Family Traditions

As we head into the holiday season, I’ve been thinking about family traditions. In my short time spinning and weaving, I’ve enjoyed exploring patterns and techniques that have been passed down from generation to generation around the world. Most recently, the rug that I wove from handspun churro fleeces 

Navajo Churro Rug

tapped into the Native American traditions. I’m inspired by the culture. I also recognize that although I appreciate and respect this tradition and other ones from around the world, they are not MY family’s traditions. 

In the not-so-distant past, my family came from Massachusetts and other parts of New England. There is evidence that my paternal grandfather and related anscestors worked in woolen mills and were connected with the Wool that inspires me to be a handspinner. 

As far as I know, however, there weren’t any handspinners in my immediate ancestors. There were, however, knitters, crocheters, and seamstresses. Not as professions, but out of necessity in raising families on little money.

So, when I notice my tendency to make things for a particular project or purpose, that makes sense. In an “a-ha” moment surrounding my desire to find something I can do to honor my family’s traditions, I stumbled on my memory of my paternal grandmother making braided rugs. 

My grandmother in a posed picture. Notice the braided rug under the photo

In fact, I have a couple of them still. They were made the traditional New England way by cutting Wool fabric from suits (perhaps owned but perhaps also purchased from thrift stores).

What clicked for me was my desire to combine handspun yarn with my family’s braided rug tradition. I also own a couple of LL Bean braided rugs and these are made from multiple strands of yarn. These are made by a company called Capel in North Carolina. They are made by machines, but I really appreciate that they are made completely in the US from fiber to yarn to rug. Nice!

So I’ve embarked on my own journey to create my own braided rugs from handspun yarn and done completely by hand. 

Prototype using acrylic yarn just to see what happened

I’ve not found a lot of guidance on techniques for making rugs in this way (nearly zero to be exact). So I’m making it up as I go. Learning from every misstep and celebrating the successes as they come. 

Here’s the first completed project with handspun yarn. I call it the T.T.A.C. (Third Time’s A Charm) rug because I sewed it three times before I got it to lie flat (mostly).

T.T.A.C. Rug

And here’s the most recent project with yarn I specifically spun for this rug.

High tech weight used while braiding
Detail of braid
Finished Rug

Can’t wait to begin the next project. Here’s to the journey!

Seal of Approval
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2 thoughts on “Family Traditions

  1. You are SO ambitious with your braided rug! I remember having a largesse in our finished basement when I was a kid, but I’m pretty sure we bought it at the store. Your cat is spoiled!

    I’m going to Palm Beach Nov 14-18. Larisa is in S. Caroline until the 21st, so we won’t get to see her. In Poland right now.

    Like

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