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!


7 thoughts on “Never Say Never….

  1. After seeing Mary Seyler toil over denim rugs and now hearing you talk about the same I may have to dig out my crate of jeans and have another go round. My last rug was a strip rug so I did not have to butt or taper. I have collected quite a few colorful jeans as well. Perhaps they would make a nice rug. Hmmm.

  2. I see you are keeping busy Dianne!! I have my veg garden 95% planted so can play with “my stuff” for a bit , getting ready to hook on Quadra then off to the west coast for our weekly fishing trips allllll summer! Have a great summer!

  3. I enjoy seeing what you do with alternative fabrics. Your rugs are fabulous. I want to do more braiding. I hope I have time this year.

  4. You mentioned that towel rug was messy work: yes, but beyond terry that is the problem of fibers. You breathe them and kick around your work space. Because I have used a vast variety of fabric over the years, with all kinds of synthetice components and finishes, I have begun to be much more careful. I make it a practice to vacuum my studio (no, sadly, NOT my house!) every work day. I keep my fabric stash covered so that it doesn’t collect fibers. When ripping fabric, take it outside. If it is very messy working, use a mask. Dust down surfaces if you cut fabric. I know many textile workers, from weavers to knitters that are discovering, after years of creating that they have respiratory problems. Many wish they had been more aware.
    Be safe out there!

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