Yet more GiveWraps!

This is going to be an indulgent post!  I have been making lots of GiveWraps.  It’s the birthday season in my family and Christmas is in the offing, so there’s every reason to have a little play with colour, yarns and fabric.  Given a nice sunny day (so the light is good in my little Woolly Room), I went into production mode.K making GivewrapsIf there is time, I like to make GiveWraps with particular people in mind.  It’s my daughter’s birthday at the end of November and last year I made her a very special GiveWrap using bits of animal print fur fabric scraps left over from her teenage sewing experiments.Animal print givewrapThis year I wanted to do something different.  I’ve got some Very Hungry Caterpillar fabric (always a family favourite) – what about that?  The caterpillars are interspersed with familiar scraps: the grass-green chintz was left over from blinds I made in our old house, the pink and blue flower fabric was used for curtains in her bedroom …..very hungry caterpillar givewrapShe likes both cats and the designer Alexander Henry.  Happily these two likes come together with some of his wild and wonderful scratchy cat fabric.  I think these cats are just wicked!  Scratchy cats givewrapI have some interesting printed scraps from my cousin, Polly (with whom I set out on this GiveWrap adventure).  Here is her Microcosm enclosed print in the centre of this blue GiveWrap.  She has printed it on an old tablecloth that once belonged to our grandfather.  You can see his name embroidered on the plain linen.  I’ve kept it in partly because it is our shared story, and partly because it is an example of beautiful craftsmanship in itself.microcosm enclosed givewrapI had a few tiny scraps of Microcosm enclosed left over and wanted to emphasise the facial aspects of the print so I put them with these pieces from my old and very worn-out yukata.  I love these Japanese ladies!  The yukata was originally white – and a reject from my mother.  I dyed it turquoise – a great success – and wore it and wore it and patched it and patched it.  Eventually the time came to admit defeat – but these lovely ladies have found a new life in my GiveWraps, and don’t they work well with the purple?!  There’s a faintly mauve tone in their kimonos which is why it all works together so well.yukata ladies with purple givewrapThere are more people in this print of Polly’s.  The figures on the right are her as a little girl beside her mother.  I thought long and hard about how to make this GiveWrap.  I definitely wanted to emphasise the vertical lines so eventually settled on tree and leaf prints.  It seemed to be important to place the print on the right  so that the figures could look over the GiveWrap – and Polly’s fish print just snuck in on the left.Fish and mother and child print givewrapNow for some dragons – but what on earth was I going to put with them?  I knew that I wanted to pick out the orange of Polly’s dragon prints and contrast it with green.  Then, by chance, I came across this owl fabric with its orangey-reddy-brown owls on a soft leafy green background – just perfect!  Lots more leafy fabrics in the mix as well.  I deliberately set the dragons in two columns “facing” each other and “upside down” to each other (so to speak).  It’s a trick borrowed from the yukata ladies above that I particularly like.Dragons and owls givewrapThere were still more of Polly’s printed dragon scraps.  These dragons have been printed on a very fine gold silk, and – don’t ask me why! – they set themselves in browny-grey fabrics, and then the Alexander Henry scratchy cats just asked to join in!  Sorted!!Dragons and cats givewrapOn a roll now, I made yet another GiveWrap   I really struggled with this one.  The fabric in the centre is from a very beautiful Indian silk dress of my grandmother’s – alas, perishing.  You may just be able to see that the pink flowers are picked out with gold threads – so much work in it.  It was a very straight short shift dress – so not a lot of material – and I had no idea what to do with it, except, of course, make a GiveWrap.  But I found it a hard challenge to find colours and patterns that married with those delicate colours.

As it turned out, it is a very sentimental GiveWrap, using lots of pieces that have strong associations.  The small brown flower print is from the first dress I ever bought myself – in the 60s!  It was kept because my mother loved it – and used it for patchwork.  I’ve added strips of the soft brown needlecord that was leftover from a dress I made my little daughter many years ago.  How nice to have found a home for these special pieces.  But will I ever be able to pass this GiveWrap on?Pinky brown GivewrapAnd lastly two knitted GiveWraps which I have been working on by the fireside in the evenings.  Here I was using up scraps of knitting wool and some chenille too.  These are knitted in linen stitch which gives a pleasing woven effect.  They are such fun to put together – it’s really fabric creation at its most basic.  Little odd strands of contrast colour lift the whole.  One knitted in reds and pinks ….pink and red knitted givewrap… and the other has some orange in the and orange knitted givewrapTime to tidy up my little Woolly Room and turn to other projects.  It’s a tiny room and I have to be very disciplined as I work.Woollly room workspaceAll these GiveWraps have labels on the back.  I’ve given up using the computer for labels, finding it too much of a struggle for my printer.  However, Anne Wheaton has some helpful advice on printing  labels and perhaps when I’m next making GiveWraps, I’ll try one of her methods.handwritten labels for givewraps now


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17 thoughts on “Yet more GiveWraps!”

  1. I was just thinking this morning, that I needed to look up your post on these give wraps! I love them all, and today I am especially intrigued by the knitted ones. I have lots of samples of naturally dyed yarn that are too small to do much with, and their colors didn’t come out that great – but combined into these wraps, they would look nice and earthy.
    Also, I think you should keep the one with your mom’s and your dresses — you can just put it on the wall as art, or place it on a table or something. You don’t have to give away everything you make. At least not as soon as you make it.


    1. I agree with T Ranger… keep the one with your Mom’s and your dresses. All of the others mad me gasp and laugh and sigh. Love the dragons and the Japanese Ladies. So glad you are posting this now as I have Christmas gifts to send and this is perfect. Thank you.

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      1. Thank you too, Susan, for additional support on the keeping the GiveWraps for me front!! I love the Japanese ladies too, but I think they know they belong at Polly’s house for a while 🙂 Have fun getting things ready for Christmas!


    2. Thank you for the comforting advice about keeping the GiveWrap with those special fabrics in it, Textile Ranger! You’re quite right – we don’t have to give everything away that we make. I’ve also knitted GiveWraps using that linen stitch of odd yarns that are rather dull in themselves – and you can get some magical results!


  2. I think the process of finding the right fabric and reliving its history is wonderful and it’s so good to find a practical use for those tiny scraps that were too good to throw away. I agree with Textile Ranger and Susan that not all give wraps have to be passed on. I’ve just looked up linen stitch and think that may now be my next give wrap. Excellent idea.


    1. Yes – it is just so magically satisfying to make something out of odds and ends, isn’t it? Especially if they are special odds and ends. The knitted GiveWraps are my comfort knitting when I’m weary and can’t concentrate on sophisticated patterns – works a treat!


    1. Aaaah – you’re all so supportive of the keeping the GiveWraps for myself idea – how ever am I to give any of them away!! Actually the Japanese ladies are promised to my cousin, Polly, and I do find that knowing you are giving something you have made to an appreciative recipient is almost better than keeping it for yourself. What’s more – they may even come back to me one day 🙂

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  3. Lovely post! and I’m certainly getting some great exposure through you! Very interested to have more of the background to the process of putting together your amazing patchwork. Curious about the ‘facial aspect’ of Microcosm?? I do love those Japanese ladies too and specially like seeing scraps of the duvet cover I made for my parents all of 40 years ago in there with them. I think what makes your compositions so alive is the sense of dialogue in them – as you mention with the upside-down dragons – everything is talking to everything else in a sometimes homely, sometimes slightly crazy way. My fish talk to the fishy leaf-shapes, and also to me and my mother across the way, but with a disparity of scale that I enjoy. And the upright tree-shapes echoing my mother’s uprightness. How every upright she was then, and how different from what she became………. I think that’s why I like to work with that image.

    I specially love the first one with the dragons, the warmth of the colours. And the one that started with the beautiful pink Indian silk of your grandmother’s – and I agree you don’t have to give it away. Keep it and hug your history to you on the long dark evenings.

    Lastly, I now realise what I need for the labels (glad you’ve also given up on printing them) – pinking shears! A trip to town tomorrow…………


    1. Glad you enjoyed the post, Polly. It was fun to write, especially because I had more space to write explanations of how I work. Slightly balmy, I know, but there is logic and planning there! Is there not a face in Microcosm? I always see one. Admittedly, it is almost missing in the scraps in the Japanese ladies Givewrap. Yes, pinking shears are the answer!! – don’t know why I didn’t think of them before 🙂


  4. These are just wonderful! Why don’t you keep the silk one to give back and forth with Stephen? You will get both the pleasure of keeping it and the pleasure of its use. I think your hand written labels are one of the strengths of these cloths. Handwriting is so intimate and quite rare these days really. Each cloth is a tiny story and the hand writing seems to compliment their intimacy.


    1. Ok – I’ll come clean ….. I’ve already got more than several GiveWraps that I can’t part with! One of them was made by you, Rebecca, one by Polly and there are several others I’ve made …. So it’s just going to have to join the collection 🙂 I think you’re quite right about the handwriting – though I did love the professional finish the printed labels gave. It somehow set an official seal on the slightly wonky handmade.


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