a stitched journal of the farm in March

It is a universally acknowledged fact that farms are held together by baler twine and ours is no exception. Even though we haven’t baled hay or straw for years, there’s always a big roll of twine sitting in the workshop and several lengths hanging up that have been cut from bales.

Ask a farmer to empty their pockets and  you’re bound to find a length of baler twine in there, whether a length of ancient sisal twine or modern polypropylene twine, ready to use. A length of baler twine acts as emergency belt, dog lead or headcollar for a pony. It doubles as a latch or a hinge. A quick walk from the back door to the barn revealed baler twine mending holes in nets, holding things together, holding things down and holding things up.

It seemed only appropriate therefore, that somewhere in my Stitched Journal of the Farm,  I find a space to represent baler twine. So, for March, I decided to sew some cords using scraps of fabric that are too small to use for anything much. I’ve seen photos of fabric cords, but when I followed the instructions, the thread kept breaking as I sewed, the fabric frayed and I was left with a spindly cord with a lot of hanging threads.


After a little experiment, I realised that by folding in the edges of the fabric strip the whole thing looked much neater.

Take a strip of fabric, 2.5cm wide, fold it in half lengthways and press along the crease. Fold the edges into the middle and press again (steps 1 and 2). You could use a bias binder maker if you have such a thing up to this point. Finally, fold the strip in half again and press (step 3).

Set the sewing machine on a zig zag stitch and feed the strip into the sewing machine, twisting it tightly as you sew. You now have your cord made from a fabric scrap.

plaited cords

The blindingly obvious question, is of course “What on earth are you going to do with them Anne?” to which I have no real answer.

The strips could be plaited to make a hat band, strap or belt. They could be laid on fabric and stitched down to make a raised pattern. I could use them to bind together my Stitched Journal Project, should I ever join everything together. Most likely though I shall use them when I decide, on a whim, to make something and halfway through realise that I need piping cord, of which I have none. These will do the job perfectly well and it would be a rather satisfying use for odd bits of leftover fabric.

Any other suggestions?

Linking with Lola Nova for The Stitched Journal Project. There’s all sorts of people making all sorts of things. Check out this link to see what everybody has been making this month. You might be surprised.

37 thoughts on “a stitched journal of the farm in March

  1. Jane says:

    Oh I rather love it Anne! Perhaps you could just use it about the farm as a very aesthetically-pleasing version of twine? Reminds me of a car I used to have (2CV) that was largely held together with electrical tape – I always carried a roll of it for emergencies 🙂


    • Anne @ Life in Mud Spattered Boots says:

      They wouldn’t last long but could certainly be used as aesthetically pleasing temporary tying things up in the garden. I’ve never had to carry around electrical tape in my car, but often used to travel with large bottles of water to top up with.


  2. lafosse says:

    I’m fairly crafty, have lots of fabric remnants and I love this idea! And the idea of plaiting them to give a more robust cord. The idea of using zigzag stitch to twirl them is inspired. I shall experiment this weekend. Thank you! 🙂


  3. My Kitchen Witch says:

    My grandmother used to make braided (plaited) rag rugs – stitching them together in flat concentric circles/ovals. The same principle can be applied to making such things like placemats. They are really pretty. I love the colours.


  4. The Snail of Happiness says:

    I laughed as I read this because yesterday the thing we brought back from our dog-walk was a couple of metres of orange bailer twine. We often collect things… kindling is common, but other items have included a pallet, a cutlery tray and a fish slice!


  5. Misky says:

    I quite like the baler twine and horse trailer photo. A horse trailer needs baler twine. BUT, I love the look of your fabric ones. Very cute!


  6. lazydaisyjones says:

    Marvelous, you could make a little Mat with more cord, or apply it to a cushion front or edge.
    Then again you could use it to mend the fence!!
    bestest wishes as usual I am visiting from the stitched journal project myself!
    Daisy j x


  7. Lola Nova says:

    Those are fantastic! So clever and I love the connection to baler twine! Just beautiful and I love all of the ideas for use. I may just have to make some myself!


  8. Flaming Nora says:

    That is so funny, I once had to make a pattern for a shirt for a farmer friend of ours. His sister gave me a shirt of his to copy (he was a rather large boy) and one of the buttons had ripped off. Is was held together with baler twine!
    Love what you have done here.


  9. Sherri B. says:

    I have always wanted to do something with the baler twine..I save some in my sewing stuff but have never thought what to do with it. I love that you made your own with fabric…It would make a great belt!


  10. Mel says:

    Hi Anne 🙂 I’m just loving the way you come up with these ideas. It would be great as a belt or strap or even a necklace of sorts and I like the coaster/pot holder idea too….Mel x


  11. dianeskitchentable says:

    I see a lot of people jumped on the suggestion of a braided rug. It’s something my grandmother & mother used to do since they sewed everything & wouldn’t think of wasting a scrap. A smaller scale could be a bath mat or place mat. But I do love the idea of using that on a tote bag – you can never have enough tote bags in my opinion. I love the colors in that & my first thought was to braid it up into a wreath though. Tuck a few pretty dried flowers in there or some ribbon & it would be quite an eyecatching piece.


    • Anne @ Life in Mud Spattered Boots says:

      I’m not sure if I’m capable of making them into a wreath – I have an image in my head but it may not translate into the reality! The only rag rug I finished was using the prodding method (not sure that’s exactly the right term) but a bath mat sounds a do-able size.


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