Bits and Pieces

I have always loved Ephemera. Even pieces of textile or bits of the natural world give me pleasure, either because of a memory they evoke or because I love the perfection of a small piece of the whole. Often our mind’s eye works to form a complete image from a fragment, a process that is strangely satisfying. Often, the fragment contains a powerful design element or feature. I collect so many things. And often they work their way into an art object, sooner or later. I see the value in many objects that are considered garbage to others.

Since Winter 2020, I have been sewing garments and afgans from pieces of handwoven cloth that had been leftovers from larger projects. This cloth was too precious to me to consider discarding! The pieces represented a lot of time involved in the weaving process, and so much time finding the yarns.

I wanted to add vintage crocheted doilies and the bits and pieces of antique and modern laces I had collected over the years to the cotton and silk handwoven cloths. And I also had a lot of sewing “notions” that I had also collected for both the cotton and silk and wool and mohair cloth. Let’s not forget the buttons I have collected.


Hard to explain my technique, except to say I have really perfected some things over the years. I use a sewing machine to zig zag some edges. I “full” or “shrink” some pieces to make them more stable. I like to hand sew most things together but machine stitch some joins for some extra strength when necessary. It takes forever to choose what pieces. Colour is probably the most important consideration to me. Then durability. I do enjoy the hand sewing. Over years of doing this, I have learned to make a virtue out of necessity by accenting some joins instead of trying to hide them. Also, I have learned to cut pieces to fit, not always just using the whole piece as it exists. At least one time I have reformed my sewn piece as I just did not like its new shape and the proportions of the pieces. Its all very labour intensive.

I am pleased with the final pieces. They are so One of a Kind. I show them off on my Instagram page, handweavingbyjanet. and my Facebook page, Handweaving by Janet Whittam. These pieces take much longer than just weaving a total garment from one piece would have done. But, its so much fun, Finally I have to STOP and get down to real weaving (to say nothing of basketry! I must get back to that.). Biggest challenge is working on and filling my online shop, now connected to this website under…..Shop! just another project that I must get to. E-Commerce. Always another challenge!