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Thursday, 29 November 2007

Tufts and Tuffling

Welcome to the new Ledbury Artplace blog spot.On the 'Experimenting with Machine Embroidery' class this week we were trying to work out how to make little tufts that feature quite a lot on indian textiles particularly little bags.



First of all we wrapped stranded cotton (you need quite a lot of a plump tuft) around a piece of card about 1" wide and tied each bundle off either side like you would if you were making a tassle.





Then you need to slide each bundle off the card and wrap with more stranded cotton to make top of the tufted tassle you can get two tufts from each bundle if you wrap either end. When you've sewn off the ends of your wrappings, cut the bundle in half so you have two small 'tassles'.





Now you can get down to some serious 'tuffling' (phrase coined by one of my students Anni). Rub the cut ends of your tuft vigorously on the 'tuffling' brush (this is actually LA's nail brush but any hard brush will do) until you make the stranded cotton fibres very fluffy, this emulates years of rubbing that occurs on old indian textiles.




Eureka!! you have a tuft.






The word 'tuffle' describes a longer tuft a cross between a tuft and a tassle.

Anni was so taken with tuffling she was moved to write a song about it.



Ballad of the Tuffelers.



‘Twas on a Tuesday morning,

Oh, hear what I do say,

We all took up with tuffeling,

And stayed there half the day.



We spent the morning tuffeling,

And all that ye could hear,

Was ‘Pass me up the tuffeling brush,

I’ll give it back no fear.’



If you want good tuffels,

For the sake of art,

Don’t twirkle with the tuffeling brush,

Or they will fall apart!



If you want good tuffels,

Harken whilst I warn.

Never lose your tuffeling brush,

Or they will hang forlorn!



So carry on a tuffeling,

All on a Tuesday morn,

And I hope all your tuffels,

Are fluffy not forlorn!





Best sung with a quavery voice with a Hereford accent.

Better still- not at all.