Braided wool rugs are kinda a family thing for us. Well, not really for me. A lot of things totally skipped a generation with me. I can’t sew “worth a lick,” as my mom would’ve said. But my daughters know their way around a sewing machine and back. I barely braid hair, but my daughters can take old wool skirts, jackets, and pants; cut them into strips; and braid and tie the most beautiful floor adornment my feet have ever trod.
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A Rug Braided Full of Stories
My daughters learned this beautifully practical talent from my mother-in-law. Who learned it from her mother-in-law, Marjorie. Unlike my daughters, who are pleased to make their rugs for only the cost of a few wool-clothing, thrift-store finds, Marjorie insisted on using only the finest 100% wool fabric she could buy.
I am thankful for Marjorie’s insistence on quality, because her diligent braiding is still displayed on my floorboards, more than eight decades after she laced those long rows of braids into a beautiful oval.
That rug that cushioned the toddler feet of my father-in-law and his boisterous brothers was a little worn but full of so many stories after Marjorie left her meager ,white 2-story for her mansion built by her favorite carpenter.
She patiently pieced the rug one strip at a time, with brown, tan, and green ribbons of wool. She braided the rug while sitting in her little living room in Massachusetts. I imagine her lacing the rug in rows while praying for her sweet husband and planning meals or listening to Amos n Andy. That rug, with prayers and meal planning and radio entertainment braided right in, traveled up and down the east coast twice.
A Priceless Treasure
Those braids cushioned Marjorie’s great granddaughters’ toddler feet in their own 2-story home, on a tiny pie-shaped piece of land in Delaware. Then those wool braids moved back to New England when Marjorie’s grandson followed God’s leading and replanted his family on a 14-acre strip of woods that comes to a point where a lake empties into a sun-kissed river, 11 miles from the nearest traffic light. On that strip of woods, in that tiny rural town, Marjorie’s braided wool circle anchors the front room in the little red cape on the river.
It looks at home there. Its 80-yr-old braids might even feel young draped across the 200-year old floors.
So needless to say, the rug–with its worn beauty and its silent stories–is priceless to me. And I was ecstatic to recently discover the best possible way to clean it.
Read on for the easy 3-step process to delicately, effectively clean your braided wool rugs. And scroll down for an instructional video as well.
The idea is ingenious. A daughter at the family-owned braided rug store we visited told me the secret.
It boils down to 3 easy steps, well, and some necessary fluffy white stuff, which happens to be in grand supply most of the winter on our homestead…
3 Steps for Cleaning Braided Wool Rugs
- Vacuum your rug well, on both sides. Never use a beater brush on your vacuum, but always use a gentle-suction hardwood floor attachment.
- Lay your rug in freshly-fallen snow. A few inches of very lightly packed snow works the best. If the snow is too deep, or too icy, will be difficult or ineffective for cleaning. Encourage snow to seep up into the weaves of your rug by walking on it or hitting it with a broom or tamper. Turn the rug over and repeat multiple times, until the imprint of dirt left in the snow is very faint.
- Shake off excess snow and lay your rug out to dry. I stretched my rugs over stools in front of a toasty fire. I was amazed that it only took about 15-20 minutes for the medium sized rugs to dry, maybe 30 for the large.
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Here’s an instructional video, if you’d like to see just how easy it is…
There is nothing better for a person than that he should… find enjoyment in his toil. Ecclesiastes 2:24
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