ScrapHappy September 2018

You may remember Sophie… which took up quite a bit of my time last year:

I bought new wool to make her, but there was rather a lot left over: perfect for a ScrapHappy project. So, with Mr Snail living away from home during the week (more on that in a future post) and him commenting that the flat he’s renting doesn’t entirely feel like home, I decided that a snuggly sofa blanket was needed. It’s not finished yet, but this is progress so far.

As well as the left-overs from Sophie there are a few balls from my stash. It’s all wool (with the exception of a tiny bit of silk in on blend) and almost all British; any that isn’t is old balls that I have no idea anymore of the origin. I’m planning to work on it until I have used up as much of the wool as possible and then edge it in the cream wool (Cambrian Mountains), of which I have quite a lot left on the cone I bought to make Sophie.

I think it will make Mr Snail’s flat feel a bit more like home and keep him warm on those cold winter nights… if I can just get it finished!


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.







No goals for 2018


Mr Snail’s Wellie socks #2

This time last year I was just getting going with 17 for 2017 – a list of goals for the year. This year I’m having a goal-free year, but if I was ticking off last years list I’d be doing well – I’ve knitted a pair of socks, baked a couple of batches of biscuits, darned three pairs of socks and repaired the pocket of a pair of jeans. I’ve even managed to play a game of Scrabble – something that proved impossible to do when it was a ‘goal’ but easy when it’s just what we fancied doing!

A friend of mine mentioned today that her word for the year 2018 is ‘creativity’ and I think I’d like my year to be especially creative too. Since completing Sophie I haven’t done much crochet, but my knitting needles have been busy… not only the socks but good progress on the jumper with lacy side panels:

I’ve also started reviewing my WIPs. There are five main ones: the sofa cover, two lap blankets, a cardigan and the Beekeeper’s quilt. So far, I’ve looked at two of these. The sofa cover piece is currently 74 cm x the width of the sofa (the white measure in the photograph is 100cm long). This piece is destined to be draped over the back of the sofa… I just need to bite the bullet and finish it and then I can start on the two seat cushion covers, which will be much more interesting (NB the main cushion covers were finished two or three years ago).


oh, those long rows!

And then there’s this lovely lap blanket, which I ran out of steam with.IMGP4938 Once I pick it up again I know I’ll enjoy making it and I have someone in mind to give it to. The centre is made from yarn that was given to me, but the edging is all scraps.

So, no goals for 2018, but plenty to get on with!

Planning a cover-up

As you may know, I am currently working on a very large crochet project, namely a sofa cover. I won’t say that it’s progressing slowly, but it is such a big piece of work that it will inevitably take a long time. Originally I was simply intending to make covers for the five cushions that go along the back, but then I decided that it would be nice if I could actually cover the whole thing. I have, therefore, been considering what I need to do to create something that covers (at least most of) this large piece of furniture.


Dull, no?

I realised that I don’t want to crochet the bit that will not be seen, i.e. the part that goes under the seat cushions. This part, however, is essential as it will anchor the main cover and, if all goes to plan, ensure that crochet hooks, yarn, needles and scissors can no longer fall into the ‘body’ of the sofa, requiring me to furtle around with a torch trying to retrieve them. So, what to use? Well, in keeping with the rest of the cover, I wanted wool, leading me to the conclusion that what I need is a blanket. A blue blanket.

I really want something second hand, and so, not wanting to embark on a tour of all the local charity shops, I decided to try ebay. I’m currently waiting to see if I win an auction for a pale blue, pure wool vintage blanket. A new version made by the same company as the one I’m bidding on would cost me over £80, but I’m hoping to get this one for less than £20 including postage. Once I have it, I’m afraid it’s going to be chopped up, but it will have a new and useful life, so that’s ok.

The other part of the sofa that I wanted to source ethically was the buttons for the cushions. I don’t want plastic ones for this project and I really didn’t feel that wood or leather would be appropriate – both because they wouldn’t look right and because they would be just too tempting for pups to chew. Oh and I didn’t want zips because Sam eats those too (hence the cushion inners you can see showing in the photo above). So, Joanna (who taught the course on paper porcelain) is going to make me 20 buttons… she has samples of the yarn and photos of some of the crochet and I have left the design up to her.

Bavarian cushion nearly finished

Bavarian cushion nearly finished

On the crochet front, I have nearly finished the second side of the Bavarian crochet cushion cover, and the ripple cushion cover just needs constructing (because of the way I’m going to do it, I need the buttons before I can progress) and I have more than half of the squares I need for the ‘granny square’ cushion. I’m not sure what design I will choose for the next cushion cover, but possibly something stripy and then one with circles, like Kerry’s squares.

All this has made me wonder what the finished sofa is going to look like. Since I now have some quite big pieces to play with, I put them together to give me an idea. This is only to provide an impression since the Bavarian crochet is for the back and front of a single cushion rather than two separate ones and the ripple piece is also for a square cushion rather than the seat, but at least it gives some idea of what the finished object might resemble… well, it’s going to be unique if nothing else!


HURRAH! In the past few days I’ve received the paperwork confirming that I have passed my Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design and I’ve completed my masterpiece blanket, which illustrates my diploma journey.

I promise that I will now update the masterpiece pages here on the blog and on Pinterest. I also plan to create a more user-friendly way of looking at all the squares and reading their stories… watch this space!

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the blanket – yarn, squares, support, ideas – without you all it wouldn’t have been possible.

It’s all for charity..

I felt compelled to make some bunting to decorate the cake table with

I felt compelled to make some bunting to decorate the cake table with

I did mention a little while ago that once the Masterpiece was finished, I would be moving on to another community craft project and you may have read my earlier post describing it. Basically, in order to raise funds for Denmark Farm, the educational charity that I am a trustee for, we have organised a series of ‘Cake and Craft’ events, at which we eat cake, knit and crochet. The plan is that our creations will be raffled off later in the year to raise funds. In the mean time, every few weeks, we have a wonderful, sociable get-together.

The first project is about making squares (like the ones for the masterpiece) with the intention of turning these into one or more blankets. As you can see, we are getting a good collection:

We have decided to make a traditional granny squares blanket with some of them and these are being edged in black to be stitched together soon. After that we’ll put together a more eclectic mix (more like the masterpiece) for a second blanket. We also plan to needle felt a large tree onto a cream-coloured wool blanket to make a tree of life, with appliquéd leaves, flowers, birds, bugs that have been sewn, knitted or crocheted.

Katy's hexagons

Katy’s hexagons

Then the other day I went to visit Katy the Night Owl and she donated a big pile of crochet hexagons to the project… I think these are going to be made into a baby blanket  or a lap blanket. Obviously, for a raffle, the more prizes we have the better, so I’m really hoping that there will be even more creations. in fact, I have noticed that we some squares that are bigger than 15cm/6 inches, and I’d love to use these (with additions) to produce a much more random blanket, with squares of all sorts of sizes.

If you are in the area, we’d be delighted to welcome you to any of the sessions (you can check details on our Facebook Page) and if not, we’d love donations of squares, additions to the tree of life or completed crafted items that we could include in the raffle. Is anyone up for it… I know you are all so generous!

If you come along, I can promise deliciousness!

If you come along, I can promise deliciousness!

Nearly there

The Masterpiece is nearly complete, although I could accept a couple more squares if anyone has one to send. There has been a little flurry of contributions recently and so it looks like the finished blanket is going to be 9×9. My original intention was to stitch it all together in the next couple of weeks, but I have some other work to do, so it is not going to be completed until after the middle of June (hence the leeway for extra squares). I’ve been very busy writing up my portfolio for my permaculture diploma, which explains the lack of additions to the page showing all the squares. If you have sent me one recently, I promise that it will get its own entry very soon.

In the mean time, here are the ones waiting to be incorporated:

All awaiting an edge before they go into the blanket

All awaiting an edge before they go into the blanket

There are squares here from two fellow diploma apprentices, my tutor, two old friends, one new friend and one from Mr Snail-of-Happiness, who had to learn to knit in order to contribute!

I love the variety and all the creativity that has gone into making each and every one of these.

It’s all coming together!

It has been a while since I posted a picture of progress on the masterpiece blanket. Originally Easter was my deadline for receiving squares, but one or two people needed a bit of extra time and my end-point was arbitrary, so now the final date is 20 May. So, if you wanted to contribute, but thought you’d run out of time… you have an extra month. If you do still plan to send a square or two, it would be really useful to know… just put a comment below, or drop me an e-mail.

Anyway, I thought you might like to see what it currently looks like:

The masterpiece today

The masterpiece today

My principles are a bit woolly!

There are twelve principles in permaculture design (at least according to David Holmgren) and as a result of my masterpiece blanket I now have each of them represented by a square:

The twelve principles in wool

The twelve principles in wool

You can find explanations of my thinking on my Masterpiece page, but I thought that it would be nice to show them all together.

I teach an introduction to permaculture course about once a year, and last summer I was challenged to teach one completely based on knitted/crocheted props…. it looks like I’m well on my way!

Oh my!

Just a short post today so say thank you for all the offers of squares (here, on Facebook and in person)… I’m going to have a fantastic blanket. I had a message from one friend this morning to tell me that she had already made her square, but I know other people are thinking hard about the yarn and design.

I had to make at least one that's snail-themed!

I had to make at least one that’s snail-themed!

It looks like the final masterpiece will include squares from people who have taught me and whom I have taught, fellow diploma apprentices, friends who live close by, friends who live far away, friends old and new and (I’m hoping) some of my family. I have been asked about yarns and the answer is, I don’t mind (so far I have used a whole variety) but if you use something special or for a particular reason, do explain it in your note. As far as designs go, I don’t mind either as long as it’s 15cm square, and it doesn’t matter if different people’s squares are similar because each one will be special. As for timing – any time in the next few months will be great (apparently lots of people are busy round about now… I can’t imagine why!)

I am conscious, however, that not all of my friends can knit or crochet, so if that’s you, but you would like to contribute something to the project, I would love something in writing to put in my scrapbook… ideally something handwritten so it’s personal.

So, thank you again for all the offers… when you are done, send me an e-mail and I’ll let you have my address.

My masterpiece

As I occasionally mention, I am currently working to achieve my Diploma in Advanced Permaculture Design. I am compiling a portfolio of ten designs based around the ethics (people care, earth care and sharing the surplus) and principles (look here if you want to know what they are) of permaculture. For me, it’s all about creating a more sustainable life. I have completed the first five of the designs and these have been approved and passed by my tutor, so now I’m working on the second half of the portfolio with the intention of completing it around May and accrediting at the UK Permaculture Convergence in London in August 2014. Accreditation involves a final presentation, where the candidate describes their diploma experiences to a group of their peers. Despite it being months away (assuming I pass), I have already started thinking about my presentation.

Those of us working towards a permaculture diploma are called ‘apprentices’ and I have been thinking about the old system of apprenticeship. An apprentice worked for their master for years, eventually ‘graduating’ with the production of a ‘masterpiece’, i.e. an example of their craft that demonstrated mastery of all the skills. There isn’t really an equivalent of a masterpiece in the diploma process (the portfolio itself documents learning) apart, perhaps, from the execution of a really good permaculture design, so I have decided to create my own in the form of a blanket.

My first two squares: the one on the left represents my yarn ethics design; the one on the right came out of a bag of yarn from Freecycle and so represents the permaculture principle 'produce no waste'.

My first two squares: the one on the left represents my yarn ethics design; the one on the right came out, almost complete, of a bag of yarn from Freecycle and so represents the permaculture principle ‘produce no waste’.

Permaculture isn’t about working in isolation – community is an important aspect and so, I’m asking people to contribute a knitted or crocheted square to ‘my masterpiece’. My intention is to produce one square to represent each of my designs and one square for each of the principles and ethics and then add squares from other people who have been part of the journey… which includes you if you want to join in! This blog is actually one of my designs – one that should be improved as time goes on and I implement my plans. So anyone who comments is adding to my diploma journey! In addition, I’ve had people in my learning guild, people I interact with on the permaculture diploma Facebook group and people I do charity work with agree to contribute. It’s quite exciting to think about constructing a joint piece of work like this and I love the idea of having a tangible item that records the help and support that I have had.

So, I’m asking my friends, family and fellow permaculture apprentices to each contribute a single knitted or crocheted square measuring 15 cm (6 inches) that, in some way, represents our relationship or an aspect of permaculture design or sustainability. It could be the yarn or pattern that means something, it could just be the act of making it. The square could be plain or patterned or even have a design sewn onto it. But, I want a record of what each square means, so I’m also asking for a hand-written explanation of the idea behind the square. Then I plan to photograph each square and put the picture in a scrapbook alongside the text as a permanent reminder of all the people who have contributed. What do you think?

So, if my writing has touched any of you lovely people out there in a positive way and you would like to make a square for me, do get in touch… I think this is going to be a lovely project.

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