I don’t love all crafts

I saw something move in the trees, whilst exploring a new path behind the castle in Lauder. As you know, I’m always on the lookout for the Felty Folk on my walks. Can you see it in the trees?

In the forest

Another one! I was quiet and crept a bit closer:

Felty creature

It saw me! and slid behind the tree, and was gone. Quite a wild looking one this time…

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I have always loved making things, and am happy to give anything a go, but some crafts don’t satisfy me, or just make me go “yeuch”. I’m thinking of pottery when I say “yeuch’ – I’m just not keen on all that gooey clay.

The other weekend, I had the opportunity to make a woven rag rag with the Tweed Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers. I had already decided I didn’t need a rug, and would make a cushion cover with the same technique. As requested, I brought along some fabric: some leftover cotton from sewing projects, a lovely batik cotton for the backing and main colour, (which my friend Hannah brought back from Tanzania), and I bought a small amount of cotton to tie the colours together with the colours in my living room:

My Chosen fabrics

I cut out the brown batik cotton to fit the size of my cushion, and started cutting all the fabric into strips about 1 inch wide:

Cutting strips            Cut strips

Janis Embleton, who was running the workshop, got us to weave 12 strips together to form a central block. I decided I was going to have the strips running diagonally from corner to corner, and placed the cushion backing diagonally in front of me, so the strips were running vertically and horizontally:

Beginning

By placing the weaving on the backing I could ensure the strips reached to the edges, and would fit the cushion. This part was fine and easy, and I was interested to see how it developed.

Woven Centre

We took one of the vertical strips and started weaving circularly around the central block:

Weaving 1st round

This was more tricky, as the corners ruckled up and everything slid about. After weaving one round, we continued weaving to the next corner, where we looped in 2 strips onto the previous corner strip, and wove the looped strips in. From here onwards it all got very tricky: we added 2 looped strips on every corner, and still had to maintain the over and under weaving pattern. This is how the corner strips are added:

Adding Corner strips

This is how they are woven in:

Woven Corner

So the more strips that were added at the corners, the more crowded it became and the more difficult it was to see which order the strips were in. Anyway I kept at it, stressed, and muttering an “over, under, over, under” mantra to myself.

By 3.30 pm people started packing up, but I was nowhere near finished. I pinned together the loose strips and rolled it up to finish it at home. I had partly thought that making a cushion cover would be easier than a rug; however, as I was using thinner fabric, and therefore narrower strips, it took many rounds of weaving to fill my square shape. One of the Tweed Guild members, Janet, finished her rug within the time, using a thick tweedy wool fabric, and only had to weave about 3 rounds. I gnashed my teeth a bit at that, but her rug looked great.

A couple of days later I unrolled my work, and decided I liked the look of it enough to slog on with the weaving. This is how much I had managed to weave in the workshop:

Weave at home

I wove a few more rounds and reached the edge of the square. I could now stop weaving in rounds and adding extra strips. Whew! I then wove short strips across each corner to complete the diamond shape:

Last corner woven

I was so glad to finish it.

I needed to keep the momentum up to sew it into a cushion cover, as I could so easily have shoved it in a bag and forgotten it; so I grimly kept on keeping on.

I pinned all the loose strips to each other to stop it falling apart and gave it a good iron, then placed the cushion cover backing squarely on it, (right sides together), and pinned the layers together on 3 sides:

Pin back

I trimmed the strips a bit so they didn’t get tangled in the sewing machine, and carefully sewed the 3 sides, keeping the back facing up so I could follow the edge and sew a 1/2 inch seam. I sewed a zip to the open side back edge.

Sewing tip – always iron everything you seam as you go. It really keeps everything sharp and makes it easier to pin for the next stage. I often pin work while still at the ironing board.

I ironed the seams, clipped the corners:

Clip corners

Turned it right side out, and pressed again, it really looked like a cushion cover then:

Right side out

I folded and pressed under the strips on the remaining edge:

Zipper edges

Then sewed the strips down and trimmed them. After pressing it all, I decided to try putting the cushion inside the cover to see how it looked: to my dismay, there were holes showing the cushion through the cover!

Holes

I also realised I had hemmed the last edge wrong. I sighed a big sigh and gritted my teeth again determined to finish the **** thing off.

I pinned some strip trimmings over the holes:

Patching holes

I hand sewed these on the inside. I carefully unpicked the “bad” hem  so it didn’t unweave itself, repinned, trimmed, sewed, pressed. Finally, I invisibly hand sewed the zip to the woven hemmed edge.

And it was finished.

Finished cushion

I am very pleased with it. I am very grateful to Janis for showing me how to do it.

I won’t be doing it again.

I don’t love all crafts.

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