There is probably no more thoroughly documented rug out there, but here for it’s final celebratory appearance, is the braided wool rug project.
I love everything about the completed rug. I love how it’s thick and squishy underfoot, how it entices me down to sit on the floor, something I didn’t realize I didn’t do in our house until I suddenly started. I love that it’s sort of wonky but perfectly functional. I love the balance of tones and patterns. Most of all, I love the story of this rug.
I fell in love with the idea of making braided rugs years ago… probably 2009. Sometime after that, I started working on the shirt cotton rug, as a “practice” for the wool one I really wanted to make. And then my sister came across one of the all-time best thrift store finds, a giant appliance box full of wool, most of it cut into strips and sewn together and wound into wheels, all ready to be braided into rugs. So many hours invested in rugs that someone never got to make. She paid $5 for the whole box. We were still in the cabin, and storage space was in very short supply. So I jammed as much as I could into one Rubbermaid bin (a fraction of the box) and tucked it away in a back corner of our shed. After I finally finished the cotton rug, that bin found it’s way to the house just over three years ago. I braided the first few feet of it on the living room floor before we had any furniture in that room. I quickly realized wool was a different animal than cotton, and the glory of the internet introduced me to Braid-Aid folders and the braider’s table clamp. I made slow progress that first winter, but then it fell into hibernation. Last fall, I convinced Dean to make it a joint project. We rarely worked on it for more than an hour at a time, or more than a couple hours a week. But all winter and through the spring, one of us would ask “are you up for sewing this evening?” and we’d make a little more progress. Dean started out sewing strips into workable lengths from a few wheels that had no seams, then switched to lacing. I braided and braided and braided. And together, we made a rug.
It’s just a rug, but it’s a rug that is a story, and I am most at home when I’m surrounded by stories.