ScrapHappy November 2019

This month’s scrappy creation is a continuation of last month’s. I am progressing through the balls of left-over 4-ply yarn, and have gone from these 25 squares:

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October’s squares

To these 120:

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Lots more over the past month

As you can see, there are now some brighter colours, so the final blanket should be quite vibrant. I will almost certainly have to buy the black yarn to edge all the squares with, but it will be a mostly scrappy project. For the time being, however, I still have some coloured yarn in my basket to keep me going:

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More scraps to use

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

KateGun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan (me)Karen,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean, Johanna,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki and Sue

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.

Scrap Happy January

This year I plan to make at least one item every month out of oddments/scraps. My first of the year was actually started (and blogged about) in 2016, but I finally finished it last night.

All the yarn, except that used to edge the squares and make the border, was from my pile of left-overs. I did buy some New Lanark British wool for the borders because I simply didn’t have enough of any one yarn available and I wanted some consistency, what with the squares (and rectangles) being so random.

I had fun trying out some new patterns and relaxing with some old ones, plus I was able to incorporate a few squares that I had left over from past projects (including two that had been given to me by my friend Ann). The colours were, of course, dictated by what was in my bag and were not always what I would have chosen, but it’s bright and cheerful, not to mention lovely and warm.

This is the first of my charity blankets for this year and it’s going to Knit for Peace, who will find it a good home . It’s completely the wrong dimensions for Sixty Million Trebles , so a blanket for them will be my next scrappy charity project, which actually I’ve already started:

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just beginning

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

 

Not just grannies

I spent yesterday teaching a lovely group of ladies how to crochet – a day of hooks, granny squares, tea and cake. My own blanket for Sixty Million Trebles grew a bit during the day and I started several more small squares, which will all eventually become a second blanket for SMT.

The day was a delight in its own right, but it also acted as a catalyst for me to complete a long unfinished project… something I wanted to show new crocheters to demonstrate that crochet is so much more than granny squares.

Many moons ago I knitted some socks for Mr Stitch (whose work also featured in last week’s Three Things Thursday) in exchange for him making me a leather strap and base for a bag. My intention was to make a felt bag that would hold an A4 folder or two and that I could use when I was teaching. It took me ages to get round to doing the felting, and I really wasn’t satisfied with my creation, so I put it all to one side and pondered how to make the thing that I envisaged. And I pondered and pondered and then I gave up academic teaching and no longer wanted ‘that’ bag. Eventually, I settled on crocheting the bag rather than felting it and decided to use up  lots of scraps of natural-coloured pure wool. I loved doing the crochet and was very happy with the end result, but once more the project stalled; this time because of my lack of enthusiasm for sewing. Finally I got hold of some Buckram to stiffen it (given to me by someone who had it going spare) and made a lining out of some strong cotton fabric scraps… then I decided that the way I had constructed the lining wasn’t ideal… and once more I ground to a halt. After I while I converted the first attempt at the lining into a useful drawstring bag in which to keep my passata maker, and then I awaited inspiration. This eventually struck – I could suddenly see the best structure. I cut out the fabric (more scrap heavy duty cotton). The final hand stitching took hours and hours – attaching the leather pieces required much patience as I had to line up the external and internal pieces on either side of the crochet and liner and stitch through all the layers. The leather had already been punched, but it was still a fiddly and difficult job. And it took me several weeks to complete, finally finished on Saturday afternoon, just in time to be able to show it off to my learners on Sunday. So, here it is… hopefully built to last!

All the components except the leather pieces were scraps and even the little metal feet on the base of the bag were reclaimed.

New life for old yarn

I mentioned in an earlier post that my friend Kate (who came and made cheese with me the other day) gave me some unwanted yarn. Quite a lot of it was Sirdar Nomad – a wool/alpaca/nylon bouclé yarn. Kate warned me that it felts very easily and that a sweater she had knitted out of it for her mum had shrunk to tiny proportions when washed. The colours – reindeer and woodsmoke – were very muted and I thought that it would make a lovely snuggly blanket for Mr Snail (after all, I have The Masterpiece). I initially assumed that I would have to buy some yarn to ‘frame’ the squares made from Kate’s wool, but then I remembered the large quantity of dull purple yarn that I bought from The Natural Fibre Company about 20 years ago and realised that I could use that doubled up.

So, I made as many granny squares as I could from the Nomad, edged them with the NFC wool, stitched them together and added an edge…. easy as that! It has only taken me three weeks to make and the result is a square blanket measuring 160 cm along each side. The idea is that it is for snuggling under (on the sofa) when it’s chilly. Due to our unseasonably warm weather at present, I don’t think is going to get much use immediately, but it will probably come into its own in the summer!!!

So, there you have it – some unloved yarn into a useful object – magic!

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.

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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!

Samplers

As a relative novice as regards crochet, I have recently wanted to explore some techniques and have a go at some design work. To this end I have been making ‘samplers’ that allow me to explore what I can do without a pattern to follow. Being me, however, I do like anything that I make to be useful, so some of these have taken the form of granny squares for the blankets we are making to raise funds for Denmark Farm Conservation Centre:

Purple squares

Purple squares

All of these squares need to be around 15cm across, so there is some limit to testing out larger patterns. Therefore, in addition, I have been making cotton squares that can be used as dishcloths or washcloths. These can be any usable size, which gives me the freedom to play around with larger patterns. So far, I’ve made four of them, but only three are photographed because the other one is rather grubby, having been drafted into use already:

Now, however, I must return to the Masterpiece and finish it off… only three more squares are expected (including one I must collect from Katie the Night Owl – soon I promise, Katie) and then I can edge it. Possibly not the ideal project for summer, but it can’t be helped.

 

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