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.
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!
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.
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!