The denim bag challenge is on

Yesterday I asked if anyone was interested in joining a challenge to make a bag or container of some sort from recycled jeans embellishing it using any technique available to textile practitioners. Boy did I get some responses! They are in both my mail box and left as comments. I will be listing everyone tomorrow but a big special welcome to Becky who has started Crochet and embroidery in order to be able to show us what she is doing. I am so pleased people want to join in. I really am tickled. So the challenge is on and it will be fun. The original post was prompted because Linda at Chloe’s place was agonising over how much she should embellish a bag she is making from cut off jeans.

I want to leave options open, for a wide interpretation and encourage people to use their imagination and creativity. So it’s a case of anything goes. As I said it does not have to be in any period style ie limited to a 70’s look nor is it limited to any one technique such as crazy quilting, it just has to be embellished and you can use any technique you wish. I plan to heavily embellish mine but if your personality is one of a little more restraint that is just fine. Basically it’s apart from the challenge to remake old jeans into an embellished container it’s a no rules challenge. It is as open as you wish. I proposed a 3 month deadline which means the deadline is November 8th. I suggested this because I often see challenges that are proposed over a month or 6 week period and I know that I will never meet the deadline so I never get to play! I suggested 12 weeks so that people like myself who do hand embroidery and are in the work force or perhaps are in that busy phase of life of rearing young children can join in. Anyone can join in at any stage if they feel so inclined just email me or leave a comment. The only thing is that you will have shorter period to work your bag. In other words there is no deadline to sign up just a deadline to complete.

At the end of the three months people can email me images of their work and descriptions of what they did and I will create a gallery page for all participants and host it on my site. If people complete before then and as soon as I have two or three people with completed projects I will get the gallery up sooner. As soon as images are up of course I would be announcing it here.

I plan to blog the progress of embellishing my bag so that people can see what is going on and I assume other bloggers who join in can blog their progress. This is an assumption on my part not a rule. It is just a fun thing to do, with the added advantage of pushing everyone along. People do not have to have a blog or a website you can just join in and email me a photo of the completed bag front and back and your work will go in the gallery or if you want to send photos along the way we can create a flickr group. I think it will be heaps of fun. As I said if you want to join in email me or leave a comment. The same applies for any questions you might have. If you have a website let me know so that I can cross link to it. So who apart from those who have already jumped in is up for this challenge?

Now that I have all that formal stuff Jerry is not yet aware of it but he lost his jeans. I turned the house upside down trying to find a pair of old jeans that could be chopped up but all of mine are still in a perfectly good wearable state. I did however find this pair of Jerry’s that he uses for gardening etc and even thought they are not the traditional blue but black the scissors are colour blind.

Yesterday afternoon I dragged out the sewing machine and with a cording foot corded on lines of thick thread which are about the thickness of tapestry wool or 5 ply wool yarn and stitched on a few patches. Now its ready for hand work. I plan to work this piece in the burnt colours of Australia and the colours you see as a carpet of mulch on the bush floor. I have lots of wooden beads and buttons which I hope to combine with a knowledge of highly textured stitches to embellish this bag. There will be lots of texture and what I call scrumpy bits worked by hand. Once more I plan to totally cover it.

Now I have to dash and get ready for work I will list everyone who is participating tomorrow and think of a better name for it!

A new challenge if people are interested

Morning all – I am a bit late but I have a really good excuse. Last night I completed another 8 inch block. As you can see it is the block started when I wrote the review for Dream a Seam templates by Carole Samples last weekend.

As a side note Carole samples contacted me and she is happy to receive email enquires from anyone interested in these templates and is also happy to post Global Priority mail which means less in postal charges for those outside of the US. Contact her at

This block has a crazy patch foundation of silks, Chinese brocades and fabrics which were acquired when I was in China and in swaps with fellow quilters interested in crazy quilting. I have described what I did on the block and the stitches if have used fully in the gallery page. Now I did start the morning with the idea that I would simply describe this block but since I have just acquired some new software I ended up going through the whole gallery and describing all the 8 inch blocks. So people might like to check that out.

One of the things I would like to point out is in the bottom left hand corner a little charm that I found in a market when I visited China it is made of Fimo and incredibly fine. It is about half an inch big and the pink trim is fimo piped on to the charm.

Now for my first agony in the process of mucking about with these gallery pages I decided it was about time I had a side bar for navigation. The site is simply huge and people do not necessarily find things. I have been thinking about putting a navigation bar on every page so that people don’t get lost or miss stuff they might be looking for. It means redesigning hundreds of pages – I am not exaggerating there are hundreds of pages to this site which means a site update and redesign. May as well do a big tidy up while I am at it! Now I would like to ask if people find this side navigation bar useful. I have a hunch if it was on every page of the site it would be good for users.

Now my second agony. I am still thinking about starting a denim bag made from cut off jeans. It was prompted because Linda at Chloe’s place was agonising over how much she should embellish a bag she is making. I showed Eve (my daughter) my bag and Linda’s post and she declared them ‘cool’. I am still very tempted to make a contemporary bag out of recycled jeans but think I need a little push.

I am wondering if anyone else is interested in joining a challenge? The guidelines being to take an old pair of jeans turn them into a bag or container of some sort (you can use your imagination as much as you please) and embellish it using any technique you choose. It does not have to be in any period style or limited to any one technique it just has to be embellished. I plan to embellish like there is no tomorrow, but if that is not your style a more restrained treatment is OK. Basically the challenge is as open as you wish. I am thinking of 3 month deadline from the start date so that people like myself who do hand embroidery and work can join in. At the end of the three months people can email me images of their work and descriptions of what they did and I will create a gallery page for all participants and host it on my site. Of course any bloggers who join in can blog their progress and help push everyone along. I think it would be fun. Is there any interest in this idea? Please email me or leave a comment if there is more than six takers I will take it on. So who is up for it?

A little experiment with a Fiber Postcard

Ok I am not sure if this is ugly or interesting. Have you ever had the sensation after you have completed something that you are just not sure? That yikes! should I admit to this and just tuck it away, or should I wave it around and celebrate. This is the case with this fiber postcard.

It is a combination of freeform knitting and crochet with canvas stiches worked on needlepoint mesh. I wanted to try the combination of two techniques to see what would happen. I treat these little fabric postcards as experiments and that is exactly what this one is.

I think next time I combine two techniques like this I would have smaller scrumbles – the term used for freeform knitting and crochet bits – and introduce more variety into the threads of both the embroidery and scrumbles.

The technique is either interesting and could be used on items such as bags and hats or it just does not work. I like the texture and the fact that the technique moves canvas work off the grid. The photograph does not illustrate this well but the levels between flat canvas work stiches and the texture of the freeform crochet work is interesting. If this was emphasised even more it could take the piece somewhere. If I included more beads or found objects that could take it somewhere too.

On the other hand the thing that attracts me to it – the texture, is also the thing that perhaps repels me. It reminds me of some of the stuff that was done in 70’s and I can’t decide if that is a good or a bad thing. Hence the puzzling reaction.

The colours are simply autumnal as it is autumn down under. The format itself of the fabric postcard is a good size for hand stitched experiments and samples. It is not too large and yet as an area large enough to do something with.