Aprons – a textile story

The History of ‘APRONS’

I don’t think our kids know what an apron is. The principle use of Grandma’s apron was to protect the dress underneath because she only had a few. It was also because it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and aprons used less material. But along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying children’s tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.

From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.

When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids..

And when the weather was cold, Grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove.

Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.

From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.

In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.

When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men folk knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.

It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that ‘old-time apron’ that served so many purposes.

Send this to those who would know (and love) the story about Grandma’s aprons.


Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool. Her granddaughters set theirs on the window sill to thaw.

They would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron.

I don’t think I ever caught anything from an apron – but love


Starting Point

22768333_10156625554399688_1889437084_oAfter spending a good while longer pulling out piles of possible yarn materials (about 2 days!) I changed  my mind about which previous pieces to use as a starting point. I am much more inspired by these two. The red and brown because i love the vibrant red against the muted natural dyes and i like the idea of wrapping. To me the filled in embroidery represents wrapping. I chose the white and grey piece because the loops are fabulous. I love the knarly texture of the wool that i used in combination with the flat black against the white, and yet the black stitches are still rough and loose ish. I also like the addition of the crochet lace remnant. There are a lot of possibilities here. I have plenty enough colour, striking contrasts and texture.

Conclude and Reflect on Part Three: Colour

To be honest i really want to move on from this part. I have sat on it for a year and feel frustrated as so much has happened in my home life leaving me with very little time to work on this. I had so many ideas in my head about how i would present this and the work i would do and feel disappointed as i am not happy with the work i’ve done. I think from now on I will think less and be more productive in a step by step way instead of reading through the whole project way in advance and making elaborate plans. I am pleased with how the yarn wrap came out , in particular the section focusing in the womans back and hair, in pinks, creams and pale green. I am finding that quite a large volume of thinking, gathering and working needs to be done in order to come out with one piece of work that i am happy with. With reagrds to the final presentation of selected work, i am happy with the yarn wraps and colour extension. By the time I got to the watercolour and collage i really felt i had been almost trapped inside this project and just want to move on. I struggled with it not being so textile related but ithink if i came back to it at a later date, not feeling so stuck and rushed I would get more out of it.

22281259_10156571629669688_1872819465_oI am happy with this simple collage of the corner of lace piled up. Its very textural and i find the colours pleasing. I have decided i do prefer neutral natural colours, of the earth, sky, forests and stone.

The book that i made took a long time to decorate the cover, having painted papers, then tearing and gluing, repainting and adding sparkley bits and I would have been better spending that time on the content! I did enjoy making the book cover but on reflection something simple would work better as it is not conected with the content at all I just wanted to make a colourful paper collaged book cover which i am not all that thrilled with as it has no context.


The watercolour project was enjoyable and although i felt rushed and didn’t spend the time id liked to on it i did learn something as although i have worked with watercolours before ive not tried to keep a record of which colours i am mixing in order to reproduce them exactly at a later date.  I found it difficult to be structured and note how to mix the colours. The guache paints were easier to keep track of what i was using and what proportion. Because the shades of the glasses were so varied yet similar i ended up just getting into it in a relaxed way and mixing as i went on a large pallet. letting the colours run into each other on the pallet was pleasing and produced a good array of similar tones.

22279027_10156571628154688_1343930120_oI was happy with the yarn wraps, i really enjoyed working on them and look forward to working with these gorgeous colours further. Perhaps some colour chips alongside and better quality enlarged images would be better.



Some labels alongside the colour extension chips should have been included. I have notes of these in my sketchbook. I enjoyed this using gauche, it has a glorious pure texture and it straight forward to mix colours. I was surprised how many colours are in what looks like a really simple print. I collected a number of fabrics for this project, contacting suppliers for samples and getting lost in internet images. I really am drawn to vintage pieces and also anything which draws its references from the past. I spent a lot of time reading about Morris prints and the history of the designs and thinking about how innovative the print and dye processes were for the time. I love the colours produced by woad and indigo in particular and would like to look into all this further at some point. I am drawn very much to finding out more about dyeing processes, natural plant dyes, eco printing etc. I grow a lot of plants and am interested in herbs and wild plants/’weeds’ and would like to investigate their uses in textile art.

22323621_10156571628779688_1898152875_oI should have included colour chips alongside the collages. It would also make them easier to use as a starting colour reference at a later date.

Overall, Although I don’t feel i put my all into this project, it didn’t resonate all that well with me and as it sat around for so long i am keen to start the next project. I do feel it will be a useful and inspiring colour resource for future projects on the whole though.

As usual i spent a respectable amount of time trawling happily on pinterest and totally wish i had created something like Sibella Courts interior design colour resources. She has such a gift with using colour to create moods. I wish i had been more inventive and produced a colour resouse book that was more arty. I think mine looks quite naive.



Yarn Exploration

I am keen to begin this part of ATV. I sat on ‘Colour’ for so long, with no time to work on it, it began to really frustrate me and stress me out. I have read through part four and am excited to begin. I have been gathering possible materials for this since last year and I know it will help me feel less ‘stuck’ to move on.

After a lot of consideration I have chosen these pieces from my previous work as starting points;


I think the stitched abstract zip detail offers a lot of possibilities in yarn texture, repetition , and symmetry. I love the loops, love anything circular, maybe it will allow small round objects to be added, could be interperated as wrapping, looping, weaving. Theres a lot of scope.

The loose dress painting will offer opportunities to be more fluid, relaxed, messy. I hope to play with tangling, dipping, texture, knots, randomness. Between the two I feel they cover a lot of angles so lets see where it takes me.

I did initially want to use this piece as i like the texture of the oiled crumbled tissue and the looping but i favoured the zip as its more structured and repetitive, and has more contrast to the loose dress painting.

22290870_10156570423989688_401085693_oI must admit that gathering all the materials for this project has been throughly therapeutic. I have found it a great distraction from my own thoughts and worries and cant wait to get hands on and start making.

Watercolour Studies


I found there to be an almost infinate number of colour tones when i looked at the glass. If i had to name them simply; brown (who’d have thought it?), blue, green, white, grey. Until i relaxed i found it difficult and my colours looked wrong, like  a murky rainbow. Being rigid and noting down each colour mixture and proportions just are not working for me. As i got more involved, got a MUCH bigger mixing pallet and used more water it flowed and i found that i could see all the colours by letting them merge on the pallet and picking out the tones i could see on the glass. There are more than enough colours here on these glasses than anyone could need. I would like to focus on perhaps just the greens or the blues but as i am feeling extremely under pressure time wise to get this assignment moving on i am going to leave it and perhaps investigate  a more limited glass colour pallet when it comes to transferring the colour over to a yarn construction.


So instead  off my usual habit of spending weeks decided which messy corner to photograph  for this project i walked into my sewing space and took the picture. Its messy. Its a corner. And i’m happy  with the proportions of colour. It has texture as well as some bold clear shapes and spaces. I think it will be a good starting point. I then zoomed in on the top corner with just the iron and the fabrics and intend to look at that section in detail. I played around with some editing and am in the process of gathering papers and paints. This is where i need to set myself a strict deadline and possibly limit materials available. I always work with found materials rather than go into art or fabric suppliers for several obvious reasons. Sustainability and economy being the main but also for me i find creative possibilities are far more exciting when you are turning waste into something new, valued and i inspiring . All the materials will be from the recycling bin, packaging or old books, magazines etc. I also love charity shops and we used to have a great scrap store for reusing  local waste.  Sadly its now closed and i live in a rural area so am limited to access to industrial  wastage.



My Simple collage focused on the corner of the picture where tattered the lace is a tumbling old pile. I used stained and torn pieces of paper, some soaked in hot water, dried and crumpled, some stained with tea, and with walnut ink dripped on them. I added paint through gauze to achieve a lace effect. This is my favourite collage. It even has an old nail in the paper as some of the fabric samples in the pile have rusty staples in. It has great texture and a simple colour scheme.

22251212_10156569179309688_1798374530_oFor the unusual colour scheme i’ve used colours which are in the picture but are not harmonious and really don’t feel good to look at. Ugly pretty perhaps.

22292367_10156569179659688_307004381_oI have used wallpapers with bright gaudy colours and printed out edited photos of the corner to use.

For my complicated corner i tried to replicate each part as it was on the picture. I’ve used my own interpratation but not simplified the content.


My cat was a great help with selecting and cutting the papers.


Yarn wrap

yarn2yarn420170925_172240This exercise was really exciting for me. I adore gathering bits and pieces and am fortunate to have quite a hoard. I chose the painting ‘Allegory of Love’ because it includes every one of my favorite coloura. The aged fausty faded sepia tones and the way they blend and compliment just resonate within me. They are so romantic and subtle. I collected up lots of soft muted tonal wools and silk fabrics and became immersed in creating the wraps. Cant wait to re visit this at a later stage. I look forward to working with these colours.

I made my first wrap looking at the proportions of all the colours in the painting and then created two more looking at two sections close up…the central womans skin and hair colouring and the males glorious mustard gold clothing.