Never Say Never….

Dianne here….home from two braiding events, Thetis’ Woolgathering in BC Canada and the Valley Forge Braid In in Bethlehem, PA. After the latter, Kris, Christine and I drove up to VT to photograph some of the multistrand rugs Christine and others have made for her upcoming (see previous post) multistrand braiding book, and a few of my velvet pieces, as Kris has a nice photography setup with bright lights, etc.  In the end we used her iphone and the photos came out great. All activities were enjoyable as always; spending time with friends and others with like interests is such a joy.

But now I am back at home for awhile and find myself braiding two fabrics I have said I would

Tapered jean rug

never braid again! Never say never.  The first is blue jeans. Here is a rug I made a number of years ago for our ‘toilet room’ off the master bedroom, thinking I could easily toss it in the washing machine. I know it was awhile ago because it is tapered, not butted. I do remember it was hard on my hands, especially the lacing and I said ‘never again’. But I have enjoyed the various blues and it does wash well.

Around the same time I made long oval and round towel rugs for in front of double sinks and at the shower door. I bought new towels rather than old towels because I wanted to create a pattern with certain colors. What a mess! I cut them outdoors but it was so messy. Braiding and lacing was a bit more pleasurable than the jean rug but the towel rugs have not aged well, so I have been thinking of replacing them…..and because the bathroom is blue, have decided to make 2 round jean rugs for in front of the sinks (as Christine says, I am ’round centric’, not liking ovals as well as rounds).  I bought 11 pairs of jeans at our local thrift store on $1 day a

jeans in rolls, light/medium/dark

nd took Coleen up on her offer of more at the VF Braid In.



So here is the first, 27″  diameter, continuous with a butted row, trying to use light/medium/dark strips with an all light butted row.

27″ jean rug

I enjoyed the braiding and lacing this time! why? maybe my hands are stronger after years of braiding and/or I think there are more jeans made from stretch fabric today than before. So one down and one to go.

The other Never Say Never is braiding with cotton. I admired a round mat Pam Rowan made with a quilting jelly roll (40 strips of 2.5″ wide quilting cotton in complementary colors and patterns)


jelly roll mat

a couple years ago. I found one on ebay and made this mat  which I did not enjoy at the beginning but by the end did like the ‘crinkly’ braids that are produced with the cotton, attractive tweaks if you will. I ended up giving it to a wonderful woman who opens her home up to hookers (and braider) weekly. She has it on a coffee table with a candy dish filled with spice drops

William Morris fabric jelly roll

So….I ordered another jelly roll with William Morris fabrics. This one I will keep!


Get the Heck out of the House


My multi strand swirl… slowly getting the last row finished.  Photo by Cheri Coberly.

Now that the braid in is over, I am trying to get back into writing.  My friend Dianne, who often serves the needed role of Chief Nagger to my traits of Procrastination Princess, has been giving me good advice as to how I can best achieve the completion of my book on multistrand braiding. One of her main suggestions: get out of the house.

At home, I am subject to a million interruptions from my beloved family. Last night, I sat at the dining room table for two hours trying to edit the Introduction to the book, just to get myself back into “writing mode.” I catalogued the interruptions, for my own amusement.

Husband: We need to plan when we’re going up to the River in August. Do you have your datebook handy?

Daughter: Mom, do you want to go to Creative Re-Use with me? I want to get some paper to make journals. And maybe some stickers. (ie: Come along so you can pay.)

Son: We’re out of bread. When are you going to the store. We need chocolate milk, too.

Husband: Want to walk the dogs with me?

Daughter: Where’s your button box?

Daughter: Do you have red thread?

Dog: stamping on her water bowl repeatedly and looking at me.

Daughter: Could you sew these pages together for me?

Son: Are you driving me to guitar lessons tomorrow, or am I driving?  Because I have that stupid baccalaureate mass right after, and I probably won’t find a parking spot at school, so you’ll need to drop me off.

Daughter: Isn’t this journal pretty? Look at it.

Son: Where are your keys?

Husband: Could you move some of your stuff here so I can pay bills?

It went on, but the interruptions were so mundane that you’d be bored out of your mind reading them. The point being: Dianne is right. There is no way I can write at home as long as my family is awake.

So, I’ve made a plan. I’m going to try to go to the library, which is just down the street, for two hours a day. I’ll bring my laptop and charger and hopefully find a way to sneak in a cup of coffee. They open at 10:00, so I’m going to try for 10:00 to 12:00, then walk home to make lunch. I’d have more time to work if I went in the afternoon, but my brain functions better in the morning, so I’d better go then.

I love my family. But this is the summer, which means that none of them have jobs (yet), and they are home, intruding on my space. I have to get out of here, or I’ll never get the multistrand book finished.  It’s just impossible to get anything done with these Familial Interruptors surrounding me.


Try for a Braid In

Dianne here…I apologize I have not posted for awhile. I have been posting more on the Facebook’s Rug Braiding Group, an active group I inherited as administrator, so am trying to encourage it. Check it out as there are talented people who post.

I am aware Christine has kept you (and me) entertained with her life and projects.

For me, we just returned from the Woolgathering in BC on Thetis Island and leave tomorrow for Valley Forge.  It too just had its 10th anniversary and Gary and I have been to the last 9. It has morphed from a braiding camp to a fiber camp with many rug hookers and braiders doing both. Here is a pix looking from the braiding room out to the water on a cloudy day  IMG_1621

But part of the adventure is the drive. All other Braid Ins I attend need a plane, but this one is driveable, albeit a long drive up Rt 5 into Oregon, Washington and across the border. But I don’t have to pack so carefully and can take lots of projects. The downside is crossing the border. Here is our Prius leaving home IMG_1618

And a restrained visit to the Pendleton outlet in Portland, only a little selvage Gary, tho we stopped for more on the return trip. IMG_1617The custom guard questioned how much we had for just a week but seemed to agree a fiber artist needs supplies and we passed without examination of the boxes and suitcases which included much velvet which I sold at the Braid In.

Big pieces for braiders and long strips for rug hookers  Sue Davies a Canadian friend found the perfect pink velvet match for her hooked center.  See below

Tomorrow I am off to the Valley Forge Braid Christine described. I too have been to all 10 and they have forged great friendships with many braiders especially Christine.  As my husband is older and therefore longer suffering than Christine’s John, Gary just nods and asks for the itinerary.

My real reason for posting is to encourage you to seek out these braiding opportunities for their instruction but even more for their friendship.

PS: I have done this on an iPhone, not recommended.