I started this project more than 4 years ago but I did all of the lacing and about the last third of the braiding in the last two weekends. It’s curious to me how things can sit in hibernation for so long and then motivation strikes like lightning and a whirl of progress follows.
For a folk art that seems to have been as common and widespread as rug braiding, I found surprisingly little good information on precisely how to create one. The book that initially inspired me feigned complete instructions but it led me astray in the beginning and then drifted into such vagueness that it was worthless midway. So part of all that “down” time involved puzzling out exactly how old-fashioned braided rugs were actually made.
I think I have it figured out now so I will certainly learn how I am wrong on the next one.
One quick aside: that initial book encouraged me to sew all of my strips together before braiding, creating three very long fabric strips (rolled into balls). I can say with confidence that this is a terrible idea, and if you do so, you will curse those impossibly long and perpetually tangled strips with a vehemence not generally exercised with inanimate objects.
And yes, there will definitely be a next one. When I started this shirt cotton project, it was to practice for the wool rugs I really wanted to make. (Oh, my optimism pains even me sometimes.) And I did acquire a whole bin of wool ready and begging to become a rug in the meantime. The sane thing would be to look forward to starting that project next fall when the days get shorter again; we’ll see if I can wait that long to test my theories of rug braiding brilliance.