Awfulness, Multistrands


My enthusiastic son being hugged by his sister, while we were looking at Dickinson College

Christine here.  At the end of last week, we spent two hot, sunny days with our son touring colleges in Central PA. We put the dogs in the kennel and stayed overnight at my folks’ place. We toured Gettysburg and Dickinson Colleges, asked questions in the areas of Jack’s subject interests, and tried to help him with the college decision.

When we got back, we tried to have a family dinner. Jack’s eye-rolling comment: “Haven’t I spent ENOUGH time with you two lately?” The dinner was spent trying to involve Jack in pleasant conversation, while Jack kept a bored and disgusted expression firmly on his face and imitated a bear. When he became just too awful we finally kicked him out of dinner and sent him (happily) off to his room.

I was whining about my teenaged son and so my mother put me in my place. She reminded me of when she went to pick me up from freshman year at college, and I said,  “I’m dropping out of college and moving to Boston, so let me just throw my stuff in your car, and I’ll be off.”

The funny thing is, I don’t even remember saying that, although I’m sure it happened. I had a best friend who was from Boston, so she knew about cheap student housing that was rented out by the week over the summer. I shared a suite with her and, of all things, her mother, who was in the middle of getting a divorce. In the fall, she went back to school, her mother got her own place, and I moved into an apartment with two other women.

So… perhaps my son is taking after teenaged me. Although I wince to remember it now, at 18, I found my parents annoying, tiresome, boring, stupid, and so backward and religious that they had no connection with the current world. I found their attempts to guide me to be stupid and irrelevant. I was an adult, it was my life, I knew what I was doing and I certainly knew more about what I should do than my parents.

In a feeble defense of my own awfulness to my parents, I really did profit from my time away from college. I think I matured pretty late in comparison to peers… and I wasn’t particularly socially savvy, either. So taking an extra year away from school was great for me: I remember learning navigate the subway system with tremendous pride and enjoyment (I was from Wagontown, PA: no subway there). I even liked learning to cook, becoming vegetarian, working at the Cambridge Food Co-op, doing my laundry, and getting a couple part-time jobs. I found a quilt pattern, “Night and Noon” in a book at the library, and bought cotton scraps to start a hand-sewn quilt (I finished it several years later by machine). I reveled in being in control of my own life, and determining each day what I wanted to do without parental interference.

After awhile I realized that I missed college and I did return to school. Many thanks to a dean who changed my “dropping out” to “leave of absence,” which enabled me to retain my scholarship so that I could go back.

So… I am holding my own teenage awfulness firmly in mind and trying not to become really angry with Jack’s attitude toward me and my husband. I am trying to realize that he’s just engaging in that necessary step of asserting control over one’s own destiny, which means – at least to some kids – being an Obnoxious Toad to one’s parents.

It’s not very much fun for me…. but at least my mother is enjoying it.

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My multistrand swirl rug in progress.

I’m finally trying to finish one of the multistrand projects that will be in the book I’m working on. I taught a class a few years ago at the Valley Forge braid in on how to make this rug, and despite being rather relentless in encouraging the students to finish their versions… I never finished mine. (I know, I’m terrible). But, I’m finally getting back to it. Pam Rowan’s version is in the previous post.



DSC_0007 rug picture

Norma Sturges’ multistrand swirl rug

Here’s a photo of Norma Sturges’ rug that inspired me to teach the class. Critiquing my own rug by comparison, I think I should have started my dark strands earlier to get the appearance of flower petals… but, I’m planning on making my rug big, so I hope that I can still get the flower-petal look with more rows.





Nancy Young’s framed swirl rug

And here’s the rug by Nancy Young that I also alluded to in the last post as an inspiration (shown here announcing our braided rug exhibit at the Schwenkfelder Museum).  Here, the flower petal look is created with both white (outlined by an adjacent black) and red strands.

Dianne has been kindly looking over my early book chapters in Dropbox. It’s reminding me pleasantly of when we worked together before on the Combining Rug Hooking and Braiding book, but without the associated stress. Of course, I’m really not that far along in the book, so it’s pretty relaxed at present. But, I am hoping to have most of the multistrand book fleshed out by December 31… we’ll see.




4 thoughts on “Awfulness, Multistrands

  1. Dianne here….Oh Christine, Jack looks so cute, albeit somewhat reluctantly being hugged by Katie. It will all work out, trust me. You will be empty nest with time and room for so much braiding! Your book will be great and WE will remain friends through the editing process….trust me on that one too?

  2. Adorable kid picture! Thank you so much for letting us peek into your (sometimes hilarious) life – (at least the way you write it!) It’s always a treat I look forward to. I was just thinking about my own unfinished multistrand from the same class… maybe I will haul it out and try again to slog on through.

    • You have to finish it! I think they’re such pretty rugs. I think I’m going to try to take mine up to a 15… maybe 17… not sure how well the big numbers will go but I’m on 13 right now and it’s going pretty well. I want to try some higher-numbered multi strands and see what adjustments, if any, are necessary.

      With the right attitude, we all lead rather hilarious lives. Every once in awhile my son makes me lose my sense of humor, though.

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