Inside the Ribbon Tin: July

July 14, 2014

IMG_1078Welcome to the July opening of the Ribbon Tin. Inside the Ribbon Tin is a monthly series featuring a miscellany of bits and bobs, odds and sods, knicks and knacks, all sorts of interesting things related to textiles and making.

First out of the Tin is a very special quilt.

happy as a clamImage permission Blue Mountain Daisy

It is called Happy as a Clam by Rachaeldaisy from the Blue Mountain Daisy blog.  Made from old jeans and heavily embellished with flowers, lace, birds, butterflies and all kinds of things, the quilt top was then hand stitched to another quilt. Happy as a Clam just won third prize in the Anything Goes Mixed Media Category at the Sydney Quilt Show. This quilt just explodes with seventies psychedelia and bellbottom finery, irrepressible joy and happiness. Would that we all could be Happy as a Clam!

clam backQuilt back. Image permission Bluemountaindaisy

Rachaeldaisy has turned repurposing old jeans into an artform.  I have featured her jeans quilts before on the Ribbon Tin but in case you missed them, have a look at Pockets Full of Posies and The Double Denim Wedding Ring.

Another maker with a flare for repurposing, is Elizabeth from Flaunt, a Victorian upholsterer and furniture maker.  Have a look at her blanket ottomans.

Image permission of Flaunt

My heart goes all soft when I see this…I long to give them a cuddle. Clearly, the association of blankets and comfort is almost hard wired!  These blankets are similar to the ones that are folded in our linen cupboard. They are pulled out for cold nights, indoor cubbies and sick days.

Elizabeth has worked with blankets in her upholstery before, experimenting with different forms in her Extra Blanket piece for the Melbourne Fringe Furniture Festival a few years ago.  She uses all Australian blankets from mills like Laconia, Onkaparinga, Waverly and Physician dating from the 1940s to 1970s.

extra-big-7Extra Blanket, Image permission of Flaunt

Elizabeth has heard the siren song of wool and explains what makes it so good to use for upholstery.

Wool is light fast, strong, naturally dirt and flame resistant and upholsters up beautifully because it has the perfect amount of stretch. It is also naturally biodegradable.

It seems indie furniture makers are just getting it done in Australia at the moment. A mob of them have banded together to make Handkrafted, a new Australian enterprise linking bespoke artisans to customers. Handkrafted works by enabling folks to create a project brief that is sent to subscribed artisans who respond with their ideas. The customer then chooses the artisan they would like to work with.

The showcased work is just stunning.  When I grow up, I would love to have furniture like this, but it would have to come with the same vast, empty light filled interiors.  Until that day, we shall have to glory in our motley crew of second hand, Dear Boy’s inventions and the swedish store.

Currently focused on furniture, the group plans to bring in many other kinds of artisans.  Perhaps we will see quilters, spinners, weavers and knitters making bespoke garments and textiles.

But we don’t have to wait till then, we can make textile heirlooms right now, like Lori from Lori Times Five who is getting ready for an adventure to the Shetland Islands. While she is there she will embroider her travels on this needleworked map.

Lori mapImage permission of Lori Times Five

This is such a great idea, literally stitching in the journey as you go, preserving and creating at the same time, slowing the moments and making pockets of reflection amidst the consumption of experience. This map both encodes places visited as well as memories and experiences in a way that photographs promise but never quite do.

Another one of Lori’s ideas that has stayed with me is her camping kit for knitting. This was the post I first read after stumbling into Lori Times Five through a Ravelry link and I knew I’d found a special place.

Lori times fiveImage permission of Lori Times Five

Take a tube like an oats or pringles tube or even a postal tube, put a hole in the top for the yarn to come out and paste your instructions around the outside.  Clean yarn and handy instructions…genius. What makes this particular item so charming though, are the hand written instructions around the tube.  Handwriting in our world is becoming rarer and rarer and I cherish every sight I get, particularly in the blogosphere.  It is so human.

It was the handwritten note accompanying this freshly delivered postcard that transformed a simple give away into something very sweet and delightfully personal . The postcard was a give away from Magic Jelly, an Adelaide based art, illustration and design business.


Karena penned a different note and illustration for all winners.  Mine included part of a Robert Louis Stevenson poem (whom we love in our house for being the grandson of the builder of the Bell Rock lighthouse…the things you get to know if you have kids eh!)

Swallows travel to and fro

And the great winds come and go

And the steady breezes blow

Bearing perfume, bearing love

And finally, an illustration from a classic children’s book a friend lent us recently.

IMG_2750Goodnight Owl, by Pat Hutchins, first published in 1972…I reckon this copy might be that old. Every page has been very well loved, which is just as it should be.