Friday, April 30, 2010

Pretty, Colorful Things...

After seeing a few examples of these fabric strip-covered rope bowls, I wanted to try making one. I found a good tutorial at Craft Stylish complete with photos to help. And I learned that making the bowls is quite easy to do. They're soft and pretty, and a great way to use up fabric scraps. Because they're machine sewn, they go along quite quickly.

I keep my fabric scraps sorted by color in large zip-top food bags. It often seems I'm unable to throw away even small bits of fabric, thinking that I'll surely find a use for them in one project or another. Well, it turns out I did. This bowl was made with the scraps from the yellow/orange bag and actually made a good dent in the contents of the bag. No worries though... I still have the reds, blues, greens, browns, and special brights bags to work my way through.

I learned a few things on this first bowl that I'll need to remember when making the next ones. One of my mistakes was related to being left-handed. When I began coiling the fabric-covered, cotton clothes rope to sew it with a wide zig-zag stitch, I coiled it counter-clockwise, as shown above. It seemed perfectly natural to me. In fact I didn't even give it a thought as I was manipulating the fabric strips and the rope with my left hand while sewing along the coil. However, when I began to angle the coil to create the sides of the bowl, I could see there was a problem. I had limited the height of the sides to whatever would fit in the space between the bed and the machine itself. It's like painting yourself into a corner. See what I mean? These are the "what not to do" photos.

If I'd sewn it clockwise, I would have had all the air space I needed to the left of the needle, and the bowl could have been larger. The tutorial shows it done correctly. It just didn't translate for me. Live and learn! I know it's going to take a bit of rethinking to get my brain re-tooled. It will feel awkward to work while sewing the coil clockwise. I'll have to practice.

Another thing I might try is to cut bias strips instead of straight ones. I like the "raggedy" look of the frayed edges on the straight strips, but I think bias ones might be easier to wrap. The strips are about 1" x 11". The next bowl will also have handles.

This is my quilting friend Kathy's bowl, one that made me want to try this project. I bet she sewed hers correctly. We both agreed these little bowls are pretty and useful for storing all those little things we have around the sewing room like beads, thread, charms, bobbins, and buttons.

And speaking of pretty things, our neighbor grows some beautiful roses. Here are the ones he brought by.


Jan said...

Couldn't you sew yours in reverse and still wrap it counterclockwise? It's wonderful. What a great way to use up scraps. I have made a similar bowl before but instead of sewing it I had a tutorial for a method that wrapped the fabric strips into the coil below and then back up to the working coil. Didn't need a sewing machine at all.

sonja said...

this basket is beautiful, chocked full of color. i still have some paper coil stuff from when i made baskets with embroidery threads on a tapestry needle. every so often i would make a figure 8 stitch so it was great travel projects
what a great way to use those scraps with endless color combos, thanks for sharing!