Thursday, 5 March 2009

What's going on here?!

This is the first of many batches of brown-toned felt pebbles that I am in the process of making. When I have enough, the idea is to turn them into a smallish table runner, but I've got a long way to go yet! The pebbles are so tactile and lifelike and I think they'll be ideal for a dining table. They'll not only be eyecatching, but their soft feltiness will offer protection to the table. I don't always take the opportunity to mention the ecological benefits of using felt, but the great thing about it is that you can bung it on the compost heap when you've had enough of it!

In an attempt to reduce some of the guilt associated with hoarding, I'm trying to make use of some of my stash of old worn-out table and tray cloths. They're getting to be a bit like my button collection - all washed and stored neatly away and taken out to play when I need cheering up.

So, I read all I could on the internet about the best way to put a zip in a little lined pouch and I (gulp!) cut up a threadbare cloth and found some lining material and an old zip and set off on the new journey. This involved finding the zipper foot, reading the instruction book for the sewing machine and looking over my shoulder at some instructions on the laptop. I decided not to get too fussy about this first attempt, it would just be a learning curve thing and the end result would only be for domestic consumption anyway. Just as well! You're not going to get to see the serpentine shaped zipped top or the slightly asymmetrical body, but I did learn a lot about making pouches! And it will be put to good use in my handbag for all those things that roll around in the bottom, but need to be transferred quickly from the brown bag to the black bag to match the outfit!!

Now, you may be wondering what drunken spider has been wandering about here. Well, this was another 'first attempt'. I have a really ancient, inherited sewing machine which doesn't understand the instruction "drop the feed dogs" any more than I do. I love the work of some Etsians who do free machine stitching and was really inspired to try some myself. (You will all recognise this as another excuse not to do the ironing.) Anyway, since my machine had atrophied into a state of reluctantly doing only straight stitches, with hit-and-miss tension, I sent it away to be serviced. My dear husband tracked down an antiquarian bookseller who still had a dusty copy of the instruction book for my machine and a friend pointed out the little hideyhole where the accessories were stored (who knew?). I fished out an embroidery hoop (from a previous episode of ironing-avoidance) and fixed in a bit of old fabric. I attached Feed Cover (F), took the Presser Foot off (don't be too impressed - I just had to go and look that up in the instruction book), took a deep breath, closed one eye and, whoosh, off I went. Part of the problem was I hadn't decided what to do before I put my foot on the go-pedal, so it was a bit like a white-knuckle ride on the big dipper - I was glad when it was over! I'm going to have another go, though - bit more planning required next time, I think ....

With love from


debsmuddle said...

Love those felt pebbles.My felt rocks were a standing joke for months on the UK etsy thread.
Free machine stitching is all about practise,practise and more practise.I am sure you will get the hang of it.Todays tip.Some people put small door wedges under the back of their machine to tip it slightly towards them to get a better view.

makeyourpresentsfelt said...

Thanks Debs - I'll try that - I need all the advice I can get!

Scarf It Up! said...

Love the pebbles! Congrats for trying the zipper! Not sure I could do that anymore, but like you, I guess I'd read to refresh my memory. Love the look of your blog!

Things Hand Made said...

Well done for taking the plunge! Try to keep the speed fast but move the hoop slowly, that way you get smaller stitches. Try larger shapes and picture then get smaller.