EDIT: Stop by HERE to see another Rag Bowl I was working on.
I’ve already mentioned that Pixie has a birthday coming up and all the gifts I’m making for her have a rainbow theme. When thinking about all the little things I’ll be crafting, I thought (dangerous past time, I know 🙂 that I needed something to put them in. Back in the 80s I was really into using the upholstery cording to make all sorts of things. I haven’t used it in years, so I decided, what fun! So, here are the directions for Pixie’s Rainbow Coiled Rag Bowl. I’ll be sharing my “stuffings” as I get them done!
new or used light to medium weight cotton
(I bought 1 yard each of 6 rainbow colors and have tons left for other projects)
1/2″ upholstery cording
(I bought 10 yards and used 9. Yardage depends on the size of the bowl you cover)
embroidery floss (2 strands) or quilting thread (needs to be heavy duty)
BEFORE YOU BEGIN… IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT TACKING: As you start assembling your bowl, you will be asked to tack the cording together to form the bowl. When tacking, you must go through 2 pieces of cording; the piece already part of the bowl, and the new piece you are adding. The method I used was to go through the center of a new piece, and bring the needle out halfway through the cord below.
I would then push the needle back into the cord, close to where the thread came out, and angle my needle so it comes up through the center of the strip of the new cord that has not been tacked down yet. (Sounds much more complicated than it is. Check out the photo!)
Pull the thread tight enough so it holds the coils together but not so tight that it begins to dimple the cord. I then put a very small tack stitch where the thread came out to stop the threads from loosening up.
When tacking your bowl together, you want to keep the outside of the bowl stitch free. So as you form your bowl, think about how the next piece of coiling will be added to the bowl, and make your tack stitches so they will be hidden by the next row of cording. On my final row you will be able to see your tacks, but if you use matching thread, and evenly space your tacks, it will not detract from the finished bowl.
Pick a bowl you want to use as a form. My bowl was 4″ at the base, 8″ across the top, and 5″ high. Turn the bowl over so the bottom is up.
Rip your fabric in 1″ strips. Again, how many strips you need depends on the size of your bowl. I needed 4 strips, 1 yard long of my purple, blue, green and 3 strips of yellow, orange and red. I suggest you rip as you go, so you only rip as many strips as you will actually use. You will also need a 2″ square of the first color you use.
Begin by wrapping the end of the cording with the 2″ square of fabric. I wrapped my matching embroidery floss around the outside of the fabric to hold in place before I tacked it to the cording.
Take your first color and place the end of the strip near the tip of the covered end of the cording. Pin in place. Begin wrapping the cording with a strip by wrapping on an angle, always overlapping the previous piece by 1/2″. Continue wrapping the cord firmly, slightly condensing the cording as you go. Stop when you are about 3″ from the end. Pin the strip to the cording so it does not untwist.
To start forming the bowl, begin coiling the covered cording, tacking as you go. (See note above about tacking.)
To add a new color, you can either sew the pieces together by simply overlapping and stitching, or you can tuck the new color under the old color by 2” – 3” and continue wrapping as if they were 1 continuous piece. The tacking and wrapping you do will hold them together, and since this is a rag bowl, some unfinished ends showing are acceptable HOWEVER, make sure any of the unfinished ends are in the inside of the bowl, not the outside, and you can trim back some of unfinished ends on the inside to “neaten up” the bowl when you are done.
To begin with, you can work on a flat surface. Periodically place your piece on the bowl bottom. When your coil is as big as the base of the bowl, continue wrapping the cord with the strips as you have been, but now, as you coil the wrapped cording, use the bowl as a form. Wrap the cord around the bowl, pinning the cording to the previous coils, on the angles the bowl is creating. Continue tacking in place as you build up your bowl.
When your bowl is as tall as you want, cut the cording. Then, taper the last 4” of the cording before wrapping it. Wrap in the same manner. The cording will diminish in height, but you should keep the width the same. Pin in place, and tack as before. You may want to put a couple of extra tacks in at the very end.
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