Braid in Teachers

Teachers, in alphabetical order:

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Mary Bird — Hooked/Punched Proddy Sunflowers

Mary has been rug braiding for 14 years, and rug hooking for 5 years.  She is also a skilled and adventurous craftsperson who enjoys making anything with wool:  rug punching, needle punching, felting, proddy, etc.  She recently had a rug, “Kaleidoscope,” on display with the traveling exhibit, Contemporary Braided Art Rugs.  She lives with her husband in Connecticut and finds the time for an amazing amount of braiding and other fiber arts around her work schedule as a sonographer.

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Heidi Boldt Diefenderfer — Dorset Buttons (Zwirn Knoepfe)

Heidi has been a member of the Valley Forge Rug Braiding Guild for many years.  She is a skilled needlecrafter and doll-maker in addition to her skill with rug braiding.  For years, she contributed to the Brandywine River Museum of Art by making “critters” from seed pods and other dried natural objects for their holiday ornament sale.  Originally from Germany, she is proud of the needlework skills from her country of origin and treasures a nightgown of her grandmother’s featuring tiny handmade thread buttons.  Heidi lives in Phoenixville, PA.




Marjorie Kauffman — Butted Rectangle

Marjorie Kauffman is a life-long resident of Lancaster County, PA, and has enjoyed rug braiding for a dozen years or so. She is a member of the Valley Forge Rug Braiding guild, and has a number of braiding tutorials on her website:, and her YouTube channel, Marjorie K. She has won several awards for her rugs, and has exhibited rugs at Sauder Village, the Green Mountain Rug Hooking Guild Show, and the Schwenkfelder Museum.  When not braiding or sewing or working as a lab tech, she enjoys playing piano and cello.

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Jenn Kiarsis — Three-Circle Braided Rug

Jennifer lives and braids in Plaistow, New Hampshire.  She initially took an Adult Education class in Newburyport, Massachusetts, to learn how to braid, and she has continued to learn and explore the art of braiding by taking classes at braid in events and experimenting on her own.  She has been braiding for about 15 years.  Jennifer is a member of the Baystate Braiding Guild, and is a juried member of the League of NH Craftsmen.


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Bobbi Mahler  — Multistrand Border for a Rectangle

Bobbi Mahler is an experienced instructor in rug braiding.  Formerly serving in the US Navy, she now teaches in Maine and at braid conferences.  She taught classes on multistrand braiding and butting in the New England Braids conference.  Her multistrand rug, “Tic Tac Toe,” was shown in the 2018-1019 exhibit of Contemporary Braided Art Rugs.  Bobbi makes custom-designed braided rugs for customers.  She lives in Belgrade Maine with her husband.


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Christine Manges — Braided Footstool, and Multistrand Border for a Rectangle

Christine started braiding in 2006 and hasn’t stopped since.  She is a founding member of the VF Guild and has coordinated the teaching program for several years at the braid in.  She has taught at the VF and New England braid ins, as well as teaching braiding at ATHA (Association of Traditional Hooking Artists) conferences and at Pittsburgh’s  Knit, Crochet, and Fiber weekends.  She co-authored a book, Combining Rug Hooking and Braiding, with Kris McDermet and Dianne Tobias.  She has a blog, “” with Dianne, and also has a quarterly newsletter on rug braiding:  The Revolutionary Rug Braider.  In 2018 she co-curated the Contemporary Braided Art Rug exhibit.  She lives in Pittsburgh with her family and a great wool stash.



Kris McDermet — After the Hooking/Felting… Comes A Rectangular BraidBowl

Kris McDermet has been teaching rug braiding and rug hooking for over 30 years.  She was a Featured Artist at the Green Mountain Rug Hooking Guild’s October 2018 show, “Hooked in the Mountains.”  She is the co-curator of the exhibit, Contemporary Braided Art Rugs, that was shown in 3 states last year.  She is the recent recipient of the Founders Cup award from TIGHR, The International Guild of Handhooking Rugmakers.  Artist, Author, Curator, and Instructor, Kris has won many awards for her signature braided-and-hooked rugs.


IMG_5033Dorothy Pepe — Beginner Rug Braiding — Oval Rug.

Dottie is an experienced teacher of rug braiding.  She is an active member and a past President of the Valley Forge Rug Braiding Guild.  Her rugs have been exhibited twice at the Schwenkfelder Museum, and also in Ohio and Vermont as part of the exhibit of Contemporary Braided Art Rugs.  She lives in Honey Brook, PA.




Pam Rowan —  Loom-Woven Multistrand Squares

Pam been braiding for 14 years.  She has  taught at many braid ins, at Cape Elizabeth, Alfred, Methuen, and Valley Forge.  She started and runs the yearly Franciscan Retreat.  She has taught weekly braiding lessons in her home for 8 years.  She owns the business, “Braid A Rug” through which she sells braiding supplies and wool as well as instruction in braiding.  Her rug, “Hugs and Kisses — XXOO” was on display last year as part of the Contemporary Braided Art Rug exhibit.  Pam is a Right Opening Braider but can switch to Left Opening as needed — an invaluable skill for an instructor!  Pam says she enjoys “solving all kinds of problems” in braiding.

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Janice Sonnen — Wool Applique Candle Mat

Janice Sonnen is this year’s Speaker at the VF Spring Braid in, and we are privileged to have her teach this class for us.  She is an accomplished designer and maker of penny rugs, wool applique, embroidery, rug hooking, and rug braiding.  She is the author of “Penny Rugs – Sewing Wool Appliqué” (Schiffer Publishing, 2010) and is a juried member of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen.  For several years, she has had the honor of being listed in the Early American Life Directory of Traditional American Crafts.

Screen Shot 2019-12-05 at 12.54.37 PM (1)Donna Vlasak — Featherweight 221 Maintenance

Donna is an ardent rug hooker and braider who is the owner of 3 Featherweight sewing machines.  She has been performing routine maintenance on her machines for over three years.  After attending several formal classes on this subject, she has also done extensive research on the maintenance and history of black Featherweight 221 machines.  Many people bring their Featherweights to braid ins — this will be a great class for us!

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Peggyann Watts — Hats Galore; Braided Pincushion Jar

PeggyAnn is a retired registered nurse of 34 years.  She has been both a rug braider and a rug hooker for 30+ years.  She is the owner of and teacher for “Belfast Braids,” her business in Belfast, New York.  She has taught at both the Valley Forge and New England braid ins.  One of her rugs travelled with the “Contemporary Braided Art Rug” show and was displayed in three states.  She enjoys expanding the knowledge and skills of braiding of students, and she hopes they will pass it on to others as well.


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Debra Weinhold
(shown with a handsome alpaca)– All-Butted Rectangle, and Rectangular Color Block Purse

As a rug braider for over 12 years, Debra calls braiding her “happy place.”  She enjoys teaching and demonstrating her craft wherever she can, at historical sites, art galleries, and even retirement communities.  Debra has taught several times at past VF braid ins, as well as at New England Braids.   One of her lovely heart rugs travelled with the Contemporary Braided Art Rug exhibit.  She lives with her family in Stevens, Pennsylvania.