Back to Braiding

I like to braid rugs. My floors are covered with them. Most every sibling, parent and offspring have at least one rug. I even had a business once, carting all my creative labor to numerous craft shows. Sometimes I even made my entry fee! I scored a few custom orders. Mostly however folks admired the craft and the patience that it takes.

I did teach a few classes, which sparked more interest than purchasing a rug, and I gave a few presentations to some ladies’ clubs. Yes, ladies. Except for a lone brother -in-law that wanted to demonstrate how simple braiding is (perhaps it is, but not everyone has the knack), I never had a male that was interested in more than just looking. I even went to braiding camp (there’s a camp for everything!) one weekend and networked to figure a way to drum up customers.

It was fun, but surely no livelihood. I netted half a semester of college tuition for my daughter and closed up shop and went back to the day job.

Just when all the wool was gone and the basement spacious once again, someone approached me and asked if I “had anything to do with braided rugs”. She had one of my post cards with my picture that she had found in her mother-in-law’s things. Said mother had passed on and her children were trying to figure what to do with her hoard of wool. Apparently Mom dreamed of a business and had a basement filled with bolts, bags, and accessories to mass produce. I could only accept a portion and it filled the bed of my pick up to overflowing. I was back in business and the basement was full again.

Enter the wild internet retail scene and Etsy. I created more rugs, posted photos and details of each rug in its exquisite glory.

Again I sold some rugs, enough to support my wine habit and maybe a few frivolities. I inherited more wool when a local woman discovered my Etsy shop and asked if I could use some wool. She was helping a friend downsize and needed a place for her wool stash. Full bins in the basement again.

People looking to make their homes more homey during the restrictions of the pandemic brought a burst of sales. I added a few more exquisite posts and consolidated the wool stash to just two bins.

I was feeling the urge to create another rug last winter, as braiding is a therapeutic outlet when I don’t want the pressure of getting things perfect and precise on my sewing projects. A rug grows and changes and turns into something beautiful with an easy rhythm. With a variety of what I had left, I put together a fiesta of colors.

As my source was depleting, I recently was approached by someone whose 93-year-old mother had wool and finally was ready to part with it. But she wanted her fabric to go to someone who would appreciate it and enjoy the process and the beauty of the final outcome.

Enter the mighty search engines of the internet and the daughter contacted me here, Would I be interested in acquiring Mom’s fabric? Yes, indeed!

So now I have more wool to sort and braid. It is lovely. I hope in the future I can send Mom my fellow braider a photo of some exquisite creations.


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