A few years ago, I got a weaving kit as a present but I didn’t end up using it as much as I had planned. However, it came back into use a few weeks ago after I listened to a talk by the upcycler Lynn Haughton of The Upcycle Movement at Liberties Upstairs as part of Heritage Week. She showed a rug she had made, woven out of strips of reused leggings. The next day, I got out my loom and started experimenting.
The first piece I made was with an old t-shirt cut up into strips. I made a second piece of fabric using the rest of the t-shirt, but I threaded the loom differently and fastened the two pieces together as I wove it.
Next were the shoelaces. I had a bundle of old, dirty shoelaces that I didn’t need so I had a go with those. This proved very successful because all the shoelaces were the same width, something I had found hard to achieve when cutting strips of the jersey fabric from the t-shirt. I think I’ll have to bleach the finished piece to get rid of the marks, something I neglected to do before I started the weaving.
Finally, I cut up a pair of old purple tights. These had been bought for a school play and I didn’t want them for anything else. The woven patch is very striking in colour. I still have five strips of fabric left (the tights made ten in total) so I should be able to make another patch the same size.
Keeping the edges neat has proved a problem, I may have to sew around the edges at the end. When I was taking the purple fabric off the loom, I found a more secure way of finishing the edges by tying each wool end to its partner but also to another end to make a firm edge. Chris suggested that the pieces could be put to good use as a bath mat, which I think is a workable idea. It might be difficult to match the edges of the different pieces neatly together though.
I have a pair of striped leggings to cut up as well, which should make at least one other patch. The mat will also need to be backed with something. I have a hessian sort of material which might be suitable. Upcycling fabric is an area I haven’t ventured into before and although it’s limited by the unwanted bits and bobs you can find, I like the new challenge.
Have you tried any kind of upcycling? Let us know about your projects…