Gourd Coiling Instructions for a Purse

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1 Gourd Coiling Instructions for a Purse Gourd coiling has many applications. You will be completing a simple gourd coiled bowl or vase. Coiling can also be used to create a beautiful purse. These instructions begin with info on creating a closed coiled bowl or vase. Additional instructions are included to create an open coiled vase or bowl followed by instructions to create a purse following the standard cleaning and cutting of the gourd. 1. To start you will need a gourd that will sit well on a table, or be able to sand the bottom of the gourd in order for it to sit flat on a table. 2. You will need to draw a line around the gourd in order to saw the gourd before coiling. 3. Using an awl, poke a small hole into the side of the gourd along the line you drew, this will enable you to place the saw into the gourd in order to saw around the gourd. 4. Once the gourd has been cut in two, you will need to clean out your gourd. Make sure you wear a mask if you clean the gourd inside, as very good ventilation is needed. If you clean your gourd outside, make sure the wind doesn t throw the pith and dust back to you. 1

2 5. There are several tools that you can use to clean out your gourd 6. When you have finished cleaning your gourd, the inside should look like the gourd at the left. 7. You will need to sand off the rim of the gourd to make sure that it is smooth all the way around the gourd. Note: See step 15 for purse instructions 8. Next you will need to make your holes for coiling on around the top rim of the gourd. You will need to use an awl or small drill for this step. The holes should be about a ½ inch apart. Don t worry if you damage the top of the gourd, or if a chuck of the gourd breaks off on thin gourds. You can use that break to create interesting textures with your gourd. After this step you can paint, or stain your bowl, just make sure it is dry before coiling. Note: The opening in the gourd front was created by sanding off an area where the thin sided gourd broke, and weaving the coiling material over the break. 2

3 9. You can make your own coiling materials from just about anything. Yarn or string work well. Yarn warning: yarn should NOT be the first material you use for coiling. It has a tendency to snag patience is required. o This drawing below gives you an idea of how the stitching should look. From the bottom hole over the coiling material around the gourds, followed by the next row where the thread goes in between the space between the previous rows. As you coil this will become clearer. 10. Start your coiling by placing your coil material on the edge of your gourd. Thread your way through the first hole and tie off your thread and take your needle and place it in through the next hole to secure the end of your coiling material. Continue threading your way around the top of the gourd, securing the next section of your coiling material in place. When you reach the place where you started, place your needle under the thread between the first and second hole and bring the thread up and over the coiling material. Continue this step around the gourd until you reach your starting point again. 11. For each row of added coiling material, you need to put your needle between the thread spaces and under the previous row. 12. As you become comfortable in your coiling skills, you can tackle offsetting your coils, by shortening your coiling material between rows to form an arch between pre-made gaps in your gourd. This is called open coiling. 12a. To finish off your work, work in the coiling material at the end by tying the material into the previous row. Or you can make the end into a tassel, and drape the end over your work. 12b. At this point you can add any embellishment to create your own unique signature piece. 3

4 Other versions of coiling: There are other alternatives or variations of coiling, one might refer to these methods of coiling as weavings. Common closed coiling Wire Coiled Weaving Closed Coil Reed Coiled Weaving Open Coil 13. For a purse, you will need to find a gourd that will create the shape of the purse you want. An elongated Apple gourd works well for a purse. You should be able to cut the elongated Apple gourd lengthwise to create the shape of your purse. Clean the gourd following instructions above. 14. Because your purse will have more wear and tear than a bowl or vase, I use an application of wood hardener to strengthen the gourd. This will also help smooth out the inside of the gourd, which makes it easier to attach the lining materials. (Left photo prior to wood hardener, right photo after wood hardener has dried.) 15. Next you will need to make your holes for coiling on around the top rim of the gourd. You will need to use an awl or small drill for this step. The holes should be about a ½ inch apart. You can dye, apply color or finishing wax prior to or after you create your holes. When make your holes, wiggle your awl to enlarge the hole. DO NOT push the awl in one stroke to create and enlarge the hole, it is very likely to crack or break the gourd. Ideally, place your index finger and middle finger on either side of the area in which you wish to make your hole, and your thumb below the area in which you want the hole. This will help to strengthen the area while you create the hole. 4

5 16. Once the holes are created its time to apply the lining to your purse. I have found that thin quilt batting works well as padding for under the purse lining. You will need to fit the lining in the purse have patience, and have clothes pins handy. Follow the photos to help you understand how to fit the lining so that it will create a smooth area for your lining. 17. Start by laying the batting in the gourd, so that you can cut a rough outline of the area. Pin the padding to the gourd and work your way around the gourd from the middle to the ends. 18. Once you get to the end, fold the fabric to create a flat view shape and mark the edges of the view to use as a cutting line. 19. Cut down the line to the flat end of the v shape, cutting away the excess fabric. 20. Before you glue the padding in place, drill your holes for the handle connections at both ends. 21. Now it s time to glue the padding in place. You can take off your clothes pins or leave them in place and take them off as you glue it in place. You can trim the padding easily with a scissors after the glue has dried. 5

6 22. Once the padding is dry, you will need to add your handle connection unless it is a split ring. Split rings can be added after your lining is in place. 23. To install the lining, you need to follow the same process as for the padding, but this time you will not cut the lining at the ends. Start by pinning the sides and work your way around to the ends. 24. When you reach the ends pinch the fabric together so that it creates a fold and put a clothes pin on either side of the fold. 25. Open up the fold and fold the fabric back on itself. 26. Pin the fold back onto the gourd. 27. To attach the lining to the gourd, use a blanket stitch. 28. Use the blanket stitch around the entire gourd. 29. At this point if you haven t attached your handle connect and are using a split ring attach it now. Use your awl and poke through from the outside in to make a small hole in the fabric for the ring. 30. Now it s time to starting coiling. You need to start with the knot end near the handle connection. 6

7 31. To attach the coil, you will use the blanket stitch* for the first row only. Start through the first hole and thread the cord through the coil just above the knot, and tie the end of the thread to the thread just pulled through the hole and the top of the knot. An alternative is to weave the thread through the hole and then through the coil weave starting at the first row. NOTE: I use a curved needle for the first threading of the needle, which makes it easier to go through the coil and the holes. When the thread runs out, simply tie the end the old thread to the new piece of thread AFTER you have gone through the next hole. 32. When you reach the first handle connection attach the knot end of your strap/handle. 33. Continue coiling around the top of the gourd. When you reach the start of the coil, make sure you pas the coil through the split ring. If you are using a pull connection, just continue coiling. Instead of the blanket stitch you will weave your thread through the coil to connect the coil to the previous row. 34. The weave stitch goes through the top coil and down into the previous row and up through the top coil again. 7

8 35. Once you have coiled high enough so that the top of the purse can come to a comfortable closure, you can end your coiling at a side near either one of the handle end sides or work until your coil runs out. The purse in the photo took 17.5 yards of coiling to complete. 36. You will need to run handle cord up the sides of your purse and attaché the handle cord to the side of our purse. 37. To secure the top of the purse, you can either use a snap closure or Velcro. 38. Your purse is now finished. ENJOY! You can add embellishments to create a more dramatic look for your purse. NOTES: 8

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