An unsung fibre, Jute, is something that we have become increasingly aware. It is Jute’s eco credentials which are really outstanding when compared to other fibres; Jute fibre is 100% bio-degradable and recyclable, in it’s growth it requires very low use of pesticides and fertilizer and the processes involved in the conversion of plant to fibre are relatively low polluting. Traditionally used for feed sacks, carpet backing and door mats, we now stock a variety of products which use jute in a more decorative way.
Diamond patterned jute floor rugs - two sizes and colours
Jute has excellent insulation properties both for heat and sound, these together with it’s antic-static properties make it an ideal choice for flooring. When blended with other fibres, as in the Valley Stripe cushions where the composition is 58% Jute and 42% cotton, added softness and drape can be given to the durability of the jute.
cotton and jute valley cushions; jute pouffes
Jute’s unique combination of properties have been noticed by other industries; in tree nurseries it is used to contain young trees, which can be directly planted with no disturbance to the roots, the jute rotting away as the tree grows; for stabilising soils prone to erosion it is used as a “geotextile” that supports the growing vegetation which will eventually halt erosion. The jute covering biodegrades by the time the plants are mature enough to hold the soil in place.
Soft Jute Floor Rugs - two sizes with fringe
Now, with a fuller appreciation of Jute’s qualities, we are looking out for interesting jute products to add to the Tinsmiths’ selection. Do tell us if you come across any.
Ticking fabric was traditionally a very densely woven cotton herringbone or twill
weave cloth used for making mattress & pillow cases. The derivation of the word ‘Ticking’, material used to cover pillows and mattresses, is from the Greek theke, “receptacle”. Ticking cloth was traditionally woven with even narrow stripes in the warp, usually in navy or black & cream, however many variations of stripe pattern & colour have evolved.
Our collection of vintage tickings gleaned from bric a brac sales, flea markets etc.
Modern ticking fabric is generally not feather proof as it is woven and finished for qualities of drape and wear for curtains or upholstery. Traditional ticking fabric was also made feather proof by waxing or soaping on the back. Tickings have been a mainstay of the Tinsmiths’ fabric collection since we opened in 2004, and we now stock an excellent range of excellent quality ticking from mills in the UK & EU. We only stock traditional woven ticking cloth with a herringbone or twill weave, & over the years have used it for many successful projects as curtains, blinds & upholstery. For curtain use our tickings have an excellent drape & for upholstery use we have found our ticking to be extremely durable with some of the cotton ticking that we stock achieving a rub test of 35,000 cycles.
Ticking fabric is an excellent choice for those wanting a scheme that will not date; neither cutting edge contemporary or fussy or twee, ticking is a straightforward classic cloth which will look good for decades.
Above: Ticking (Colourway, Dove) curtain with simple taped heading.
Tickings from a huge range on the shelves at Tinsmiths:
When Kate isn’t greeting and helping Tinsmiths’ customers, she is sewing and, equally to our advantage, advising her colleagues on dressmaking techniques.
Below: the new Dress Shirt pattern from Merchant and Mills made up by Kate Hickson in Marl (a new 100% pre-washed and pre-shrunk irish linen) with the natural stripe working well vertically and horizontally. An easy design in card pattern pieces that can be used over and again and shared around. Really comfortable design – cool for the warm(?) summer weather.
photo: Clare de la Torre, tailor’s dummy and environ courtesy of Tailorbird, Ledbury.
Shepherds of old counted their sheep using Yan (1), Tyan (2) and Tethera (3) – an ancient counting method. Today, to my mind, what counts is that Yan Tyan Tethera use fantastic, single or duel breed yarns to make lovely hand-knitted, made to measure ganseys, delicate “tea dance” lace knits and heavy- weight woollens. See these and other lovely handmade things at the Teme Valley Farmer’s Market near Worcester, this Sunday (and every second Sunday of the month) or take a preview on their new website – yantyantethera.co.uk
This is the genuine article – hand-knits that last until the sheep come home.
Printmaker and Textile Designer, Kate Farley, who will be showing at Tinsmiths next Summer, popped in to the shop recently to whet our appetite. She brought with some of her latest printed books and bags all based growing and using food from the “plot”. Kate, who lectures in printed textiles at Birmingham University, will be working on designs for the exhibition which will include limited edition prints as well as textile designs.
At first glance her prints appear to use colour and forms in a fairly abstract manner, but on closer inspection imagery often draws on horticulture in an oblique way and has a charm of the familiar. We are really looking forward to working with her cloth in the showroom for curtains and cushions. If you would like to receive an invitation for this June exhibition or any in our annual programme, just e-mail us with your postal address.
This is just the day, as it is about to snow, to talk about UK Wool. Wool is such a great fibre with very useful qualities; hard-wearing as an upholstery cloth, light and warm to wear. Natural wools are lovely in themselves and dyed fibres work well to give soft, mottled colours that are easier on the eye than fibres that take dye uniformly.
In the past wool has been an expensive alternative to linen or cotton, but, as prices have risen for these imported fibres, our home-grown wools are becoming a realistic option once again. Lengths of checked (I don’t think they qualify as tartans in the strict sense) and plains are leaving Tinsmiths to become curtains and to grace furniture, whilst others are perfect for clothing – see made to measure jacket (by Kate Hickson, Tinsmiths’ Shop Manager) below.
Our Woollen cloth section is set to follow Tinsmiths’ “Blanket and Throw” shop and swell in the forthcoming months, so look our for new woollen fabrics on the roll – UK farmed, spun, dyed and woven – wool is really worth a thought.
Above: top left: Moss Herringbone, top right: Wexford Berry, bottom left: Blanket by Wallace and Sewell, bottom right: Blankets by Sarah Tyssen.
Above: Woollen Jacket made by Kate Hickson