Sunday, January 27, 2013

Magic Crochet (Filet)


I love old lace, just about any type any form and out of most types of fibers. It is interesting to me how I will find something, a piece of lace, a vintage tablecloth, etc. I like and then find many more of the same thing in rapid succession. Such is with crochet. Not just any crochet, but thread crochet. The type of crochet that is seen in tablecloths and doilies . Many times this type of crochet object contain some sort of picture design. The most common of the patterns I have seen contain flowers such as roses, but cherubs and birds are also prominent.

I was in Wisconsin this last summer and at a yard sale I bought a magazine called Magic Crochet. click here to see images of magic crochet magazine. Here is the cover image of my copy, the one I bought at the yard sale. 


I had never heard of this magazine so I did a little research. I found that it was last published in 2005 and was British in origin. By the looks of it. it was a high quality magazine.

Originally the magazine cost $2.50, but I got if for the bargain price of $1. I bought the magazine because right before I left France for vacation in the States I had bought a couple of "rideaux", otherwise known as curtains. These curtains were in, what I now know to be, a classic style. A hand knotted netting would be made to sandwich a thread crochet panel.  The maker would construct the curtain making the crochet design at eye level for anyone passing by the window. This placement would somewhat block outsiders from seeing in. At the top and bottom used to be poles that connected to the window keeping it in place flush with the glass.The windows that they covered were not wide, but they appeared to be pretty long. At first when I bought the curtains I did so with the thought of using the hand knotted netting in some sort of project. I love hand knotted netting. I could definitively find a use for it. I was not sure what to do with the thread crochet piece. The set back to doing anything with them turned out to be that the curtains were in wonderful condition. I have a problem cutting into anything that is not in some way unraveled, ripped or permanently stained or in my words; broken.

Here are the two curtains, Likely made by the same person, but they are not quite a matching thread as the netting is a different shade of ivory, The first one is the larger/wider of the two. Pretty evident from the center crochet design. It looks like the crochet was once all the same piece and cut to make these two curtain.

Larger/wider curtain
This second one is the narrower one but has the same overall length.
Narrow curtain
I have found several more like these over the past year. Of course if the price was right, I have bought them. I have 3 sets now.The first set I found, on an earlier trip to the States, I brought them to a sewing class so I could ask if anyone could identify the art form.

Lately I have found other thread crochet items. Some of those I have found are included the pictures below. 

I will start off with the flowers since they seem to be the most abundant. The first was an old table cloth I found at a yard sale. Someone had painstakingly removed one of the thread crochet panels leaving the rest, including the yards and yards of hand crochet edging intact. As it was "broken", I felt I had full rights on making something fun with it. The crochet is beautiful and the pulled thread work is done on a loosely woven fabric.


Many times when I find parts of things.  For a curtain, since the netting was easy to make or buy and the thread crochet was the part that took the most work, if it was kept, it was cut away from the rest of the curtain to be saved and stored for years in an attic. 

If it was a garment, the crochet was removed from the  garment and stored. Below is an example of that. This was most likely the top to a night gown. The thought for all of these items was that the crochet was too valuable to throw away. 

Here is another piece, that was once part of a dresser runner.

And another, this one the tablecloth in the center is missing, but the crochet remains


Here is one of two, matching set that came off of who knows what?


Not a flower, but the same type of crochet item.


Getting back to curtains, It is for the above reason that I seldom find the whole curtain instead I find the thread crochet. Here is an of example of what was probably part of a curtain.

Life would not be complete without a couple of cherubs. Notice the thread still attached where it was removed from whatever it was originally attached. This piece is actually rather heavy. A thicker weight thread was used than would be for a table cloth. Size wise, the cherub piece measures over 25 inches in height.

 Cats and dogs are featured often. So here is one with a kitten:

The kitten is 9x11".

Birds were also popular. Here are what appears to be doves. Actually in France, a better guess would be pigeons:


Then there are the edgings.


There is always the unusual. This part of France was once Germany. Vintage items with German writing are relatively common. This one is an example of that and it says Gute Nacht or Good Night. It is a long piece crochet using a heavier weight thread.


Finally Stars are a common theme.  Here is a square table topper about 20 inches square.




Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Denim Up Cycling and Pillows

I have had a very busy first couple of weeks to the new year. I have finished four projects so far. Two of them, the easy ones I have here, the others I will write about later.

I have a couple pairs of old jeans hanging around the house that I have been saving since I thought I might want to do something with them. They are too worn to donate to a second hand store and I really don't want to fill the local land fill with perfectly good fabric.

One pair of jeans was already cut up to make two purses last year when I was teaching a child to sew. The purse project left most of the top area of one pair of jeans. Rather than throw out what was left, I put it away in my stash until I figured out what I could do with it.

Not cut into were 2 good back pockets and most of the waist band area. I hate having cut up remains in my stash so I started searching for ideas. Due to the internet it is actually pretty easy to accumulate a number of ideas. Most of them involved making purses, but a couple were rather creative.

The other day in town I saw a woman wearing a pair of earrings out of denim.  The earrings were a denim wrapped hoop. Funny what you look at when going up on an escalator. 

Given the idea of earrings as a way to use up some of this left over denim I began to search for ideas, and find them I did, most of them on store sales sites.

Taking all of these ideas in. I sat down and designed a pair for myself. These are so easy to make, if you can sewing you can make these.

May I present my new pair of earrings:


These were really easy to make. All you need is an old pair of jeans, blue thread and earring  wires. For the blue thread I used G├╝termann's jeans thread, col 5397. It is a 70% poly / 30% cotton mix  that is a sort of blue twist. It blends in to the denim fabric like a  dream.


I am making a second pair, it is getting some embellishments so I will write about them later.

The Second project are some pillows. Last year I bought some pillow forms on sale in Germany and stateside at JoAnns I found some fleece in the "take an extra 50% off" bin. 

I read a blog about throwing out 10 items per day to de-clutter your life and I have been trying to follow it to de-clutter my sewing area. Yesterday, after finding my 10 things to throw out for the day (no fabric or lace was harmed during this process), I decided to de-clutter a shelf by making 5 pillows. Making these pillows cleared a shelf of fabric and pillow forms.


Now I can shelve some things that needed to get off of my sewing table. Making these pillows also allowed me to throw out those small pieces left over. Overall it was a fast and easy sewing experience. Today I delivered the pillows to the Student lounge. Last time I made pillows, I made 3 of them, they disappeared. This time I put a Property of Student Lounge label on all of them. I expect they will, over time, disappear from the lounge. My hope is that these 5 will stay a while so they can be enjoyed.