Sunday, November 26, 2006

Rag work Creations (By 4Ernesto)

Handbag Mirror Frame

Make the following small-scale rag work project as an original present for a friend or relative. The bright pink jersey fabric contrasts strongly with the shiny yellow foil, but you can use any combination of two colours. Small projects like this are very quick and satisfying to make. They demonstrate how what was traditionally a rug technique can be updated and used for many other designs, small or large.

Materials and Equipment you will need:
- Card
- Ruler
- Scissors
- Hessian, 25 x 25 cm
- Marker pen
- Embroidery hoop
- Pink cotton jersey fabric
- Hook
- Yellow foil crisps or sweets packets
- Latex carpet adhesive and applicator
- Clear-drying impact adhesive
- Two pieces of black felt, each 9 x 8 cm
- Needle and matching thread
- Dressmaker's pins
- Mirror, 8 x 7 cm

1. Make a card template measuring 9 x 8 cm, with a frame depth of 2.5 cm. Place in the centre of the hessian and draw round both the outer and inner edges, using a marker pen.
2. Put the hessian into the embroidery hoop. Cut both the fabric and the foil packets into strips 1 cm wide. Start hooking the frame with the pink fabric, beginning just beyond and outside one edge of the inner rectangle.
3. Work the pink fabric round the inner rectangle. Hook a second rectangle, using the yellow foil. Complete the frame with a final row in pink fabric.
4. Remove the hessian from the embroidery hoop, and place face down on a flat surface. Cut round the outer shape, allowing an extra border of 2.5 cm. Apply a thin layer of later adhesive over the back, including the central area and the border. Leave to dry for 3-5 minutes.
5. Cut a cross into the corners of the inner rectangle. Turn under the edges and press down firmly. Trim any excess hessian. Apply small dabs of clear adhesive on the back, and then cover with one of the pieces of felt. Slip stitch together. Carefully cut out the centre.
6. Use the other piece of felt to make a pocket. Pin it to the back of the mirror frame, then blanket-stitch round three sides. Leave the fourth side open to slide in the mirror.

Striped Hall Runner

This bold design of stars and stripes was inspired by 1950s textiles. The black at either end and between the stripes contrasts with the other colours, making them seem even brighter. Before beginning this project, you need to sort the fabrics into separate colour groups. Use a mixture of fabrics, blending wool and lycra with cotton and crimplene to create a cut pile surface which is very hardwearing for a floor rug. Alternatively, you could adapt the design to make a smaller runner to sit on top of a pine chest.

Materials and Equipment you will need:
- Marker pen
- Ruler
- Two pieces of hessian, at least 126 x 72 cm and 100 x 46 cm
- Staple gun
- Wooden frame
- Assorted fabrics in black, pink, mint green, navy, red, yellow and blue
- Hook
- Scissors
- Latex carpet adhesive and applicator
- Carpet webbing tape, 3.5 m

1. Using a marker pen, draw a rectangle measuring 100 x 46 cm on the larger piece of hessian. Allow an extra border of at least 13 cm all round. Working within the rectangle, draw a panel at each end measuring 11.5 cm deep. Draw four star motifs evenly spaced across each panel, as shown. Sort the fabrics into groups of each colour. Cut into strips 1 cm wide.
2. Using a staple gun, attach the hessian to the frame. Hook the star motifs, as shown, working the loops close together. Shear across the top of the loops with scissors to create a cut pile surface.
3. Fill in the panel background with black fabric. Bring the ends of the fabric strips through to the top of the work, and trim off any excess.
4. When the panel at this end is complete, you can start the striped part of the runner. Hook the first horizontal stripe right across the width.
5. The colour sequence repeats every eighth row. To work the black and red stripes hook two rows, for the other stripes hook one row. Continue hooking up to the other panel. Fill in the panel design as before.
6. Remove the runner from the frame, and lay face down. Cut round the design, allowing a border of at least 5 cm.
7. Apply a thin layer of latex adhesive to the back of the runner. Leave to dry for 3-5 minutes.
8. Take the second piece of hessian and place this over the back of the runner. Press and smooth down.
9. Spread a thin layer of latex adhesive on the border of the runner. Leave to dry for 2 minutes. Turn over the border, folding in the corners. Cut off any excess hessian to leave a flat surface.
10. Cut the carpet webbing tape to give two lengths measuring 100 cm and two measuring 46 cm. Smear a thin layer of latex adhesive on one side of the tape, and stick over the raw edges of the hessian backing cloth. Leave the runner to dry overnight.

Rectangular Flower Rug

Bring summer indoors with this charming little flower framed in a trellis border. The diamonds of the trellis and the flower are outlined first in a dark colour, which gives emphasis to the design and contrasts with the subtle, random colours and textures used to fill in the rest of the rug. A mixture of fabrics was used here, including tweed offcuts and cotton jersey. Contrast the bright colours you choose for the central flower panel with the softer colours of the trellis border.

Materials and Equipment you will need:
- Two pieces of hessian, at least 96 x 76 cm and 90 x 70 cm
- Marker pen
- Ruler
- Dressmaker's pins
- Needle and strong thread
- Wooden frame
- String
- Large-eyed needle
- Hook
- Assorted fabrics, including tweed and cotton jersey
- Carpet binding tape, 3.5 m

1. Using a marker pen, draw a rectangle measuring 80 x 60 cm on the larger piece of hessian. Allow an extra border of 8 cm all round. Draw the flower design in the centre, and then use a ruler to mark out the trellis border.
2. Turn under a 5 cm border all round and pin and tack. Attach the hessian to the frame by stringing or by sewing the border to the bonding tape attached to an adjustable frame.
3. Hook the trellis shapes, using a dark coloured fabric. Make the loops approximately 5 mm high.
4. Fill in the diamonds, working in rows and using a variety of rich colours.
5. Hook the central flower motif, using a dark colour. Start by working the stalk, and then move up towards the outline of the flower head.
6. Fill in the centre of the flower head, using a bright colour.
7. Continue hooking until all areas of the design are filled.
8. Remove the rug from the frame. Take the second piece of hessian, turn under the excess fabric and pin to the back of the rug, with the raw edges inside. Using double thread, tack round the edge.
9. Cut the carpet binding tape into four strips, measuring the same length as the four sides of the rug. Roll the ends of the tape and stitch to prevent fraying.
10. Pin the tape in position to cover the hessian border round the rug. Slip stitch to the front and back.

(Hessian was originally an old sacking cloth which was used to hook or prod through. It is available in different weights and it is perfect for rag work.)

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