In In my studio, Tools

braided-rug-start betz white

Recently I decided to try something I’ve wanted to do for years: rug braiding! I have some beautiful lush wool fabric and some “vintage” tools of my moms so I gave it a whirl.

braided-rug-tools betz white

The book from my mom, Beautiful Braiding, copyright 1960, a set of Braid-Aid folders and a Braidkin (flat needle/bodkin) got me started! Basically wool strips are cut then folded, kind of like double fold bias tape. The Braid-Aids help with this and folds as you braid.  The braids are held together by lacing with the Braidkin and cording.

 

I grew up in a house with several braided rugs and remember my mom making some. Not one for muted colonial colors, I didn’t think much of them at the time. But now I have a new appreciation!

This is one of the rug designs from the book. There are specific techniques for creating an oval vs. a circle. Gosh they are huge! I can’t imagine doing something of that scale.

 

Here’s a rectangular shape. I’ve also seen hexagons and heart shapes when searching online. Really fun, but I need to master the circle first!

wool-rug-palette betz white

The rug I’m working on is pretty much a learning experiment. I started with 3 colors I happened to have handy, red, fuchsia and orange. After I did the center and I wanted to continue, I planned the rest of the colors more thoughtfully. I made a little swatch card representing the 3 colors of each braid, swapping out one color  at a time. Fuchsia changed to coral, then red changed to yellow, etc.

 

betz white braided rug WIP

Next progression: green and teals! Eventually I’ll end with navy blue. Of course I need to learn how to end first. I will keep you posted as I go! Braid, braid, braid, lace, lace, lace…it’s addicting!

Have you tried braiding rugs? Wool or denim or something else? If you’re interested, I’ve added the wool I use to my Amazon affiliate shop  and the other tools can be found at Halcyon Yarn.

 

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Showing 7 comments
  • Kathy

    Very nice. How time consuming is a project like this?

    • Betz White

      It depends on how big you want your rug, but it’s not too bad once you get going. I’ve been working on it a little every day. It goes faster than knitting socks! :)

  • Mary Sue Hamlet

    Wow! Awesome job of modernizing an old technique! I love the way you used the three strands of braid to make the color change subtle and the tool/cheat sheet to keep it orderly. It works for my brain.

    Mary Sue

    • Betz White

      Works for my brain too! Like using a map. :)

  • Helen L

    Wow! your rug is gorgeous!!! Hugs, H

  • Bernie

    I’ve wanted to try this for ages. Not sure what I am waiting for // maybe this winter I will get going on it.

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