Helen Smith of Folksy shop Ffflowers makes fabulous fake flowers using hand-dyed ribbon, buttons and fabric. From kebab stick flower looms to children’s needles, here, Helen shares with us her essential tool kit for making.
“Unsurprisingly quite a few of my essential pieces of kit are flower looms…
1. This is the one I started with… my lovely bright yellow vintage flower loom that I’ve had for 30-odd years. The set was a present, I can’t remember who from or whether it was Christmas or birthday but I would like to say thank you to whoever gave it to me!
2. My smallest flower loom, also from my vintage set.
3. The cobbled together flower loom I made when I had the panicky realisation that I was building a business on a difficult-to-replace piece of kit. Made from the cardboard inner from a ball of shiny knitting ribbon, some pieces of kebab stick, and good old sellotape. Quite easy to make, not so easy to use!
4. The wooden flower loom I had made to my own design. I designed the pegs a little bit longer so if I am using a wide ribbon or something springy like the carrier bag strips for my eco daisies it is much less likely to jump off. These looms are in the kits I have in my shop, but this is the first and it is all mine!
5. Finally the loom with the little pegs which is useful because it does different sizes, but drives me mad because the pegs fall out at crucial moments and the hole in the middle is too small. I really only use this if none of the others will do.
6. A child’s plastic needle for binding the middle of the flower without splitting the ribbon.
7. Lots of sturdy sewing needles, preferably with a reasonably sized eye because my own eyes are not as young as they were… Sewing a button onto a flower means stitching through a lot of thicknesses so I need a good strong needle. I go through quite a lot of needles because sewing through that thickness it’s very easy to hit the back of the button instead of the hole and after that’s happened a few times the needle is bent, so it happens more often…
8. A thimble to push the reluctant needle through all those layers.
9. A little round piece of rubbery stuff called a needle grabber to help me pull the needle out of all those layers.
10. A small pair of sharp scissors for tidying up loose ends.”
Thanks to Helen at Ffflowers for sharing her essential kit with us, I’m off to cobble my own flower loom together with inner tubes and kebab sticks! If you have an interesting tool kit you’d like to share please give me a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org.