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Woven Kwanzaa Mats

Spend special time with your family making these unique holiday mats (mkeka) that represent traditions and family origins. Be sure to set your Kwanzaa table with these colorful woven designs.

Present Pointers

You can make a woven mat using red, green, and black raffia in place of the ribbon, or you might want to make a banner out of the leftover burlap. Remove some of the strands to make open spaces of various widths. Reweave the open part using twigs, flowers, weeds, leaves, and so on. Fringe the ends if desired. Fold the top over about 112 inches and glue with a glue gun to make a sleeve for a dowel. Tie a piece of cord to each end of the dowel for hanging purposes.

Time frame: Two to three hours

Level: Easy

What you need:

  • Two pieces of burlap cut into 18 x 12-inch rectangles
  • Scissors
  • Crochet hook or large yarn needle
  • 20-inch long strands of red, green, and black thin satin ribbons
  • Glue gun or tacky glue
  1. Fray the edges of the first burlap rectangle to about 12 inch. With a crochet hook or yarn needle, pull out three strands from the sides of the burlap, every inch or however far apart you'd like your design to occur.
  2. Thread the yarn needle with the ribbon and weave the ribbon through the pulled out burlap, leaving about five strands of burlap material in between the weavings. Alternate the colors—I chose to use black, red, black, green, black, red, and so on—or pick a pattern that appeals to you. You may want to use three red ribbons, one black ribbon, and three green ribbons to represent the kinara. Be sure the ribbon is flat when you pull it through the burlap.
  3. After all the openings are filled with ribbon, lay the mat on top of the other piece of burlap and glue the two pieces together around the perimeter. Be sure to catch the ends of the top mat onto the glue.
  4. Take two pieces of trim ribbon and glue them onto the right and left sides.

More on: Kwanzaa


Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Making Great Gifts © 2001 by Marilee LeBon. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

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