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designing ways

December 4, 2022

there is still an alarming pile of ikat scraps

it takes more than a jacket for a bear to reduce the pile

Betsy the studio mannequin is modeling

I’ve had Betsy for more than 35 years (she’s older than me!)

 she appeared in Eaton’s wonderful display windows – sadly long gone

so I’m working on a “me” jacket

working with limited scraps with a very strong pattern has challenges

I’m surprised at how well the front pattern worked- Betsy is definitely a help

the back panel needed extra length and width

fabric for the black inserts come from one leg of an old pair of wool dress pants (don’t know where the rest went?)

the handwoven ikat frays, all the seams are trimmed, zigzagged and then top stitched

it makes a neat finish

the only fabric left for sleeves is this brown piece, not idea but it will have to do

I want to line the jacket and am thinking of using this very fine wool fabric

someone in the guild gave it to me a few years ago – the moths had been feasting but there is enough to carefully cut out the pieces

I’m not thrilled with the colour but it will be o.k. as lining

enjoying the tea

day 2 – Hibiscus Splash – day 3 – organic Peppermint Amour – day 4 – White Cranberry Bark

who has fun putting all these ingredients together and naming them?

it’s December!

December 1, 2022

and the Christmas crazy-ies are upon us

I try to keep the season low key but it’s not easy in a consumer society

the malls are already playing “Santa Clause is Coming to Town” – or so they hope

daughter-in-law Kathy found a new advent calendar24 days of tea – from DavidsTea – all caffeine free

day 1 is Butterscotch Chai, it smells heavenly and tastes good too

nothing very creative is happening here but the boro bag is finished

it will be my go-to bag for taking spindle spinning out and about

and I’m close to finishing the silk I’ve been spinning for 6 months

I’m eager to dye it, silk dyes beautifully but I can’t decide on a colour until I know what I’ll do with it

decisions, decisions!

while raking leaves I brought in some of the seed pods from the iris foetidissima (Welsh Gladwyn)

the flowers are not very bright or interesting but the seed pods are worth growing them for

and now I’ll have another cup of tea

recreational scraps

November 25, 2022

a present was left at my front door – from the Hittys down the hill

a beautiful tree ( top left) stitched with Kjerstin’s Provencal fabric scraps – the colours are perfect

thank you Hittys

I must have made a mistake when copying the pattern – my trees are a little smaller – even a tiny bit larger would make them easier to sew

I found the idea of “recreational patchwork” fun and a bit silly, couldn’t resist trying the idea out on something larger

so – lining for the boro bag – and now I am thinking – jacket? vest?

side one

and side two

isn’t that more fun than plain?

and it used up lots of smallish bits

every bag needs an inside pocket

a scrap from the leg of my favorite jeans – the fabric is stretchy so a notebook and some pencils will fit nicely

now on to finishing the top and a strap

on Tuesday I got both my fifth Covid vaccine and the flu shot and surprisingly didn’t even have a stiff arm

and the gas man came yesterday, now I have heat

happy days!

stitchin’ on

November 19, 2022

it’s always exciting when something you’ve been working on for a month is almost finished

just 2 or 3 rows left

hundreds of tiny stitches – 24″ x 12″

but, wait a minute – join it with a strip of indigo and add more stitching

it will make a small workbag

sorting through scraps this kimono shape, stitched several years ago, is just the right size

the lace at the bottom is crocheted edging on the pillowcase scrap beneath it

and this little pocket will be handy on the outside of the bag

the tiny trees are coming along but not nearly as quickly as I initially hoped

16 total – the backing is the blue and white stripe, it wasn’t wide enough so other scraps were added

which created a small problem

when the backing fabric for 2 trees was stitched wrong side out (top right)

but this could make a great design feature – have to give it some thought

the first couple are “quilted” and more are waiting for the opening to be handstitched

meanwhile I’m still raking leaves – fig leaves are huge

and Christmas is coming!

Scrap Happy November 2022

November 14, 2022

considering it is November this entry is out of season

but when the idea strikes one has to seize the moment

many years of effort has made me more cautious, instead of jumping in and making the hat from all handwoven fabric

I decided to make a sample from commercial fabric – which led to creating a boro stitched center panel

all scraps

 the crown and brim are co-ordinating fabrics from my interior design days and are stiff like canvas so worked well

the brim lining is something leftover from a project years ago

and the flower was woven several years ago on a pin loom using handspun paper thread (shifu)

the idea came from Handwoven magazine September/October 2022 issue

they conveniently gave the source of the hat pattern

and btw this is a very interesting site

the hat fits nicely  – loose enough not to give me a headache but tight enough not to blow off in a Summer wind

so back to the original idea – auditioning handwoven fabrics

the hardest part was the selfie!

and here is a special extra – the start of next month’s Scrap Happy

with special thanks to Ann Wood

Christmas trees to make in time for gift giving – she calls this recreational patchwork

(the finished trees next month)

not being a quilter I’d never heard of it but it is so quick, easy and addictive – what’s next?

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at). the one you post.

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, 
Jill, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Claire, Jean (me), Jon, Dawn, Jule, Gwen,
Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue L, Vera,
Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Carol,
Preeti, Debbierose, Nóilin and Viv

Lest We Forget

November 11, 2022

we will remember them

thank you

snow – in November

November 8, 2022

unlike daughter-in-law Kathy, I’m not a fan of the snow

I had enough of it as a kid to last my lifetime – and you have to shovel it

but the bears were excited when it started to snow yesterday afternoon

they rushed outside to catch the flakes – Little Bear thought if he laid down and let the snow cover him he could make a snow angel

but it got cold and the snow continued

so in the morning they tried using a basket as a sled

but, again they got cold and there was hot chocolate waiting inside

and cookies

keeping warm

November 5, 2022

well, November came howling in

wind, rain and snow

no snow here thank goodness and we still have electricity although 200,000 homes were left in the dark

the bears quickly put on their woolies

I’d like to say I’m sitting by the fire stitching but the gas didn’t work and the repair man is so busy he can’t come for 3 weeks

so I put on my woolies as well!

and kept on stitching – it’s going to be something special – if it works?

I always like the back although this one is a bit messy

Gilbert was happy with his vest made from more of the ikat scraps

and it is loose enough to wear over his sweater – the more layers the better

it used every scrap of this pattern and colour

the Japanese maple leaves were beautiful until they were blown away


Halloween 2022

October 31, 2022

Happy Halloween everyone

the bears are hoping for a nice cup of tea – with spoonfuls of  honey – after raking the leaves

keeping busy

October 28, 2022

what to do when projects are finished???

searching for fresh ideas – all the old books – forgetting why and getting lost re-reading old favorites

The Trickster’s Hat by Nick Bantock

subtitled A Mischievous Apprenticeship in Creativity has great ideas on how to restart the creative engine

to keep my fingers and mind working while looking for the restart button

I started stitching tiny silk scraps – it’s crazy, they slip and slide in all directions

my usual threads were all too heavy

so I dug out an ancient spool of orange silk thread – it works and looks o.k.

it was so fiddly I decided it was finished as a tiny sample -but – it felt wonderful

so I’m proceeding slowly to make something small

what next? back to blue and white kantha stitching, using 4′ squares and alternating the stitch direction

I always stitch on a thin background fabric

these old pyjama pants will do, made from charity shop linens and indigo dyed they are past their usefulness

when I cut things up I save the seams and use them to tie up bundles

I know, this could be a Scrap Happy blog but I’m already working on that

and I think I know what this will be

the weather feels like we have gone straight from summer to winter

 I’m going to be busy raking leaves