sewing
craft

Upcycling Fabric Scraps – DIY Rag Rug

 

We all have a collection remnant fabric scraps, don’t we, but who saves the small off-cuts? They are useless, right? WRONG….

There are a number of useful ways to create something quite unique, out of very small fabric scraps, and one way is to make a durable floor mat/rug that is soft on our feet.

Perfect for the kitchen, bathroom or laundry, it is time to think of keeping our toes warm, now that winter is approaching. Rag mats first originated  in the depression years, when every single item had to be used and re-used. Whilst there is no need for us to be so frugal today, why throw away something that could be turned into a functional and pretty item? It is free and uses no pre-purchased materials, apart from a small piece of hessian, which most crafters would have sitting in their stash, anyways.

In years gone by, many families purchased their potatoes, flour, sugar or salt  in hessian bags, and once the contents were eaten, gave the sacks second lives, around the home.

You will need:

  • 1 piece of hessian or burlap, cut and hemmed to the size of the mat you desire. The hemming will stop the hessian from fraying.
  •  A selection of fabric scraps, cut into strips -1cm w x 12 cm long and upwards.

You don’t have to be especially neat with this, but I do prefer to use pinking shears to cut a zig zag edge, otherwise the  scraps do tend to fray.

Now you are ready…. this technique does take some time, so be patient, or do this whilst watching TV, a little each night.

Using an old crochet hook, or knitting needle, lay a fabric strip on the hessian and push one end of the cut strip through to the other side of the hessian.

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Do the same on the underside, so that there are two ends showing through on the right side of the hessian mat.

Tie a simple “criss cross and under” overhand knot. No need to double the knot.

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Repeat with more and more fabric strips.

Continue in this fashion until the mat is covered to the desired thickness and fullness with fabric off-cuts.

If you have a limited amount of one colour of fabric, I like to distribute it evenly over the mat, rather than finishing with a conglomeration of colour, on one end.

Then I just fill in all the gaps…..

 

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The look of the finished rug

Until, one day… hey presto, it is done. A cosy, environmentally friendly rug to keep your bare feet warm when the weather cools that has cost you nothing but time.

The under side of your hessian mat should look something like this:

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Once complete, the mat may be washed in very hot water to make the hessian shrink, and the holes in the base fabric contract, thereby locking the fabric strips/scraps into the hessian.

If you use this method, you probably don’t have to knot the ends of each fabric strip together, just poke them through to the other side.

How many scraps make a rug?

Definitely something I will NOT ponder about today.

polish folk art mouse pad
craft, History & Traditions, Painting, Photography, Traditional Art

Kashubian Embroidery

Traditional Tuesday – [A look at traditional Art Forms]

Poland is a country of deeply rooted culture and pursuits, not the least of which, is iconic Polish Folk Art forms, such as a specialist kind of stitching, called Kashuby embroidery. Initially used as a decoration for clothing, particularly folk costumes and women’s caps, these distinctive motifs have been transformed and used to decorate items as diverse as pottery, furniture, tableware and a range of merchandise from lanyards to mouse pads.

Kashubians are a proud people with a separate language, craft and folklore to other Polish areas. Their motto is “There is no Kashubia without Poles and Poland without Kaszubians.”

Product available in Zazzle and Redbubble

Previously considered an activity for Grandmothers, girls of all ages and even men, in Kashubia, enjoy decorating clothing with Kashuby Embroidery.

Colours

Kashubia, [a province in coastal Pomerania], is famous for its distinctive embroidery that consistently features seven main colours.

http://www.wilno.org/culture/embroidery.html

The palette used in Kashuby embroidery utilises seven main thread colours and believe or not, this tends to be strictly observed, i.e. 3 shades of blue, yellow, red, green and brown/black, for it to be called Kashuby Style.

Each of the colors used symbolized something from nature and the people.

BLUE: –

  • Dark Blue – represents the profound depth of the Baltic Sea
  • Medium or Royal Blue – the colour of the Kashubian Lakes
  • Light Blue – for the sky of Kashubia

YELLOW :-

  • Light Yellow – representing the sand on the beaches and the sun.
  • Medium Yellow for the grains ripening in the fields
  • Dark Yellow symbolizing amber, commonly found washed up on the beaches, in these coastal areas.

GREEN :-

  • Symbolizes the meadows and plant life
  • Indicates the forests teeming with animal life

RED :-

  • The use of the colour red indicated the heart and love
  • also indicative of the blood of every Kashubian. They are a fiercely patriotic people, and would die to defend their homeland.
  • Red also represents poppies in girl’s hairs

BLACK or BROWN :-

  • representing sorrow and adversity
  • symbolizing the earth in the fields awaiting to be sown seeds.

Motifs

hafty

Because of the poverty of the surrounding soil, the Kashubian landscape produces flowers that are stringy, but still colourful. Nature is an important inspiration for floral motifs, especially bell-flowers, lilies, daisies, roses, cornflowers, pomegranates and clovers. Tulips and Acanthus motifs, derived from Christian religious traditions were incorporated as oak or thistle leaves and restricted to embroidery executed by Nuns in the convents.

Adding Beetles and bee motifs to the embroidery stemmed from connections to the ancient pagan traditions of honouring nature.

A lovely element used in Kashuby embroidery is the ‘tree of life.’ Ideally, the branches mustn’t cross or intertwine because it symbolises that life ought to be simple and clear.

In the nineteenth century, fashions changed and traditional folk art patterned outfits began to slowly disappear but some crafts hung on and were printed on to modern merchandise to appeal to tourists.

Formerly, the different style of embroidered costume was related to the particular job the person was doing. Farmers had different motifs and outfits to that seen on fisherman.

In modern times, these outfits are rarely seen outside of special occasions, events or musical performances yet the popularity of the embroidery style, lives on.

More posts on Polish Folk Art

Schnauzer dog
blogging, craft

Making a Råtta Dog Toy

Some of you may know that we have a new puppy in our house and like all new puppies they are a bit of work, but bring lots of joy and happiness. And must be amused!

The new puppy is not directly mine, but my daughter’s. Due to the pandemic, we are frequently required to help out training, feeding and puppysitting. Which is no problem at all.

We all know puppies like to chew and this little puppy is highly animated, energetic and intelligent so she needs lots of stimulation.

Being a schnauzer, she likes the stuffed rat toys in IKEA’s range of toys.

Maybe it could be because that was their original purpose – i.e. as ratters on German farms. Whatever the reason, Schnauzers develop an affinity towards toy rats!

To this end we went to purchase an IKEA ‘Råtter,’ to keep the pup amused, but Ikea had no stock! The råtters are too popular!

No problem, I thought.

I can make something similar. Dogs aren’t too fussy about what kind, shape or colour their stuffed chew toys are? Surely?

My homemade solution included finding scrap fabric for the rat’s body,felt fro the dubious looking feet, wool for the eyes and whiskers, a string handle from a cardboard merchandise bag for a tail, (I think it came from Ella bache cosmetic purchase), and 5 to 10 minutes on the sewing machine.

It ain’t pretty but it is functional.

This is the result of the Råtta experiment:

Instead of being a furry rat, my home made version looks like a mutant platypus but what does it matter?

The puppy really likes it. Humans attach meaning to stuffed shapes, so as long as it keeps the pup away from chewing my socks, toes, shoes, furniture etc. Then all is good.

Butter would not melt in its mouth.

bag
craft

Scrap bags – You can never have enough Bags.

I have an urge to do more recycling. I have a fabric wasteland. Read: my fabric stash, and I do not even claim to be a sewer (as in sew-er person, not the drain!), of any repute, yet I seem to have amassed a lot of fabric. So time to put it to functional use. Shopping and tote bags… here they come:-

scrap

This is the first truly recycled bag that I made. The front and back and handle are from Recycled girls pyjamas, the border around the top is from a child’s dress, the applique is from an old teatowel, and the lining, well from my pile of unwanted stash fabrics, so the lining was really the only new-ish part. I kind of like the way this turned out. Even reused some lining that was in my cupboard.

These two bags are from scraps of curtain fabric, (obtained from Ikea) Pattern: courtesy of tinyhappy bags.


I incorporated a loop for attaching keys and the like and somewhere to stash your mobile phone or other important things.

Then the piece d’ resistance, is the large tote bag and the handy bag. This is designed on a plastic shopping bag: yes they have to be good for something!

Then it folds up into a tidy little pouch that sits in the bottom of one’s larger handbag and weighs next to nothing.
Then it open up like this:


Then there was the T- shirt bags… my daughter liked this one as it was all kind of stretchy, and you could stuff a big jumper into it, or just a few odd shaped things.

The Christmas version

Finally, you can decorate one of the indestructible synthetic bags with some art, draw or paint on a design of your choice.

Now that will give you something to ponder about…..