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!
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.
I'm an artist who has been making stuff for 30 years. I used to spin, knit, weave, quilt, design, write, embroider and garden, and I still do most of these things, but for the last few years I have been focused on stitching images from Canada's first natural history, the Codex Canadensis.
I try to live a life of minimal consumption and maximum creation. More and more, I see how these are connected.