Coffee Time & Rug Planning

IMG_0308            We have fallen into a daily routine, finally, for the summer. I get up first, walk and feed the dogs, feed the indoor and outdoor cats, and then finally get to make coffee. I use old-fashioned cone-shaped melittas and filters because I think it tastes better and there is less machinery on my limited counter space.   My cup: Tasmanian devil drinking coffee, or Maleficent (evil witch from Sleeping Beauty), or the snowflake cup. My daughter’s cup: a wolf howling at the moon, or the one with pink and purple hearts all over it, or the smiling kitty cat. My husband’s: The NASA cup, or the one with equations all over it relating to rocketry, or the JFK library one.

During my first cup of coffee, the house is quiet and serene. The dogs sigh on their respective chair and couch, already back to sleep. Maybe there is the hum of the dishwasher doing the dishes from last night, or the chug of the clothes dryer, but otherwise the house is silent. I get to sit, read my email, make my list of things to do that day (the sub-list, drawn from the 3 page master list, that includes only the absolute essentials) and contemplate the morning a bit, basking in the quiet and peace.

Then, abruptly, all hell breaks loose. My daughter never seems to come awake slowly. Her bedroom door opens with a bang. She stomps down the steps, clanks 4 to 5 cups and bowls from her room onto the clean counter, and sleepily demands, ”Did you make me coffee?” before banging open the refrigerator door and getting milk. My husband quickly follows, although a little more quietly, and everyone fights for counter space to pour cereal, make toast, pour milk into coffee, and whine about who ate up all the blueberries or raspberries or whatever.

My son tries to avoid mornings … but his work schedule sometimes demands an early start, and he does his best to inflict his misery on everyone around him when this happens.

I wish I could stretch out that lovely quiet that exists for about 10 minutes every morning before everyone else is awake. This morning, there was a gentle rain that I could hear through the open window in the kitchen. An occasional excited dog bark sounded from the twenty or so dogs that get walked every morning in my neighborhood. The oppressive heat and humidity of midday hadn’t yet descended. It was a happy time.

Finally getting around to the topic of braiding: I am allowing myself a brief diversion from the multistrand book. I had an idea (this morning, during coffee)  to make a strip rug that isn’t really a strip rug: it’s a series of zigzag shapes that are assembled together lengthwise, like this:


Sketch for rug of assembled zigzag units

Why would you want to make a rug out of smaller units that are laced together? For one thing, it’s a lot easier to travel with smaller units. We’re headed up to “the camp” that my husband owns up on the St. Lawrence River this Friday, so I have to think ahead as to what I can reasonably pack.

The problem with assembling a rug of smaller units is that you have to make sure that your fabrics for each unit are EXACTLY the same size/weight when braided up. If you try to fit in a unit that’s too big, or too small, it just won’t work. So identical weight fabrics are key.

Many people have made granny square rugs, which are assembled square units. This sort of rug is also possible with hexagons. I tried to figure out a rug of puzzle-shaped pieces, but I never managed to get the corners to fit together neatly.

Usually units such as this are e-laced or shoe-laced together. Sometimes you can figure out a way to avoid this – if you make a unit “backward” – with the folds to the outside, and corners turning in the opposite direction. If you look carefully at the above diagram, you’ll see that this is the way I plan to make the 2 pink and 1 center black units: the Start and Finish are on opposite sides compared to the other units. This way, I can lace regularly between units.

So, this is a good challenge for me to try to figure out while I’m up at the camp: what lengths between quadruple corners will look good, how to adjust for the sides, how to flip directions and still keep everything fitting together… looking forward to it!



9 thoughts on “Coffee Time & Rug Planning

  1. The continuous zig zag pattern is so intriguing to me – I’ve been wracking every spare moment of free-thinking time with how on earth to make a trapezoid shape and finally resolved myself into thinking that there’s just no possible way to construct it in a continuous braid, but instead single braids laced together with graduating lengths and then go around the perimeter once the laced single braids have taken on the trapezoid shape. Based on your beautiful story, I now think I ought to jump out of my head and work visually with a pencil to paper……loved the story, I can just smell the brew!

  2. I braided a trapezoid once. Send me a description of what you want and I can work with you on it to make a continuous shape. Send to ccmanges at gmail dot com. Christine

  3. And so my question: how do you (and your family) decide which coffee cup to use each morning? And secondly, you obviously will need a quiet moment or two to put this spectacular rug together. Enjoy your stay on the St Lawrence River. Let us know how you did with your traveling zigs and zags! Can’t wait to see …

  4. I enjoyed reading your household blog….very homey and natural. Hope you are having a restful and creative time on the St. Lawrence River. Glad you delight in new forms of rug braiding. Me, I like combining hooking with braided borders.

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