Thursday, 28 November 2013

Textiles - Part 4 Textile Structures

Introduction - Fabrics in the Home As this could be such a wide ranging subject I decided to just focus on a few of my favourites. 

Scarves I have got a lot of scarves in many different fabrics, from ones that I have made myself to 100% silk ones.  I usually remove the label as soon as I get them so I can’t always remember what some of the fabrics consist of but I choose them for the drape, texture and colour.  I have got beautiful velvet ones where the colour changes in the light and silk ones that drape beautifully.  The grey cotton is lovely to twist and tie.  I have got two that have got fabulous texture and a per una one that has an open base with various different yarns woven through, creating a fringe at both ends[ this is an acrylic/polymide/wool mix.  The stripe one is 100% acrylic, but it is lovely and soft and I love the mix of colours.  

This is my favourite jacket for travelling.  It is from Dash and is a 98% wool 2% elastine, it is reversible and doesn't crease at all, so can be folded and stuffed into a bag and still come out looking great. 

My favourite jacket for riding is this purple one.  It is a really good design; the back has a double vent which makes it sit nicely when mounted on a horse.  There is a quilted liner that zips inside to make it warmer for the winter.  The liner can be worn as a separate jacket, or with the sleeves zipped out as a body warmer.  There is an interior pocket on both jacket and liner for a mobile phone.  The only thing I don’t like about this jacket is that the fabric is a bit noisy and makes a bit of a rustling sound when the arm rubs against the body. The inner jacket outer and lining and the outer jacket lining is 100% polyester, and the outer jacket is 100% waterproof nylon.

This is a rag rug that I have made.  I used to help at primary school when my children were small.  An elderly lady also came in to help and teach rag rugging to the children.  This held many memories for her and she didn’t want the practice to be forgotten.  Her and her mum would make a rag rug from old worn out clothes and this new rug would then take pride of place in front of the fire in the best room.  The old rug from this room would then be moved into the kitchen and the rug from the kitchen would be moved to the scullery.  I made my rug from an old hessian sack, which I unpicked, washed and then hemmed by hand around the edge.  For the rags I used old t-shirts, leggings and PJ’s.  I can see bits of fabric that we all used to wear (including my mum) and it brings back lots of memories.  The proddy was a split dolly peg sharpened at the end.  I use my rug in front of our log-burner, it saves the carpet from stray embers.  I wash it in the washing machine and just hang it on the line to dry.  The pile is no-where-near worn out, but the hessian sack is starting to fray (will have to relegate it to the kitchen soon)! 

My favourite evening bag is made by local textile artist Daphne Bursell.  She lives locally in Shropshire and is inspired by the countryside around her.  The bag is a very basic shape and fastens with a small magnetic closure, the fabric is felted crochet.  I think the looped fringe is possibly Giotto Yarn from the local Collinette store.  This is an Aran weight, plant/manmade fibre yarn possible in the Gauguin colour way.  The bag is a very versatile colour and seems to go with anything that I wear in the evening. The other bag is a beach bag from American Eagle Outfitters which my son brought back for me from New York.  It is a very heavy striped cotton fabric with a strong handle made of the same fabric stitched along its length five times.  It has a drawstring closure at the top.

I always keep a cotton handkerchief in my evening bag. It is usually one of these two.  The left one is from Portugal, it is made of white cotton and measures about 20cm square. The hem is machine-finished and edged with a crochet border in a variegated peach and green thread.  One corner of the hanky has been cut off and has a large crocheted butterfly appliquéd over it. 

The other is again white cotton about 21cm square.  It has a rolled hem and is machine embroidered and appliquéd with a small amount of cut work in the flowers.


My grandmother was an extremely accomplished needlewoman.  She made many items of embroidery for her home, for both her daughter-in-laws and also as prizes for local whist drives and raffles.  I only have two pieces of her embroidery - 4 panels (possible for a bed cover) and a very small picture that would probably have been a prize.  These are all hand worked.  The large panels are heavy linen and have been hemmed by hand and edged with blanket stitch so that they can be easily sewn together to form a much larger piece. As you can see in the photograph below the reverse side of the piece (on the right of the image) is almost as neat as the front (on the left of the image). The small picture is worked on a small piece of satin and placed in a small silver frame.

The other piece of embroidery I have got is a tablecloth made by my mum. This has been well used and is worn out really but a lot of work has gone into it so I still use it.  Here again the reverse side is almost as neat as the front. 

It is a very simple design of circles with daisies and forget-me-knots and purple bows, I love the way the lazy daisy stitch is worked in white, with the small stitch holding it firm, worked in pink.  I think this was a trick passed on by my grandmother.  The napkins are from Debenhams and are 100% cotton.  They are machine hemmed and edged with small gold beads.  The tablecloth underneath is from Marks and Spencer and is also 100% cotton.  I love the colours and the woven detail along the checks.

Horse Product 
My horse is allergic to midges so she has to wear a nose-to-tail rug from March to October.  I have tried different types of rugs in the past, but by far the best is the Boett Sweet Itch Rug.  The close-knit, manmade fabric is unique to Boett; designed to be water and grease repellent, non-fray and quite strong.  It is also breathable and quick drying.  If it does get ripped the fabric is light enough to be patched with a domestic sewing machine so that repairs can be carried out quickly (although the dirt and grease don’t do too much for the sewing machine!).  The rug is also machine washable.  

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