Sunday, September 01, 2019

Friendly Challenge 116 - Cactus

Belatedly I am showing you my Cactus project:
I had hoped I would have this finished for the Friendly Challenge ..... but unfortunately I have had problems with my back, and been unable to sleep very much, meaning I was unable to work on my stitching or spend time at the computer writing this post. 

I had intended writing another one of my tutorials!! Tee hee! but I'm sure you all know how to make a bag by now! I used lots of different stitches and had wanted to list them all ..... but as it is painful to sit for too long I am trying to keep this short (you ought to see a long post!! tee hee!)

My fabric is Osnaburg, lined with cotton wadding because it is a nice combination for embroidery ..... you can hide cotton ends in the wadding easily! The only down-side is that Osnaburg frays terribly. When I have more time I would normally hem stitch the edges before starting.

Osnaburg is what they call a utility fabric, useful for tea towels, serviettes and the like. It is also very good for embroidery ..... because of its open weave.
Reverse of work - finishing stitches in cotton wadding

Not quite finished! Just need to stitch the lining in place, complete one handle, then stitch both handles in position.

I had hoped to join the Friendly Challenge No 116 being held at El Taller de L'Ana.

Perhaps you will come along with me to see what other friends have made for the day!

Apologies for being late Ana! I kept thinking I would finish in time .....

Barbara xx

Sunday, August 25, 2019

My Eco Take Away Bag & Turmeric Dyeing

Hello Dear Friends,

"Et Voila" .... my "Curry Dye Job" as dear Josie (of Sew for Soul) called it!

Previously my little Take Away bag looked like this:

but it looked sooooo white, and you know, if it is going to be used it won't stay this colour for long! So I asked everyone what they would do to decorate it!

Thank you all your wonderful ideas my friends, and they are all great ideas! 
But in the end I was really really tempted by the idea of experimenting with Turmeric Dyeing.

I wasn't sure where to start! I've read lots of blogs where people have documented their experiments with dyeing fabric but, of course, I don't exactly remember who they were to find those notes again!

So ...... I Googled "Fabric Dyeing with Turmeric" and found an article by Becky Striepe (of Glue and on "Crafting A Green World", an Eco Friendly Craft site.

Well, I was hooked ..... for two reasons ...... 

firstly, because Becky's beautiful lacy yellow handkerchief looked so pretty, 
(you can be see her hankerchief here: "Crafting A Green")

and, secondly, because it is an environmentally friendly method of dyeing, and I am soooo into saving the planet!!

So, on a sunny morning last week I decided to have a go!

Warning: Don’t forget, if you try this, Turmeric really stains, be careful to wipe up any spillages immediately!!

I followed Becky's method of using a Mordant (although I've since read elsewhere that Turmeric doesn't need one) of salt (2oz) and water (1 litre), boiling the fabric in the liquid for an hour,

and then, in a clean pan .....

bringing a mixture of turmeric (2 x 15ml) and water (1/2 litre) to the boil, simmering for 15 minutes.
Turning off the heat and immersing the fabric (I used pre-washed Calico).
Becky suggests checking the colour of the fabric after 10-15 minutes, but mine soaked for around 45 minutes (while we stopped for lunch!)
No, this wasn't lunch! Tee hee!  

At this stage the fabric was this gorgeous colour:
Oops this photo is a little darker than I realised!

Becky's instructions said to rinse in water until the water ran clear, but maybe I rinsed it too much as I lost that rich colour!

I hung all the fabric out on the washing line but, maybe that was wrong ..... it was sunny, maybe that faded the colour.
You can see from this photo it just looks like a paper bag now,
instead of my lovely dark yellow!

Have any of you had any experience of dyeing with Turmeric?

Do you know if I've missed a step, or was there anything else I could do to keep its colour?

Stop Press:

We went out for a curry a few days later and were laughing with one of the restaurant's owners,  showing her the Take Away bag I'd made, before we had our meal, and telling her that if we had ordered more than we could eat we would be using my own take away boxes and the home made bag  I had brought with me to take any extra away! 

In the event we finished everything ..... so we ordered more to take away. I should have asked them not to heat the take away food as were going to save it for later (or possibly freeze the food) because when it came out it was too hot to put in the bag ..... but what I was trying to say was that we have used my bag (and it hadn't shrunk with all the washing) and the boxes were absolutely as full as they could be!!!!!

But even then we had to ask them to take back their paper carrier bag, and the plastic bag they had also put the food in because I really was going to rely on my Curry Dyed Take Away bag!
Oooh, that's Tarka Dhal in t here!
But don't look at the loose threads
- after all, this bag was only meant to be a prototype ..... at first!

And we made it home with no spillages at all! Yay me! The Eco Warrior!! Tee hee!

Sorry, I just had to say!

Ooooh, just to summarise: I am really pleased with this little project! The take away boxes fitted in perfectly (well, it was "made to measure" after all!). Although I was excited with the mustard colour, it disappeared during drying and probably that was no bad thing after all ..... now it does look much like a paper bag, so I won't feel too conspicuous carrying it home. (I'm sure I will be reheating the left over turmeric dye for another bag!!)

As this was the first time I have attempted Fabric Dyeing I am linking to Fiona's blog - Celtic Thistle Stitches for her "New to me" blog party.


I know most of us use fabric bags for shopping these days but do you go further? For example, when we eat out the staff want to give us new serviettes with each course, does this happen to you, and do you stop them? I do.

I'm on the look out for shops that do more to stop the waste. We have one opening nearby soon. I understand they weigh bottles before they are filled so they know how much to charge ...... but I haven't been there yet!

I always take a bag for my bread, so I don't have to take the shop's paper bags, and I wash out plastic cereal bags and re-use them or the bags I've made when shopping ...... but really isn't it time manufacturers did their bit too and change to eco friendly packaging.

Why is it taking them sooooo long?

Barbara xxx

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Gifted Gorgeousness and a tutorial for binding small items

Hello My Friends,

Today I'm joining in with Gifted Gorgeousness. 
Visit Jo of Serendipitous Stitching HERE to see what it is all about.

On my last Gifted Gorgeousness post HERE I teased you with a picture of my then current WIP ..... and today it's finished!

A little needle case that will eventually be a gift for someone. I couldn't resist making ..... such a simple pattern to stitch. OK, I know I didn’t need to do quite so much quilting, but I love those stitches! Tee hee!

Some of you might remember I made one earlier in the year which I sent off as part of a "swap".  It was actually a pincushion swap but if you look at THIS post you'll see I got carried away!! (the link to the pattern is here too)

I am always hopeful that I might encourage some of my friends to try a little bit of patchwork, and this seemed a small enough project that might possibly piqué their interest.


Oh, and I had a lovely surprise at my Handicraft Group recently. I had been admiring a bag one of my friends had made and the next week she very kindly gave me the remaining fabric!
Annie Downs fabric - I don't have the name

I know exactly what I'm going to make already!


When I was stitching my needle case I thought I ought make myself a tutorial for the next time, as I can never remember how to start and finish, and I can never find a suitable tutorial anywhere!

I've been meaning to do this for soooo long!!!!!

So here's a few notes for binding something tiny.

Binding Tutorial:

I'd just finished quilting ..... I use the sticky tape (decorator's masking tape) to keep my stitching lines straight.

Binding is from stash. Cut on the bias, 2" wide, folded in half and pressed.

Measure all round edge with a piece of wool or thread and add about six inches for the length of binding, this should give sufficient for finishing. Cut the binding fabric on the bias.

Leave two or three inches free at the beginning. Start on a straight edge, pinning all round (being careful not to stretch binding around curves ..... and this was almost too tightly stretched), finishing back on the straight edge again. Machine in place, ending with two or three inches remaining.

Turn in a quarter inch on the bias cut edge.

Push one end inside the other, as per the following photos:

If the fabric you are pushing into the binding is too bulky, cut some off, but be careful that when the fabric is stitched you don't have any raw edges.

I snip teeny pieces off, and test positioning a few times to be sure it will be right.

Once it sits neatly, machine in place,

 use tiny hand stitches along the diagonal join.

Fold binding in, and hand stitch to finish

Stitch popper on. Use thread doubled.

And there we are finished!

If you make one I really do hope you'll let me know!

See you soon. 

I have a follow up on my Curry Dye Job to show in a few days because I also want to show you my "Cactus" project on the 30th August! I should have a button for that but I can never remember how to add them ..... tee hee!

Anyway, see you soon!!!

Barbara xxx