Do have a go at this challenge no matter what materials you prefer and no matter how new or how experienced you are.
The first challenge for this year is to make one, or more, experimental textile samples using repurposed items such as old clothing or furnishings.
For example, you could deconstruct an old shirt and use specific pieces or just rough cut pieces or even shred the fabric down to threads. You could unravel an old sweater or scarf to reuse the yarn, or make ‘yarn’ by cutting lengths from an old t-shirt.
So why only make a sample?
Well, it’s quick, fun and there’s no pressure to get something right. It’s a great risk-free way to get creativity flowing and can lead to further experimentation or perhaps a new project. Sampling gives you a chance to test an idea before embarking on a project and it can inspire future work.
Look around at what you have and ask ‘what if?’ Then make a sample to see what happens.
Here are some of our samples of ‘textile deconstruction and reconstruction’:
This large scarf had a few holes in it and wasn’t fit for purpose.
Some of it was cut into strips then knitted to see how it would look and feel.
Old scarves and blouses can be used to make nuno felt. If you’re unsure whether the fabric will work or not, make a sample!
Small pieces from three different garments were cut into rough shapes then placed onto a few layers of merino wool before felting. The sample shows how each piece of fabric looked after felting.
This experimental sample is a scrap of fabric cut from an old garment then embellished with stitching.
This is a slice of the sleeve of an old sweater splayed out and stitched down.
Old t-shirts can be cut into strips to make ‘yarn’. Seamless t-shirts are best as you can just cut round and round – with a seamed t-shirt you have to make joins in the ‘yarn’.
This red t-shirt yarn …
… and some of this recycled sari silk …
… were knitted together, as an I-Cord, on giant needles to make interesting ‘rope’.
Some fulled felt that was left over from a very colourful project was cut into small pieces, laid on top of loose white merino fibres then felted …
… the result was a colourful, textured piece of felt.
These shoelaces were rescued from discarded trainers. They were handstitched to a piece of velvet and the sample was an experiment to try to ‘abstract’ rhubarb.
You may already have a stash of deconstructed stuff e.g. ribbons saved from gift wrappings, short lengths of yarn from old sweaters/scarves, lace from old blouses etc.
This weaving sample was made from such a stash.
So, look around at what you have to hand and ask ‘what if?’ Then make a sample to see what happens.
Please post a photo of your experimental sample onto the Felting and Fiber Forum under ‘Studio Challenges’ in the thread ‘2022 First Quarter Challenge’.