4-Braid Spiral


4-braid spiral; tapered and surrounded by butted borders of the pattern “Stacked Picot.”

Christine here.  Just finished a rug I’m really pleased with.  I figured out a way to end my tapers without those little spikes of the wrong color into the row below, and I even have a second way to try a la Peggyann Watts, from her advice and photos, thank you!  Next rug.

Of course, I’ve been having so much fun braiding, that I haven’t yet managed to write up the whole process for the upcoming newsletter on Spirals.  So I’ve got to put my braids down and start drawing diagrams — when at the moment, moving on to the next one I have planned (which is 6 braids) is what I really want to do.

But the good things are:  it’s fall and cooling off, so I have fewer hot flashes already; I have no relatives or property in Florida (what a nightmare it’s been for Texas and Florida); my introverted son has actually made friends at college; my daughter is doing okay at her school.  My husband and I seem to be muddling along quite well by ourselves at home… in fact, it’s quite peaceful.


Anna Wilks’ 6-braid Spiral with blunt endings

I dredged up an old photo of a rug made by Anna Wilks that she had posted on the Yahoo rug braiding group, which I cannot even find anymore.  It has a 6-braid spiral, and I figure I’ll make something along the lines of this:


Spiked Tapers


This 3-braid spiral has 3 tapers; the tapers intrude into the rows below. See 6:00, where the blue intrudes into the navy.

Christine here.  In the photo left, you can see a spiral made with three braids.  (I’m working on pieces for the next newsletter, which will come out in October, on making spirals with more than one braid).  I have plenty of two braid spirals, and so I started on this 3-braid piece a few days ago.

I like it… except for the fact that I hate how little spikes of color intrude into the braid below as the taper loses its strands. See 6:00 for the worst example, where the medium blue intrudes into the navy.

You might be able to make out something similar at 10 or 11:00, where the dark blue invades the light braid, and at 1-2:00, where the light braid invades the blue.  The remainder of the braids are butted, so there are no taper spikes.

I am stating here firmly, so that I can’t weasel out of it, that I am figuring out how to make a taper that keeps its hands to itself and doesn’t intrude into the rows below.  I know it will involve some hand sewing, so some of you won’t be enamored of the technique, but I will be happier with it.  I hate the spikes.  They destroy the “line” of the spiral and are unattractive.  I am going to figure out how to fix this.

That’s all.


Freedom and Spirals

Lately, since dropping both kids off at college (Katie is a senior, Jack is a freshman) I’ve been getting phone calls from old friends: women I haven’t talked to in a few years, whose kids went to the same local daycare. Although initially these women were my only friends here in Pittsburgh, our lives have gone in different directions over the years. All or most of us from that era have recently sent kids to college. In the last week, there’s an email, or a text, or a phone call: “How are YOU doing?”

I think I’ve mentioned a few times that I’ve been greatly looking forward to the kids both going off to school. I’ve justified this attitude by saying that if we’ve done a good job as parents, then college is where they should be as they forge their own lives in that protected atmosphere.

I had visions of spending happy hours braiding away with my interruptions more limited: husband + dogs, rather than husband + dogs + kids. That’s a big difference.

Instead, it seems … well, weird. Not unpleasant. When my husband and I dropped off the second kid, we gave Jack a hug, told him we loved him, and walked by ourselves down to the parking lot. My husband swung his arms over his head and shook them out from all the heavy boxes and lifting, then commented, “I feel… free, somehow. Don’t you?”

It has been a very long time since we have been just partners instead of parents. These first few days of being partners again have required a little pleasant negotiation. It’s made me realize just how overwhelming – (even when the kids are recluses up in their room and try not to talk to you) – the sense of responsibility of a parent is. It’s a defining characteristic of one’s life. Now, for a brief time while they’re both off at college, that sense is lessened significantly.

And I have less stress about making dinner for my picky-eaters.

And the milk cartons don’t disappear as rapidly.

And the car is always available.

And… I feel a little weird. I’ve been wandering around, emptying out their rooms of the trash they left, throwing their dirty laundry into bins for washing, and delighting in sitting down on the couch with a cup of coffee to read my email, knowing that I won’t be bothered for awhile. I like it, but… it’s hard to let go of wondering when I have to get the car back for Jack to drive it to a guitar lesson. That watchfulness and concern suddenly have no direction.

I love it! And… it’s weird.

Enough of that. I have finally decided on my topic for the next newsletter: spirals. Two-braid spirals, three-braid spirals, 4-braid spirals, and 6-braid spirals. Adding strands, subtracting strands, staggered finishes and overlapping finishes and shaped finishes. Now that I have all these different ideas of things to make, how am I possibly going to finish all the samples that I want to make?  Luckily I’ve made a few over the years.

Braid In 42812 (12)
Pittsburgh Skies, 2011, made for the “Skies/Weather/Sunset” challenge of the Valley Forge Guild.

Part of my decision for making spirals is that I recently pulled out my old “Pittsburgh Skies” rug, made for the 2011 Skies/Weather/Sunset challenge from the Valley Forge Guild. The VF Spring Braid in was held at Bally Springs that year.  At the time of making this one, I had just recently figured out how to make 2-braid spirals, and I experimented a bit with adding additional braids into the spirals to widen the distance between the bands.  I also was experimenting with different ways to stack and to end the spirals.  I’m not wild about some of the things that go on in this rug, and in other ways I’m inordinately proud of this rug.  It taught me a lot about putting shapes together.

In any case, I’ll be working on writing up and diagramming  different ways to start all the spiral braids at once, or add in more as one goes along, over the next month, for the October issue of the newsletter.

More baskets…..taper in, taper out

Dianne here….

Many of you know I love making baskets….and I have evolved from the continuous method of a spiral which of course ends up with ‘an end’ to hide, flair, etc. to all butted to what I call a hybrid where the base is spiral, tapered then all butted sides.  Butted sides provide opportunity to change fabric by row without joins, have separate rings, and a flat top row without an end to hide.

With a continuous spiral there is a bump where the lacing begins to go up the sides. Depending on the fabric it may be minimal or really show. And you have to choose between having your ‘better braided side’ be on the inside of your basket OR on the outside of the sides. You can’t have both….that is why I like the hybrid so much. You can have your better side on the basket inside base AND on the outside since the sides are butted.


a small wool and velvet oval basket with a fringe. I use it for my hooks and hooking scissors.

Continuous basket with fringe

With an all butted basket, there are many possibilities. No taper, no long end to hide, but time consuming!

all butted

With the hybrid there is some bumping at the point where the taper occurs and this can affect the evenness of the sides. With soft wool and velvet this is less apparent; with cotton more apparent because it is stiff.

continuous base, note taper then butted sides

hybrid velvet basket using hand dyed velvet pattern to advantage

Hybrid wooly worm basket. Continuous base and butted sides.

As I continue my new fascination with braiding cotton (“oh no, you never want to braid with cotton”), hybrid baskets became less enjoyable because butting the sides was tough. Cotton is just so much less flexible, forgiving and stretchable than wool. And braided cotton has tweaks, especially if you use more than one thickness. So I began to think…..how about a continuous base, taper as with a hybrid, but instead of butting the sides, begin the sides with a taper and create a continuous side so finish with an end to hide. Kind of best of both worlds? I checked with my muse, Christine…..and began.

I took some embossed cotton I was given and folded 3.5″ i

embossed cotton fabric

n half to braid 1.75″ strips to give the cotton more body.

I tapered the base then tapered 3 strips, folded in the raw edges, pinned them and began braiding. When I braided a few inches I pulled the tapers through to the inside of the basket at the point of the base taper and secured them then started lacing.

New glossy cotton basket tapered base and tapered sides ended with a reverse double corners to create a rosette.

Next time I will make the side tapers longer to have more room to work with at the end when I tacked down the tapers to the inside. Because the cotton was so stiff I was able to push down the area that had the base and side tapers so it is pretty even. For working with cotton, I am pleased. I like the rosette and no butting! 

One of my braiding students is a seamstress and she has given me cotton scraps so I am onto the next Taper In, Taper Out Basket:             The Tobias Taper!

PS: For years, non-braiders have joked that my baskets look like hats and my kids have even paraded around with them on their heads; I have too come to think of it when we had a braiding fashion show at the Methuen Braid In.  I have a friend in town who loves hats and I have given her several of my old continuous baskets and she wears them. She is as short as I am tall and her hair is as short as mine is long. She looks great in hats. She is going to France this week and wanted a black hat. Here are the two I made her. The mottled velvet one is more grey/blue than black despite using alot of black dye, it . It is my stretch hand dyed velvet so it hugs her head; she looks like a flapper!

Wool and velvet hat with flower

Hand dyed velvet hat with bow

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!



Summer of My Discontent

Lincoln mother rug

This 21′ diameter beautiful — but very worn — 4-strand braided rug from 1943 is found at the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial.  It is in the hall honoring his mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln.  I have a big article in the newsletter about its history, and Country Braid House is making a new one for this site.

Christine here.  The summer is always one of my most difficult times. The kids are home and need chauffeuring around Pittsburgh to things where there is no parking; my husband doesn’t teach during the summer and inconveniently invites family and friends to come stay for awhile; and, in the division of marital labor, the mowing has fallen to my husband but the trimming, weeding, and planting have fallen to me. And we have a big yard (for a city, anyway).

This is an especially busy summer due to a bunch of other details – a car broke down and stranded me in Harrisburg for a week, then we had to shop for a new car. My husband had to consider every possible car option… before we went out and bought the exact same model we got 14 years ago. The one good thing is that the new vehicle has individualized temperature controls for the front passengers. At this time of life, I am only comfortable with the air conditioning set on Arctic Blast, and my husband takes issue with having to wear a winter coat in the summer just to ride in the car with me.


Large Braided Star pattern is found in the current newsletter issue.

Some other Difficult Summer details: we are getting some carpentry work done on our exterior cedar shakes and a couple moldings, and we have taken to calling our carpenter “Annoying Man” because he either calls us 5 times a day with questions, comments, or excuses, or doesn’t show up at all. This is in preparation for exterior painting. The garage needs to be replaced, which will also be a lot of money. And, my Dad is sick with some unknown problem that has made him lose 20 lbs. in the past month. That worry underpins all my thoughts.

But, as John Lennon sang, Life is what happens to use when we’re busy making other plans.

It’s been making me think a lot lately about how we choose to spend our time. We all have a certain allotment of time in a day that is our own, and how we choose to occupy it is a big indication of our personality and our goals.

There are truly situations in which we simply “don’t have time” at all – raising small children comes to mind, or caring for someone who is sick, or having an insane job. Then, our time is not our own to choose what we will do and what we won’t – you simply move from one task to the next, marching forward, handling the next situation as it comes.

Many of us are beyond those demanding situations, and we have reached a point in our lives where we can have more freedom to choose how we spend our time. And yet, day to day, doesn’t it still feel that we’re rushing to get this or that or the other thing done? I have a “TO DO” list that I cross off every day, and it has grown to two tight pages. Sometimes my husband “helpfully” adds items to my list. More tick-off squares get added every day. How is this possible?


A pattern for this small star ornament is also found in the current issue of the newsletter.

I’m reminded of that wonderful piece of satire written by Judy Brady back in 1972: “Why I Want a Wife.” She listed off all of the things that wives do, and said she wanted one for herself (Ms. Magazine, premiere issue, 1972). Think of how much more time we’d have if meals were never our responsibility, dishes washed themselves, and someone else figured out the mysteries of food shopping. Since my husband has shown no inclination toward changing his gender, I guess I’m stuck with my situation as it is.

I remember when I was a kid that there was this idea of “leisure time.” That one day, in the future, we would all have jobs that only required about 25-30 hours a week, but we all would have enough money despite that, and leisure time. The image was of smiling families out together driving their big American cars toward some sunny golf course, or beach, or other vacation spot… all tanned, rested, and ready.

In the summers, I don’t have leisure. It’s supposed to be a more relaxed time of the year, but I feel as if I’m scrambling to keep up. There just doesn’t seem to be any time left at all for sitting, relaxing, and braiding.

And, do you know how long it’s been since I just sat and braided a rug????

No wonder I’m going crazy.

Braiding (and hooking) with other fibers

Dianne here…..

It has been awhile since I have blogged. To be truthful, I have been writing and responding more to the Rug Braiding Group on Facebook than blogging here. We are up to more than 470 members and the discussions can be lively with admiration for posted ‘rugs’ and advice and answers for questions by members. If you haven’t joined, suggest you give it a try: just search groups for Rug Braiding. FB will ask me to approve you and away you go. For those of you who do not want to get involved with FB, this is a pretty narrow way to do it. My understanding is that the group postings including yours only stay in the group and are not shared with your ‘regular’ FB friends unless you share.

Another reason I check FB frequently is that my youngest daughter is traveling in South America while on a leave of absence from her techy job. She is as unplanned as I am planned and so it is so nice to be able to talk and text through FB Messenger and (don’t tell her) I can tell when she was on last, so if less than 24 hours, I don’t worry as much!

Anyway, I was asked recently to write an article for my ATHA Hooking Guild on Hooking with Other Fibers. I pulled up a bunch of pictures and realized that I have experimented with quite a few other fabrics for both braiding and hooking. The article and pix for them will include a number of braided items and this post for you will include a few hooked items….so Kris McDermet can be extra proud that I am a combo….and just ask me sometime how difficult I was when Kris, an ultimate in rug hooking, offered to teach me and lead me along…..we often laugh about it now.

My first braiding with velvet was a tiny braid mat. I  found a velvet remnant that perfectly matched the wool combination I was using. I remember telling Christine what I was doing and she said “Oh velvet, that sounds great but isn’t velvet kind of fussy?” I have often laughed at the truth of her words, but I’ve grown to appreciate it anyway! I probably gave away that mat but enjoyed the texture contrast.

So I began to buy velvet remnants for possible non-rug braiding projects, first incorporating the velvet with wool and then using all velvet.  I tried to use all the colors in my everyday dishes for this table mat. You can see my stash of bought velvet was growing!

The first time I hooked with velvet was for this hanging

I was a little bored hooking the dark charcoal wool, so I tried some random black velvet on impulse; I liked the look and added maroon velvet as stems and in the braid. I wrote an article for Rug Hooking Magazine about incorporating velvet into hooking and got some good feedback, so kept going!

My friend Kris McDermet and I began to make ‘braid bowls’ with hooked bottoms and braided sides.

This velvet bowl is hooked with hand dyed velvet, wool and chenille and the braid is more of the velvet. By now I was dyeing the stretch velvet and trying to use it up so I could dye more.

We went to Iceland last year and I bought some unspun yarn and found it hard to knit but easy and fun to hook. This Difranza doorstop kit was in my UFO stash and I didn’t use the wool provided but finished it by hooking the cat outline with heavy black yarn, the grey unspun yarn and hand-dyed velvet for the

background which made it go so much faster.

The duck was another UFO. I had hooked the duck with the kit wool but left the background unfinished and when I saw it recently I didn’t like the yellow background wool so used some velvet. 

This heart was hooked with hand dyed velvet, unspun wool and ‘as is’ wool and braided with velvet.

I have braided with denim and am making a third jean rug for my blue bathroom. I think I have shared the second one in previous posts. The variety of blues in jeans is amazing and the rugs  will be washable.

As mentioned in my last post, I have recently experimented with braiding cotton for table mats. Here is the finished William Morris quilting jelly roll, a cotton and velvet mat made from scrap sheeting and an all cotton mat from retro cotton fabric and gingham.

So what’s your experience braiding (and hooking) with other fibers?


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.