Friday, May 8, 2015

First Project...25 years ago

So, getting back to blogging...
I was thinking about the early days of acquiring a van load of wool from a dear friend who was cleaning out her attic. She had been interested in sewing and quilting and recycling, which go hand in hand, but knew that I had expressed a desire to learn to braid a rug. She invited me to her house with the intent that I would be taking some wool off of her hands. So, my sister in law and I took her van and literally filled it to the brim with boxes, bags and tall cardboard canisters filled with all manners of wool--from coats, clothing, hand dyed pieces safety pinned together intended for rug hooking (which I didn't even know about yet). I can't even describe the sense of excitement we felt about this trip, but it was intermingled with dread as to where and how to store all of this treasure. What would my husband think? Where would I begin to organize it all? After all, my friend had just emptied her attic!
There were wonderful old coats with big ornate buttons and the cutest wool skirts and jackets that looked adolescent sized. There were handmade and brand name clothing, some Woolrich and Pendleton. Some pieces were so nice I didn't want to cut them up. A few wool skirts even fit me, which I hand washed and wore...colorful plaid skirts!
So, having just built our post and beam house, I decided to drag everything into the basement, we started emptying the boxes, bags and canisters. We found large balls of multi-threaded cotton of all colors...I crocheted many round striped rugs with them. They appeared to have come from a factory of some kind. I gave my sister in law as many woolens as she wanted to take. I started disassembling the clothing, cutting out the linings, removing the buttons and pocket linings, snaps, zippers and so on. All wool was placed in my heavy duty Kenmore washer and whatever will be, will be. All went into the dryer "que cera, cera, and it all came out B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L-L-Y. I was happy, went to an auction and bid on two pieces of antique furniture and won. One was a 6 drawer chest and the other, a giant pine armour with a big raised panel door and lots of deep shelves....oh yeah, this is going to work! 
First project, as if preparing all of this wool wasn't project enough, I sorted all of the unpure (not 100%) and synthetic polyesters for a braided rug. There was a lot, so I knew this would be a great project, the plaids, the colors, the solids. I cut all into strips, connected the strips by sewing machine and made three balls...big balls. Started braiding every chance I had with three children and a new home to finish. But my beautiful hardwood floors needed a rug, so I kept at it. Bought the heaviest thread I could find and started sewing the braids together. The colors were so interesting and how they blended into each satisfying.
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So this is the rug many years later, the thing is I had never completely finished it, I left a tail which I shoved under the couch and nobody knew but me. It had come apart in a few places, so I repaired it, finished it, and sent it to live with my daughter. It will be my oldest grandson's and an inviting floor covering for him to play on in his room until it moves to its next purpose. Wonder how long it will be around, it's already been around for 25 years. Well, thanks for listening. Enjoy the sunshine and pleasant Spring weather wherever you are.

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