29 April 2015

I have scraps from many hand woven projects.  The reason I have scraps left over is because I sew many of my projects, I don’t like to plan short  I prefer to have some cloth left over instead of running short, and I put on extra warp to experiment, also called sampling.  Having just mounted a solo show of weaving I have lots of hand woven scraps at this moment and I have decided to  turn  some them into  little bags to hold treasures.

Most cultures have these little bags made to hold special, rare objects–a lock of hair, a rare medicinal plant, a crystal– but they go by many names: amulet pouch, medicine bag…

Here is one piece that I have left from a quechquemitl that is in the show.16661984124_65e1a0064c_o  It is 8/2 cotton  sett at 50 epi to make a warp faced cloth.  The pin stripes  are 5/2 hand dyed pearl cotton making a wee bit of ikat.  The color on the pearl cotton goes from strong red to pink, the pink is similar in value to to the beige  and nearly disappears– an almost magical effect.  This is from the beginning of the warp, normally where you weave in scarp yarn to spread the warp.  Warp faced cloth doesn’t need to be spread but I did weave the first bit with some fine linen weft that was on a bobbin, you can see the cloth looks less ridged for the first bit, just above the knots. Then I switched to the 8/2 cotton which I used for the weft.  This has been machine washed and pressed.

I cut off 1/3 of the width, I used the serger with wooly nylon in the loopers, to cut and secure the edge.

I lined the little bag with a piece of sheer crisp silk, just basted it in place before I began any construction or embellishment.  The seam to make it into a tube, with the stripes going length-wise is a butted seam at center back.  I cover both the serged edge and the selvage that it meets with a single crochet in using the beige 8/2 cotton. Using a sharp crochet hook to penetrate the cloth is a help but it is slow going, the crochet hooks catches threads in the cloth too.   I then added a row of single crochet in the red pearl cotton.  The silk lining was caught in the crochet and is thus attached to the bag.

Next I did the embellishment on the front of the bag.  The face is carved in a nut shell and reminds me of the faces of tree spirits.  I couched down thrumbs  from the cloth and added Mother of Pearl and glass beads.

Once the embellishment was done I laced up the back seam , using the red pearl cotton and baseball stitch. Then crochet a around the top to make the bag taper in.

The bottom  is closed by twisting together the fringe from the front and back of the bag. There are 50 end per inch in the cloth so two layers are 100 epi– a LOT of ends to tie together. You can see how big the knots are in the picture above, if I double the number of threads the knots will be even bigger. I want to compact the fringe so that it is about the width of the cloth , it is ok if it flares out farther down.  So I chose to make twisted fringe because it compacts the threads. I twisted beige threads with beige threads and red ones with red.

17077124247_afea59ea38_oNow the bottom of the bag is closed.  I made some twisted rope to close the top.

Here is a before and after picture:


I had some scraps of this cloth with out fringe too.  I transformed them into little pouches


These turned out more like wallets; nice size to hold credit cards.

Scraps can be turned into small pouches using what ever skills you have: crochet, sewing, knitting, beading, embroidery. Scrapes are good.



2 Responses to “Scraps”

  1. KerryCan Says:

    This was just fascinating to read! As a new weaver, I’m trying to come up with ideas for how to use thrums and other leftovers. Your creativity with this project inspires me!


  2. Cathie B. Says:

    Karren, your bag with the flared twisted fringe is beautiful. There is creativity of course in your piece which you are so good at, but their is also, as I experience it, a sort of “watching” you do as to where the piece wants to go. For instance looking at the fringe with the 50/100 ends and not making it try to do anything but flare. It’s perfect. “Watching ” a piece while designing makes it seem natural , not forced. It so much harder than it looks. My 2 cents:) I love it!


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