43 posts categorized "Textile, Fabric, Cloth"

Girl conquers machine

ShuttleracecoverNo longer upside-down and backwards / New Jersey / March 2010

This is the happy day of the girl, who had been hand-sewing for two years, finally gathering her wits about her to attempt to diagnose the problem with her sewing machine and discovering (after studying and studying the drawings in the manual), that she hadn't broken the machine, but rather, in a sewing frenzy she had put the shuttle race cover in upside-down and backwards — thus jamming the bobbin and preventing the needle from moving.

As the women sat knitting, knitting

Malabrigo_liquid_amber I can't stop knitting this soft Malabrigo merino yarn from Uruguay in Liquid Amber / New Jersey / Feb. 2010

“Darkness closed around, and then came the ringing of the church bells and the distant beating of the military drums in the Palace Courtyard, as the women sat knitting, knitting. Darkness incompassed them. Another darkness was closing in as surely, when the church bells, then ringing pleasantly in many an airy steeple over France, should be melted into thundering cannon; when the military drums should be beating to drown a wretched voice, that night all-potent as the voice of Power and Plenty, Freedom and Life. So much was closing in about the women who sat knitting, knitting, that they their very selves were closing in around a structure yet unbuilt, where they were to sit knitting, knitting, counting dropping heads.”

~ Charles Dickens, 1890, A Tale of Two Cities

Quieten the nerves

RedflowerAnd lately, I need my nerves quietened / New Jersey / Feb. 2010

“Knitting is very calming work; it quietens the nerves, and helps people to take a philosophical view of life. It is easy to get rid of worry, ruffled temper, and discontent, when we can knit these disagreeable companions into a pair of stockings.”

~ Phyllis Browne, Hot to Knit a Stocking, 1888

To all the spirits of places


A length of ribbon and a bit of thread hide the sweater's secret: a big moth hole / New Jersey / Feb. 2010

This is the day of the ancient Inca-like characters that marched across the wool sweater, keeping its secret...

“Creator, end of all,
who rewards and grants:
Let the communities and peoples prosper
and also those who journey outside or within.”

~ An excerpt from To All the Spirits of Places, one of The Sacred Hymns of Pachacutec (ancient Inca poetry)

Necessity being the mother of invention

Legwarmers Lightweight but warm my last-minute legwarmers took less than a minute to make (luckily I already had a felted sweater in the closet) / New Jersey / Dec. 2009

How to Make a Great Pair of Legwarmers

  1. Take an old wool sweater, with long sleeves, and wash it in hot water to felt it so the ends won't fray.
  2. Cut the sleeves off at the shoulders.
  3. Slide the sleeves onto your legs (I slid them on so that the smaller cuff part was around my ankle). Done!

They can be worn over stockings (kept my legs extremely warm as I walked through a blizzard), over pants like a pair of gaiters (were great when the snow was almost two feet high), or under pants to keep the cold air from blowing up your legs (if they slouch down too much on bare legs, wear the cuff at the top).

Of making many books there is no end

New curtains brighten the front room as late afternoon sunlight (fabric is Volumes and Plumes by Anna Maria Horner) / April 2009

Books, books again, and books once more!
These are our theme, which some miscall
Mere madness, setting little store
By copies either short or tall.
But you, O slaves of Shelf and Stall!
We rather write for you that hold
Patched folios dear, and prize “the small,
Rare volume, black with tarnish'd gold.”

~ by British poet Austin Dobson (1840- 1921)

It's on the bag

A fabric patch adds style to a dull bag (Anna Marie Horner's Drawing Room line of heavy-weight cotton; Pressed Flowers in Rose) / May 2009

Renew. A tired old bag gets new life with splashes of color and design. My travel bag was looking dull and bedraggled. I sewed on two fabric panels to spruce it up. The front one covers the flap and ugly logo (see a before picture after the jump). I measured the size of the patches, made a template, cut the fabric and then hemmed the edges under. At first I was going to use fabric glue, but wasn't sure it would adhere well enough and I was worried about lots of air bubbles. It was easy to sew on and if gets dull and bedraggled again I can easily sew on another patch.

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The pattern of my life

Notorious Non-cooperative Knitting / bag before felting / Feb. 2006

“After a dead serious consideration of the effects of this committee's work and of my relation to it, I find that for the following reasons I must refuse to cooperate with this body.

... as a poet I must refuse to cooperate with the committee on what I can only call esthetic* grounds. The view of life which we receive through the great works of art is a privileged one — it is a view of life according to probability or necessity, not subject to the chance and accident of our real world and therefore in a sense truer than the life we see lived all around us. I believe that one of the things required of us is to try to give life an esthetic ground, to give it some of the pattern and beauty of art. I have tried as best I can to do this with my own life, and while I do not claim any very great success, it would be anti-climactic, destructive of the pattern of my life, if I were to cooperate with the committee. Then too, poets have been notorious non-cooperators where committees of this sort are concerned. As a traditionalist, I would prefer to take my stand with Marvell, Blake, Shelley and Garcia Lorca rather than with innovators like Mr. Jackson. I do not wish to bring dishonor upon my tribe.”

~ Thomas McGrath's Statement to the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC)

* esthetic: a philosophical theory as to what is beautiful

An ardent supporter of black and white


The finished hand-sewn cropped black and white houndstooth jacket (McCall's 5244) with sari lining and the perfect button thanks to A; attaching the interfaced collar to the body strained the limits of my hand-sewing enthusiasm / Nov. 2008

Schiaparelli's affinity with modernism was reflected in her own wardrobe, which was invariably black, white, or black and white. British Vogue for January 1930 described the designer as 'one of the most ardent supporters of black and white, and her enthusiasm is shared by many women who find this combination distinguishing and becoming.'”

~ an excerpt from Shocking! The Art and Fashion of Elsa Schiaparelli (1890-1973)

Houndstooth 1

A case of the blues: a hand-sewn houndstooth fleece jacket with patterned insert and copper ribbon trim made from an old Burda pattern; made of angled pieces (see the back side after the jump); the collar can be worn up for warmth or open / Oct. 2008

Yesterday's post mentioned blueprints. They are so-named because of the process used to print them called cyanotype where a photosensitive compound is applied to paper. When the paper is exposed to strong light the “printed” areas are converted to insoluble blue ferric ferrocyanide, sometimes called Prussian blue or iron blue.  

Prussian blue (also called Hamburg Blue, Paris Blue, Milori blue, Haarlem blue, bronze blue, celestial blue, cyanine, oriental blue, and potash blue) is a very dark blue, colorfast, non-toxic pigment. The discovery of this pigment (circa 1704) was important since it was the first stable and light-fast blue pigment to be widely used by painters and artists (previously many of the blues they used would fade or were prohibitively expensive). Prussian blue has been used as a pigment in printing inks, paints, typewriter ribbons, and carbon paper.

Solutions derived from Prussian blue are the basis for laundry bluing. Somewhat counterintuitively, it improves the appearance of textiles, especially white fabrics. Adding a blue dye solution (e.g., baking soda mixed with synthetic ultramarine, or sometimes Prussian blue) to the wash disguises yellowing and makes whites appear whiter. Need to brighten your whites and colors? Try Mrs. Stewart's Bluing (it's not-toxic and biodegradable, too!).

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