Heaven on Earth

Heaven on Earth

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Making hay (and rugs) while the sun shines.

How was your weekend?  Ours was great.   We got delayed at a railroad crossing by a coal train, to my dismay and my husband's delight.  

This was the view as we entered town.  The farmers are on their second cutting of hay, which is good.  A wet spring also brings lots of grasshoppers and mosquitoes.  Not so good!  Why don't they ever bite my husband?  I must have 40 bites (even with mosquito repellent).  Him?  Nary a one. 

I had some time to work on my rug this weekend.  I added five more rows and doubled its size.  I have decided not to buy any fabric and just let it be a true scrap rug. You see, I have a room full of fabric.  Some people collect stray pets from the pound; I collect stray fabric.  From friends, quilt guild members; I never met a piece of fabric I didn't like (well, not exactly true, but I can't bear to see it wasted).  So I have quite enough for a scrap rug.  Enough fabric for a lifetime (mine and several other people's) of scrap rugs.  Fabric that is not exactly right for a quilt block looks fine in a rug.  Odd patterns are disguised and sometimes the "uglies" are the nicest surprise!  My only qualification is that the fabric be 100% cotton.

I promised to tell the story that goes along with this rug. 

I have some dear friends, Kris and Jay.  Jay's mother Melba, learned this craft, which she calls Swedish rug braiding, many, many years ago.  An elderly Swedish immigrant who was a member of Melba's church congregation was concerned that this craft would die out so she asked some of her young friends to learn it.  Melba agreed.  Shortly after, her friend passed away but Melba is still braiding rugs.  Jay wanted to spend some quality time with his now-elderly mother so he asked her to teach him to braid.  Jay makes his from
old sheets from second hand stores (there is a lot of yardage in one sheet and apparently Jay does not have a fabric stash he wants to use up).  My friend Rosie asked Jay to teach her to braid and he did.  Then I asked Jay to teach me and he and Kris taught me.  Rosie, having already made her rug by this time, gave me a few pointers, which I adapted some, and changed a bit, and added to Jay and Kris' instructions.  Thus, I am making my braided Swedish Rug, with adapted techniques that work best for me.

I expect this rug will last a long time; although not quite an heirloom like my quilts.  I love that my friends and family are represented in it.  I've braided strips of of leftover fabric from things I've made for each of my children, some from my own quilts, and even fabric from a few of my husband's purchased cotton dress-shirts.  Rosie gifted me the leftover fabric strips from her rug, so she's represented, as are Jay and Kris.  Even Melba and her long dead Swedish friend are part of the rug's story.  Even though the Swedish woman's name was long ago forgotten, her beloved craft is still alive and providing joy to a new generation of crafters.  I hope that she knows this and is content.

And Me?  I'm in there too.  You see it takes a lot of patience and commitment to braid a rug.

7 comments:

  1. What a beautiful rug. It's funny how such odd pieces of fabric come together to create a beautiful masterpiece. Can't wait to see it finished. (I also loved your outdoor photos....pang and yearning happened instantaneously as I opened your blog this AM!!!)

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  2. It is definitely beautiful! I would love to learn to braid one...definitely a labor of love, but what a fun craft to pass down =)

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  3. I am amazed at how much you've gotten done! It looks beautiful. I can't wait to see it in person. I do want to learn this trade. BEAUTIFUL.

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  4. I am a wool rug braider, but would love to learn this Swedish rug braiding technique. Would you consider doing a tutorial and teaching all of us this unique and beautiful craft?

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  5. it's beautiful bonnie! i would love to learn this craft... would you be willing to do a tutorial if you haven't already?

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  6. I'm officially a blog stalker. I think I love you (are you regretting that red door yet LOL?)

    This rug is the cutest (not sure that's the right word here) braided rug I've seen. I love it. I need to learn this for all of my fabric scraps. Is it time consuming? And btw, I forgot to ask you if you went to market this year?

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  7. Is there any links you can lead me to make a rug like this. This is the nicest one I've seen and would love to make one myself, but have no idea where to start. Thanks!

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