'If you make happiness your goal, then you're not going to get to it… The goal should be an interesting life."

Dorothy Rowe

Sunday 17 October 2010

Whew! – And how to make an Anglo-Saxon coffee cosy.

I have spent this morning and part of the afternoon - 3+ hours in total – getting ready for college.

  • Pick out fabrics for the ‘glamour’ piece,
  • Press said fabrics,
  • Find hand and machine threads, beads and sequins,
  • Pack it all up,
  • Assemble drawing and sewing kit [that’s quite quick, I have travelling sets ready boxed up],
  • Find some paper big enough for a 30 cm square drawing [I went with A3, not quite big enough but easier to carry],
  • Reassemble the travelling sewing machine kit which got disassembled when the machine went to be serviced [much quieter now, thank heavens] and pack up machine,
  • Find college mug,
  • Put it all in one place so I don’t forget any of it.

No – college isn’t till Wednesday – but I know I won’t have time tomorrow and Tuesday is Babybel day, plus I could squeeze in an emergency Hobbycraft visit if there was anything I didn’t have – which does sometimes happen, despite the quantities of stuff I have collected over the years.

And this, dear tutors, is why we spend so much time whinging that it is really really helpful to know well in advance what we need for a class.

Thanks to Sandy for her kind comments yesterday -  here is a brief – er - long description of how I made the Anglo-Saxon coffee cosy.

  1. I started with a piece of what I call Liberated Bargello patchwork – inspired by a piece the tutor, Terrie Hitchcock, had made, although she didn’t call it that.
  2. You can find out how to do Bargello patchwork properly here. Mine was ‘liberated’ because I used a mixture of fabric types, including man-made ones, and tore them into strips varying between 1 & 2.5 inches. At this stage I intended to have the back showing and wanted a ragged look – the piece might have been flatter if I’d cut the strips.
  3. When I sewed the strips together I added a strip of water-soluble fabric. I used ‘Romeo’ but it was quite difficult to sew – the Aquasol type might be easier.
  4. I used a wider seam allowance than a proper quilter would use, and pressed the seams open for a nice raggy look.
  5. I cross cut the piece into 1” to 2.5” strips, joined them into loops as per the instructions, and then took out seams at random. It is better not to have a water-soluble section at the end of a strip.
  6. I sewed up the strips at random and didn't worry about getting the seams to line up [sorry, quilters]. Timagehen I pressed the seams again, before working rows of free machine embroidery over the water-soluble, and, while I was at it, adding some crosses, grids and spirals of gold free machining - because at this stage it was going to be gold and black…
  7. After I’d washed out the water-soluble I straightened the piece up as much as I could – it wasn’t completely flat, you understand – and trimmed it.
  8. Now I stamped on some black puff paint and zapped the whole thing – which melted some of the man-made fabrics as well as raising the puff paint.
  9. I had mixed some copper bronze powder [confusing?] and had some left over so I sponged a bit on to see what it looked like – and got a bit carried away. Then I added some patinating fluid – and put the same mixture on some bits of coppery plastic. [This would probably have been the best time to line the thing – if I had known then what I know now.]
  10. I punched stars and squares out of the plastic with paper punches and added them here and theimagere with a few beads.
  11. Time for another change of plan. I added a couple of extra strips across the top for the flaps.
  12. I decided that I wanted to back the piece with felt – but I didn’t want the felt showing through the holes. So I Bondawebbed a piece of hand-dyed silk to the felt and then hand stitched the lining in with seeding stitches here and there – you may be ablimagee to see them in the first image above.
  13. Then I trimmed it up again, measured it, [it was about 19” by 11”] and made a paper pattern to try out the top flaps. Then another pattern. And another one.
  14. I drew round the pattern on the fabric and sewed a line of stay stitching round it before adding some extra decoration to the flaps.
  15. I machined machine-made cord round one side and the top, and some braid made of two pieces of cord zig-zagged together round the bottom– see below.
  16. I overlapped the corded side over the uncorded side, tacked it very firmly, imageand machine zigzagged over the braid again to hold it together. I also worked machined eyelets in the tip of each flap before punching  holes through and putting more cord through the holes [like adding a fringe] for the tree – each cord is about 24” long,
  17. image Then I pulled the cords through a stone donut I just happened to have, knotted them, and twisted them round a pencil to make the sproings.
  18. I breathed a sigh of relief, took some photos and had a cup of tea.

This sounds like a lengthy process, but of course it’s happened gradually over several weeks. As Wensleydale says – it doesn’t look much like the Sutton Hoo helmet – but as I decided long ago on C&G that I always seemed to end up making things which made people laugh, it just keeps up a well established tradition.

Sorry you asked, Sandy?

1 comment:

Sandy said...

No, not sorry! I may skip the bargello bit, but I love the texture and may try 'variations on the theme of'. but of course I am a "well, I haven't got this so I will use that" sort of person like you, so even the texture will probably not have any resemblance!

what do you think about a anglosaxon coffee cosy inspired Tudor corset?
Sandy in Bracknell!