A good project bag is hard to beat. That’s a fact that every long term or hardcore knitter would easily stand by, but what makes a good project bag? Well, that’s something that differs as much as our tensions, but one that makes you happy to look at has to be a good place to start.
Here, Loop’s owner Susan Cropper reflects on her journey to India last year; a trip that we now have the fruits of in the shop.
“This past Autumn, I took a trip to India in search of ribbons and loads of beautiful fabrics to be made into haberdashery and project bags for the shop.
When I think of India I think colour, pattern and happy colours, as well as the wealth of incredible handcraft skills that the country is blessed with.
I had a plan in my head of a mash-up of these wonderful prints and colours with a little hand-embroidery and silk screening thrown in.
I started at the wonderful textile markets of Jaipur and then headed to nearby Bagru. What an incredible place – it consists of about 150 extended families who are all involved in the printing and dyeing of cloth. These extended families have been involved in the craft for hundreds of years. There are printers of every type from mud resist and block printing to silk screening.
Small Indigo dye vats can be seen in the alleys and streets along with tin buckets filled with horseshoes that are soaking away getting ready to be used as black dye.
There are huge swathes of recently dyed and printed fabrics literally hanging from the roofs, draping down to the roads and across small fields. It’s quite incredible.
Anyway, I could go on and on but suffice to say I found some very beautiful Ochre and Grey block printed mud-resist fabrics in Bagru that I brought back to Jaipur with me.
Then back in Delhi, more markets and the wonderful HP Singh fabric shop were visited where I was overwhelmed with choice. Never have I seen such a wealth of textiles – they even have a whole floor just for embroidered fabrics!
The fabrics that I had gathered in Rajasthan were delivered to a great workshop I had found in New Delhi and then the other fun part began.
In tiny rooms with swirling ceiling fans, I brought out my designs and they brought out their huge Pantone books and embroidery threads and we got to work over endless cups of chai and fresh lime sodas. Samples were made by ‘Tiger’ and adjustments and embroidery details were sorted. Oh, I love this part of making things come together.
A few days later we wished them farewell and waited with baited breath until a few weeks ago when boxes of our work were delivered here in London.
The boxes were wrapped with hand-stitched covers (only in India!) and what is now in the shop are the fruits of this trip. Some of the designs just flew out the shop door (another trip to be planned?!) but the most recent addition to the handmade project bags have just arrived in a happy mash-up of print and colour.
All of the bags are lined with a second fabric, silk screened with ‘Loop’ on them and have ribbon ties and a simple embroidered stitch going around the top.
We hope they make you smile like we do.”
As a gift to you we’ll have our first Loop Giveaway of the New Year! We’re giving away one of our handmade haberdashery pouches to a lucky winner.
Leave a comment below and, for an extra chance to win, follow us on Instagram @LoopLondonLoves and repost our picture using the hashtag #HandmadeAtLoop, or simply use the hashtag in a post of your own, showing us why you’d love to win. Entries for this giveaway close at midnight (GMT) on Wednesday 25th January.
Best of luck and warm wishes from Loop!
Don’t forget that we’ll be at the Edinburgh Yarn Fair with tons of gorgeous yarns and haberdashery in March! We have special colours being dyed up for us by Viola (!) and our very special guests – the Spincycle gals on our stand. So much good stuff will be there – we can’t wait to see you!