Recycling Wallpaper

You may remember that some time ago I had collected wallpaper samples to use in a collage project with children at Rabbit Ings.  The leftover samples have been bumbling around my craft space and annoying me ever since.  It was time to do something with them.

For some time I’ve been promising myself that I’d do some weaving. I’m going to point the finger at Irene Donovan for origin of the weaving idea.  Irene has produced some beautiful woven wall hangings, and ever since I saw them I’ve wanted to bring weaving into my little craft world.   There was something else I’d seen too.  Ages ago I went to Holmfirth.  I visited the Up Country shop and saw some amazing woven cardboard baskets.  I managed to get hold of some corrugated cardboard last week, but I wanted to try out the technique before cutting the cardboard.

I’d found this tutorial by The Frugal Crafter (Lindsey Weirich has some wonderful craft ideas).  I didn’t particularly want to have to get out the paints to cover newspaper at this point, so I looked for an alternative coloured paper that I could use.  I realised I could use up the wallpaper samples that were rolling around the house.  They were thicker than newspaper, would produce a sturdy basket, and I could select colour combinations from those available.  I wanted to weave square or rectangular baskets, something I could use in my pantry to hold the small bags of dried fruit, nuts and various sachets that tend to fall off the shelves.  A bit more searching and I found another tutorial by Lisa on

The wallpaper was cut into 4 inch wide strips.  Each strip was folded to produce a 1 inch strip (fold in half, open and fold the edges into the middle, then fold again so that each strip is 1 inch wide).  Then it was just a matter of weaving the base (the baskets are 6 x 6 strips) and gluing with pva along the way.  Three more strips were used to weave the sides (pegs are really useful for holding the strips while the glue sets) and finaly the top edge strips were cut to about 1/2 inch long and a final strip placed over the top of them.  These are the baskets I made:

woven wallpaper basket 1 woven wallpaper basket 2 woven wallpaper basket 3 woven wallpaper basket 4Thought the baskets are not perfect squares, they are perfect for the job I need them to do.  After a few trials the fiddly process became easier.  I’m still building up to using the corrugated cardboard though.

I also managed to complete a folder cover inspired by Anne Brooke.  Strips of torn wallpaper were glued onto a background of brown paper and stitched:

stitched wallpaper picture 1A layer of leaves were stitched onto the background:

stitched wallpaper picture 2And a second layer of leaves:

stitched wallpaper picture 3Flower petals were added and stitched:

stitched wallpaper picture 4Finally the piece was cut (about half an inch longer than the folder top to bottom, and each edge folded inside the folder by abouallowing about 6 inches) to fit a folder .  The edges were stitched, and the edges were again folded in and stitched in place so that it would would fit over a folder.  This is the front:

stitched wallpaper picture 5And here is the back:

stitched wallpaper picture 6Easy!

Thankfully my craft space and my pantry are a little tidier.  I’m now wondering what to do next.  Maybe it’s time to get back to the machine embroidery course.

Woven and Stitched Fabric and Ribbons

Yesterday I went for lunch to Harvester with my friend Mags.  We both enjoyed our lovely meals.  We then went to Colourcraft where I blew some of my Christmas money on 10g pots of Procion Dyes, while Mags made friends with Chloe, a beautiful dog who has the run of the factory and shop, and has all the staff pampering to her every need).  We then went to Hillsborough where we spent time searching the charity shops for bargains.  I managed to pick up a silk scarf for 49p and a silk sarong for £1.00.  They weren’t in the best condition so my plan is to recycle them in my crafts.  I also bought a brand new cream and gold silk scarf (still in the wrapper) for £1, but Mags decided that it would look great draped around her neck!  Two out of three’s not bad is it!

Today I’ve had very little time to myself.  I wanted to complete my work for the distance learning course, but it just wasn’t possible.  I did manage to make a little progress though.  One of the pieces of work that needed finishing was the woven fabric and ribbons.  I had previously woven the fabric and ribbons and, instead of just stitching over the edges, I decided that I wanted to stitch all over it.  I made a start, decided I wasn’t that keen on what I was creating, and threw it to one side.  After a few weeks I decided to finish stitching the piece.  Here it is:


My inspiration for the colours was a seaside picture incorporating a combination of colours I really liked;  blues, creams, browns, grey and a little peach colour.  Though I selected colours in the picture, the woven fabric and ribbons just didn’t sing to me.  So I tried adding a little texture by stitching blocks of pattern with similar colours.  I still can’t hear it singing.

One of the things I tend to do when I’ve started a project, but don’t really like the results, is to stitch it to within an inch of its life.  If that doesn’t work, I use it as a background and add something more and carry on stitching, or I cut it up and use it in other projects. I’m not sure which way this is going yet.  I’m sure inspiration will hit when I least expect it.

Tomorrow  I need to do a little more couching using the twin needle, and also try out cable stitch again as I had very limited success first time around (many of the threads I tried were too thick or too thin to work).  With a bit of luck I will complete Unit 2 of the Distance Learning Machine Embroidery Course tomorrow.


Photo and Stitch 365 Challenge – 3 Woven and Stitched Paper

Today I went out for lunch with a friend.  We headed to a garden centre where they serve lovely home made soup and unbelievably good scones – we did share one as we both support the view that there are no calories if you share with a friend (I wish)!  While I was there I took some photos of plants and other items that I felt may inspire a small project.  The first two projects I worked on for this challenge were similar in that I used water based crayons and stitching.  Today I wanted a change.  Maybe something a little more freestyle and colourful.  I really didn’t know where I was heading with the stitching today.

This is the photo I chose:


What I loved about it was the colours.  The flowers were white and pale purple. with green leaves and buds.  The centre of the flowers were green and yellow.  I love purples and greens.  I feel that they shouldn’t work well together, but for some strange reason they do.  So today I was inspired by colour.

Out came the brusho and torn lining paper (which keeps it’s shape after its been wet through).  The paper was cream, so the white brusho didn’t really show up (not the best choice considering the picture – but as I said I didn’t know where I was going with this one).  I limited myself to the purple, green, grey and yellow, though a little bit of red did sneak in ther too.

Once the strips were dry I wove them together.  After pinning the corners down on another sheet of paper I was ready to stitch.  I decided to try to tone the project down with either cream, white or some other really pale thread.  I had a vague idea that I might end up with something resembling a lacy kind of design or pattern over the top of the painted strips.  The thread I chose was very, very pale grey (almost white) art silk.  I bought it in a charity shop eons ago and decided that the nice shiny thread would be a.good choice.

I used free motion stitching (feed dogs down) with different patterns.  I started with flowers and leaves and then ‘went with the flow’.  This is the result (you can click on the photo to enlarge it so that you can see the stitching):


As you can see, it’s absolutely nothing like the original photo – apart from green and purple and some flowers had 5 petals like the original.  I love the colours.  I wish I had used a bright white thread as this would have shown up more clearly.

If I’d had more time I’d have planned the patterns first.  One of the problems with taking on a 365 challenge is that you don’t have too long to think.  On the positive side though you do have to force yourself to think quick, make decisions and stitch like crazy to complete a small project.

If I decide to use this as inspiration for a further project I’d like to plan the patterns first.  Maybe stitch a large patterned leaf laying corner to corner ways, with a loose pattern around the leaf and a border around the edges.   That’s another positive aspect – you work on a project and you start thinking about how you can improve and carry out the next project.  I’m sure I’ll return to this idea at some point in time.  It could even be tomorrow!