Use Your Thrums and Weftovers: Stitching

Sara started experimenting with sewing scraps of handwoven fabrics together with her thrums with the idea of one day making a large blanket.

Sara Lamb Jan 6, 2021 - 3 min read

Use Your Thrums and Weftovers: Stitching Primary Image

Panels of handwoven fabrics stitched together and embroidered with thrums. All photos by Sara Lamb

For many years, I have sent most of my thrums from cotton and silk weaving projects to a friend who is an embroiderer. Thrums from my loom typically measure 18"–20", making them readily usable as pre-cut threads for her stitching projects.

Then one day I decided to organize all of my scraps, samples, and leftover fabrics and make something with them. This would serve to help clean out the studio and provide me with a permanent memory of some of my 40 years of weaving projects. But what to make? Maybe a blanket.

I have bins of cotton and silk scraps, so I divided them up by fiber content and stitched them to a base layer of cotton muslin. Then I decided to quilt them as small panels, so each panel got a backing fabric: cotton for the cotton samples and velvet for the silk samples. I pinned the panels to the backing fabric and prepared to sew them together with running stitch. I would figure out later how to sew the panels together into a larger blanket (insert darkly ominous music here).

Thrums lamb threads

I turned to my piles of thrums and used them to stitch the layers together. I started slowly, simply stitching fabrics together.

Lots of panels lamb

I loved how the fabrics felt once they were stitched: the hand changed, and the surface changed. The hand was more substantial, of course, and the surface was distorted by the stitches, reflecting light differently.

I started playing with my smaller scraps, sewing them to a backing, just to see how that would look.

Lamb stitches embroidery

I could use these smaller pieces as inserts in other projects. One of my scrap pieces was used to embellish this bag.

Lamb stitches bag

And perhaps even frame them to hang on the wall. With a frame, they start to look like art!

lamb stitches wall art

And who knows? I may even just try straight up embroidery, on plain fabric.

Since I’ve been distracted by all the small pieces, the big blanket project is not done yet; I am still happily compiling panels and stitching them together. I have not yet figured out how I will sew the panels together, perhaps just stitching them edge to edge or using a sashing of some kind. There’s no hurry though, and every week I make more scraps and thrums, so the supply is unending!

Sara Lamb is happiest spinning, weaving, and dyeing, activities which provide enough variety to keep her entertained and her days full. She is currently striving to finish all the things. This will never happen.