Blog, book review, Book Reviews

Craftfulness

Mend yourself by making things

By Rosemary Davidson and Arzu Tahsin

Published by Quercus books

As somebody who is a craft author and maker of many years, when I saw the title and strap line of this book it resonated with me. 

In the introduction the authors, both makers, describe how they realized that craft is their therapy.

‘ Working with my hands to make a thing-whether it’s a sketchbook or a piece of weaving or drawing –fulfils some essential function of me. It feels predestined, it’s a part of my DNA. I can’t imagine not having a project on the go. There would be a hole in my life, a sense that there is something I should be doing. When I’m making I am focused, resolved, connected to the work I am shaping. Afterwards I feel refreshed, invigorated even, and always more energetic for what is going on around me. I’ve come to the conclusion that as long as I’m making, I can do all the other things being alive requires of me. I equate my daily craft practice with, if anything, meditation.” Azru Tahsin, editor, crafter and one of the authors of this book.

         The co-author Rosemary Davidson describes being surround with materials from which to make as a small child. Her grandmother was a seamstress and so Rosemary had access to beads feather and threads from a very early age.

“When I’m making I have room to think. And to do my daydreaming.” she says.

         Neither woman wishes to set up a business crafting things so they wondered why do they craft. This book comes up with some very plausible of the answers.

         ‘ We make things because we enjoy it and because our crafts make us feel better. It is when we return to our sewing, knitting, bookbinding or weaving that we achieve moments of calm. When our energy is low, making something energizes us. Making reaches into the place where ideas are sparked and where problems are resolved.’

          The authors admit that they are not craft experts, or feel particularly ‘artistic’ in the conventional sense of the word. They both work as freelance editors, but it is by being menders, dabblers and gung-ho experimenters that they are convinced there are health benefits to be had by practicing as often as possible a craft that inspires and challenges.

‘Through making and mending things, we contend that you are also potentially making and mending yourself’.

 The book is divided into three sections. The first, and for me the most fascinating part, explores what is meant by creativity and the importance of craft in our lives. The authors explore the latest research on how working with your hands and making things can have a huge impact on your mental well-being and happiness.

         The second section of the book deals with how to deal with negativity, how to stretch your imagination and flex your fingers.   The final part of the book has a projects section that gives techniques for a number of crafts including weaving on a frame, knitting, drawing making a simple clay pot and darning and mending. There is lots of helpful advise including inspirational web sites and a recommended reading list.

Blog, Makes, Uncategorized

Create a boho bench

Design by Juliet Bawden Photography Paul Craig

Today’s make is really an Ikea Hack of a Nornas Bench  transforming a rather dull nondescript softwood bench into an on trend vibrant padded seat/coffee table by being creative and painting, dying, and doing some sustainable up-cycling.

Boho Bench copy

 

You will need

Nornas Ikea Bench

2 meters thick wadding

Black paint

Paint brush

Korbond iron on hemming tape

Goldfish Orange machine dye Dylon 

Old velvet curtain

Old rug

Staple gun

Old duvet

Sewing machine and thread

Scissors

Saw

Iron and ironing board

Invisible marker pen Korbond

BohoBenchDetail

 

Instructions

Step-by-Step

  1. Following the makers instructions dye the velvet and leave to dry.
  2. Saw off the edges of the bench so that there is no overhang.
  3. Paint the bench black and leave to dry.
  4. Cut a double layer of wadding the size of the bench top, plus enough to drape over the edges. Cut away the corners and then staple the wadding to the underside of the bench.
  5. Press the velvet before using. Drape the velvet over the bench and leaving enough for a 2cm seam allowance, mark with a pen remove the fabric and then cut away the corners.
  6. To give a neat edges to the corners, turn the corners under and iron on the webbing
  7. Place the velvet over the wadding covered bench and staple the velvet into position on the underside.
  8. To make the cushion. Cut an old duvet up so it is the size of the bench top.
  9. Cut the rug into two pieces, the size of the bench top plus 1 cm all the way round.
  10. Sew the old duvet round its edge to the wrong side of one piece of rug.
  11. With right sides facing sew the piece of rug with the duvet attached to the other piece of rug. Sew round three and a half sides.
  12. Turn the cover through the correct way and then close the opening by over sewing.

 

Tips. I learnt this trick at art school, when I was stretching frames for printmaking. To get straight edges when stapling, start in the middle of one side and staple to the edge then do it with the other edge and then repeat with the opposite side and then do the other two sides in the same way.

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Makes, Uncategorized

A smoking Cap from an up-cycled Jacket

Create a twenty first century version of a nineteenth century, Smoking Cap from an up-cycled 1980’s jacket.

2C2A7330

 

The embroidery on the Jacket was beautiful but the style was somehow lacking. So I chose to turn it into, what used to be called, a Smoking Cap. This is in essence a pill box shaped hat often with a central tassel.

jacket

 

You will need

Old lined jacket

Tape measure

Pen and paper

Sewing machine

Pins

Thread

Scissors

Thin wadding

Calico

Optional a tassel

Instructions .We made a pattern with the crown, top, of the hat having a 18cm diameter. The brim of the hat is 8cm deep x 59.5 cm long including the seam allowances. Cut a paper pattern and then cut a calico pattern and sew the calico brim onto the calico top. Try it on for size and adjust as needed. It should be a little bigger than the finished hat, as the finished hat as a layer of wadding in it.

hat patternCut the jacket into pieces and then lay the pattern pieces on them so they use up the best parts of the pattern. Pin and cut out the pattern pieces. Remember to add more seam allowance if you need to make a join.

pin band onto fabric.jpgCut the interfacing so that it is slightly smaller than the pattern pieces. Pin it onto the wrong side of the hat’s crown and brimSew the wadding onto the brim. Pin the crown onto the brim, and sew them together, including the wadding around the crownpin top side.jpgUsing the jacket lining, make a lining for the hat as you did the one from calico. With wrong sides together, and the bottom edges turned under to neaten, sew the lining it into the outside cap.sew wadding into the top piece.jpgSew a tassel into the center of the cap.

2C2A7323

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Uncategorized

Create your own pillow cases using liberty fabric

Pillow Cases.jpg

Liberty lawn is soft beautiful fabric, perfect for a place to lay your head. I have chosen very pretty liberty prints from Sew Box an on line fabric supplier. I bought white and light coloured cotton lace from http://www.craftysewer.com I dyed the lace using http://www.dylon.co.uk hand dyes. However if you don’t want to do this, http://www.craftyribbons.com

have Etienne a French cotton deep coloured cotton lace.

You will need

Liberty lawn from http://www.sewbox.co.uk/

I used

LTL03634042A  Danjo

LTL03632019J Betsy Pink

LTL03633037A Margaret Annie

A pillow -case from which to copy the measurements

Lace

Sewing thread

Tape measure

Dress making pins

Instructions

  1. Measure the pillow-case add 1cm seam allowance to each side.
  2. Measure the depth of the flap and add seam allowance to each side.
  3. Cut a front and a back in one fabric and cut a flap in a contrast fabric.
  4. Neaten one long side of the flap by turning under 0.5cm and the same again, sew with a running stitch.
  5. Sew one piece of trim along the neatened edge of the flap. With right sides together, sew the flap onto one narrow side of the back piece of fabric. Press the seam flat.
  6. Turn under and under again one narrow side of the, pillowcase, front fabric. Press, pin and sew on a piece of lace.
  7. With right sides facing, pin the pillow case front to the pillowcase back so that the front opening reaches up to where the flap is. Sew with a running stitch.
  8. Fold the flap over, where you have just sewn so that the front of the flap faces the wrong side of the pillow front. Pin the sides of the flap to the sides of the pillow and sew with a running stitch. Turn through so that the fabric is the correct way round.

FinalCloseUp.JPG

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