Monday, May 08, 2017

A Modest Mat

Thanks to everyone who commented on the previous post, you are kind and wise. Someone shared this practical advice on how to keep from going insane in these modern times: nothing radical but it's  good to know that others are in the same boat. And, as Facebook keeps reminding me, I was in a similarly bleak mood last year at this time, so maybe it's spring fever.
It needs to be bigger, Mom!
One of the silly projects that I have been working on is this braided mat for Gracie. I have made just one braided rug before, and the recent retreat on Thetis Island was a chance to improve my skills. Diane Tobias, braided rug expert, and Val Galvin of Renditions in Rags generously lent their advice and encouragement.
I braided along, using up three skirts, a pair of pants, and part of a tweed jacket, all wool. Other participants in the retreat remarked on how flat my rug was - I guess buckling can be a problem for beginners. I didn't mark my increases, just judged my progress by eye and feel. A small revelation that came to mind was that having skill in other fibre arts (knitting, weaving, spinning, hooking, embroidery) gives one the sensitivity and awareness to understand the structure of a piece and make small modifications in tension, count, grist and other technical aspects to produce something that "works". In other words, transferable skills!
The mat is not yet done. I will be adding an edge of darker greys and black, and doing a butt join!
***Update***

A nice edge to finish it off, and the butt join went very smoothly. Now I just have to round up that cute dog to lie on it.

4 comments:

  1. Anonymous5:10 AM

    I think Gracie looks very happy with her new mat, even without a butt join. In Japan people always say that the time when one season changes into another is difficult on the body. I used to think it was hogwash, but then I started noticing that I often felt a low level of energy at those transitional times. Maybe there's something to it. Jean-Pierre

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  2. I'm glad you're feeling more positive! That rug is very well done but I'm especially impressed that you managed to find that many actual wool garments to use. There's just so much polyester out there. Around here at least the thrift stores never have any good wool stuff. I think it gets sifted out before it even gets to the racks.

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    1. I have the good fortune of living in an area of lots of retirees. Amongst the many benefits of a community with lots of educated, experienced, interesting people, they often have wardrobes full of good quality clothing from their working life, which they donate to the thrift stores. If you get over to the island anytime, check out the Haven on Albert Street in Nanaimo, the SOS and Sally Ann in Parksville and of course the Gabe Shop and GIRO here on Gabriola.

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  3. have been thinking a lot about art and sustainable living & how our world has been increasingly plasticized... your honest mat holds so much

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