Several weeks ago, I received the following email
from a lady in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Hello: I am wondering if you complete unfinished
rugs. My mother had started a braided rug years ago but never completed
it before she passed away. All the wool strips are cut out and she
had started the braiding (about a foot in width completed). there
is much work to be done to complete it which I do not have the skill
to do (I'm a quilter!). Because my mothers hand was in it I would
love to have it finished using the materials she had planned.
Can you let me know if this is a project you
would consider handling? Thank You.
The unfinished rug that I received was oval, 12"
X 30". There was also 17 bundles of wool fabric of various
colors in 2" wide strips and 50-80" in length.
(Mom's Rug with Bulge)
I estimated that with the material available, I
could make it a 3' X 4 1/2' rug and it would take about 14 hours
of my time . It actually took me 36 hours to repair and complete
it. The original rug had a number of common flaws. The first was
that the rug had a large bubble in the middle so that it did not
lie flat. (You can see the bubble if you look closely at the above
photo). The second was that the rug was not kept straight after
the first 3 rows and developed a banana shape that is impossible
to fix if more than 3 rows exist.
I worked very hard trying various methods to get
rid of the bulge and was succesfull after much trial and error.
I first took off 2 rows from the existing rug that were woven too
loosely and rewove them tighter. Then I took a pliers and readjusted
each loop of braid in the problem area until I worked out some of
the extra braid that was causing the bulge. Then I put on 5 more
rows and there was still a problem! So, at this point I broke open
the rug 5 rows back, removed a section and rewove it with 2 tapers
so that it would lie flat. Success!!
(Mom's Rug Finished)
I used all of the wool that was sent, some of which
was only 1" wide, so it made a very small braid. I added 15
rows so that there are now 21 rows and the rug measures 2 3/4' X
4 1/4. I ended up with a "butt" row that is a continuous
necklace woven together at the end so that there is no beginning
or end to the last row.
"Mom's Rug Closeup""
As the finished product will attest, Mom had a
great eye for color. It was a very rewarding project for me and
I felt that Mom was looking over my shoulder the whole time.
"Oh my...How beautiful. This wool and the
partially completed rug have been in my attic 20 years or more...she
died in 1992. She'd be thrilled to see Dad's grey suit pants so
beautifully woven into her rug. I can't thank you enough!"...Brooklyn,
The client picked up her rug at my studio, and
from a subsequent email...
It was an absolute pleasure and delight to meet you. You
did a beautiful job on the rug and your home is beautiful as well.
Everyone loved the rug. In fact, my brother recognized one of the
materials as our mother's old coat!
I have it my bedroom and it looks lovely. Also,
I checked out the website and was delighted to see the "Moms
Rug" story highlighted under Restoration.
The whole experience was more than just "getting
the rug finished." You transformed it into a fond rememberance
of things past, a joy in the present and a treasure for the future,
through your kind and sympathetic handling of the entire effort.
I and my family are truly thankful.
Love and many blessings to you, Julia.