In 2016 I made two shopping bags and a garden cushion from some coffee sacks. They were made from old jute sacks that coffee beans are imported in. I had used the sacks originally to collect garden clippings but didn’t find them very useful as twigs got caught in the weave. The instructions for making these were written up and posted on the Angel Eden Blog. Because the original sacks had been used in the garden they had to be washed but this is not always necessary.I have been using the smaller of the bags almost daily since it was made and noticed that it was getting rather worn at the edges. I decided it was time to make a new bag and also to mend the original one. Luckily I have found a new source of coffee sacks. The sacks came from The Northern Tea Merchants in Chesterfield. They import both teas and coffee and supply Harrods with forty different coffees. They also have a lovely Tea shop with fantastic cakes.In the photograph the large coffee tins are covered in the colourful sacks. It is a really interesting place to visit and while there I had a pot of loose tea called Ruanda Tea. It was so good I bought some to bring home. I also bought a few coffee sacks.
My new bag was made from one side of the sack shown below.I cut out two pieces each 44cms by 48cms. The handles were made from some leftover pieces of map fabric and the inside was lined with a red fabric. The instructions of how it was made can be found on the earlier link to the Angel Eden Blog.
As to the previous bag that had been so well used it was worn into holes. I darned the holes with some wool garden twine from Twools I love their products and they are very eco friendly.I darned the holes and blanket stitched the top edge. The next two photos shows the holes and the last one shows my mending which I rather like.
Here is my new bag.
The Woollen Woods are once again planned to come to the Parks Wood in Belper during May 2018. Lots of individuals and groups have already expressed interest in being part of the event. There are no set patterns and it is perfectly acceptable to make one item or to take on a whole tree. At the moment I am enjoying myself making woodland birds to install in the wood.
It is important to me that anyone who would like to be part of the event feels confident that they can do this. There are lots of free patterns available on the internet but on this blog I am sharing some simple ideas that still look really good, especially when things are grouped together in a tree. Three years ago we had a tree full of pom pom ladybirds and I had written a blog with instructions on how to make these. http://www.anneclarkhandmade.co.uk/pom-pom-ladybirds/In previous years other pom pom animals have been made, including robins, bees and spiders. Here are the instructions for some Hedgehogs It is possible to make things from knitted squares and rectangles which can look really good. The first I am going to share are knitted birds. These are made by knitting a square with every row a knit row.For my square I used 30 stitches and knitted 58 rows but this can be varied according to how big the finished bird is going to be. Once knitted the piece is folded in half to make a triangle shape and the open sides are sewn together leaving a gap to stuff the bird. Once stuffed I usually bend one of the more pointed ends forwards to become the head. I put a small stitch in it to keep in place and then sew on two small black buttons for eyes. I knitted a couple of wings by casting on 13 stitches and knitting 10 rows. After this I decreased one stitch at the beginning of every right side row by knitting two stitches together. I continued this until the last two stitches could be knitted together and the wing was finished. I have also made wings for these birds by cutting out a wing shape from a piece of felt. The legs are made by putting some string or wool through the lower body and stringing beads on the ends.
Another creature that can be made from a rectangle of knitting is the caterpillar. For the green and yellow caterpillar I cast on 20 stitches and then knitted the piece in alternate stripes. The first stripe had 18 rows and the others had 14 rows each.To make this into a caterpillar I folded it in half and sewed the long edges together matching the stripes. Each end was closed by sewing some running stitches around the short end and pulling it tightly together. I closed one end and then stuffed the caterpillar, once stuffed I finished the other end. To give the piece some more realistic shaping, I sewed some running stitches around each edge of a stripe and pulled up. lastly I used some black yarn to sew some eyes and a mouth. The caterpillar will be attached to a branch making it look as if its back is hunched up.
A butterfly can also be made with rectangular pieces of knitting. I made two pieces, the first was in brown for the head and body. I cast on 25 stitches and knitted 20 rows. The second piece for the wings, I cast on 30 stitches and knitted 46 rows, 24 in yellow and 22 in pink. I made up the body in the same way as the caterpillar and then sewed some running stitches along the middle of the wing piece, sewing a line of stitches along the middle of the yellow and pink stripes. Having pulled these stitches up slightly I joined the wings to the middle of the body. To give the wings more shape, I ran some running stitches along the line where the pink and yellow met and gathered this up.In previous years I have made rabbits from knitted squares with pom pom tales.Details of how to make these can be found here Knitted Rabbit.
In 2016 we had some amazing spiders webs made using sticks with wool wound round them.Here are some instructions for making the webs. Last year we also made lots of birds by winding wool around cardboard. Instructions ca be found here Wool Wrapped Birds
I hope these instructions give people a few ideas and lots feel they would like to become part of Woollen Woods 2018.
I thought I would write an update about the Christmas Angel project. Knitters and Crocheters in Belper have been very busy this year making small angels as a Christmas Gift of Love for the people of the town. The project had been adopted by Belper Churches Together as their Christmas initiative but it has also been very much a community activity with hundreds of people getting involved. Continue reading Belper Christmas Angels
The days are getting colder and nights longer. I think it is more important than ever to feed the birds.Birds give an enormous amount of pleasure and watching birds can also be good for our mental health as a study done by Exeter University has discovered. Continue reading Feed the Birds
A love of nature and the horror of World War One are not usually thought of as being connected. However having read the book ‘Where Poppies Blow’ by John Lewis-Stempel, I realise there is a connection.
During the war soldiers lived inside nature. There was no escape as they lived and fought in trenches dug out of the earth. There are lots of references to the natural world in the poems written during the war and in letters written home to family members. Many said it was a love of the British countryside that encouraged them to volunteer. Continue reading Nature and the Great War
Autumn is such a special season. There is fun to be had walking along kicking the fallen leaves, searching for conkers and brightly coloured berries. The season used to start on September 21st and it can be a bit confusing these days as media weather people start talking about it starting on September 1st. Continue reading The Joy of Autumn
Do you believe that climate change is happening? Are you worried about the amount of Co2 in the atmosphere and the air quality in towns and cities around the world? What about the damage that plastics are doing to our world. It can be very easy to feel that there is nothing we can do, the problems are too large and so it is easier to bury our heads in the sand. Continue reading Tomorrow, the film.
In the town of Belper people are starting to think about next years Art Festival. Unlike many Art Festivals, the one held each year in Belper is a community event, a festival of inclusivity, not exclusivity and everyone is welcome to take part.Belper Art Trail has already posted on their Facebook page asking for ideas for next years trail which is one element of the whole Art Festival. Continue reading Adopt a Tree in Belper