The Mother of Invention

Dianne here….Have you ever tried something out of necessity or desperation and found the solution to be useful or downright brilliant? Well, maybe not brilliant… but the other day I was finishing up a hooked/braided bowl, this one being square and out of my hand dyed stretch velvet and yarns. I had not done a square before and thanks to my friend and muse Christine, she reminded me that doing straight braids on the butted (or continuous) sides of the bowl are better/easier/saner than triples and alternating lacing positions.

I hooked the base, finished it and braided 2 flat butted rows of velvet with triples then went up the sides decreasing before each corner to bring in the row a little. If I do it again I would decrease twice. If you haven’t braided with stretch velvet, it is wonderful but  it has a tension all its own and you have to get used to it and then give up trying to make it as perfect as wool. I tell myself because it drapes less than uniformly, it is providing more elegant sheen!

Anyway because of the two flat rows, my small hooked square was now a large base for the bowl and after 2 side rows I was running out of velvet. I currently dye the velvet in 1/3 yard pieces, one of a kind, so no more in the pantry. You can fudge with the width a bit to get more yardage, and I do, but this just wasn’t going to work. I cut the velvet normally 1.25″ wide so much narrower is nigh impossible to braid (though you can just fold over once in a pinch; I was already pinched).

I had used some of the unspun Icelandic wool I described in a recent post to hook some of the center as I thought the rusty wool complemented my mottled velvet fabric, so I thought, how about using a double strand of wool as the third strand in the last butted row? I could cobble together enough velvet for 2 strands….Well it worked, tho butting became a knot and don’t examine the butt site too closely as rebraiding with velvet and unspun yarn became a challenge!img_0667-1

As usual the velvet does not photograph as well as in person but I hope you can see how the velvet changes subtly with the mottling and the addition of the unspun (shown in corner) in the hooked base and the last row.


Here are the 4 wheels of unspun I bought in Iceland and now (because of necessity and that wonderful Mother) I know I can use them for BOTH hooking and braiding!

2 thoughts on “The Mother of Invention

  1. Nice bowl base. Wondering Dianne if you are pleased with the wool roving doubled with the velvet strands? It appears thin and wonder if thickening the roving would balance more with the velvet? There are some lovely roving braided rugs I have seen in Germany, however think wool fabric braids hold up better over time.

    • Thanks Patsy. Actually I liked the contrast in the thickness and the appearance with the velvet shimmering and the unspun yarn matte. But a bowl doesn’t have to be sturdy like a rug!

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