Welcome to the second stop on Karen Lewis' new Wabi-Sabi Sewing Book! This book tour flows between blogs and Instagram accounts. Check out #wabisabisewing on Instagram to find posts related to the book. 'Wabi-Sabi' is a Japanese aesthetic celebrating beauty in that which is imperfect, impermanent and incomplete. It embraces flaws, irregularities, wear-and-tear and finding contentment in what we have. Karen has created twenty home decor projects embracing a wabi-sabi approach and covering a range of techniques (piecing, applique, sashiko for example). She uses a variety of natural fibre textiles -barkcloth, linen, quilting cotton, denim- and a restrained colour palette to make a beautifully harmonious sewing book.
I chose to make the Helping Hands mitten-style pot holder. Part of the book's ethos is to use what you have so I used offcuts from a couple of projects- barkcloth from a dress and a heavy Art Gallery denim from a bag- along with thread, large eyelets, small hammer style rivets, leather, insulated fleece and wadding scraps all from my drawers and cupboards.
There are cutting plans, photos and diagrams alongside the written instructions so it's a quick, simple make. You can't tell from the book photos, but the upper section is shorter than the back section to make it easier for your hand to slide in.
I added some hand stitching in linen thread as I had such a lovely colour match, I couldn't resist fitting it in somewhere!
I used a single rather than a double binding as the fabric was quite thick.
For me, Wabi-Sabi Sewing is a springboard type of a book where looking through it leads me on to make something inspired by it, so, after making Helping Hands, I made another potholder- standard rather than gloved and with other fabric scraps. This time I used linen left over from my Burnside Bibs and some Japanese print kitchen-themed scraps. I pinned the scrap on to the top layer, frayed the scrap edges and used running stitches and linen thread to attach one layer to another.
The quilting was the same sashiko stitches pushed through the layers. The lines are a little wobbly and uneven as hand quilting is not my strongest sewing skill, but the effect is soft and textural. For the loop, I used Prym snap pliers to cut out a little hole in the potholder corner and in the leather before slotting the small rivet pieces in and using a hammer to close them together. I've had these rivets for ages and I've put off using them as I wasn't really sure if I'd need a special too, but it turns out that a wack with a hammer is perfect!
Wabi Sabi Sewing book - Amazon, Book Depository, signed copy
Prym Vario Pliers
Clover metal thimble