Photography: Roland Bello

Source: Martha Stewart Living, July 2005

Introduction

Before you start, practice the braid by making a miniature version of the mat with thinner rope. When you're ready to make the big mat, cover a large work surface with kraft paper. 

Draw a cross on the paper; it should have a 33-inch vertical line and a 12 1/4-inch horizontal line. (This is the dimension of the mat when you get to step 4.) As you weave, use the cross as a guide and tape down loops to retain the mat's shape.


We used 1/2-inch-thick twisted nylon rope. About 165 feet makes a 33-by-20-inch mat.

steps

  1. Starting at one end of rope, form a loose knot as shown; leave a 30-inch tail on right side and slack on left side. Gently pull down on loops.

    la101451_0705_ropematf1.jpg
  2. Flip loops to left as shown. Lift the first loop and cross it over the second.

    la101451_0705_ropemat_ht1.jpg
  3. Using tail end, weave as shown.

    la101451_0705_ropematf3.tif.jpg
  4. Using slack end, weave diagonally toward bottom right. Pull rope through. Continue weaving back to top as shown, adjusting rope to resemble diagram.

    la101451_0705_ropematf45.jpg
  5. Follow path of first round with slack end, staying parallel to previous round. Pull rope through after each pass, weaving until mat is formed.

    la101451_0705_ropematf452.jpg
  6. Finish ends by using a needle to sew through the rope just below any frayed ends and tightly wrap thread around rope a couple of times. Sew through several more times to secure. Cut off end of rope just above thread. Singe frayed ends with a lighter to seal; sew to underside. Apply permanent craft glue to underside between ropes in spots to prevent shifting.

    la101409_0705_stoolsht1.jpg

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