The Champagne of Cloth – Harris Tweed

So, all my Harris tweed arrived and indeed it is lovely! I got to work straightaway; keen to sew it but without any real purpose for it other than an urge to possess some, I made hisnhers toiletry/ washbags:

The pink:

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The Traditional Herringbone Lovat:

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I lined them with a high quality white PUL, making them water-resistant and wipeable on the inside anyway. That was a royal pain in the proverbial though – I usually use white canvas on the basis that you stick the washbag in the wash and it’s much easier to sew into these bags. but Harris tweed should only really be dry cleaned, so I thought the PUL would be the better option for in between drycleans…

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These were both instantly swiped by my sister-in-law when they came to visit though! I only just got the photos in before they disappeared down South of the Border. oh well, given their high standards, I’ll take that as a compliment!

So what’s the deal about Harris tweed?

Well first it’s the only cloth which has it’s own Act of Parliament. That’s quite a feat!  This is from the Harris Tweed Authority website:

The Harris Tweed Act

The definition of Harris Tweed contained in the Harris Tweed Act of 1993 clearly defines Harris Tweed as follows:

“Handwoven by the islanders at their homes in the Outer Hebrides, finished in the Outer Hebrides, and made from pure virgin wool dyed and spun in the Outer Hebrides.”

The Act ensures that all cloth certified with the Harris Tweed Orb symbol complies with this definition and is genuine Harris Tweed, the world’s only commercially produced handwoven tweed.

And did I mention the cloth must be inspected by the Harris Tweed Authority before it gets an official stamp of approval and earns the right to “Wear The Orb”, which is what you see on the label.They call themselves “The Guardians of the Orb”.

Wowsers. It sounds so romantic. I imagine knights fighting dragons, glimmering Orbs of light held aloft, symbols of truth and bravery. Aragorn and the like. Mmmmmm, Aragorn….

Ahem.

This is the label:

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And when you get approved Harris tweed you get a number of labels (strictly metered out and guarded, you can’t just buy them) for use on products you make with it. I am a little bit in love with my labels! They somehow feel very special. Even if Aragorn doesn’t come with these orbs. Sigh.

So I had a little left from the pink tweed fabric I bought, and made a couple of small coin purses:

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and a little zippered pouch for a handbag – maybe to hold lipstick, mobile phone, even a pair of glasses. the batting and the thickness of Harris Tweed gives it a nice padded stability. I somehow like it the most of all the things i’ve made from it so far!

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Photots will never do Harris tweed justice. it feels nice in your hands. Or maybe it’s just that everyone in Scotland and maybe the UK understands its heritage and that’s what it feels like you’re holding in your hands; an ancient history.

This is the website of the Harris tweed Authority, if you’re interested:

http://www.harristweed.org/

I did get rather a lot of the Herringbone Lovat fabric (not the pink one) which is what I feel is the traditional tweed; it looks great on anyone, young, old, male, female, modern, classic. So I imagine I’ll be sewing a lot more with Harris tweed which will be a pleasure. And I still have some handbags to make with it. So much to play with! Hurray!

Till the next time,

Poppy

xx

ps. Am daydreaming now! (am such a geek)

Marmalade quilty love, teeny cars and more pink tweed

The sun is still shining here in Scotland (Yay!!!) so I took the opportunity to photograph this little quilt made with Marmalade fabrics from Bonnie and Camille for Moda. It measures 31.5” x 36”, 100% cotton.

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I was really excited to see a collection in flannels, so bought them for this quilt, making it gorgeously cosy and soft. I think it is a beautiful quilt and exactly what I would choose if I had a girl – definitely my taste!

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I stipple quilted it, backing it in this Ikea cotton print called Rosalie based on a Cath Kidston design. The design is a little “pixelated”, but really it doesn’t seem to matter once it’s all sewed up, and makes a lovely quilt backing. 

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My only minor regret with this quilt is that I hadn’t realised only some of the designs were in flannel, and so I didn’t receive many of the beautiful prints I really like, like this one:

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So I did buy some of this print and make it into a washbag, which is very pretty, and may be on the “for sale” page soon! I keep wondering whether to go the whole hog and reinvest in the whole marmalade cotton collection just to satisfy my love for it, but I haven’t got a daughter – and even this quilt has not got a home to go to yet. I might put it for sale too.  And I still have enough of the flannel for a 45” x 45” toddler quilt (bigger if I use a border), so I can’t really justify it 😦 I think my affair with Marmalade may be over…

… particularly as I am falling in love with (and trying hard to resist) this latest collection again by Bonnie and Camille called Happy Go Lucky:

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… But I am seriously trying to resist because I have already spent many impatient months waiting for the release of this collection called “High Street” by Lily Ashbury for Moda:

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You can’t see much of the fabrics here, but trust me, the designs are too beautiful, with just a hint of ethnicity and yet such modern bright girlish colours! I have NO BUSINESS getting this, as I am not going to get a daughter, and all the babies coming are boys, but I so badly want to sew up this collection that I have promised myself I can get it. If I make some sewing money. And when it is released. Which is August in the U.S. and probably ages for the UK 😦

Instead I am busying myself with wee projects like this little washbag I made for baby Hamish – I know I made him bunting, but this print was too cute – check those teeny tiny cars! You’d think a child doesn’t need a washbag, until you think about cotton wool, wipes, cream, bath wash and later on toothbrush, their own toothpaste – they are more high maintenance than me!

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…and despite my dislike of making the same thing over and over,  I was persuaded to make another bag using those pink and aqua fabrics, but this time a bit smaller 10.5” wide x 3” deep x 8” tall in middle – and with the fabrics reversed – pink on top. I actually like it much better this way – like the size and love the pink tweed. It was given to me years ago as a present, so when it’s gone it’s gone – I should remember that and enjoy using it now! The felt flower is a brooch, so is removable. I probably would remove it if it was for myself, but a lot of folk seem to like it.

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And purse feet! Well, they are my new favourite thing 🙂 I know, I need to get out more…

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So I should get going. I have heaps of stuff still to sew up instead of sitting procrastinating at my computer! Such as: A huge beanbag (pattern review to follow) almost finished for my friend’s husband. More travel chalkboards. A quilt for my goddaughter to be. Some Happy Birthday bunting for same precious girl (almost done!). A wholecloth quilt for a neighbour’s daughter. A christmas stocking for a neighbour’s new grandson. Some baby quilts for a few babies – including my new nephew who’s on his way in a few months, I can’t wait! Some washbag commissions. That’s a sneak preview of the next few blog page!! And at some stage I’ll be listing a few things on my new “For Sale” page… hopefully…

Hope you are enjoying the sun wherever you are,

Till the next time,

Poppy xx

ps you can email me at poppy@cuckooblue.co.uk

or visit my flickrstream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/cuckoo-blue/