Friday, February 26, 2010

What is Barkcloth?

In a previous post, I let everyone vote on whether they liked some vintage barkcloth I'd just gotten. One of my readers asked what barkcloth is. Here's a brief explanation:

Originally, barkcloth was actually made from the inner bark of certain trees, beaten flat and made into fiber.

What we think of as barkcloth, though, is cotton, linen, rayon, polyester, or fiberglass fabric made from the 1930s on and really popular in the 1950s & 1960s. It was fairly thick and sometimes nubby and had a texture to it. Even though it's thicker than a clothing cotton, it's soft and was used in throw pillow, upholstery & cushions and draperies. Here's a picture of a cornice I built & covered in a soft floral vintage barkcloth. The big curlicue pattern used to fill the blank space was common in barkcloths.

It had all kinds of patterns from big florals to tropical themes to sputnik-era designs like the one I just bought, pictured here:

Here's a very typical color and pattern I picked up a few years ago. The burgundies, pinks & greys were really popular. In the second picture, you can see the pattern well.

This is another floral I've gotten. This type of floral always looks upside down, because there are flowers going both ways on it. The pattern, which you can see in the second picture, is totally different from the one above.

Barkcloth is being manufactured again in a variety of retro patterns, but most people really like the vintage ones the best. The fabrics can be pretty expensive (up to $40 for a good-sized piece) and often are stained or imperfect -- you just learn to work around the imperfections (just like we do with our friends)!

People are using barkcloth to make all kinds of things -- especially purses & totes. Go to and type in barkcloth -- you'll see the variety! You can check out different patterns of barkcloth and shop for them here or at

Thursday, February 25, 2010

New Yarns :: New Projects

I've been busy knitting bowls (I now have 5 finished and ready to felt -- pictures later when they're completed). I want to knit something more useful than a felted bowl, though, so today I ordered these 3 new yarns:
I'm planning to knit all three of them into 'Booga Bags' -- one to keep and two to give away as gifts. What's a Booga Bag, you might ask? It's the really cool purse shown below, knitted up and felted. The yarn on the left will be stripey, like the bags below. The two to the right will be more mottled.Who knows -- maybe two of my faithful readers will be the happy recipient of a Birthday or Christmas Booga Bag! Anyone interested?

The next project I want to take on after the Booga Bags is a pair (or several) of French Press Slippers. These lovely little slippers were designed by Melynda Bernardi, who just happens to go to our church and just happens to be a fantastic knitter and a fantastic pattern designers. Who wouldn't want a pair of these SO CUTE little slippers?
© Melynda Bernardi

So many projects, so little time! I'll keep you posted...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

There's NO place like home...

I recently updated from Photoshop Elements 2.o to 8.0 (there are LOTS of improvements) and have just completed my first slideshow with audio. I know it's a little rough and that many (if not all) of my faithful readers could do better, but I'm pretty excited about this. Check it out and see what you think!

Friday, February 05, 2010

Vote on my Retro Fabric!

I went antiquing with my friend Kim last weekend and got this great 'mid-century' barkcloth. Kim later described it in her blog as 'funky retro fabric' and implied that it really wasn't as cool as I though it was. get to vote, faithful readers! Here's a picture of the fabric and a poll (in the left panel) -- you make the call, cool or not cool!
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