Boro, Darning and me

 

 

 

 

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I found all these mending threads in a charity shop. I don’t know how old they are, but maybe 40 or 50 years old. Possibly older. They’re in good condition: you’d think they were made yesterday.

Do you like to mend things? Do you gaze in awe at Boro textiles?

I mend from time to time, but I’m always admiring photos of Boro textiles. Maybe I haven’t paid too much attention to darning but I think it’s probably similar. What do you think? Anyway, I decided to see if I could combine practicality and looks with a bit of mending. I love these socks – they’re great in long boots. I think they’re known as shooting socks – maybe meant to go with Plus Fours? Not sure.

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The look of Boro?

I don’t know where I got these mending threads but they’re very pretty. Maybe I thought they were embroidery threads. They have the motto of “Ukanboil” on the label. Don’t think I’ll be boiling my socks any time soon. The label also says that they are for mending underwear…

My Pinterest board is full of beautifully mended Boro textiles and there are a few darned pieces too – like this beauty. I’ve classed it as Boro on Pinterest.

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This image was originally from long-john.nl . I love the visible mending.

My attempt at mending with the sock threads. Although the after photo makes the sock look nubbly it’s actually quite comfortable to wear.

And just today I saw this post showing a beautifully mended blanket. Please go and take a look.

Do you love Boro textiles? Do you enjoy mending?

I’d love to hear from you.

Enjoy your week.

Norma x

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21 Comments

Filed under boro, Clothes, mending, recycling, sewing, textiles, Thrift

Refashioned Skirt

My dyeing and painting tunic

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The original me made skirt

I wear many clothes to destruction. They’re only fit to be turned into cleaning rags or if there are good bits, maybe some bits of quilt fabric.  But I can’t find a photo of me wearing this skirt, maybe that’s because I didn’t wear it very often.

I have a “thing” about clothes that I don’t wear much. I feel sad when I see them hanging there wasted. Some such things just go straight to the charity shop: they’re too good (and  too unloved) to be used for something else.

To refashion it: I took off the top of the skirt where the darts were, made armholes and bound the edges.  I made more buttonholes so that it would cover me better.

Then I tried it on.

It needed shaping badly so I used some large black buttons to pull it in and give me some shape.

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Next came pockets –  a working tunic has to have pockets…  It was lucky that I had a few bits of the original fabric left because the bits I’d cut off the skirt just wouldn’t stretch to two pockets.

 

I don’t know why the pockets look blue on the photo – they are definitely black.

And that’s all: I’ve worn the tunic a lot and I’ve even had compliments on it. It’s a simple but successful refashion.

What do you do with your failures? Do you enjoy refashioning? I’d love to hear from you.

Have  a fun week.

Norma x

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Filed under Clothes, dressmaking, recycling, sewing, textiles, upcycling

Using Pinterest 

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My Throw in Progress (with basting stitches!)

If you were to take a look at my Pinterest boards (via the sidebar on my blog or here). You might be surprised at what you see, especially if you’ve known me for a while. I don’t think they’re much like what I’ve been making.

I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions, so I’ll call this an aim for 2018 and beyond. I’m going to try to bring my sewing and crafting in line with the dreaming I’m recording on Pinterest.  So what about this throw?

I’m a member of a quilt group called Welsh Heritage Quilters and every two years we hold an exhibition at the Minerva Arts Centre in Llanidloes. You can show any quilted item you’ve finished since the last exhibition or which is in progress, but there are also categories to encourage us to push ourselves.  I decided to make something for the “Welsh” category. I’ve been learning a lot about traditional Welsh quilts at the Quilt Association and wanted to have a go.

My starting point

Frame quilts are very traditional so that was what I decided to make.  I bought many of the fabrics to make a throw as a wedding gift, but lost my nerve and left them languishing untouched in the drawer. The colours seemed just right for a traditional quilt.

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Close up of Quilting in Progress

Welsh quilting patterns are very distinctive and I set about trying to copy some, but then…

I decided not to try to make a clone but something based on all the boro and kantha quilts I’ve Pinned.  I’m using variegated Sulky thread to stitch what are traditional Welsh patterns, but in a way that seems to me more like boro or kantha. Don’t know if I’ve succeeded but it’s very satisfying. I’m really enjoying the quilting process.

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The back in progress

I’m not too concerned about my stitches as I’m hoping the patterns, when finished, will draw the eye away from individual stitches.

I’ve had difficulties. The only marker I could see was yellow chalk (seen on the photos) and that rubbed off, so I marked, worked outlines and marked again. It’s not fully marked yet and none of the hearts or circles are yet fully quilted – some infill is called for.

The wadding is cotton flannel that’s been sitting in my sewing cupboard for years on end. It’s not easy to hand quilt but I’m getting used to it. Many traditional Welsh quilts would have contained carded wool and were quilted very closely to keep the wadding in place during laundry.

So, I’ve started using my Pins to influence my quilts, but I’ve got clothes boards you really wouldn’t believe if you saw them and a shoe board brimming with shoe making ideas. But those are for other times, other posts.

Do you use Pinterest? How do you use it? I’d love to know so do join the conversation. And if you put a link to your boards in the comments I’ll take a look.

Enjoy your week.

Norma x

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under patchwork, Pinterest, quilts, sewalongs, textiles, traditional quilts

Bag Fest 

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This is a tweedy (with a bit of hemp) bag made from a pattern by Michaela Smith called “Night Owl”. The pattern’s for a cushion but I like bags more. It holds lots & is good for travelling.

These bags are made from this quilt.

Landscape quilt

It had been languishing in my sewing cupboard for months, so I washed it and made the bags. The fabrics are silks & silk lookalikes.

The binding on the quilt mostly couldn’t be saved but I had some bits of the original left so I cut some more. The original is leftover from making this skirt – still worn after all these years, but now as calf length rather than full length.

I made the original quilt following a holiday on Skye – it represents the view I could see when eating my breakfast.

I’m intending to take these patchwork bags along to Quillies in Rhayader to see if they can be sold alongside my fabric pots.

 

My favourite tote bag – and believe me I love tote bags… This is a furnishing fabric remnant that I just couldn’t resist.

Gratuitous dog photos!

 

And this is my jeans bag. Linda asked me to show it ages ago & I just didn’t manage to blog. Sorry!

So you can see I’ve been busy despite my blogging silence. Looking forward to catching up with you all.

Happy New Year

Norma x

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Filed under jeans, patchwork, recycling, textiles, upcycling

Pant y Dwr is Yarnbombed

Postman Pat guarding the post box.

In progess!

Nearly there…

The St Harmon WI and the Pant y Dwr craft group have been working hard. This is just a taste of what’s been done. Please take a look at the St Harmon WI Facebook page if you’re interested.

There aren’t many of us but we’ve been working hard.

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Filed under Crochet, Knitting, yarnbombing

Scrappy Post

I’m very late for Scrap Happy September but thought I’d show you these little fabric pots I’ve made.

The largest has a 2.25 inch base and is an inch high. These pots are going to a local shop but I plan to make some in silk for Christmas presents and fill them with little gifts.

I will be around soon to look at what you’ve been up to and soon I’ll be back to regular posts.

Have a lovely week

Norma x

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Filed under fabric bowls, fabric pots and bags, scraps, sewing, textiles

Blackberry Dye Update

This is the dress after rinsing. A sort of dusky pink.

This is the old pillowcase I used to strain the dye. Tie dye look and some lovely purple. I’ll use this in a quilt, I think.

The blackberries were wild. I picked the on the ground ones that no one ever wants. It’s a good year for blackberries so I will pick some more for dyeing as well as those I need for jam & wine.

The dress will go away when dry so as to allow the dye to take well.

I’ve been dyeing lots this summer and I’ve sewn and even done some secret knitting. I’ll be showing some of this stuff soon. If I haven’t visited your blog recently I’ll be around soon. Sorry to have been so out of touch.

Have fun!

Norma x

16 Comments

Filed under #1year1outfit, Clothes, dresses, dyeing, fashion, slow dyeing, slow fashion

Blackberry Dye

This is the linen Merchant & Mills Curlew dress previously tea dyed.

I’ve worn it in its previous incarnation and decided the colour is not for me as a dress.

Maybe as a top I’d like it better.

It was mordanted in sour milk originally and the tea and the wash it had after wearing should also act as mordants.

I will dry without rinsing and leave it to cure for a week or two before washing.

Apologies for the photo quality – I’m having to use my phone.

Enjoy your week.

Norma

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Filed under Clothes, dressmaking, dyeing, fashion, slow dyeing, slow fashion, textiles

Garden Dyeing Again

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Garden dyed skirt

This linen skirt has been in the dyepot several times since it was made. The link shows the original undyed colour of the linen.

The lines and dots were made by painting with egg. The final dye was made from dock leaves taken from plants that were seeding. It gives a much deeper yellow than leaves taken earlier in the season but I think the build up of the various dyes helps too.

I’m planning to stitch along the lines with variegated silk threads. It will be a long time before I finish this skirt.

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Tunic Dyed with Sage

This tunic was made from a sheet and has undergone several transformations.  I tried printing with sage leaves and loved the yellow colour but it came out in blobs rather than leaf shapes. That’s what encouraged me to dye the whole thing with sage. It’s been in the dye pot in the greenhouse for six days which is quite a short time for solar dyeing here, but the weather has been exceptionally hot.

This is it rinsed in cold water and hanging in the shade; once dry, I will put it away for a week or two before washing it (gently!). I’ve noticed that the dye stays in better if the fabric gets a good rest between each stage.

The marks on the tunic were made by the copper pipes coming out of the hot water tank. Originally accidental, I liked them, so I made some more.

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Some garden dyed samples

These pieces of cotton fabric were originally white and were solar dyed as follows:

Top left used dock leaves from seeding plants.

Top right is from dock leaves pre seeding.

Bottom left is Earl Grey tea.

Bottom right is dandelion flowers. I was suprised by this as they produced a brownish shade on the skirt and a very brown shade on the painted parts of it.

If you’re interested in mordants, some pieces of fabric have been treated with alum but most have been soaked in dilute (slightly sour) milk and washed in washing soda before dyeing. They have all been left to dry between each stage and some have been stored for several weeks.  Alum is the only “normal” mordant I use. The others worry me somewhat and I prefer milk followed by washing soda.

Pieces of old sheet have picked up the dye really well without me adding any mordant. I think that is because of the number of times the sheet has been washed before it became part of my stash. I think there’s a build up of washing soda or something similar.

If you are interested in more detail, please let me know. I will do my best to answer any questions. All these are experiments inspired by India Flint. I think it will take years before I will be able to call myself a dyer but I’m enjoying the journey.

Thanks for dropping by,

Norma x

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Filed under dyeing, fashion, India Flint, scraps, slow dyeing, slow fashion, solar dyeing, textiles

I made my shoes!

New espadrilles from scrap fabric and bought soles.

I used a pattern from Mollie Makes magazine. They’re a first attempt and don’t fit as well as I’d like so I’m going to alter the pattern and make another pair.

This photo shows the lining – a piece from my old kitchen curtains. 

I’d really like to make more shoes and this seemed a good way to start. 

The soles are made by Prym and I bought them online. And a word of warning – the pattern doesn’t have seam allowances and so far as I can tell, doesn’t say so.

Thanks for dropping by. 

Norma x 

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Filed under fashion, scraps, sewing, shoemaking, shoes