16 May 2008

How the Bowls are Made

Erica asked how the bowls in my past post are made. There are a couple books out and Fons & Porter did a recent show on this technique (in case pictures work better for you than words). The gist is that you cut one inch wide strips (don't even need to be bias) and you wrap them around clothesline. To start a new strip you overlap slightly and keep going. Sliding the wraps down the clothesline until they are a bit taut helps. Use a binder clip or a clothespin to hold the strip end to the clothesline (a sort of third hand for you).

Obviously, starting and stopping take a bit of finesse. To begin, you need to cover the end and then get going on an angle as you start winding.

To start sewing, you need not wrap the whole length--even one strip will do. With a denim needle in your machine and sturdy top thread (though I have successfully used rayon embroidery thread on the top), use a zig zag or that utility zig zag that is used on elastic in lingerie. Start your coil (you begin at the center of the bottom of your bowl and work up) and make sure you push the leading edge of your rope toward your coil and catch both as you zig zag along. Needle down position will help a lot.

You'll soon find you have something that looks like a drink coaster. To get the sides of the bowl to begin to slope up form the botton, you need to hold the bottom at an angle as you sew on more rope.

Changing colors is the same as adding a new strip--just overlap a little and keep winding.

To end is tricky. Cut the clothesline a bit ahead of where you intend to finish. Cut the wrapping strip a bit beyond that and taper and tuck in the raw end so the last part of your zig zagging will catch it. I'm still working this part out.

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