Monday, 25 November 2013

What I call a stall

When I spied the Judith Mansfield Books stand at the Knitting & Stitching Show in the pretty northern spa town of Harrogate this weekend, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven...

Just a teeny part of the stall

Packed with secondhand books and magazines about sewing, knitting, crochet, weaving, embroidery, cross stitch and printing, not to mention the boxes of old sewing patterns, this was a vintage craft book collector's dream come true.


Or it would have been if I'd not been working. I was hoping for an hour off from teaching workshops to have a proper rummage, but my classes were all booked up and all I could manage was a dash to Judith's stand just as the show was closing. Judith herself wasn't there but I had a chat to her husband, who told me they don't have a website or sell online, but they do have a seven-day-a-week stall at the Hebden Bridge Antiques Market I feel a special trip back to Yorkshire coming on!

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

From rags to rugs

rag rug 2014Hello Kitty

I never thought this day would come, but I plan to start making a rag rug. There, I've said it.

This shocking realisation dawned on me soon after buying a 1980 book, simply called Crafts, for 50p in Deptford market last Saturday, and seeing with my own eyes that the humble rag rug, staple of Fairtrade shops and student flats in the 80s, when made in the right colour combinations, could actually look amazing.

The patchwork number above is made out of fabric strips and hardwearing twine or string, woven into squares and sewn together. Fear not, you don't need to have a fancy room-sized loom – a basic £10 kids' tabletop one will do the job just fine... click here to find out exactly how to go about it.

DIY rag rug
Protest singer's pad?

If you can't be bothered faffing about with a weaving loom, this lovely autumnal rug is made by braiding (plaiting) long strips of fabric together, winding the plait round in an oval or circular spiral and stitching each round to the previous one. Depending on the thickness of your fabric and the sturdiness of your sewing machine, you could probably zigzag the whole thing together on a machine. Easy peasy instructions for this one here.

It was a happy day when I stumbled upon my new favourite book. Craft (Book Club Associates, 1980) also features no fewer than 10 different belts to make, plus two hammocks and a picnic basket, which I look forward to sharing with you toute suite.