ScrapHappy May 2020

Whilst I may not have managed to write much this past month, I’ve certainly been busy with my scraps. You might remember that some months ago I started using up scrap sock (and other 4-ply) yarn in a scrappy blanket. The last time I reported on progress was in November 2019, and I’d got to this stage:

November

Since then I’ve beavered away and dug out old scraps and small scraps, until I finally had more than 200 little squares. In order to turn them into a blanket, I did have to buy some yarn, but I supported my local yarn store and, fortunately, had collected it before the lockdown happened.

And now, I’ve got all of the bits joined together and all I need to do is work the border. My intention was to achieve a stained glass window effect and I think that I have been quite successful. Unfortunately there is very bright sunshine today, so the photos don’t quite do justice to the most vibrant colours, still, you get the idea…

Some of the squares are unique as I had only enough yarn to make one, some are made with several scraps in order to use up bits. Some of the yarn was left over from making socks or shawls or blankets or gloves, some was given to me by folks who no longer had a use for it and one ball was a dye test. Considering the varied origins I’m rather pleased with the result. Placement was random with the only rule being that I did not put two squares next to each other that were the same.

-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 folks often publish a ScrapHappy post, do check them out:

Kate (me!)Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancyAlysKerryClaireJean,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawnGwen, Connie, Bekki, PaulineSue L,
Sunny and Kjerstin

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.

Mend It Monday #11

As my friend Sarah says “If it’s not worth mending, it’s not worth buying” …

This week sees the final mend from the pile that had accumulated over recent (and not so recent) months. It seems appropriate to be finishing with one of my most common mends – hand knitted socks. This particular pair of socks was amongst the first I knitted (about eight years ago I think) and this is the first time that they have needed mending, so that’s quite an achievement. It was the toes that were going so I mended and reinforced and I’m hoping they might last another eight years.

So, have you mended anything this week? If you’ve written a post about mending recently, do share a link to it – I love to see how other people manage to extend the lives of the things they own.

Mend It Monday #10

As my friend Sarah says “If it’s not worth mending, it’s not worth buying” …

The mending pile is greatly diminished and it may be that these posts become monthly rather than weekly in the not too distant future. However, there are still a few things to get through and this week I returned to an old favourite: a much-mended pair of Mr Snail’s jeans. I first wrote about them here: they were my first attempt at boro style mending in 2017. Since then, they’ve had multiple mends and are becoming quite a work of art; there are more pictures of them here.

One of the legs, above the knee has developed weak areas where the fabric creases naturally. Before they disintegrate entirely in that area, some reinforcement seemed appropriate. I rummaged through my scraps and found a swatch of really tough upholstery fabric that doesn’t fray if pinked and made use of this. It’s a big area, so I secured the patch inside by means of machine stitching, and then I got out my embroidery threads and did some freeform stitching. Today’s work is the darker purple stitches.

What do you think?

So, have you mended anything this week? If you’ve written a post about mending recently, do share a link to it – I love to see how other people manage to extend the lives of the things they own.

ScrapHappy April 2020

A month down the line and how things have changed… I thought that this month there would be more scrappy cards, but events have overtaken us.

Instead, it’s all about face masks… perfect for using up scrap fabric. There are lots of patterns out there, but two different friends recommended the same pattern, so that’s the one I went for. Kate Chiconi wrote about it here and then, when we were chatting via Zoom, my friend Katie (who only lives a few miles away, but might as well be in Australia at the moment) modelled the one she had made from this same pattern. I have, however, added an extra component: non-woven Vilene. Although it’s not medical grade, adding Vilene increases filtration because it isn’t woven. If you are thinking of making a mask, you might be interested in the information in this post from the lovely people at Empress Mills which discusses suitable fabrics.

Anyway, when I mentioned to Mr Snail that I was going to make face masks, he said that he wanted to make his own, so this is our first joint ScrapHappy project, and you can read about his take on it here.

I started off by trialling the pattern and working out which parts might be a challenge for Mr Snail (none, as it turned out). I collected together some likely-looking fabric and in the end I made one mask from a scrap of organic cotton left over from an apron I made (outer) and some Tana Lawn (lining) and one from some snail fabric (outer) and some lovely soft cotton that had once been a pyjama leg (lining). The Vilene (applied to the lining fabric) was a variety of small pieces left over from dress-making projects and there was just enough for two face masks each. Mr Snail’s masks were also made of scraps, and I managed to find enough elastic in my sewing box to complete our projects.

-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 folks often publish a ScrapHappy post, do check them out:

Kate (me!)Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancyAlysKerryClaireJean,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawnGwen, Connie, Bekki, PaulineSue L,
Sunny and Kjerstin

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.

Mend It Monday #9

“If it’s not worth mending, it’s not worth buying” …

This week I’ve finally got round to repairing something that has been in the mending pile for a couple of years. The reason I haven’t done it before was that I wasn’t sure a mend was really possible. It’s a loose cotton tunic made of very delicate fabric, and after a lot of wear, one of the sleeves just started to disintegrate:

It’s too delicate to embroider onto or to back it with fusible interfacing which only left patching it. I chose a scrap of Tana Lawn, which is fine but robust and edged that before stitching it over the problem area. I made sure that one edge was along the cuff, so that I could sew into multiple layers for strength. After it was attached (a difficult job because of working inside a sleeve) I managed a few rows of stitching across for reinforcement.

To be honest, I’m not sure this mend will last long, but we’ll see. If the fabric turns out to be too weak to hold the patch, I’ll just make it into a short-sleeved garment rather than a long-sleeved one.

So, have you mended anything this week? If you’ve written a post about mending recently, do share a link to it – I love to see how other people manage to extend the lives of the things they own.

The right button for the job

Apparently, during this ‘lockdown’ we are all supposed to have oodles of spare time to, as one friend of mine suggested, “perfect our conversational Russian and learn to play the bassoon”. Oddly, here Chez Snail there is no extra time, as my work (always done from home) continues to arrive in abundance, I still walk the dogs every day and I continue to loathe going shopping, so do it as little as possible. Nevertheless, I have been busy with my crochet hooks and have completed two projects.

First, I finally got round to finishing something that has been languishing half-done in a bag for 18 months… since my first visit to the Crochet Sanctuary. Our ‘big’ project for that weekend was a snuggly bunny. I didn’t finish it during my stay and when I got home, other projects were more pressing. However, the lockdown brought it to mind because I was trying to think of a cuddly gift to sent to a friend who lives alone and is normally very sociable. In the end it was a relatively quick make.

But I thought that she looked rather cross. After some thought, I decided to replace the stitched eyes with some black buttons, turning her into a much more happy and relaxed bunny:

And then I progressed on to a cardigan that I only started a few weeks ago. I used some of the yarn that I had won in the Knit for Peace raffle back in 2018. It wasn’t a very exciting colour, so I added a little bit of purple/blue, but even so I felt that it lacked something. I searched my button box, but couldn’t find any buttons that were the right size and had sufficient zing. In the interest, therefore, of supporting small businesses at this difficult time, I bought some lovely Victorian Glass buttons via etsy.

I’m really pleased with the end result. And for the second project running, it just needed the right buttons.

Mend It Monday #8

“If it’s not worth mending, it’s not worth buying” …

So far all my mends in this series have been ‘soft’ – involving yarn or thread, but this week I thought I’d share something a little harder.

Before the kitchen was rejuvenated with new cupboard doors, we used to keep the spices in the cupboard above the kettle and the place where we make the tea. Now things are much more sensible and the mugs, tea and coffee are in that cupboard. However, in the days of the spices, the cupboard was jam-packed and things would regularly fall out. And this is exactly what happened one day, resulting in a heavy jar landing directly on the lid of the teapot. The jar survived, but the teapot lid did not. We tried sticking it together with superglue, but it quickly fell apart. And then, to the rescue came the wonderful Sugru – a mouldable glue. It’s particularly good for ceramics and you can make a feature of it rather than trying to disguise the mend.

In fact, this is an old mend (I’ve been rather busy with some new makes this week), so I can tell you that it has been holding the lid together for over a year now. Sugru is great stuff and I highly recommend it to have as part of your mending kit.

So, have you mended anything this week? If you’ve written a post about mending recently, do share a link to it – I love to see how other people manage to extend the lives of the things they own.

And I’m delighted that Kate has joined me this week. You can read her post here.

Dough!

A few weeks ago, before we were all confined to barracks, I decided that it would be interesting to have a go at making sourdough bread. It takes a while to get the starter in a usable state and my first attempt just didn’t work – ending up watery and smelling rather unpleasant. Attempt number two was much more of a success and I have been carefully nurturing my lovely culture for a couple of weeks now. And then yesterday I noticed that it had gone mad and was bubbling out of it’s jar. So, the time was right to give it a go. I wanted to start simple and so I settled on a white loaf.

There’s mixing and kneading and leaving it to prove twice before finally knocking it back, shaping it in a basket and leaving it overnight in the refrigerator. after all the investment in time, I was itching to find out what it would be like. And the result? Delicious – a wonderful light loaf, not at all sour, but with a different taste to yeasted bread and a great texture. The next challenge is to keep the starter (now transferred to a much bigger jar) happy long-term and to experiment with some other flavours.

The recipe I worked from was in the Shipton Mill book A handful of flour. The starter is made with 1/5 wholewheat flour and 4/5 strong white flour, mixed with the same weight of water. I fed it every day for over a week, then every couple of days for another 10 days or so.

I like yeasted bread, but this is a rather good alternative – and how bread was originally made before commercial yeast was available. I’m really taken with the idea that every culture is unique because it’s the result of the person who makes it and the place and the specific conditions as well as the ingredients selected. So my sourdough will taste different to that made by anyone else – how great is that? Do you have experience of making sourdough?

Mend It Monday #7

“If it’s not worth mending, it’s not worth buying” …

Last week I started darning a second sock and that has now been completed. It’s a rare sock for me because I didn’t originally knit it myself, but it’s so comfy inside walking boots, that I really wanted it to last a bit longer. Anyway, once I’d started, it didn’t take long to make it usable again.

The embroidery problem that I mentioned last week was kindly solved by my friend Lizzie (thank you so much Lizzie), who sent me some black and yellow embroidery floss so that I could work a bee design over a hole in one of Mr Snail’s sweatshirts. When I came to look at it, there were two holes, so he’s got two bees. He’s threatening to make more holes in it, so he gets more bees! First I sewed around the edges of the holes to stabilse them, then it’s simple satin stitch to cover the holes, a running stitch “trail” and back stitch wings. The orientation of the bees is defined by the hole itself.

So, have you mended anything this week? If you’ve written a post about mending recently, do share a link to it – I love to see how other people manage to extend the lives of the things they own.

Mend It Monday #6

“If it’s not worth mending, it’s not worth buying” …

I’m afraid it’s more darning this week. I was intending to do some visible mending involving some embroidery, but when I looked at my thread, I discovered that a key colour was missing. As I’m sure you’ll understand, just popping out to get the colour that I want is not possible right now, so that project has had to be put on hold (and may, in the longer term, be re-designed on the basis of the colours that I do have).

Anyway, there always seem to be socks to darn. There was a pair of Mr Snail’s colourful socks, knitted by me as well as hole in some thick socks I wear with my walking boots. The latter is a work in progress, but the former are all mended.

So, have you mended anything this week? If you’ve written a post about mending recently, do share a link to it – I love to see how other people manage to extend the lives of the things they own.

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