Monday, 16 February 2015

BAGS of Fun!

Weavers met for our February meeting today. We welcomed two new members, Neta who we know already from Guild and Kathy who is new. Neta spins, knits, felts and is about to add weaving to her repertoire. Kathy has been a weaver in the past but has given it a rest to breed miniature schnauzers. She is keen to revitalise her weaving skills now that she has moved to Blenheim. 

Show and Tell photos will be posted in a few days but for now this post will be a tutorial for a nifty little bag that captured the imagination of several members at the last meeting.  It's quicker and easier to make than to describe so don't be put off by the instructions. Some people tried their hand at making one today but most will be finishing them - or even starting - at home.  Some people missed out on the bag discussion as they were busy helping whoever needed assistance and having mini tutorials on whatever was needed. Thanks to those who willingly share their knowledge and experience. So for them - and for those who didn't quite "get it", here is the "Bandana Bag." A bandana or square scarf is easy because it is already hemmed.

Start with a bandana or a square of your chosen fabric. It is well worth while squaring up your piece first if it is not quite square, If you have raw edges you need to deal with them first.
Divide it into three across the diagonal as shown. (Measuring's good!)  Check the width at top and bottom to make sure it's straight.  Fold the east and west points across as shown and stitch where they overlap. Stitch only the top two layers or you will not be able to use the envelope pockets. TIP: If you are using a bandana with printing on one selvedge, fold that side down first so it will be covered.
Fold in half with the stitched points inside (i.e. inside out)  Don't be fooled by the "right side" written on the flap - trust me!  Stitch the side seams where marked x - - - x leaving 2.5 cm clear at the top for the casing. Turn the bag to the right side.
Fold the flaps down, one on each side. Now stitch across the top of each flap to make a casing for the draw strings.  Thread two cord or ribbon draw strings through both casings, one from each side, and tie the ends.

Options include an iron-on interfacing over the whole square if you want a bit more body, or lining the square with another fabric before you start (a good way to deal with raw edges).  This is not necessary for the main part of the bag which is self-lined but it gives a lining to the two envelope pockets on the outside.

Embellish as you wish. Cheap jewellery is fun!  You can go casual . . .
or upmarket with a silk scarf . . .
or you may like to go off on a different tangent and make a book. Use interfacing and slip a piece of card into each envelope pocket. This sketchbook has pencils in one of the pockets but you may think of many more ideas.

By October we want each member to make a handwoven bag for a display at our Area Exhibition. This is just one simple idea; there are dozens of others. Have fun finding them.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Heritage Day at Brayshaw Park

Waitangi Day, 6 February saw activity in every corner of the park - not that we weavers saw any of it except what went on in Bobbin cottage.  We had planned to warp up the Guild loom ready for anyone and everyone to "have a go" at weaving cushion covers and that is what we did. It was a team effort with Joan, Win, Chris, Tricia and Rose all having a hand in it, though, mercifully, not all at once!
Feltima sat outside and welcomed the visitors.
 Our little displayof samples, ancient and modern, was certainly colourful
complemented by some new finished work which had Pam wondering about the crackle technique.
Colour also brightened up the day with the new warp dyed by Joan. 
Considering most of it had been 'boring beige' as you will see from the cop under the loom, 
we were all most impressed. Thank you Joan.

We were too occupied getting the warp on to remember to take photos earlier, 
but here is Chris starting the weaving with Joan as consultant.  
The instructions for weaving are attached to the loom 
and there are plenty of shuttles ready wound with even more colours, 
so next time you are at Bobbin Cottage, why not HAVE A GO!
A contrast in colour and fineness, this is a scarf of Joan's which she put the last picks into on the day. 
It's white silk with stripes of narrow ribbon giving it a lovely texture.
Nancy and Jan were loyal supporters throughout, each doing their own thing and attending to the many visitors.
Always keeping her eye out for a new pattern, Jan takes notes of a new find.
Pincushions from the end of year meeting were part of the display and here are some handwoven ones.
Thanks to all who took part, including the spinners who did their demonstrating in the Girling building.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Happy New Year 2015

After a long summer break the weavers met for the first time on Sunday 1 February for an informal lunch and planning meeting at Tricia's. After what seemed like weeks of searing temperatures it was a little cooler and even a little drizzly which curtailed our use of Tricia's new deck which is part of her ongoing renovation plan. Thanks for inviting us Tricia and congratulations on the make-over of your home. Seven people attended. Several of our mobile members were out of town and sent apologies and suggestions for our upcoming year. There was a refreshing enthusiasm for a team effort to encourage new members by offering to teach people to weave and there is a move afoot to publicise this and try to gain expressions of interest from members of the public.

Show and Tell included Jen's venture into weaving with cotton which had involved interpreting a more complex pattern threading than she has used before. Well done Jen. Her colours were great to brighten up a dull day.

Judy had repeated one of her very successful projects -- a double weave wrap in black and red silk. It has two panels slightly offset and stitched together in places by double square motifs.  The camera had real trouble picking up the vivid red colour so the photo doesn't do Judy's work justice but you can see the clever construction.

Again, the colour is probably not quite true but below is a wrap in alpaca/silk woven in an 8 shaft huck lace by Rose.

Another item by Rose is this Really Thick Warm Woolly Throw. Why she chose to work with these yarns in 30 degree temperatures is a question she is still asking herself. However, it was a stash-buster and needed doing.
Win is leaning towards felting rather than weaving and gets light-heartedly ribbed about "going over the dark side" but in fact we do admire the work she is producing. Here is an extremely light nuno felted scarf incorporating dyed "silk hankies".

This bright and cheerful runner incorporates recycling of recycling!  A commercial rag mat was deconstructed, the fabrics sorted and pressed then laid out with black and red felting fibres and given another life. 

Perhaps in years to come this will be recycled again into a cushion or a bag!

Heritage Day comes around again this week -- Waitangi Day on Friday 6 February.  We plan to demonstrate warping up the loom at Bobbin Cottage to begin a session on weaving cushions. Joan will work some of her dyeing magic so we have something colourful to entice people to "have a go."