Thoughts on newspaper weaving

As you have probably seen I went through a stage of weaving newspapers. There are some beautiful videos and websites from Russia, where there are brilliant experts at this craft giving tutorials. I spent many hours watching the videos and trying to listen and watch how the paper sounds and reacts. Was it strong, did it sound like wicker or was it just solid. I am a fool to myself, I always want my handmade things to be strong, survive any sort of handling but I also want it to feel natural and handmade.

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One of my newspaper baskets with lid. I make the separate liner and lace decor from recycled fabrics.

These are the things that I noticed when making newspaper woven objects:

The finer and tighter that you can roll your newspaper/magazine sticks, the stronger the feel to your weaving. Also it makes it easier to weave neatly if your sticks are tight.

The only way I got an object to feel and sound like wicker was to varnish the sticks before weaving. This took forever as each stick was varnished individually and had to be dried before I could use it. Then you have to be careful that you don’t weave too tight or the varnish will crack.

I did paint, individually, the sticks with watered down, 50 household matt paint and 50 water. Wove the sticks into a pot, PVA glued then varnished. This didn’t work as well. You have to keep the sticks pliable and damp as the paint really dried them out. Very messy.

I tried all ways, and seeing I don’t speak Russian, and I can’t find the die/varnish in the UK that they die their newspaper sticks with so I went back to basics.

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Recycled fabric liner with lace, ribbon and some beads.

Forget Wicker. You are weaving a paper product. I have sewing machine covers, baskets and pots that have lasted for at least 3 years now, that I have woven from newspapers. I have dusted them, and wiped them down with a damp cloth and they still look like they did when I first made them. My cats have slept in them and on them, I have stored alsorts in them and they haven’t fallen apart, cracked or looked disgusting. They have gone through winters in the shed, hot summers in the house and still do what I wanted them to do.

I personally don’t like the different colours, but I have shown how I painted white baskets in one of my tutorials using PVA glue here. I like my paper weaving to look like wood, which is how the paper started in the first place. Therefore I weave the paper into the basket and then hand it over to my partner who uses the Ronseal Quick Dry Woodstain, silk or satin (I did’t like how the matt finish looked). He painted the projct twice to make sure that all the little bits were covered.

To finish and make them special I like to decorate with beads, lace, ribbons etc and recycled fabric to make a pretty liner.

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I just hot glued the lace and flower onto this little pot.

I love newspaper weaving, and enjoy peoples faces when you tell them what the beautiful basket they are about to buy is made from i.e local rag, free paper or tabloid, the written word can be beautiful, even today!!!!!!!

 

 

Beds, beds and more beds!

I still haven’t managed to get either one of my little boys to sleep on the last one I made. There are so many around the house now, with all of my experiments, they would rather not have to make a decision so sleep on my bed instead.

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Stalker after a hard morning, I would love to know what he is dreaming about. He always has a smile on his face!!

So this week I have been trying out my fabric yarn and crochet. This little bed worked out perfectly. Not very inspiring colour wise, but now I know what size it turns out and how much fabric I need I will be able to make them alot more colourful.

It started with a recycled cotton bottom sheet.

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Then I tore up the fabric to make my yarn ready for crocheting. There are lots of websites on the net with tutorials on how to make your own fabric yarn. Very simple, you just need to have a large crochet hook to crochet it with.

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I made a small pillow with the fabric, before I made the rest into fabric yarn. I then crocheted round the pillow and made a lovely warm cuddly little bed. (Yes, another one!!)

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Crochet fabric yarn is lovely and thick so stands up on its own, but is still slightly stretchy and soft. I made this little bed with less than a single sheet size of cotton fabric. It measures 12″ across (nice size for small cats or kitten) and stands 7″ tall with the top folded over, the cushion inside is about 5″ deep but sinks to about 3″ when someone gets in. So it is very cosy and very durable. These will definitely be going into my shop, with a little tweaking and a bigger size, and some decoration, after Christmas.

This weekend I have been busy trying things out to make for the shop. Along with this little bed idea I have made an easy 30 minute make cat pillow. I had seen these no sew, quick pillows before, made from fleece or tshirt fabric. The fleece doesn’t fray, and the tshirt fabric doesn’t fray and stretches. I wondered what would happen if I made it from the left over cotton fabric from the last cat bed. And this is what it turned out like………dsc_0214Perfect, I used to love making the rag quilt bags and I can imagine after a few washes this little pillow will fray and look shabby chic just like the rag quilts. I can see alsorts of designs with this one.

I am still working on my new Etsy shop. Working towards putting items in the shop after Christmas. Alot of the things I will be posting will be hand finished or hand made as I am doing most of my crafting now in my new boarding cattery (sewing machine noise is not acceptable). I am sitting there keeping my little guests company, having catty conversations and crafting. A wonderful way to spend my days…………..

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My crafting chair, and a little guest.

Cat mats

My two little boys have never had so many cat beds or mats to fight over before! And I promise you they do fight, they are twin brothers and don’t like sharing unless they have to. And I have made lots of cat beds and mats in the last couple of months, not only for my new Cattery57, but I am also trying to design a nice easy, cosy cat mat to start my Cattery57 Etsy shop. I want to keep the ethos of using recycled fabrics, but they need to be cosy and look pretty enough to leave lying around the home. So I have gone back to patchwork, but with a little twist of hand embroidery on some tiny kat kickers that are attached, they are removable to enable washing or to put your own cat toys onto the mat.  This is my prototype, I am in the process of embroidering the little kickers which will be attached tomorrow.  The mat measures 21″ x 21″, 2cms thick with wadding, this one is Butterfly and Flowers fabric, (although that will change due to the fabrics being recycled), fully washable, and my two boys love sleeping on it, although with the clocks going back I have had trouble catching them sleeping today!!! But I promise photo’s will be available tomorrow!!!!!

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Miracle Embroidery Transfer Pen

I saw this pen advertised as a pen with ink that can be rubbed out with friction. To me friction means heat!! I bought 3 pens for £5 on Ebay, they are called Pilot Frixion. They are nice and fine and the ones I have are blue in colour. They are not exclusively for fabric, but this is what I found:

dsc_0142I drew some of the embroidery stitches to get them in the right place. After stitching my crazy quilt cat I could still see the ink through the stitches, so for my heat source, to get rid of the marks, I boiled the kettle, once it had boiled I held the back of my embroidery against the hot kettle and watched the ink disappear………….. brilliant. I can make as many mistakes as I want, draw as many lines as I want for the embroidery and even after 3 weeks the ink disappeared just with the heat from the kettle, and I get a cup of tea as well.

These pens are brilliant and I know that I don’t have to get my work wet or damp to get rid of the marks as I did with the soluble marker pens. And I don’t have to damage anything by rubbing like I did with the tailors chalk. I will definitely be using these in the future for all of my transferring on to fabrics.

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My Etsy Shop

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My craft corner in the cattery

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Being watched by my first little guest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the description on my Etsy Shop. It took for ages to change the photos for the shop and I still have alot to do before I can put anything for sale on it. I think this covers most things, as you lot have probably discovered I am not very colour co-ordinated how ever much I try. I would love to be able to go ahead and do everything shabby chic but it is not as easy as it looks. My mind is in lots of colours and if they clash….tough!

Anyway my description:

Cats and crafts have been my passion for many years. I now have the best of both worlds, owning and running a small boarding cattery and having time to craft. The cattery is designed so I have room to craft whilst keeping my little guests company, having catty conversations when sewing is inspirational!!
I design and make all things catty, from cat beds and toys to cat shelf sitters and home decor. Alot of my smaller items are hand sewn, as I don’t like to upset my guests with the sound of my sewing machine.
I don’t proclaim to be shabby chic, vintage or retro, everything I make is to my colouring, textures, mixtures, taste and what I have available at the time! I have tried to be soft, subtle and co-ordinated but that is just not me. Sometimes the colours clash or I have overdone something but that is my own creativity, each item is my own.
Everything that leaves my shop is scrutinised by me, but please accept the ocassional cat hair that may have been missed! It might belong to the little one that inspired your purchase…..

P.S This is not included in my description on Etsy, but please BEWARE,  don’t try and cook a pan of rice whilst concentrating on Etsy. I found this out to my peril and just had to spend half an hour scouring a burnt saucepan!!!

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Website Closed

 

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I’m going to come back as a cat!

My tinasragbag.co.uk website is now closed. Anything I make that is for sale, from now on, will be showcased here on this blog with a link to my new Etsy shop.

As you may have gathered from my other posts I will now be concentrating on my lovely new little boarding cattery and making catty inspired things for my shop.

Crazy Hanging Heart Beginnings

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During the winter evenings I do alot of crazy patchwork. It is so enjoyable, addictive and costs next to nothing. You can make it as elaborate or as simple as you like. I started this hanging heart today, it is now ready for all of my ‘filling in’. It is only 8″ x 8″ but I can make it last for a couple of weeks with embroidery, bead work and making embellishments for it. I could just sew a few beads on now to cover up some little mistakes and then finish it off with a lovely shabby chic lace edge, it would still look gorgeous, but I like to fill in and do as much as I can on it. I will post some pictures when it is eventually finished.

I will be advertising daytime classes for my Easy Crazy Patchwork sessions in the next couple of weeks. Anyone interested in the Gorleston (Norfolk UK) area please contact me. You don’t need to know how to sew, as long as you can thread a needle you can make one of these very easily. Imagine the personalised Christmas presents you could make!!!

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