Register for Spring Braid In

braid-in-2016Yay, the registration for the Spring Braid In (May 5-7, 2017) goes online today!

And I hope that it’s a smooth process for everyone who registers.  But if it isn’t, please email me ( and I’ll do my best to help you out… after I get back from my Florida “vacation” with the family on Monday night, January 2.


To get to the Registration table, go to the “Spring Braid In” heading in the upper right Navigation Bar.  As you hover over that title, three dropdown selections will occur: ScheduleClasses and Registration, and Checkout.  Click on Schedule, then click on the upper left box to go to Registration.  When the page comes up, scroll down to see the Registration Table.  This is the first step:  register for the braid in, any extra nights, single room, etc.

The best thing to do is to return to the Schedule (either hit the “back”button on your browser, or click on “Schedule” in the dropdown again.). As you hover over each box in the schedule, more information about each class or event will appear in a box. If you click on any box, it will take you to the full information about the class or event.


After you register for a class, you’ll be asked to enter your address, etc, although it doesn’t ask you for your name until you check out, to try to limit having to enter the same information repeatedly.

DON’T press the checkout button at the bottom of the page until you are certain that you have 1. Registered for the event, 2.  Registered for any classes you would like to take, and 3. Made sure your classes don’t conflict.

I hope it’s all pretty self-explanatory but inevitably the first few people who register are guinea pigs and may encounter some difficulties.  PLEASE email me with problems or complaints and I will do what I can to fix them!  Christine:

Guild Meeting 12/3/16

one of the wooly feather trees
one of the wooly feather trees

We had a nice meeting this past Saturday. Some of us worked on wooly feather trees – more about that later – and some of us just worked on braiding. Some of us just ate food – people always bring such delicious nibbles.

A few more classes were brought up: Deb Weinhold is not quite finished her prototype for the class she wants to teach, but it should be cute: a kittycat shape. No, it’s not the Marie Griswold cat shape; it’s a more oval-ish sleeping cat shape, which I think will be more serviceable. Nancy Young showed some labels suitable for marking braided baskets or other table-top items, which were very simple and yet looked smart, so she agreed to teach a class on making these labels.

Carolyn Newcomer's pretty 6-braid trivet
Carolyn Newcomer’s pretty 6-braid trivet

There wasn’t much interest – other than me and Carolyn Newcomer – in submitting rugs for the PA Farm Show. So it will probably just be the two of us this year… maybe we can get some others from the Lancaster branch of the guild to submit rugs. I think it’s important to keep showing Pennsylvanians how beautiful braided rugs can be!

Heidi, Dottie, and Karen working on trees
Heidi, Dottie, and Karen working on trees

All of us agreed that we’re still interested in going up to Vermont for the opening of Delsie’s show (or shortly after). I just heard from Delsie today and the opening at the Vermont Folklife Center will be Saturday Feb 4, probably around 1:00 or so to accommodate travelers. The exhibit will go on through April so if that weekend doesn’t work out for us, we can go later. All of us also agreed that we would only stop off at the Folk Art Museum in New York if Deb Weinhold’s husband drove us – none of the rest of us rabbits is confident about driving in New York City.

Marjorie Kauffman's spiral multistrand
Marjorie Kauffman’s spiral multistrand

Carolyn and I and a few others are planning on teaching at the PA Fiber Fest at the end of February.

Next meeting is January 14, 2017.

OK: wooly feather trees. First, I want to thank several people. First is David Pray, who told me about the traditional German feather trees made with real feathers (he makes them). Then, Heidi Diefenderfer and Barb Meyers have both made feather trees from wool fringe before and they were helpful and encouraging as the rest of us ventured into making these trees.

Nancy Young talking with Daria and Barb and Heidi
Nancy Young talking with Daria and Barb and Heidi

For supplies, I followed instructions published on the internet from April Deconick’s website.

I bought the cloth-wrapped florist wire, and cut it to the lengths specified, and the floral tape. I cut dowels to 12 and 15 inches with my dad, who also drilled bases for the trees.

Heidi Boldt Diefenderfer's mother made this pretty beaded star on her tree
Heidi Boldt Diefenderfer’s mother made this pretty beaded star on her tree

I had a lot of fun making the trees – I think everyone did – and I can’t wait to decorate mine with my earrings that have lost their mates and other tiny doodads … maybe some glitzy yarn as a garland. But, I think if I make one again, I will change the lengths of the wires. I like a tree that’s a bit thinner in profile, so I’ll probably make my branches 3.5, 4, 4.5, 5, and 5.5 inches long, instead of jumping a full inch each row. Also, I may be able to get more rows of branches out of the floral wire package if the branches are shorter, because I think my tree is going to need a couple more rows of branches to look good. If any guild members need additional rows like I plan on adding, please just email me and I’ll clip them and send them to you.

Carolyn learned to make this black-eyed susan in Peggyann Watts' class
Carolyn learned to make this black-eyed susan in Peggyann Watts’ class
Deb W and Debbie W working on feather trees
Deb W and Debbie W working on feather trees




Classes So Far

Slowly, slowly, classes for the May 2017 braid in are starting to roll in.  (Deadline is December 10 for submitting classes…. see link above to submit a class).  Registration opens January 1.

I have been having fun thinking about what I would like to teach.  I always sign myself up for teaching classes for which I have things only about half figured out, and hope that the deadline will sufficiently motivate me to clean up the details.  Most of the time this works!

After some discussion with some of my loyal students, I’m going to teach the following: 1.  Fun with Chevrons.  2.  Flower Petals with a Twist.  3.  Butting.

The Fun with Chevrons will be… fun.  Here’s a photo example of a chevron border from a shamrock rug a few years ago:

Chevron border on a Shamrock rug
Chevron border on a Shamrock rug

This shows a simple “chevron dot” pattern.  But there are other easy patterns to create with chevron braids.  We’ll make a small rectangular mat and explore patterns and corners and butting with these 4-strand braids.

For Flower Petals with a Twist… I don’t have a photo because I have only worked it out on small practice pieces so far.  I have to figure in some time for making a chair pad or doily-sized example.  It involves using one strand twisted around itself to create the center spoke of each petal, and this twisted strand enables you to avoid having to do any e-lacing or shoe-lacing to close the center of the petal.

Then I’ll probably offer Butting, just because it’s a good basic skill that has been made easier to get comfortable with, now that Anne Caldwell created the Annie’s Fanny Butt.

Other classes being offered are:

img_22484.  Beginner Rug Braiding:  Chair Pad.  Robin Kershaw volunteered to teach these sessions (although I’m sure she’ll appreciate some assistance from others).

indian-corn-25.  Braided Indian Corn with Peggyann Watts.  Peggy figured out how to make these delightful corn cobs (the corn fronds come with the class) in continuous fashion rather than 9-loop center after 9-loop center, so to my mind at least these will be much more interesting and fun.  How will she do a teeny tiny taper???  Can’t wait to find out.

6.  Braided Acorns with Pam Rowan.  (Indian corn… acorns… anyone say Autumn door arrangement?)  These little cuties are made with 9-loop centers so you’ll get plenty of practice for your all-butted chair pad or hexagon star centers.

img_2437 img_2438 img_2436

7.  img_3325Standing Wool Trivets with Jenn Kiarsis.  I made one of these in Jenn’s class at Methuen and had a great time.  My trivet was on my Thanksgiving table (although next time I’ll pick some colors other than turquoise, olive green, and bright orange).  Well, it was covered up by the stuffing bowl so it was okay.

If you’re thinking about submitting a class… please get moving on your project or technique, and don’t forget the deadline of December 10!

November meeting notes

Judy Borger working on a rug at the meeting

The guild met at our Harleysville location on November 5, 2016 and we had a nice time.  At the meeting, we discussed several things:

  1.  We plan on having a road trip to see Delsie Hoyt’s exhibition of her braided rugs, which will be at the Vermont Folk Life Center in Middlebury, VT.  The opening will be sometime in February 2017.  There was discussion of stopping at the American Folk Art Museum in New York City on the way up.  We can hire Deb Weinhold’s husband to drive us, and after seeing the exhibit, stay overnight at a modest hotel in Vermont before heading home the next day.  It’s important to support the exhibition of rug braiding as an art form!
  2. Pat Koontz braiding at the meeting
    Pat Koontz braiding at the meeting

    Last year, our guild swept the PA Farm Show, getting 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place ribbons!  I’m hoping that we can repeat that in the coming year.  The deadline for online submission of work is sometime right after the next meeting (Dec 3) so I’m hoping that, with Carolyn Newcomer’s expert help, I can figure out how to navigate the mystifying online registration process before the next meeting.

  3. Lynn, Debbie, and Barb at the meeting
    Lynn, Debbie, and Barb at the meeting

    Planning for the braid in (May 4-7, 2017).  We have a speaker (Pody Vanderwall, the great granddaughter of Jessie Kinsley, who was a braider of silk “tapestries” in the early 1900’s, and whose work is still on display at the Oneida Community Mansion Museum in Oneida NY).  We have a couple of classes submitted for the teaching program (more on that later) and several people have already agreed to help with the following:

a.  Dottie Pepe has agreed to make the class “tickets” to keep track of students in classes.

Marjorie Kauffman's multistrand rug
Marjorie Kauffman’s multistrand rug

b.  Robin Kershaw volunteered to work with Beginning Braiders on a chair pad.

c.  The Teaching Committee has agreed to reprise their roles:  Lynn Vogel, Pat Koontz, Pat Beltz, Christine Manges, and Carolyn Newcomer.

Deb Weinhold's strip rug with dramatic patterns
Deb Weinhold’s strip rug with dramatic patterns

d.  Debbie Wykosky has agreed to be the A-V and site planner, and to help with registration, altho registration details still have to be worked out and we might need to recruit other people.

e.  Some of the classes that are tentatively planned:   Beginners (Robin Kershaw).  Butting (Christine Manges).  Braided Indian Corn (Peggyann Watts).  Braided Acorns (Pam Rowan).  Standing Wool Mat (Jenn Kiarsis).  Possibly:  More than one way to taper (Marjorie Kauffman).  There were multiple additional suggestions for classes but nothing that was committed to… requests for classes are welcome!!

f.  The topic for the Rug Challenge 2017 is “The Four Seasons,” although if someone makes a rug reflecting only one season, that’s fine!

Heidi's Wooly Feather Tree from her website
Heidi’s Wooly Feather Tree from her website

Next meeting is December 3, and we plan to make “Wooly Feather Trees.”  I’ve purchased enough wire and dowels and floral tape for 10 people, who only need to bring:  6 selvedge-to-selvedge strips of 1.25″ wide green washed wool, some tacky glue, a Sharpie marker, and a couple clothespins.  My father is going to help me make bases for the trees. Barb Meyers and Heidi Diefenderfer are experienced Wooly Feather Tree makers and can give us tips.  If you plan to make one, I found the You Tube Video “How to Create a Wooly Pine Tree” to be helpful.

Hope to see you Dec 3!




New Website

201a407Christine Manges here.  Some of you know that I recently lost my ability to make changes to the Valley Forge Guild’s website.  Sigh.  I upgraded my operating system and kablooey, I lost iWeb, which was the program I used to make alterations to the site.

So, in order to keep the domain name “” that most of you are familiar with, I have had to transfer everything to WordPress.  Unfortunately, this means I have completely lost access to EVERYTHING that was on this site before.  All of the pages of our past braid ins, our rug challenges, artist pages, sample newsletters, directions to our meetings… gone.

Please bear with me.  Re-building this site is going to be a long process, and I’m afraid it will take several months to get it going.  In the meantime, it will have do!