Fun with paper

I don’t do a whole lot of paper crafting, but have been really inspired by the ScrapHappy cards that Alys makes (check out her blog here). It is rather nice, therefore, that the pre-loved craft supplies I have acquired for the shop include dies and embossing folders as well as a “Big Shot” machine in which to use these (all things I’ve seen Alys mention). Being a complete novice in this respect, I drafted in my friend Annette to have a play and show me the ropes, and we were joined by Judith (owner of the sadly missed Red Apple Yarn).

I rummaged through boxes, whilst Annette set up the Big Shot and refreshed her memory of how to use it with a quick online tutorial. A few interesting dies were extracted and we had a little play.

We loved those elephants – that’s a die that I’m definitely going to keep to use in classes. We had a go with some embossing too, but I couldn’t quickly put my hand on all the folders, so that’s a game for another day.

Now I’ve seen some of what is possible, I have lots of ideas for themed card-making workshops. Hopefully we can encourage people to bring “scraps” along to make their cards unique and to encourage the whole ethos of beauty from waste.

ScrapHappy February 2022 plus one

It’s really all been about scrap this month, so here is a third ScrapHappy make to share with you… finally the rag rug is finished, with the back possibly more interesting than the front:

Every bit of fabric except the hessian backing was scrap – bits left over from projects or worn out clothes (two whole dresses in there, amongst other things), so I think this may be my most scrappy project ever – it certainly is weight-wise. It’s really thick and heavy, and will be lovely and warm under the feet. The edges are curling under a bit, so I might have to add something to hold them flat (thick felt perhaps – ideas welcome), but at least the hard work is done now

-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:

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda, Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan (me), Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen, Bekki, Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin, Vera, Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2 , Bear, Noreen, Preeti, Edith and Jule

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.

ScrapHappy February 2022 minus one

Scrappy Valentines day to all my blogging friends out there…

Crochet hearts made from oddments of cotton yarn

-oOo-

I’ve been inspired to write this (and tomorrow’s) 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:

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda, Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan (me), Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen, Bekki, Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin, Vera, Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2 , Bear, Noreen, Preeti, Edith and Jule

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.

Would you like to join in?

Life Chez Snail is currently very much focused on the shop… we’ve now finished dismantling things and have started constructing, which feels like quite a big step. We want to make a big impact when we open up and so I’m very busily making things with which to decorate the shop. The big window will need filling and we intend to have a monthly/six weekly change of display. For the grand opening I’m planning a ScrapHappy window, with all sorts of examples of what you can make with scraps… thank goodness for all those ScrapHappy blog posts I can look back on for inspiration! As well as the window, I want the shop to be a riot of colour, both in terms of the stock and with lovely decorations.

So I’m wondering if you would like to help? Sandra (Wild Daffodil) contacted me and offered to donate some decorations and suggested that others might also like to do the same. Before her email I hadn’t even thought of asking for contributions, but since you are so encouraging about this project, perhaps you would like to add something tangible too? I’d love to have things to put in my ScrapHappy display, or decorations for the shop – garlands, bunting, pictures, wall hangings, mandalas, mobiles – anything that fits with the making and mending ethos of the shop. All crafts are welcome: textiles, yarn, spinning, weaving, paper, printing, dyeing, painting, woodwork… whatever takes your fancy.

I’m keeping several of my recent makes under my hat so that I can share them in future ScrapHappy posts (I don’t want to steal my own thunder), but here’s one example of a decoration that I have completed. This crochet chandelier was from an unwanted kit (from the Little Box of Crochet, alas no more) that I acquired from a friend.

If you would like to add to my collection, I’d love to hear from you.

A New Chapter

A while ago I hinted that we were hatching new plans and finally I can reveal a little of what we have been up to for the past few months. Basically, this:

The Shop of Happiness

Back in May this year, as I was on my way to Knit Night, I noticed a shop for sale in Lampeter. It made me start thinking… and what I thought was “I’d like to run a shop… something crafty”. I came home and mentioned it to Mr Snail, who said “Let’s go and look at it”. Unfortunately, when he called the estate agent he was told that an offer had already been accepted on this particular shop. However, I kept thinking about it. A bit of discussion and we decided that we’d go and look at some other commercial properties. We viewed several, but none was quite right. Every week I passed the original shop that had got me thinking and every week it still had a For Sale sign in the window. Then one Knit Night, someone looked it up on the internet and discovered that it was actually still on the market. The following morning I contacted the estate agent, was told that the original purchaser had pulled out, and arranged a viewing. The next day we put in an offer. Today, we got the keys and it is ours.

Over the months we have refined our ideas about what we are going to do and I’m delighted to announce that in 2022 The Snail of Happiness Shop will open it’s doors to sell mending supplies and pre-loved craft materials, tools and equipment. We’ll also be running courses on making and mending in our Have-a-bashery. Eventually we hope to have a purpose-built workshop out the back for running the courses, but in the meantime they will be held in the room above the shop.

Many, many people accumulate craft supplies that they never use, which is bad for the planet. In addition, many people inherit someone else’s stash and aren’t sure what to do with it. Charity shops often have no idea of the value (or even purpose) of craft materials and so donating them means that they won’t necessarily be valued and may even be disposed of. What we want to do is make sure that unwanted, good quality materials and tools find their way to people who will use them. In addition, we also want to encourage a culture of mending, so the shop will sell mending equipment: things like needles, darning wool, Sugru, glues… I’ve got a big list!

It’s going to take a few months to get things sorted, but hopefully we’ll be up and running by the Spring Equinox. So, if you are in the UK and having a destash, or have crafting supplies that you no longer want, or are dealing with an inherited stash, do get in touch. We will consider buying any craft supplies, although we won’t be able to give you the price you originally paid for them.

Shop Dogs

Watch this space for more news.

ScrapHappy November 2021

The rag rug is coming on since last month, but it really isn’t interesting enough to feature on every ScrapHappy (which is supposed to inspire, not send you to sleep). However, it does produce scraps of its own – offcuts too small to use in the rug or, indeed, almost anywhere else:

Scraplets

Since I’m running short of greetings cards, I decided to use a few of these tiny scraps to experiment. I started with a small piece of an old sheet as the base and then just laid some of the tiny bits of fabric on top. Some random sewing with the machine fixed them in place and then I stitched each finished piece onto a card blank – no glue required.

Since I didn’t fix the pieces before sewing, they moved about a little, but this didn’t matter. I did discover that I needed more scraps than I originally thought because quite a bit of overlap is required to stop the base fabric showing through. Anyway, I’m content with these two as first attempts and I still have plenty fabric to make lots more and refine my technique.

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

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda, Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan (me), Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen, Bekki, Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin, Vera, Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2 , Bear, Carol, Noreen, Preeti, Edith, Jule and Esther

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.

ScrapHappy October 2021

Some months ago, you may recall, I started making a rag rug. The idea is to use up all sorts of fabric scraps without having to co-ordinate colours or worry about odd shapes. Back in May I had got this far:

Progress in May

I haven’t wanted to bore you every month with a picture of progress, as it isn’t very exciting and there have been some periods when I haven’t worked on it much. However, as autumn is now upon us, I have been a bit more focused on it. As well as scraps left over from making, I’ve also started incorporating fabric from old clothes. Once I have cut useable cloths from old t-shirts, for example, there are usually some bits left over, and these are going into the rug. I’ve dismantled several garments and been able to retrieve fabric from the waistbands that has been suitable too, even it it’s a bit worn. So, this is progress so far.

As you can see, my tester seems to approve.

It is very time-consuming, but I do like the fact that fabric I would otherwise struggle to find a use for can be incorporated. It’s going to be a while before it’s finished, but, the scrap bag will certainly be much emptier once it is.

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

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda, Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan (me), Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen, Bekki, Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin, Vera, Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2 , Bear, Carol, Noreen, Preeti, Edith, Jule and Esther

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.

ScrapHappy September 2021

Unloved

A couple of weeks ago whilst sorting through my winter woollies, I came across a long forgotten item of clothing – a sort of woven cotton fisherman’s smock, but with a scoop neck and without the useful pockets. I remembered that I had stopped wearing it because it had a small stain on the front that I had been unable to remove and so I had put it to one side whilst I decided what to do with it.

Time, I thought, to see whether I could revive it.

I started by running it through the washing machine with a small amount of laundry liquid, a couple of teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda and some white vinegar. I dried it in strong sunshine on the washing line and was surprised to discover that I simply could not find the stain afterwards. However, I felt that the garment could be significantly improved by the addition of pockets. I wanted something with plenty of capacity… no point in tiny pockets! So I rummaged through my scraps, dismissed several fabrics because the top is an odd pinky-purple colour that seems to clash with lots of things, before settling on some pieces left over from a sewing project that Mr Snail is currently working on (well, the pieces are cut out – sewing is yet to begin).

I started by cutting a rectangle that would fit across the front of the top, but I decided that it would be too floppy on it’s own so I interfaced it and cut a second piece for lining. Then combined the layers and attached the resulting piece, stitching round the edge, folding the lower edge (left without interfacing or lining, so it wasn’t too bulky) around the bottom of the garment, and stitching up the middle of the pocket to hold it in place and ensure it didn’t gape and allow things to fall out. It looked a bit like an afterthought, so I added some binding round the cuffs. After washing it again, I decided it looked a bit unbalanced, so I also added binding round the neck too.

I think it’s now a much more useful item of clothing, plus if I get any more stains on it, I can simply do a bit of embroidery over them based on one of the motifs on the pocket. It feels like I have a brand new garment – all from the addition of some scraps.

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

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda, Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan (me), Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen, Bekki, Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin, Vera, Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2 , Bear, Carol, Noreen, Preeti, Edith and Jule

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 #19

I know those of you who read last week’s Mend-It Monday post will be desperate to see some actual mending with those lovely tools that I showed you, just as I was really keen to have a go with them. But first I needed something to mend… and what better than the most mended garment that I own? My favourite ancient cardigan. For this repair, I decided to give the Speedweve its first outing. I assembled my tools (including the obligatory cup of tea) and settled down to learn the technique.

I decided to use some cotton yarn from my scrap collection: cream for the warp and grey for the weft. Of course you can use the same colour for both directions, or make fancy tartan patterns if you wish, but as a beginner, I thought that two clearly different colours would make it easier for me to see what I was doing.

To begin with you place the wooden disk behind the area than needs mending. This is secured with an elastic band, then the metal part with the hooks is slipped into place on top of the fabric, against the disk and held firm with another elastic band. After that, the warp threads are created. You start by securing a thread at one corner of the area to be covered with the weaving and work your way up and down – stitching in place at the bottom and putting the thread round the hooks at the top.

Once that’s done, the weft thread is attached at the bottom corner and, using a long needle, threaded through the warp threads alongside the hooks. The needle is then pushed down to the bottom of the mend (away from the hooks) and the thread pulled through. Before inserting the needle back in the other direction, the orientation of the hooks is reversed by running your thumb along the metal loops. This moves the lower threads up and the upper threads down, just like a full-sized loom. Before each pass of the needle the hooks are moved using the metal loops, so that when the thread passes back the woven fabric is created.

You keep working back and forth, reversing the hooks after each pass and anchoring the thread on each side, until the warp threads are completely used. After that, you release the elastic band holding the metal piece in place, remove the warp threads from the hooks and stitch that edge in place. Once that’s done, the wooden disk is removed and you have a very tidy bit of darning.

I have to confess that it took me a couple of attempts to get it right. Because of the stretchy nature of my cardigan I realised after my first unsuccessful try that it would be best if I stabilised the area with a few running stitches around the edge of the hole before attaching the disk. Once I had done this, it all went fairly smoothly. I think that the stitches at the side to secure the weaving could have been neater and I could have done a better job with the warp threads to begin with, but otherwise I’m happy. The yarn I selected is right at the thickest end of what can be used with this particular Speedweve model (there is a version with the hooks further apart for thicker yarn), but it was just right for this particular mend. The wool that came in the kit is thinner and might have been easier to use for my first attempt, but it just wasn’t right for this job.

Now I’ve got the hang of it, I think some rather more interesting weaving patterns might be on the cards.

ScrapHappy August 2021

This month’s ScrapHappy happened because I was feeling lazy. I completed the waves blanket with the Colinette yarn one evening and simply couldn’t be bothered to go and seek out a new project. The blanket was supposed to have a fringe, but I didn’t want one and therefore had some yarn left over. So, using this yarn and the same hook I embarked on something I didn’t need a pattern for… a woolly hat (another perfect summer project!). And to maximise scrap use, I added a pompom, because there was still a bit of yarn left over when the hat was finished.

Simple and quick, but entirely scrappy; plus it prevented that particular yarn even getting to the scrap stash.

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

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda, Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan (me), Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen, Bekki, Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin, Vera, Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2 , Bear, Carol, Noreen, Preeti and Edith

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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