textile trail ……



This blanket was knitted by my other half Steve’s Great Granny from wool she unravelled from old jumpers, he inherited it about 40 years ago and for the last 15 it has covered the armchair he sits in. After washing it I noticed that some of the seams were coming apart, so I put it aside to repair, in that pile of stuff waiting to be repaired, you know, the tall pile.

max chair

I replaced Granny’s blanket with a more easily washable zebra fleece blanket, until I got round to repairing it.

duffel coat

Last year when I was working on making stock for a craft fair I decided that I needed some clothes for men. Luckily a friend said , “here, I’ve got a coat you can have, it was sold to me as a coat to have adventures in, and I’ve had lots of adventures, but not in this coat, so you’re welcome to it”.

I wanted something quite particular to add to the coat, and searched around my fabric shelves for something that had subtle colours, and a looked a bit “lived in” or “pre-loved” . Nothing quite fitted the bill, and then by accident I knocked over the big pile of things awaiting repair and happened upon Great Granny’s blanket. It was perfect, just what I was looking for… but it wasn’t mine. I asked Steve if he minded if I commandeered it, he made some comments about me having MORE than enough fabric already , and surely I didn’t need any more?. I explained that this was the perfect thing for the coat, and that I would only use the borders, then I’d repair the holes, bind the raw edges and bobs yer uncle, everbody’s happy.

So I used some of the border on this coat, and it turned out well. This fellow tried it on at the craft fair, but didn’t buy it as he said “it is too frivolous for my country” . I should have asked which country that was, but I didn’t. It was eventually bought by a woman, who loved it.

jacket collar

I also used it on the collar of this jacket. I did wonder if Granny would have minded her blanket being cut up and used to customise clothes, but I reckoned being a good Highland wifie she would rather it was used than go to waste.
Recently I was working on a swing coat and needed a long border to go around the bottom. The blanket came to mind and I retrieved it from the repair pile once again. The remaining border reached all the way round the coat, with just one join. Very pleasing.
I trimmed the extra width from the border, and thought that the pieces left looked interesting, so I saved them to play with later.

blanket scraps

I used them to make these flowers, still a work in progress.

blanket scrap flowers

This is the swing coat I used the blanket border on. I’m very pleased with it, and I hope Great Granny would approve.

daydream coat

Sometimes when I’m sewing a garment I daydream about the person who will buy it…. with this coat it went like this ……

It’ll be at a craft fair, or a show, yes, it’ll be at Woolfest. it’s just before opening on the first day and a woman with abundant silver curls walks by my stall, pauses, looks in but doesn’t enter..
“nice shoes” I say ….
“I know, I love them, would you believe I got 2 pairs of them at a car boot sale! couldn’t believe my luck! the other ones are purple….. your stuff looks great, I’ll try and come back for a look when I get a break from my stall, I better keep going, on my way to the loo before we open…”
she walks on, then stops in her tracks and heads towards the coat that is on my mannequin…. “wow , this one is amazing, it is so me…… shame it’s not my size ”
then she reads the label
“aw man it IS my size, is it ok if I try it on?”
“course it is” I say and help her on with it, she turns to look in the mirror and her eyes light up.
she looks wonderful and she can  see it.
“I love it, I love it.. I love Indian embroidery, I went on a textile tour of Rajasthan it was incredible..”
” I bought that embroidery in Rajasthan” I tell her…. ” I used to go every year with an empty rucksack and come back with a full one, full of vintage embroidery….
and that strip round the bottom, that’s from a blanket that my husbands  Great Granny knitted from unravelled jumpers, he’s had it for 40 years and it was falling apart at the seams. I loved the colours in it so I commandeered it ”

“I’ve got to have it..” she says… “I just need to make some money first” and she’s off…….

later that day a younger woman with a headful of ginger corkscrews comes into my stall…..
“nice shoes” I say,
” thanks , my mum got them at a ….”
I interrupt her….”car boot sale? ”
“yes! how did you….”
“your mum was here this morning and she said she got 2 pairs, and the other ones were purple…. she tried on this coat and looked brilliant in it”
“oh yes, I can see her in that, that’s right up her street. why didn’t she buy it?”
“she said she’d come back for it if she made enough money…”
“you know what, I’m going to get it for her, it’s her birthday next week, her 60th and I’ve been looking for something special to get her…”
and then my bobbin thread runs out and my dream is over.

I shared my daydream on my Facebook page where it got a great response, people loved the story, and the coat. A lovely American lady asked if she could have the coat, and could I include the story with it,  which was very gratifying.
This coat has got history, and I think it’s got an interesting  future ahead of it as well.

daydream coat collar