A bit more scrappy

Following on from yesterday’s post, I’m happy to report that the parcel of unloved yarn arrived today.

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a mixed bag of fine yarn

Some of it is very fine, and clearly intended for weaving, but that is no obstacle. I immediately set aside the sock I was knitting for Mr Snail (it’s summer, he doesn’t need new sock right now, right?)

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temporarily abandoned sock

and wound some of the yarn into multi-coloured cakes of two or three strands:

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cake, anyone?

But I couldn’t leave it there, and had to test it out by making a square for the scrappy blanket:

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behold, a square!

I think I’m going to be able to create a fine big blanket now and still maintain the basic colour scheme:

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looks like it belongs, doesn’t it?

ScrapHappy June

OK, OK, everyone else did their ScrapHappy posts last week, but events conspired against me and mine did not happen. That is not so say that I haven’t been working on a scrappy creation, just that it didn’t make it onto the blog.

In fact my current scrappy project is a continuation of one you have seen before – a blanket using old crochet squares and unwanted yarn given to me by Wild Daffodil. It has progressed from this:

to this:

and on to this by the beginning of this week:

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The outer squares and the edging were made from wool left over from some of my old projects and some from Freecycle. And I thought that might have to be it, as I’d almost come to the end of my brown/beige/green scraps. But, no! Someone in the 60 Million Trebles group has a load of old cones of wool and other 4-ply scraps and oddments and these are now on their way to me, so that this can be made into a full-sized blanket. I am really enjoying this collaborative effort and hoping that eventually it will keep someone warm and let them know that there are people in the world who care.

-oOo-

I’ve been inspired to write this (and future) ScrapHappy posts by Kate, who provides links to other (mostly sewing) ScrapHappy bloggers at Tall Tales from Chiconia on the fifteenth of every month… do check them out.

 

Soiled

Yes, I know there’s all sorts of huge things going on it the political world today (we had a general election here in the UK yesterday, in case you didn’t know), but I’m going to distract you with my first bash at a soil-themed inky doodle. It came out more blue than I expected and the addition of silver did not really work, but this is what I created to begin with, just using drops of alcohol ink on yupo paper:

not sure it looks as much like soil particles as I had hoped

And then I started drawing bugs… completely randomly and just to play around with. I got a bit over excited and didn’t allow the ink to dry completely, so some of them are smudgy, however, this is starting to resemble what I had in mind.

My next attempt may involve a base wash and a felt applicator…. and allowing the inks to dry overnight before I doodle. Eventually these are going to be used to make cards, I hope.

And before I go, just a quick reminder about the give-away. If you want a chance of winning the ‘ditch the plastic bag’ bag that I made for the Manchester craftivism exhibition, check out the post here.

The Art of Manchester

Originally, my reason for going to Manchester this past weekend was to take part in Chorlton Arts Festival. Our Kindness Tree event, which sort of morphed into a Hearts for Manchester event was part of the festival, but our biggest contribution was the display in the window of The Make It Shop. Many, many thanks to those of you who contributed – the window looked fabulous, although trying to photograph it effectively proved beyond my limited skills with a camera; all I could manage was a flavour of it:

Danielle, however, managed a much better shot:

window

Craft+Activism=Craftivism (c) Danielle Lowy

Many thanks to those who contributed – I hope you can spot your creations (they are all in there), which will now be going off to new homes.

Although the emphasis was heavily on the performing arts this year, the Chorlton Arts Festival did include several other visual art exhibitions and we managed to visit two.

First, opening its gate for the tenth and final year, Bob Nancollis’ Smallest Sculpture Park in the World:

And second, Creative Recycling, where they make art from all sorts of materials, including the glass off-cuts from their picture-framing:

Do you notice, that as well as the art, they also have a little free library out the front of the shop?

So, life goes on in the city of Manchester, if with a heavy heart. I do hope that everyone out and about over the weekend had their lives brightened a little by the creativity that was on display, whether tattoos, beauty from recycled materials, craftivism, sculpture, our decorated community garden, or the lovely bees sent by Helen of Crawcraft’s Beasties, long before we realised how significant they were going to be.

A bee for Manchester

 

Random acts of kindness

It was several months ago that Danielle and I started organising our contribution to the Chorlton Arts Festival – a window display and our ‘Kindness Tree’ event. The latter is happening on Saturday: a day of crafting to create objects with kind messages to give away to strangers. We will have a tree to decorate in the shop, plus we have permission to adorn the railings by the library with the little gifts and messages.

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The Kindness Tree in our craftivism window display  (c) Sue Archer

Chorlton, in case you don’t know, is in Manchester. And now seems like a particularly good time to share some random acts of kindness in Manchester. If you are in the area, please do come and join us (details here), but if you are not in the area, I’d love to think you are with us in spirit. So, I have a request. Wherever you are in the world, on Saturday, please will you undertake at least one random act of kindness? It doesn’t need to be anything big – it could just be a smile at a stranger – but please will you do something? I know what a caring community we are all part of here in this little bit of the blogosphere, and I’d love to think of our ripples of kindness spreading across the world.

Thank you.

Ear-ear

Things wear out, It’s only to be expected – our belongings won’t last forever. Many things can be repaired, but sometimes you need a replacement. However, before I reach for my laptop to order an new ‘thingumy’, I try to decide whether we already have an alternative or whether I can make a replacement using something in the house.

IMGP2901So, when the foam covers on Mr Snail’s headphones started to disintegrate, rather than ordering new ones or, even worse, new headphones, I decided to have a go at making some replacements. I have plenty of cotton yarn, even having used loads in my charity blankets, and this seemed like it might be the best fibre to have pressed against ears. It’s easy to make circles in crochet, or even ovals, as I discovered this was the shape of the ear pieces. One side has a wire coming out, so the cover for that need to incorporate a hole for the cable to pass through. In the end, it took me about an hour to fashion these replacement covers.

Unlike commercial foam covers, these are fully biodegradable, so when they wear out, they can just be composted. The verdict so far is that they are comfortable and do not reduce the sound. Well, that’s a result.

ScrapHappy May

After my foray into sewing in April, this month’s ScrapHappy make takes us back to yarn, cotton yarn to be specific. My bag full of left-over cotton yarn was severely depleted by the stripy corner-to-corner blanket that I mostly made whilst on holiday:

Blanket from big scraps

But there were still piles and piles of partial balls of yarn left over. In my experience, the best way to use up small amounts of yarn is to make little granny squares. The centre can be made from a really short length and adds to the diversity and beauty of the finished creation. So far I’ve made 64 squares, and I’m getting close to the end of the yarn. I’m hoping to manage another eight, to make a 9 × 8 blanket:

I plan to use recycled cotton yarn to join all these little squares together. This represents other peoples scraps, even though it’s new to me. The finished blanket is destined to be donated to charity via Sixty Million Trebles.

I’ve been inspired to write this (and future) ScrapHappy posts by Kate, who provides links to other (mostly sewing) ScrapHappy bloggers at Tall Tales from Chiconia on the fifteenth of every month… do check them out.

 

A Circle of Friends

I missed something from my post about the Sisterhood Sketchbook the other day. I mentioned my mandala inspiration, but I failed to explain the one circle in my creation that is made from a single yarn.

This circle, surrounded by the final words of the little bit of text I wrote, was chosen because of the name of the design. In fact, my piece is only the central part of an original design by Priscilla Hewitt called Circle of Friends Square. I’ve used the design before – indeed it appears twice in my Masterpiece* blanket:

For the Sketchbook it seemed appropriate to incorporate this design (unusual in that it requires you to turn it over and crochet in the reverse direction for several of the rounds). The wool that I selected looks, at first glance, like a rather dull pale brown, but look closer and you will see the diversity in there.

Just like people, there is so much more to this element of my Sketchbook contribution than first appears.

-oOo-

* I realise that many of my newer readers were not part of the story of the Masterpiece… I promise that I will write a post telling you all about it very soon.

Painting with yarn

You may recall that I am taking part in a collaborative art project known as The Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook (it has its own blog here). The book arrived with me here in Wales back in March, but I have only just got round to completing my contribution… or actually, as it turned out, contributions.

I knew that I wanted to use mandalas and circles as my theme and I also knew that there was no way that I would be able to draw or sketch anything worthy of inclusion. So, I dug out the finest wool that I had and a 2.25mm crochet hook and set to work painting with yarn. I was rather pleased with my first creation:

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mandala #1

But when I checked, I’d made it too big, so that was rejected. On reflection, I decided that smaller circles might be better, plus that would allow me to incorporate some words. I mounted my crochet by stitching it onto stiff paper, then added some words. And this is what I ended up with…

Encircling the earth: the skill of our hands, the love in our hearts. Brought together by our creativity and kindness, although we are separated by hundreds of miles… …our shared passions bind us together. One sisterhood, representing one world, united in love.

However, being me, I wasn’t able to leave it there. You see, the very fine wool was not British, and I really wanted to contribute something made of local wool. So, using Cambrian Wool, bought from Red Apple Yarn, I made the sketchbook a pouch to protect it on the rest of its journey…

I even made a little pocket inside, so I could include a postcard giving information about the wool:

Now, all that remains is to pack it up and bid the sketchbook a fond farewell as it goes on its way to Yorkshire and The Crafty Creek… its last stop before it returns to Australia.

Start a revolution…

Several people have asked over the past few days about what constitutes craftivism. Basically, it’s any crafted item that gets a message across – whether personal or political. Many people feel more comfortable with gentle ways to encourage change rather than being confrontational, and what better way to get your message across and gain attention than via a unique item rather than a letter? Send a felt bumblebee to your MP to make your point about conserving pollinators and they are certainly more likely to remember it than if you send them an e-mail.

Over the past few days I have been working on a message that is close to my heart. Here is my latest creation, made for our craftivism exhibition:

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Do you have a message you’d like to share with the world? Perhaps you can make your voice heard more effectively than simply shouting.

 

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