Something old, something new…..

(I just read Christine’s post about houseguests: disclaimer, my post not nearly as humorous)

By chance, I have made a number of things from old fabric of late, for friends to whom the old fabric is meaningful. I told you about my friend from my hooking guild who asked me to braid three small rugs from the braids her grandmother had made, long straight braids. My friend separated the braids by her color preference and gave me three bags of them. I made two before Christmas and one since. She said her daughter who is named after the grandmother cried when she opened her rug. The challenge was connecting the braids without having to rebraid; I butted them but several did not ‘butt’ correctly and wonder if they were braided right openings instead of left? The braids were wider and more ‘traditional’ (in that they were all 3 contrasting fabrics) than I prefer for my own braiding where I find I gravitate to using much more of the same fabric or two strands of one, etc. But the braids were good and the lacing went faster than with my tiny braids!

Here they are along with a bag of braids. I must not have take a photo of the 3rd.IMG_0569 (1)IMG_0579 (2)IMG_0572 (1)IMG_0629.JPG

We bartered for my payment to make the rugs. My friend had ‘inherited’ this partially and beautifully hooked “Persian Melody” from an older rug hooker who had died. I love the colors and the challenge of finishing it, although she had hooked the loops very low. It is done in a #3 cut which is very narrow so you might say this will be my tiny hooked piece! So, the barter piece is also old and partially finished…there is a trend here.

The second project which found me involves an older friend who has given me wool garments and fabric over the years. She gave me a very old blanket with a story. She estimates the blaIMG_0625nket is nearly 100 years old as her mother took it to college in a IMG_0628trunk. When she graduated, the trunk was given to a cousin and the blanket was not discovered for 40 years….my friend thought I might use the wool. I washed the blanket and there were areas you could see right through. When I tore the wool, many of the strips just disintegrated…but I was able to salvage enough to make a braided mat by adding some thinner wool plaid. I gave it to my friend this week and she was overcome with surprise and gratitude. Her mother died in 1965 so this is a special keepsake for her.

IMG_0666 (1)As an aside, our dog Cisco thinks it is his keepsake also, and I have saved some of the blanket for his braided bed.


The third project involved my sister in law’s Scottish heritage tartan, the McCloud plaid. She asked me in November if I could make a basket for her kids with the tartan. We looked around my fiber room for some complementary wools and velvets and I was able to eek out 6 small hybrid baskets, all with some tartan. Hybrid becaIMG_0668use they had continuous base and butted sides. Here is one with blue wool accent.
Here is all the tartan I had left at the end!IMG_0669

Her sister sent me a note, saying ‘you took a neglected piece of wool and made me something to remember my dad’.

And the fourth and last involves my aunt giving me maroon velvet drapes a few years ago, soon after I began braiding with velvet. She had moved into a new house and didn’t wanIMG_0667t to keep the heavy velvet drapes. I washed them and used some to make her a mat soon after and now am making her a hybrid basket, perhaps with all velvet rows in between the others up the sides….

I share all this, not to toot my own horn, but to say how much making something out of a keepsake can mean to others. None of these fabrics would have been my first choice, in color or condition, and yet they will give so much pleasure to the recipients. I only wish I had been braiding/hooking when my mom passed away as she was a avid seamstress with a fiber room to match and a closet full of clothes she made for herself. If only I had been into this then, I could have repurposed her wool. Perhaps that is why I have attracted these recent projects…you think?

6 thoughts on “Something old, something new…..

  1. Great point about people appreciating something made new or salvaged from a keepsake. Glad you are in this effort of preserving memories. The Persian hooked rug is lovely and I hope you have matching wool to complete it. Will be a keepsake for sure.

    • Hi Patsy! Yes, it came with lots of wool. What braid do you think I should frame it with? Am thinking dark green then a picot of the blue mottled tho I will need to dye more of each for the braid…..I will have time to decide! Dianne

      • Hi Dianne, It is hard to tell the colors clearly. I see a lot of black and the blue is lighter blue. I can see the greens, light and medium greens in the leaves. My tendency would be to stick to the black predominately in a straight braid. Picot border sounds interesting but perhaps it might detract from the Grecian key design. You are the expert though and this is a classic hooked rug ready to be admired.

      • Thanks Patsy! Yes think you might be right about the distraction. Although I find I want to make ‘fancy’ braids around hooking, often the best is one color and straight braids. Nothing wrong with that; an elegant finishing technique, right! Are you going to Thetis this year? Hope to see you there. Dianne

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