ScrapHappy January 2023

You may be starting to think that my entire life is taken up with crocheting bollard covers from scrap, but actually I am finding time for a little other scrappy action. Whilst the shop is closed (we don’t reopen until 25 January), I’ve been sorting through boxes of scraps that have been passed on to me by various people and these are going to be used in some of our courses this year.

My own scrappy creations have extended to sashiko and boro. I love the simplicity of the concept – decorative running stitches – and the practicality of the technique – layering and stitching for strength and insulation. For the sashiko, I’ve started off with some templates to get me going on some traditional designs, but am looking forward to exploring other ideas from the various books I have and also doing some free-form stitching. The straight lines of running stitches associated with boro (which is all about repair and using scraps) are a great way to reinforce and mend. Here are some of my practice bits:

As you can see, I’m playing about with pieces of scrap fabric on an old cloth shopping bag that is long past its best. The dark piece in the middle is a scrap from some old jeans (part of which was used in a past scraphappy post in combination with the cover from a discarded body board) and the cream fabric is mill scraps that I bought over 30 years ago!

I started experimenting with embroidery floss and a household sewing needle. I soon found that my needle was too short and too flexible, so I’m now using proper Japanese sashiko needles (and stocking these in the shop). They are very sharp, have a large eye and don’t flex, making it very much easier to get your stitches even (unlike mine in the boro you can see in the middle of the three pieces, which was done using a crewel needle). I’m also now using proper Japanese sashiko thread, which is very strong and smooth and is much easier to draw through the layers of fabric (again, I now stock this in the shop). The plan is that my bag will form a sampler with various traditional and non-traditional designs and, no doubt, demonstrating my improved stitching!

-oOo-

I’ve been inspired to write this (and future) ScrapHappy posts by Kate,  Tall Tales from Chiconia. On the fifteenth of every month lots of folk often publish a ScrapHappy post, do check them out:

Kate,  Gun, Eva,  Sue, Lynda, Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Tracy, Jill, JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys, ClaireJeanJon, DawnJuleGwen, Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue LVera, NanetteAnn, Dawn 2, Carol, Preeti, DebbieroseNĂ³ilin and Viv

If you fancy joining, contact Kate and she’ll add you to the list. It would be lovely to see more non-sewing posts, but any use of scraps is welcome.

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9 Comments

  1. I like these patterns and can see them as insulating/layering. And anything that saves fabric for another use is good in my book!

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  2. I never knew there were special needles and threads that made life easier I have learned something new already today. It’s a lovely technique and I love your samples.

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  3. I love this.

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  4. Going Batty in Wales

     /  January 15, 2023

    I haven’t tried using the needles and thread I bought from you but am glad to know they make the work easier. I find boro is lovely and soothing – sort of mindless – and the bag I mad has been much admired.

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  5. I love your new foray into sashiko. You might also consider using thread wax/ conditioner when you’re doing it, for even more tangle-free stitching. Try searching for ‘Thread Magic’. I swear by it for hand quilting, which, much like sashiko, is simply running stitch.

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  6. I didn’t realise either about the special needles and threads, but of course there are how silly of me.

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  7. welcome to the world of boro, I’ve been a fan for years. Happy stitching.

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  8. I love the Sashiko stitches.

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  9. I had no idea that a special needle was required – I’ve been using pretty much whichever needle happens to be closest to me in the pincushion! You’ve inspired to start stitching in patterns, too – something I’ve never tried before (except for the occasional wonky spiral).

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