Tag Archives: crafting

Totoro doorstop

A broken coffee pot, a bunch of fabric that might otherwise have gone to landfill. I bought the wool. And lo, a bunch of useless stuff becomes a Totoro doorstopper! This is my second go – the first one (visible in the background of the first few pictures) was built around the remains of a dead wind up torch. Tom did the facial features.

Frankenstein clothes

I tend to wear clothes until they die. Faded, stained, ripped, or going threadbare it’s often the case that by the time I want to retire an item, it has no re-use value to anyone else. This is what brought me to the joys of Frankenstein clothing. Sometimes, when an item is very dead, the answer is to cut it up for rag rugging. However, as fans of The Princess Bride know only too well, there’s a big difference between mostly dead, and all dead.

I’ve a number of skirts and tops that are a consequence of taking things that were mostly dead, and seeing what could be rescued. At time of writing, I’m doing my most overt take on this to date – Frankenstein’s T-Shirt. I have three t-shirts that my son has mostly killed, and have been removing bits of them and reassembling them into a single, undead t-shirt. There will be no attempt on this occasion to make it look anything other than like a fiendish cobbling together, and all being well, that will be a key part of its charm.

A lot of energy and resources go into the production of clothes, which we tend to treat as disposable. Anything that can be passed on, should be. For the rest, there are crafting options, and people like me who will take in mostly dead things and breathe uncanny new life into them. Also, if you’re learning to craft, the fabric from dead clothes is free of cost, and it doesn’t matter if you cock it up while learning. There are a number of traditional crafts – quilting, rag rugging, appliqué, that can happily turn your mostly dead things into lovely new things. So rather than throwing away a dead t-shirt, you get a no cost crafting opportunity and a whole new something.

The quest for pretty things

IMAG0354I live in a small flat, and it’s not a property innately full of character. Lots of little boxes, and when I first landed, lots of white walls, beige carpet and all the personality of a motel or travelodge. I’ve been working on improving that.

I like playing with fabric, it’s something I can do in my downtime that has little or no cost and some utility. I’ve also discovered that if I sit down to do some crafting, it gives me the necessary headspace to think about writing fiction. I can use it for breaks between scenes while I’m gathering thoughts, as an offset to block and a way of creating space for the writing. I’m seldom in a state where I can just sit down and write, and crafting helps with the transition. So, this was made alongside quite a lot of story.

The underpinning is a hessian sack (bought from the Stroud Valley’s eco-shop). To this I added blue and green background fabrics, and the patches of colour in the centre (fabric mostly sourced from freecycle). The leaves, flowers, trees and birds all came from swatches of curtain samples, picked up very cheaply (fabric shop in Mills Courtyard). I pinned all of this to my sack, sewed it down and embroidered the edges and the bird (there’s a fantastic haberdashery near Bank Gardens for embroidery silks). The frame is wool spun by Theo, which I knitted using an adaptation of her pointy scarf pattern.

It now adorns the back of the bedroom door, hanging from a door-towel-hook-thing, and the ‘pole’ across the top of the fabric, is a bound together bundle of aluminium slats from a cheap blind I picked up in order to Frankenstein it into a much more cheery Roman blind. I don’t waste much. I’m now plotting a second one of these hangings, to cover a glass door, and afford a bit more privacy for anyone staying over. My son was so enthused by the first one that he’s asked to be involved in the design and layout stage of the second, although he doesn’t have the needle skills for the sewing (yet) but is inclined to learn