Well, whilst I didn’t actually manage to get anything completed this week, I’ve got 2 projects in the planning stages – I just need my wedding guests to help me complete them now!
PROJECT 4 – BUNTING
I’m taking my display tree along to the ceremony and leaving a selection of pretty tags of various sizes for guests to sign their names on, and maybe write a little message if they’d like to.
The idea is to use the completed labels as ‘flags’ on a row of bunting which I’ll probably hang on the fireplace. I’m thinking about interspersing these wedding labels with some other bunting, possibly maps, but the jury’s still out on what the finished bunting will look like. I think I’ll need to see the wedding tags first and take it from there. So, watch this space for the finished project!
PROJECT 5 – PROGGY HEART PICTURE
The finished look of Project 5 is much clearer in my mind, although I’m still considering how to finish it off.
Over the past few years I’ve done a fair bit of ‘progging’ and really enjoy it. For those of you unfamiliar with this traditional mat and rug making craft, the Shipley Art Gallery in Gateshead have a fabulous introductory booklet that gives some of the history as well as instructions on how to make your own mats.
You start out by drawing your design on the back of some hemmed hessian. The hessian is a lovely fabric to work with, but it frays quite badly so definitely needs hemming. It’s also a good idea to wear an apron, or put a cloth over your lap whilst you’re working, or you’ll end up covered in bits of it too!
I knew that I wanted my picture to be a heart, but you can be as creative as you like with your design. You can start drawing it out in chalk, which you can simply rub out and re-draw until you’re happy with the final version. At that point, simply go over the chalk with a felt pen. You’ll be progging over the felt pen line so you don’t need to worry about it being visible from the front.
Once you have your hessian prepared and your design marked on, you need a selection of fabric. Traditionally, old clothes would have been cut up to make rugs with, and this is always a good option. However you can use any fabric, and it’s a good idea to experiment with different thicknesses on a spare piece of hessian to see the different effects you can achieve. Any fabric that frays can be cut on the bias and this should lesson the fraying a bit.
Prepared fabric and proggy tool
The pieces should be very roughly 5cm by 2cm, but it really isn’t an exact science. Personally I really like the look of uneven pieces as they lend a certain rustic charm to the finished item. For speed I cut a lot of my fabric using a rotary cutter and quilting ruler, but cutting it by eye using fabric scissors is just as good. For my heart picture I’ve gone for cotton fabrics and used an old shirt of Harry’s, a top I bought from a second hand shop in Skye when we were over there last year, and a selection of Liberty fabric that I’ve collected over the last few years.
Okay, once your hessian is prepared and you have a selection of fabric to work with, you’re ready to start! It really is a simple technique and quite therapeutic too. There’s an excellent video tutorial showing exactly how to prog, but there are really just a few simple steps:
1. Have the back of the work facing you at all times.
2. Begin by making a large hole with the progger tool at any point along the outline of your design.
3. Using the progger, push one end of a piece of fabric about half way through the hole you’ve just made, from the back to the front.
4. Make another large hole about 3/4 threads away from the first, still following the line of the felt pen outline.
5. Using the progger, push the other end of the fabric through from the back to the front into this second hole.
6. Repeat the steps above with the second piece of fabric ensuring you start the second piece in the same hole that the first piece ended in.
7. Continue to fill in all of the design outline, before completing the rest of the picture.
Front of the canvas showing outline completed
I’ve progged the outline of my heart so that our wedding guests get an idea of what the finished picture will look like. I’ll leave the basket full of fabric, the progger tool and some instructions and will hopefully get the chance to show everyone what to do too.
I still need to decide on how to finish the picture. At the moment I’m thinking about maybe hemming the top and bottom and sliding through a large twig, attaching some twine and hanging it up that way but, as with the bunting, I think I’ll need to see the finished picture first to get an idea of what will look best.
I’m really excited to think we’ll end up with a lovely piece of art for our home that will be full of happy memories as all of our wedding guests will have helped to complete it 🙂