Completed Multistrand Rug

13-strand braid around rectangle.

13-strand braid around rectangle.

Christine here.  Yay!  I finally finished the rectangular rug that I found abandoned in my wool room.  My husband had admired it, so even though it was made of substandard wool and had some imperfections in the corners, I decided to resurrect it and do my best.

The first thing that I had to tackle was the waviness.  I had started braiding with very thin wool, and then had switched to thicker stuff.  The result was  a rippled edge to the rectangle.  Never being a fan of undoing and re-doing work, I decided that I just had to move forward.  If I started to undo everything, I was going to get disgusted and abandon it again.

I made decreases in the next row as I laced on the new braid.  I made 8 on the long sides, and 3 or 4 on the short sides, and I also made double corners instead of triple corners, to decrease the too-pointy-ness of the corners from when I had incorrectly laced them.

I think you can tell from looking at the above photo that the decreases were effective.  As it is now, before I press it overnight, there is still a little bit of a ripple, but it isn’t much and I’m confident that it will press flat.

I used up the navy wool that I had laying around, and ran out a couple times (I’m not a fan of navy) so that’s why the outer braids have  so many different blues.

Multistrand Corner

Multistrand Corner

Finally, I was ready to put a multistrand on.  I decided I wanted a fairly large braid (13 strands) so I laid out my wool and made a simple zig zag ribbon pattern.  I pre-pressed the strands instead of using the braid-aids that I typically use for a multistrand.  I think it was easier overall…. and neater.  The only problem was the lightest strand, which is cheap stuff that needed to be stuffed or overfolded in order to get its size equal to the other wools in the braid.  I finally decided just to overfold and pressed the wool overfolded.  It was a bit awkward but still doable.

In my earlier post, I detailed how I figured out the number of multistrand sets (pattern repeats) that I needed on both sides.  I had to pull pull the braid in a bit on the short sides, and stretch it on the long sides by a few loops, but a large multistrand is pretty malleable so it worked.

Even with tightening up the mulitstrand as much as I could without wrinkling the strands, I still found that my multistrand loops were a bit longer than my braid loops, despite using the same material.  17 braid loops equalled 1 set or 13 multistrand loops.

I think you can see from the photo below that I used the lightest strand as the “pivot” strand for the corner.  By doubling back on itself, the pivot strand turns the braid 90 degrees in a new direction.  The next strand, which is a medium turquoise, goes horizontally across the corner before resuming its zig zag path but in a new direction.

Multistrand Corner Close-up

Multistrand Corner Close-up

When lacing the multistrand corner to the 3-strand braid, it looked best when I laced the first pivot strand loop between loops 1 & 2 of the triple corner, and the doubled-back pivot loop between loops 2 & 3 of the triple corner.  I think you just have to experiment a bit and see what works.

Note:  never lace the horizontal strand (that is after the pivot strand in braid order) when lacing the multistrand to a 3-strand corner.  The horizontal loop functions like the crossover loop in a regular braid corner, and remains unlaced.  In the photo above, it is the medium turquoise loop found between the pivot loops.

I debated about adding one more dark turquoise 3-strand braid to finish off the rug, but finally decided — in the immortal words of Civil War quilter Jane A. Stickle, as quoted by Brenda Manges Papadakis in her “Dear Jane” book — “Finished is better than perfect.”