Spring Braid Conference
March 14 - 17, 2022
St. Francis Friary in Easton, PA

 
 

The Valley Forge Rug Braiding Guild is pleased to announce the details of our Spring Braid Conference.  After a 2-year hiatus due to the pandemic, we are excited to get together and share our love of rug braiding with you.

Registration will open to members on January 25 at noon EST, and to the public on January 26 at noon EST --  we will announce it on our Facebook page and in emails to all members.

Teachers, Officers, and Chairs of Guild Committees, as well as Conference Volunteers for specific positions, get to register early.  We are still in need of an Archivist, a 2nd Photographer, and Chairs of the Finance and Program Committees, if you are interested in early registration.

Maximum attendees:  60

Braid Conference Schedule
March 14 - 17, 2022

 
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Class List for 2022 Braid Conference

Each class session costs $20.  A class with a Part 1 and Part 2, or two sessions, is $40.

Kit fees are noted under class descriptions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Class:      Beginner Braiding:  Oval Rug
Instructor:    Dottie Pepe
Class Description: Learn the basics of braiding and lacing a classic oval rug, including:  preparing wool for braiding, making a T-start, braiding straight and braiding double corners, lacing the braids together, increasing to keep the braid flat, changing colors and — if there is time — finishing with a taper.  After this class, you will be able to make any size of oval rug, from 2′ X 3′ to 8′ X 10′.
Sessions:    Tues AM for Part I; Tues PM2 for Part II; Wed PM1 for Part III
Cost:           $60      

Kit fee:        $20
Prerequisites:  None
Level:          Newbie
Maximum Number of Students:  4
Available spots left:  all
Folds:          Left Opening
Finish at braid in:  unlikely

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Class:  Rectangle:  All-Butted 
IInstructors:  Christine Manges (Left Opening)
Class Description: Students will learn how to make a rectangular rug of either all-butted rows, OR a continuous rectangle, including the triple corner lacing sequences necessary to keep square corners.  (This class is meant to get you ready for Christine’s Multistrand around a Rectangle, if desired).
2 Continuous Sessions:  Tues PM1 for Part I; Wed PM1 for Part II
Cost:  $40
Prerequisites:  Students must know how to butt using any method, if making the all-butted version; for continuous students, you must have braided a rug before and have some experience with counting loops.
Level:  Intermediate
Maximum number of students:  15
Minimum number of students:  3
Available spots left:  all
Finish at braid in:  unlikely

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Class:  Braided Footstool

Instructors:  Christine Manges & Kris McDermet
Class Description:  If you can braid a basket – continuous or butted – then you can make a braided cover for a foot stool.  Use a braided chair pad, or a hooked round center, or other needlework for the top; attach braided rows (butted or continuous) to cover the sides of the foot stool.  The last braided row will tuck under the plywood base of the foot stool.  To cover most of the upholstery staples, a final gathering row of lacing cord is laced through the lowest braid loops.  Complete the foot stool at home by painting the unfinished feet to match your braids.
Note:  the flower design above will NOT be taught in class; this was just a flower chair pad that the instructor had to start with, and then added the sides on for the foot stool.
The foot stool will come preassembled, but the assembly steps will be demonstrated in class, if you would like to make one of your own.
For continuous braiders, we will discuss the best ways to manage continuous patterns on the footstool sides at the row change sites.
2 Continuous Sessions:  Thursday AM and PM1 (morning & early afternoon).
Cost:   $40
Kit Fee:  $80   The supplies:  18” round cut plywood base, 4 unfinished legs with hanger bolts, 4 sets hardware for the base, 3” or 6” of firm-density foam, foam adhesive spray, upholstery grade padding, staple-gun staples, and upholstery fabric…. cost $75 and the additional $5 is for labor:  cutting and shaping the foam, attaching foam to base, covering with padding and upholstery fabric and stapling it in place.
Prerequisites:  Must have made a round chair pad or basket or rug before.
Level:  Confident Beginner
Folds:  Instructors are LO but can teach both LO & RO
Maximum number of students:  15
Minimum number of students:  5
Available spots left: all
Finish at braid in:  Probably not

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Class:  Braided Pincushion Jar

Instructor:  Bobbi Mahler
Class Description:  Another braiding project that you can complete this weekend. Confident Beginners to experienced braiders will find satisfaction in this project. But you only need to be a confident beginner to enjoy this class. The knowledge from this class will give you the ability to make a useful and pretty Pincushion. Learning the 9-loop center will give you the skills to start an all braided round rug, basket or Killer Chair pad; you can make Christmas wreath pins and start braided hexagons as well. A little project that can lead to so much more if you want it to!
2 Continuous Sessions:  Tuesday PM2 and Wednesday PM2
Cost:   $40
Kit Fee:  $12 (wool — you can select your colors – mason jar, linen cording, direction booklet)
Prerequisites: able to braid and lace. No knowledge of butting required.
Level:  Confident Beginner
Folds:  Teacher is RO but teaches both RO and LO
Maximum number of students:  10

Minimum number of students:  3
Available spots left:  all
Finish at braid in:  Yes
Supplies Needed:  Regular braiding supplies.

 

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Class:  Wool Applique Candle Mat

Instructor:  Janice Sonnen
Class Description:  Working with a pre-cut kit, learn the basics of wool applique and embroidery to make this sweet candle mat.  Learn to embroider blanket stitch, vertical fly stitch on the petals, and French knots.  Techniques for cutting wool fabric, layering, and finishing will be discussed.
One, 2-hour  Session:  Wednesday PM2
Cost:  $20
Kit Fee:  $16 includes all the pre-cut wool, embroidery needle, and thread that you will need for this project.
Prerequisites:  None
Maximum:  12 students
Minimum:  5 students
Finish at braid in:  Yes.
Supplies Needed:  Regular braiding supplies.

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Class:  Multistrand Border for a Rectangle

Instructors:  Christine Manges (LO) and Bobbi Mahler (RO)
Class Description:  (There is no need to have a rectangular center completed prior to this class).  This class will cover important topics about braiding a multistrand border for a square or rectangle.  We’ll learn how to identify the pivot strand for a corner, how to braid and lace a corner, how to keep even tension, identifying “sets” within a multistrand braid and how to keep them matched on short sides and long sides, and what to do when a large multistrand pattern simply won’t fit symmetrically around a rug.  Different multistrand patterns will be explored — some are easier to place around rectangles that others.  We also will review and work on butting the braid by the new & improved butting method:  the Diagonal Butt.
Two Continuous Sessions:  Thursday AM (Part I) and Thursday PM1 (Part II) 
Cost:  $40
Level:  Intermediate
Prerequisites:  Helps to have braided a multistrand before, but not necessary.
Folds:  Teachers will be present with both folds.
Maximum number of students: 8 LO and 8 RO
Minimum number of students: 5
Available spots left:  all
Finish at braid in:  Possibly — border only.

Site Information

The St. Francis Retreat House is located at:   

3918 Chipman Rd, Easton, PA 18045

Website:  https://stfrancisretreathouse.org

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Meals

Meals from Monday dinner through Thursday lunch 

are included

Vegetarian & Gluten-Free options available

Rooms

There are 4 types of rooms available: 

1.  Single (with Twin bed, some with Queen bed) & private bath;

2.  Double (with 2 twin beds and private bath for 2); 

3.  Jack & Jill Doubles (separate bedrooms with twin beds, share a bathroom with 1 other only), &

4.  Dorm-style (twin bed in small room with bathroom down the hall).

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Great Room

The large first floor gathering room accommodates many work tables for rug braiders.

Seating Areas

There are several seating areas scattered throughout the building for smaller gatherings

Vendors

Vendor Table Rental Fee is $20.  There are 10 spots available.  Table:  30" wide X 6' long.  Must be braiding-related:  wool, braiding supplies, books, wool kits,  etc.  

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Ability Access

The friary is wheelchair-accessible and has several rooms with private baths adapted for handicap access, including walk-in shower.  There are elevators on all levels.  Please indicate the need for a differently-abled room when registering, and we will do everything we can to accommodate your needs.

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Transportation

The Friary is located near 2 airports.  The closest is ABE (Lehigh International) which is 11 miles away.  If you fly in to ABE, we will pick you up. 

The next closest is Newark International (EWR), which is 68 miles away.  If you fly to EWR, please take the Trans-Bridge Lines bus (1 hr, 15 min drive) to Easton Station and we will pick you up from there.  Schedules:  transbridgelines.com.  Cost is $30-$40 for the bus.  Let us know your arrival details!

School Bus
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Early/Late Arrivals

Early Arrivals can leave luggage/belongings in main conference room.
Late Arrivals:  Will receive a cell phone number  as well as keypad code to get into the building.

Extra Night Stay:  not available.

Covid Safety

We want to do everything we can to keep everyone safe and happy!  Also, our insurance company AND the site require these actions: 

• All registrations must be accompanied by proof of vaccination and booster against Covid.  Medical exemptions must be signed by a practicing physician and will be reviewed. 

• All persons will undergo a rapid Covid test at entry to the Conference and must be negative to enter.

Masks must be worn at the braid conference while indoors, except while eating meals, when in your own room, or while making announcements.  The Friary now requires N-95 or KN-95 masking:  the cloth or surgical masks don't sufficiently protect from infection.

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Cancellations

If you contract Covid and must cancel your attendance, we ask that you notify us as soon as possible so that we can contact braiders on the Wait List. 

***All cancellations will be assessed a $25 fee to cover our credit card and Paypal fees.

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Costs

These costs are charged by the ROOM you sleep in.  They include Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights, as well as meals Monday evening through Thursday lunch, plus all activities and events.  They do not include classes or kit fees.

             

             Single Room  - One larger room with one private bathroom and a queen or a twin bed

             Double  -  Two people in one larger room having two twin beds and share the same bathroom

             Jack & Jill - 2 separate small rooms, each with twin bed and shared bathroom between them

             Dorm -   small single room with twin bed and common bathroom down the hall for 15 people

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Commuters

 

 

By Day:  $70/day

Full Conference:  $200

Commuters get full access of the facility, all meals for the day, all activities and events, and all classes that they have paid for.  The only exclusion is that they do not get lodging.

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Trailing Spouse/Friend 

Spouses and friends are welcome to accompany braiders.  However, we are charged by person and not by room... which means the spouse/friend would ALSO have to pay the room rate for a Single or Double Room, and all meals included.  For couples choosing a Single, we will place you in a room with a Queen bed.

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Speaker:  Janice Sonnen

Author and Fiber Artist Janice Sonnen teaches

rug hooking, rug braiding and penny rug making

throughout Pennsylvania. She is a juried member

of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen and very

active with the Reading Berks chapter of the guild.

Janice has been selected many times for the honor of being included in the Early

American Life Directory of Traditional American Crafts.  She is the author of, "Penny 

Rugs:  Sewing Wool Applique," published by Schiffer Publishing, 2010.  

Janice will show us her rugs and talk to us about her work on Wednesday, March 17, 2022 at 7 pm.  

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Rug Challenge & Tea Cup Auction, Tuesday at 7 pm 

One of the most important events at the braid conference is the Rug Challenge.  Braiders from all over come together to create something unique around a common theme.  The only rule is that that the rug must be at least 50% braided!  You are welcome to use other crafts in the making of your entry.  

This year, the Challenge topic is "Braided Food."  Some examples of past items are shown above.  Flat braids, sculptural braids, including the dinner plate or not... This category can take you in several different creative directions.  Can't wait to see what you come up with!

Tea Cup Auction:  more information is coming about the auction!