A silver lining?

I’ve been somewhat subdued this winter for health reasons (full story here should you wish to know more) and not actually able to do the things I’d planned, as my hands, not to mention my poor brain, just wouldn’t – couldn’t – work properly, thanks to peripheral neuropathy. So I was rather glad to have the time to get to grips with yet another simple form of weaving whilst demolishing a large pile of old bedding that had gone beyond reasonable use or otherwise become surplus to requirements.

For a long time I’ve been intrigued by twined weaves, and also by rag rugs; my great-aunt Bet had a wonderful collection of “slip-mats” of one sort or another, so-called because if you jumped on them at just the right angle, you could slip & slide all the way down her highly-polished hallway floor! I loved the textures, the patterns & the colours, and I’m sure some of them were twined, some hooked and some prodded, though no-one now can remember where she got them or indeed, whether she’d made them herself.

Anyway, this was my first effort, woven on a Libbylula twining loom, following instructions found on YouTube, entirely from old bedding torn into 2″ strips, including the warp:


It’s just done with very simple blocks of colour, working from alternate ends inwards. Joins are very random, occurring wherever the previous colour ran out or I just decided to change colours. I’m not sure about the “fringe” but it’s staying put for now.

And for my next trick, I decided to experiment with colour & pattern a bit. But I wasn’t the only one enjoying the simple, manageable rhythms of over, under, twist…


Poppy “helped” every inch of the way! And here she is, staking her claim to the finished article:


It won’t stay in the living room; it’s not the right colours and to be honest, I went overboard with the patterning a bit! But it’s shown me how it works, and what’s pleasing to the eye, and what isn’t, or just doesn’t show up on that scale.

As the pile of our own deceased bedding diminished, I found that one of our local charity shops was very happy to dispose of donated bedding, which they don’t sell, for a better price than the ragman would give them. So I now have an even bigger pile of bedding to rip into strips, but it’s in “better” colours for my purposes. I’m also planning to experiment with 3-D weaving & weaving without a frame, which are also possible with this technique; most willow baskets are woven this way. Not to mention trying out alternative materials; English Bullrushes, packing tape & baler twine spring to mind.

So a period of less-than-perfect health and enforced “leisure” have opened new horizons for me. Every cloud has a silver lining, eh?


Elder daughter & I volunteer at one of our local charity shops, and we can’t help noticing that things have changed somewhat over the last year. Despite all the news reports to the effect that charity shops are hard-hit by the recession, we’ve been having to turn away donations; sometimes the back of the shop is too full to take any more in safely. And what we’re taking into the till has skyrocketed…

This time last year, we were lucky to take £30 on a Monday afternoon, the day we both volunteer. But yesterday we took £189, and today, when she’s also there but I’m not, another £120. Some of that may be caused by the fact that our shop has  been revamped into half-bookshop, our local secondhand bookshop having folded after refusing to have any truck with online sales. But most of the difference as far as I can see, has been in the type of shoppers; suddenly many of our customers are very well-dressed, and spend time browsing & trying things on, rather than dashing in, picking up the first item in their requested size or style and dashing out again. People are coming in in groups, clearly going round all of the charity shops in town together, laughing, chattering & encouraging each other, rather than slinking in & out, terrified the neighbours will spot them. And they’re happy to spend say £7.99 on something fashionable, vintage or classic in good condition, and often buy more than one item. I’ve just come across the word “Recessionistas” – thank you, Tringle – and that describes them perfectly.

Seems to me that this is a very positive thing. For so many years, it’s been considered very infra dig to be caught wearing or owning anything secondhand; I know at least one member of my own family feels that I’m letting society & the economy down dreadfully by not buying everything brand new, and making everything even worse by cheerily admitting it.  But clearly, whether driven by necessity or not, people are beginning to get over the “everything has to be new” idea and are starting to enjoy creative recycling again.

Come to think of it, that means I have competition!

TTW meeting this Thursday, CLaRC, 7-9 pm, everyone…