Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Nip Tuck Looping

My clothes only seem to shrink, but my favorite freeform looping travel mug sheath has stretched out. Go figure. Recently, I gave the looping a nip and tuck. That quick bit of stitching surgery took all the sag out of a favorite piece and made it perky again.

Looping sheath before nip/tuck
The sheath is made from the same 7-ply Irish waxed linen used in the purse I carry most of the time. In the photo above, you can see how it fit on my travel mug originally.

After several years of use, it had stretched to the point where it was riding up into the sip zone.

Like many of my looping projects, I painted this linen before stitching it. Luckily, I found the leftovers in my stash.  So the next step was to select a spot for the alteration and cut the sheath.

This isn't as scary as it sounds. Looping is such a stable textile construction that it can't unravel. People have used this technique for thousands of years partly, I think, because even if you manage to rip it, it will hold together long enough for you to make a repair.

After picking out the cut stitches, I was ready to rejoin the cut ends, taking out the slack.

It was just a matter of picking up existing stitches on both sides of the cut to draw the edges back together.

Looping sheath after nip/tuck
The alteration sacrificed a vertical design element I really liked. But that was the easiest placement, and I'm a big fan of easy. It's good to remember that, after spending a whole weekend making something else much harder than it needed to be. 

The weekend also included a little rain and enough sunshine and warmth to melt most of the snow in three of my willow beds. Starting today, I plan to channel my Edward Scissorhands and cut as fast as I can. I suspect it won't be long before buds start to shoot out.

The harvest will give me some quiet time to reflect on work I'm doing for an upcoming show and clarify my intentions. I have a feeling I need a few metaphoric nips and tucks to make everything fit together the way I want.


  1. I have seen several of your references to "looping" and I am curious about what it is. I've not heard the term before. This mug sheath and your little purse look really cool. I would have guess them to be either crochet or tatting. Where can I find out more about looping?

  2. Thanks for asking, Faith. Looping is the name for a family of techniques that may be more familiar to you by the names knotless netting, netting, needle lace, naalbinding (lots more examples from throughout time and around the globe). What they have in common is that in looping (unlike crochet), the entire length of thread is pulled through on each stitch (instead of pulling up a loop from a ball).

    Under the header on this blog in the Pages bar you'll find a page about looping and a short video demonstration (at http://donnakallner.blogspot.com/p/looping.html ). There's more information at my web site ( at http://donnakallner.com/donnakallnertechniqueslooping.html ) and at the New Age Looping Study Group on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/New-Age-Looping-Study-Group/174848512559783 ), which you can see online even if you're not on Facebook.


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