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, DebbieroseNóilin 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.

ScrapHappy December 2022

The Snail of Happiness shop is keeping us very busy, but we are working hard to keep our ScrapHappy ethos firmly at the forefront – literally.

My most public display of ScrapHappiness has been the bollards outside the front of the shop – my yarnbombing activities having been mainly fueled by yarn left over from my own projects or gifted as unwanted by others. As the months have gone on there has been increasing interest, and I’m now getting asked by other people with shops in Lampeter if I might make something for them. My first commission was from the shop next door – Y Becws. A couple of months ago I made them a (ScrapHappy) bollard cover as a gift:

Owen, you see, is very well-known for his doughnuts (and his sourdough, but doughnuts are easier to crochet… or at least to make them look like what they are supposed to be) and so, once I’d thought of it, I just had to make this one.

Anyway, they were so pleased with the result, that they asked for a couple of festive ones. I stopped any other creative endeavours because I still hadn’t finished either of my own festive creations and off I went. You saw some ‘in progress’ pictures in my November ScrapHappy, but here are the final finished four (we have two bollards each outside our shops):

Every single scrap of yarn in these was a left-over from a previous project or was an unwanted ball from one of my very kind supporters. Even the stuffing was a part bag that was dropped off, unwanted, at the shop. The candy canes contain nose pieces from no-longer required mask-making kits, bent to shape. The little stockings were given to me; they are previously used decorations, knitted by past Knit-Nighters at the old Red Apple Yarn shop, alas no more. Rudolph’s eyes are left-over vintage buttons that I’ve had hanging around for ages having bought a card of them for a past project (there’s never the exact number that you need on a card, is there?). So, all-in-all a very public display of ScrapHappiness.

But just to add extra-special festive cheer, here are mine in the snow (Owen decided to keep his all warm and safe indoors!):

Oh, and that’s some new ScrapHappy bunting in the window – made from a bit of an old waterproof tablecloth that I bought secondhand… it’s all about the scraps!

-oOo-

Rudolph is from a pattern by Little Green Bear, which you can find here.

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, DebbieroseNóilin 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.

ScrapHappy November 2022

This month I have been busy on several scrappy projects, but the ones I had intended to post about today will have to wait a month or two because I completely failed to take any photographs and I’ve left them at the shop (I’m writing this at home). Anyway, I have an on-going mission to decorate the bollards outside my shop throughout the year, so I’m currently working on my winter offering… not just the two outside my shop, though, but the two outside Y Becws next door. All of them are works in progress, so there’s only a sneak peek this month, but all of them are made from scrap yarn, given to me by some very kind friends. Well, all that is except the little stockings, which were left over from a previous Christmas display in Red Apple Yarn (now sadly closed) and which I am re-purposing.

Finally, I’ve managed to find a use for some of the eyelash yarn that so many people buy and then decide that they hate!

Hopefully next month, you’ll get to see four finished creations… wish me luck!

-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, DebbieroseNóilin 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.

ScrapHappy October 2022

After the success of the decorated bollards over the summer, it seemed a good idea to ring the changes and make some for autumn.

These two are not entirely scrappy, as I did have to use some new yarn for the little witch, but her hair, stuffing and the buttons on her hat and wand and for her eyes are all scraps. All the rest is either from my scrap collection or is other people’s unwanted (unloved) yarn.

I think these are my most photographed creations ever… do look out for them on social media and let me know if they crop up.

-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, DebbieroseNóilin 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.

ScrapHappy September 2022

Last month I showed you the start of the latest scrappy crochet bunting. With all the donated scraps it was easy to find enough so that each of the flags was a different colour and so that I had enough to stretch across the width of the shop. Since each triangle tends to curl a little, I decided to counter this by sewing a couple of metal beads (from a pre-loved collection) on the point of each.

My other scrappy activity in the shop this month has been to put together some texture packs from lots of odds and ends of yarn. I came across a few such packs in a stash that I bought and they proved popular with customers, so now I’ve started to make my own. Each one contains a minimum of 30 m (and generally much more) of yarn in lengths of about 3m (plus some extra shorter bits if there are scraps left over). I select interesting mixes of textures and put them together in colour-themed packs. The packaging is all reused: cardboard from boxes and polythene wrap from packs of wool or fabric. They get bought for use in embroidery, weaving and macramé amongst other things, giving crafters a range of interesting yarn without having to buy lots of balls that would mostly go unused.

So, I’m not just making things with scraps myself, I also feel like I’m spreading the love of scraps to a wider audience.

-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, DebbieroseNóilin 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.

ScrapHappy August 2022

Last month’s ScrapHappy bollard covers have proved very popular, but they weren’t my only ScrapHappy make related to the Eisteddfod. Lots of people and businesses were putting up Welsh dragon bunting, or bunting in the colours of the flag – white, green and red. Since I’d already unearthed a pile of scrap yarn in these colours, it was a relatively quick job to knock up some bunting:

However, I like to ring the changes, and now the Eisteddfod is over, I thought it would be nice to have some multi-coloured bunting. The thing about this is that I can use absolutely any scraps, so I had a rummage through some of the bags of left-overs that I have upstairs in the shop and found a whole lot of colours that I probably wouldn’t have chosen, but that should make some cheerful decorations. I started on Wednesday, so I haven’t got very far yet, but it shouldn’t be too long before I have enough to make a useable string:

-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, Lynda, Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Tracy, Jill, 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.

Blooming bollard

My Welsh dragon crochet is proving very popular, so I wanted to quickly produce a cover for the second bollard outside the shop. The “sock” is pretty straightforward now I have created a pattern and I managed to find some suitable leftover yarn in fairly neutral colours. However, embellishments take much longer. Fortunately, my appeal a few months ago for items with which to decorate the shop meant that I had a bag of crochet flowers from Sandra (Wild Daffodil) just waiting to be used. Small amounts of scrap green yarn were all I needed for the chain stitch stems and here it is:

I will probably make a snail to go on top of it eventually, but I’m pretty happy with it for now. So, big thanks to Sandra, without whom I would still be crocheting flowers.

ScrapHappy July 2022

I never had a shortage of scraps, but with the opening of the shop I have access to all sorts of scrappy items that simply weren’t in my stash. Many people very generously give me things that are left over from their own projects and which they don’t envisage a use for. In the future, this is likely to lead to all sorts of projects that are out of my usual comfort zone, but this month I’ve made just the sort of thing you would expect from me, albeit with a combination of my own and other people’s scrap yarn…. a crochet bollard cover.

Outside the shop are two wooden bollards to stop vehicles from parking on the pavement. You probably haven’t even noticed them in the pictures of the shop exterior, which is precisely why I thought that they might need brightening up. So here is the first of what is likely to be many…

It’s the Eisteddfod in Tregaron (i.e. up the road) at the end of the month, so Welsh flag decorations are all the rage around the area, and this is my contribution. I’m bringing it in every night as I really don’t want to lose it, but it’s getting a lot of public admiration and has been much-photographed over the few days it’s been out.

-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, Lynda, Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Tracy, Jill, 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 June 2022

My friends have been very generous when it has come to setting up the shop, both from the perspective of fittings and stock, but that hasn’t been all. Gloria, a Knit Night pal, having seen me making decorations for the shop, kindly gave me several unwanted kits to make use of for this purpose.  One of these was a large heart pincushion, which looked like it might make a fun addition to the decor.

When I investigated, I discovered that the main ball of yarn was missing,  but that’s not a problem when you have plenty of scraps. I think that the original was red, but I found half a ball of dark pink that looked suitable and set to work. The instructions suggested embroidering the word “LOVE” on it, but Mr Snail came up with “MAKE” as an alternative.

Looking through what I had used for the first heart, I was quite taken aback with how little of the yarn had been used from some of the little balls of the secondary colours, so there were plenty of scraps to be had. Mr Snail, therefore suggested a second one, this time with the word “MEND”. I dug out some purple yarn from a previously abandoned project for the main part and created #2. Because this one represents mending, rather than crocheting flowers to decorate it like the first, I used a 10-hook Speedweve and played around with some fancy darning.

And so we have a pair of (mostly) ScrapHappy hearts, including a slightly uneven, but nevertheless effective, example of what is possible with a Speedweve.

-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, Lynda, Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Tracy, Jill, 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.

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.

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