Monday 7 September 2009

Prototype zippered rag-bag

I never did knit on the bus- I think I’m afraid to wave knitting needles around like that. Instead, I’ve been prototyping a variation on the rag-bag that I got from Tanglecraft. The idea is to sew a zipper to a lining fabric, then put the card frame inside that lining. The warp is stitched through the fabric of the zipper rather than laced over a comb, but the weaving pattern is the same: weave side one, flip, weave side two, flip and repeat.

prototype zipper rag-bag

It took about two weeks to make, and obviously requires some non-bus time to get the sewing done. Here’s the breakdown:

The Good:

  • Smaller size frame is easier to handle without a shed stick. Most of the weaving was done using a hair clip to thread the weft through, then a darning need to fill in the top bits.

  • Used some tiny (like under 3 inches long) bits of blue yarn I had scavenged at the 8th Day knitting club ages ago. I do like how these rag weavings can incorporate tiny bits of colour.

The Bad:

  • The chenille yarn was nice to touch, but doesn’t slide through the warps well. It was tricky near the top, but impossible to use when ‘filling-in’ the bit at the bottom (Perhaps I hadn’t pushed the first rows of weaving down enough, but the warps at the bottom were naked where they went over the edge. I filled it in with the green yarn using a darning needle.)

  • It was nearly impossible to get the card out of the bag when the weaving was finished. I had overestimated how far the zipper unzipped. Even after bending the card, I still caught and snapped the warp thread at the far end. It wasn’t hard to tie back together, but it could be a flaw in the whole process. Or maybe it’s just because I used a chunky zipper.

  • After the problems with getting the card out, I zipped the bag shut and the head of the zipper came off the end! Luckily it aligned and went back on. The zipper also caught the lining fabric. Zippers are tricky.

The Ugly:

  • The un-even edge to the warp threads where they are sewn into the zipper. I tried covering these with a line of un-even chain stitch, and it was an improvement. Future experiments need to be more precise in stitching the warp.

  • I think, though I’m not certain, that I strung the warp wrong. Using the comb loom, the pattern of warping only works one way, so the sides match up. I think with sewing in the zipper as the top of the loom, I started or stopped on the wrong side. This may have made the side edges a bit looser than they ought to be. Again, future experiments with more precise warping should clarify how it would work best. (Meaning, I just need to pay more attention to what I’m doing. Mindfulness.)

  • The ends of the zipper stick out at the top, and the weft doesn’t cover them. I added some stitching when it was off the frame, but it looks rough. Zippers are tricky.

That’s a lot of bad and ugly, but it was a good prototyping exercise. I know the idea works, it’s just a question of refining it.

Truth is, I don’t need a coin purse- I’m perfectly happy with the wallet I’ve had for the last 10 years. But I’m interested in trying to make a pencil case, or maybe a bag for an odd shaped object, like a ukulele. It’s a case of curiosity rather than necessity.

Also, to make my blog more usable, I’m going to try to tag entries now. Hopefully each entry tagged as a prototype will be followed up by a beta, then finally with a set of full instructions. It’s a plan.

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