Braided Rugs - A Heritage Craft
On a cold winter's evening when I am tucked up safe in our home, I love to braid rugs! I use blanket ends from MacAusland's Woolen Mills in Bloomfield, PEI, cutting them into the appropriate size strips before I begin. Then I pick the colours I want for a particular rug and begin to braid. The colours of my rugs usually depend on what I can purchase from MacAusland's; plus I am always on the lookout for wool blankets that will augment my supply from the woolen mills. Once these rugs are washed, dried and cut, they too will be added to the supply of wool that I will use.
Because the blanket ends are thick (all the better to cushion your feet), I cut the strips to about 2 1/2 -3 inches wide. Before I begin to braid, I decide how large I want the rug to be. The size of the rug is determined by the length of the centre strip. The general formula used is: subtract the width of the rug from the desired length and add an inch to the length of the centre strip.
There is a technique to braiding and, like all other crafts, it takes time to develop your own style and rhythm. It's a wonderful craft and the rugs last for years.