Friday, April 28, 2017

Always Something!

In my last post, I mentioned I'd made this bag:

Silk pile and leather

Well, it was kinda perfect. It's messenger bag size and orientation, soft leather, lined, with a textile decorated zip pocket in the front for phone, glasses and keys, zip pocket in the back for boarding docs, and plenty of room inside for knitting, a tablet and a book. Travel necessities. Now you know my priorities. I kinda loved it, took on a couple of trips and it performed well.

Except. One day I noticed a white thread sticking up along the bottom edge. On close examination, it was a warp thread working its way out of the bottom hem. Oh dear. When I got home I looked closely, and the warp was not alone, it had friends slipping out of the construction. Quick fix for a trip coming up? I glued the whole thing down. When I got home, I could examine and repair. Or replace...?

Turns out leather stretches when you put things into its pockets. And textiles do not...necessarily. This is the textile's 3rd incarnation, and all that re-working meant there was very little edge to sew down, and some had come up:


What to do?

I ran my finger along the bottom edge and the whole bottom edge came up very easily:

More broken!

Clearly, a failure just waiting to happen. This had been a canvas bag before it was a leather bag, so it had likely been distressed in the un-making of this bag:

#5 virgo pisces

I like the pile piece, it's silk, its imagery is personal to me, and it seemed like it would have more years of use in it...but not as a scrap, falling apart as I used the bag. I am not going for that "used up" look, "distressed" or whatever you might wish to call it.

So, I had a few choices:
a) rip off the whole textile and replace it
b) stitch it in place hairy edge and all
c) apply glue and hope for the best
d) try to repair as if this were someone's favorite object

I asked a few friends. One comment struck home: Devin said "It is more fun to fix things I think, sometimes, than make something new. It spurs creativity."

He is right. I chose "d" and began the process of repair. The bottom edge was "mostly" intact, and none of the warps had pulled up into the body of the pile. Most of the soumak edge was still present. If I were presented with a textile like this to stabilize, I would be able to, by handstitching, and covering the edge with cloth or ...leather!.

First, I cut a piece of leather the length of the bottom edge. I stitched in on, through all layers, then glued and folded it over, covering the raw edge. The I re-stitched the whole thing down in the same space again:


We shall see how this holds up. The stitching is not as secure as I would like: I tried to leave ease so when the pocket is full, and the leather behind this textile stretches, the textile will have room to give. I do have a few trips where I will pack this up. In the meantime, I am making another bag, using some of the information I have learned from this. Always learning. Always something new.

It is what keeps me going, frankly, the part I love best: learning. That, and all the doing!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Solace of Making

I have buried myself in my studio for months. It is a place of great hope! which is sometimes dashed by reality....

There were Christmas presents:

#16 Jackson's suitcase

Another suitcase, for another doll, for another grandchild:


This little guy got another outfit sewn for him, a pillow, mattress, and a handwoven blanket!

Grandchild #1 got a closet! Made by grandpa:


Filled with dollclothes, made by grandma:

Then a gift for a friend, yep, still Christmas, so long ago now!

#15 Deb's bag

It was her embroidery, now on her bag :)!

Another bag, this time for me, for knitting:

#19 knotted pile and leather

This had to be altered after finishing... it had a zipper on the top and I found it to be annoying: yarn snagged. I took off the top and finished the edge, and I am much happier now! An open top bag means it does not travel as well, but I am not at a loss for bags with which to travel.

Next up, lots of silk spinning. Blue and white silk, dyed as top, and when it was spun up, it looked like worn denim, so I used that as the plan for the fabric:

Denim silk

It gives me great delight to spin bombyx silk into a "worn denim" shirt :).
handspun silk denim

I spun a lot of cotton too:

Cotton singles

And wove it up into another scarf. This cotton is a bit tighter twist than my previous scarf (AKA the first one I made out of handspun cotton) and the fabric is crisp. So far. Until it's used I will not know much...So I have been wearing it! I goes nicely with the worn denim silk shirt :).

Handspun cotton

I have also beeen re-purposing! That means I have been taking apart some of the early bags that I made:
Former bags

And remaking them into better bags:

Silk pile and leather

This one was a total winner, went with me on several trips and performed perfectly! It felt good, looked good and worked well, until.

Textile falilure. some of the warps are pulling out. Too much fussing? too many re-works? Dunno. It's in time-out until I figure out if and how to fix it, or whether to scrap the pile part and replace with something else. Inspiration will strike, someday. But this is a yet another example of the value of finishing things: I learn something every time :). The perfect bag right off the workbench may not hold up to use. Thus, not the perfect bag.

What's a maker to do? Make another one. Updates to follow! Because world events have driven me to the studio. It's the best place to hide.