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Cushions Galore, Issue #033 Summer 2020
June 19, 2020

Summer 2020

Cushions Galore, June 19th 2020


Our lockdown is still with us but the restrictions are gradually getting more and more relaxed. I for one hope it will not be too long before we can all get together with family and friends as we did before.

After 11 weeks the gardens have all been tidied, the cupboards sorted and cleaned and all the places where unwanted items have lingered are now clear.... well that is the theory but in practise it is your choice how you spend your time as many have been thrown into home schooling and home working and still have a routine to keep.

With the places that used to take up our leisure time still not fully open, what better time than try a new craft either on your own or as a family.

One that has been available for all of lockdown is the walking, cycling and getting exercise as a family and what better way to reconnect with those you live with.

Card making is a great way to involve everyone in designing their own creations. The decorations could be drawn on, stuck down or even sewn with wool (holes may have to be made in the card first with a hole punch). Think about the birthdays, anniversaries or other occasions that are coming up and get making. These could be made well in advance and stored in a box or organiser.

I haven't done my fabric picture yet but there is still time. On the sewing theme "The Great British Sewing Bee" is back on our t.v.screens. I really have to admire all the contestants on these type of programmes. As soon as someone mentions "time limits!!" I panic that I will not finish on time. How they have the patience to think, sew, talk and create all at the same time I will never know.

I enjoy doing all of those things I mentioned but I would take days rather than hours in getting to the end result. Some of their results are absolutely wonderful.

All types of craft promotes a sense of calm (theoretically) and focuses the mind on one thing. Bunting is an easy project to start with as the flags can be sewn (if using fabric) or glued (If using paper) together.

A stronger or stiffer fabric can be used and then the flags could be individual and cut with pinking shears to get a zig zag edge. Cardboard could be used instead of paper and then decorated ready to hang up.

The only difference between using fabric or paper is that the fabric bunting can be hung outside and left out even in the rain as it is able to be washed. Cardboard or paper bunting may still go outside but could not last as long.

I am making bunting for my daughters wedding next year so that is keeping me occupied and I have cleared out some clutter in my cupboard. While doing this I have found a needlepoint kit I inherited. This is something I have never done so may have a go at getting that finished.

Enjoy trying different things.

Looking back in time

Continuing the making fibres into cloth theme.....

The natural fibres are cotton which comes from a plant, linen comes from the stem of the flax plant and wool comes from animals mainly sheep but specialist wools comes from llamas, alpacas, rabbits and goats.

The basis of getting the fibres ready for spinning machines where more or less the same as spinning by hand. The fibres are pulled out of a mass like a cotton ball or sheep fleece and twisted together. First the fibres are carded so they all point the same way and this is done by brushing the fibres between two surfaces that have spikes or some sort of brush type element embedded in them and in mechanical carding machines there was metal wires fixed onto rollers.

These untangle the fibres, straighten them out, the shorter fibres are combed out and other fibres can be blended into a good mix to make the end result. They can be spun together as well to make cotton/ polyester or wool/polyester.

These fibres are then placed between rollers on a machine that pulls the fibres which in turn makes the yarn or threads thinner. The machine also gives a little twist to the threads which keeps them together.

There were many designs dating from the 1738 that used two sets of rollers to make the fibres more even.

In 1743 a mill in Birmingham had a machine that was powered by a donkey!!

The spinning mule was invented by Samuel Compton in 1779. It was a mixture of two other machines of the time but this one was used until the 1900 and then used for fine yarns until the 1960’s. The frame was fixed in place and the thread was drawn out, twisted and then wound onto the spindles automatically.

The next stage of making cloth is weaving. Now all the fibres are in a long continuous length these can be placed onto a loom to make cloth. There are two types of threads one called the weft and one called the warp these cross over each other at right angles. The threads that go up and down longitudinally are called the warp and the horizontal threads are called the weft.

The loom, this is the same in hand or machine types, holds the warp threads and can lower and raise alternate ones so the weft threads that are attached to a shuttle can go underneath easily otherwise the weft would have to go under one warp and then over the other one etc till the end. After the weft thread has passed through it is pushed against or battened against the finished cloth. This is all done by the reed that looks very much like a comb. It lifts up, separates and then pushes back.

This is just a very simple explanation of basic spinning and weaving cloth. This will be quite straightforward for plain or striped fabric.

Can you just imagine how long some of the really intricate patterns that have been done many years ago took to finish.

Some crafts are going back to making very natural cloth and garments using natural fibres, dyes, spinning and weaving by hand so the full circle is completed. If there is anything topic you would like to see cover then please Contact Me

Coming up next time

I would like to expand on the Crochet and sewing sections.

Keep well, stay safe and take care.

Warm regards


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