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.

ScrapHappy April 2022

I’ve been waiting so long to write this ScrapHappy, but finally I can share with you our completely scrappy window display. It’s been getting a lot of attention…

It includes several creations from other ScrapHappy participants: a box from Cathy, scarves from Jenny, a blanket from Sue. Also in there, there are many things that have featured in my own ScrapHappy posts, plus some new ScrapHappy bunting made from two old pillowcases and some scrap felt. You may also have noticed that the Snail of Happiness knitted snails (made from scrap yarn) have made an appearance.

Elsewhere in the shop there’s a great deal of scrapiness, including some crochet bunting made by my dear friends Sarah and Katie, plus the wreath I was working on in my last ScrapHappy post, and not forgetting Mr Snail’s triumphant and entirely ScrapHappy counter, decorated with another of my scrappy wreaths plus a scrappy garland made especially for that particular purpose.

I’m constantly adding to the stock in the shop and fiddling about with the way it’s organised, so you can see Sue’s blanket making an appearance inside the shop in the photo above, which was taken whilst the sign was still in the window and so there was no room for the display.

Many thanks to all the people who contributed to our ScrapHappy extravaganza… more on the use of scraps and scrap throughout the entire shop in future posts.

-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, 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 March 2022

I’ve been so busy this month that there hasn’t been much time to write, but some of the busy time has been spent making scrappy things. I’ve been crocheting more flowers for wreaths and garlands to decorate the shop, but none of these have actually been transformed into a finished object yet. All the yarn is scraps left over from other projects and where stuffing is required, I’ve used tiny yarn ends.

Away from the shop, poor Sammy has been feeling the cold a bit overnight, so I have managed to find time to knit a woolly coat for him out of yarn left over from a jumper I knitted for myself quite a few years ago. Becuase I changed my mind about the pattern for my jumper, I ended up with rather a lot of left-over yarn – enough to make a very snuggly coat for a chilly hound!

Next month there should be lots of finished stuff to share!

-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

With the opening of the shop getting closer, I have been concentrating my creativity on making examples of what it’s possible to do with scraps. As I’ve mentioned previously, our first window display is going to be “ScrapHappy”. One of my aims is to demonstrate how beautiful the things we make from scraps can be – even if our starting point is less than inspiring.

When we moved into the shop we found three plastic packets, each containing a polycotton pillow case. Two were cream coloured and one was an uninspiring brown. In all cases, the fabric did not feel very nice and so I had no desire to use them as pillow cases, and the brown one had a frill around it, which did absolutely nothing to make is any less unattractive. I spent quite some time, therefore, deconstructing all three and this yielded quite a lot of fabric. I had a plan for the cream material (that’s coming in a later post), but it wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago that inspiration struck about the brown. You may remember that some time ago I made a wreath from scraps, which was mounted on a polystyrene ring that I had been given. Having just acquired a lovely book by Kate Eastwood about crocheting garlands and wreaths, I was in the mood for another wreath. However, I was determined to make the base from something better than polystyrene. I hate weaving willow, so that was out and so I turned to that brown pillowcase. I made three long sausages, which I stuffed with tiny scraps of yarn and fabric that I had put aside for just such a purpose. I experimented with plaiting these and found that they made a very acceptable, but floppy ring. So, I started again and intertwined the plait around a metal hoop that I had salvaged from a lampshade that my mum was throwing out. The result was absolutely perfect.

Then, I fished around for some suitable yarn scraps and set about making a toadstool wreath because I had suitable colours. In the book, the author suggests attaching the crocheted leaves, acorns and toadstools onto a willow wreath base using a hot glue gun, but because my base was stuffed fabric, I was able to stitch them on.

Apart from the thread, this creation is 100% scrap, and I am very happy with the result. It’s not quite the season for it right now, but I don’t think that matters.

-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.

Mend-It Monday #25

A few days of cold winds last week encouraged me to mend my hat with ear flaps. Mr Snail bought this hat for me about 20 years ago, before I had rediscovered the joy of knitting and ages before I learned to crochet. Since then it has served me well – it must have accompanied me on many hundreds of miles of dog walks each winter. One day a few weeks ago, however, one of the cords started to come unravelled. I managed to catch it before it was completely undone, but wasn’t sure how to mend it. Happily, once I came to examine it, I realised that it was simply a crocheted chain made from several strands of wool. The red strand had broken and somehow that had started the whole thing coming apart. I decided that it would be stronger if I used cotton yarn to mend it, so I simply crocheted a new chain, adding the cotton to the mix. In addition, in order to make all the cords stronger, and reduce the risk of them coming undone at a later date, I threaded a couple of strands of the red yarn along the length of each of them, and anchored the tassels more firmly.

Not just a mend, but reinforcement to avoid future mends too.

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.

Inappropriate makes

We’ve been having a heatwave. Nothing compared to what you dwellers of the tropics have, but still hot for us temperate flowers here in Wales. It’s too hot to walk the dogs and too hot to do much gardening, so we must either sit still outdoors or occupy ourselves inside. Since my creativity seems to have returned, I have been doing the latter, but making a couple of things that really don’t suit the weather.

First, some sewing… I happened to have already cut out the pieces for a coatigan from a lovely boiled wool fabric. This garment is intended for chilly autumn days (or possibly chilly August days, considering the unpredictability of the weather). My favourite, long, 30+-year-old cardigan is now so disreputable that I can’t wear it in company, so this is intended as a replacement. It should do for outdoors and indoors. The pattern is the “Jessie Coatigan” from Sew Over It. I found the instructions rather difficult to follow in places, so I ignored them and did my own thing and it seems to have worked ok. Whilst the machine sewing has been fine in the heat, there’s still the hem and cuffs to hand-stitch, but it’s too warm to have it in my lap, so the finishing will have to wait until next week. If it turns out to be comfy I may make a second one with patch rather than in-seam pockets because I think these are better for hankies, crochet hooks, a Bluetooth speaker and all the other bits and bobs I find myself transporting around the house.

Then, I have to have some knitting or crochet on the go… and what better project to start on during a heatwave than a cosy blanket? I’ve had the yarn for this sitting around for years and finally decided to get started with it. It came as a kit and was supposed to be knitted, but I didn’t want to conform, so settled on a wavy crochet pattern. I’ve been at it for exactly a week and I’ve used more than half the yarn so it won’t be log before it’s finished… just in time for the weather to get cooler. As a point of interest, it’s Colinette yarn – they used to be based in Wales near Welshpool, but closed down a while back and have now re-opened in Wansford, near Peterborough.

Although not much work is happening in the garden in this gloroious weather, I have managed to harvest the shallots and they are ripening and drying in the sun, and we finally have courgettes after a very slow start to the season. There are couple of lemons that are nearly ready too, but sadly the lettuce hates this weather, so thank goodness for oriental leaves.

A different virus

A few weeks ago I felt the need for a new and challenging project and so I decided to embark on knitting a Fair Isle beret. The wool is from the wonderful Jamieson’s of Shetland, who produce the most astonishing range of colours. All was going well, until I noticed some discomfort in my elbow, which got more severe over a couple of days, and certainly felt worse when I was knitting. I think that I was probably holding the work quite firmly and the small needles were increasing the tension in my muscles. Feeling glum, I put my work to one side to return to once my arm started feeling better.

Clearly knitting was not an option, so I thought I’d do some crochet. The one ongoing crochet project requires additional wool supplies and I didn’t want to have to buy anything, so I had a think and realised that there was a pattern I’ve wanted to try for ages, for which I had the ideal yarn in my stash. A few years ago I bought a yarn cake with a colour gradation from purple through grey to black. When I got it home I realised that what I had thought was cotton was actually a cotton acrylic mix, which saddened me because I really do try to avoid buying plastic yarn. Because of my disappointment, I put it way in a drawer and have not, until now, felt inspired to get it out. However, in the spirit of using up what I have, out it has come and, despite the plastic content, it is actually a great yarn for the current project, which is called The Virus Shawl. Now, this pattern predates covid, but it does seem strangely apt.

The colour change is currently quite subtle, but will be much bolder as it moves from the pale grey to black, I think the finished shawl will be really striking.

Anyway, my elbow is now recovered and I feel able to return, at least for a short time each day, to knitting. There may be a beret to share some time in the future, but I’m not going to overdo it and now I’ve started, I’d rather like to get this particular virus finished.

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