearts or squares — or anything with corners.  RO braiders lace on the back of the rug, and things MOVE back there.  Corners change location by one loop on the back, so you can’t just mirror-image LO diagrams with corners and have them still correct for RO braiders.

Well, with each experience, we learn a bit more, and how to do things better in the future.

In the next posts, I’ll put up images from the fashion show (which was HYSTERICAL) and the rug challenge (Just for Kids) and Show and Tell — all of which were truly wonderful.

Christine