Vaarks on parade

Fed up being back at work after a long weekend? Let me make you smile…

To celebrate the coming of spring, there has been much silliness in Vaark Land. These are the contributions from Chez Snail to the Twitter Vaark Spring/Easter/Oestra bonnet parade:


First we have Arnoldo in his top hat


Next, Iolanthe in a more traditional bonnet


Then Rosalind in a fascinator inspired by Alexander McQueen’s 2008 spring collection (really)


Snailvaark in a classic


And, finally, Tali as a daffodil

And the group together:

You can check out more wonderful creations from my fellow vaark owners on our Pinterest board. Oh, and if you want to make your own mousevaark, Danielle’s pattern is available to buy here.

Did you do anything silly over the weekend?

Hats off!

The International Permaculture Convergence provided me with the opportunity to have my first ‘real’ stall selling my knitting and crochet. Importantly, I felt that this was likely to be a receptive audience and, indeed, it provided an opportunity to chat to a regular stream of folks interested in my goods as well as the ethics of yarn, plus making some sales meant that I partially funded my attendance at the event.

Because we were under gazebos/tents and the weather wasn’t always kind, the stall had to be set up and taken down each day and ended up being in several different locations over the event and, indeed, not being set up at all on one day. I had most fun on the days I was next to my friend Matt*, who makes amazing things from junk: wood-splitting devices, rocket stoves, revolving fire pits. Here we are doing our stuff: me crocheting and chatting and him surrounded by his usual crowd:

Our corner of the market place (photo: James Taylor)

Our corner of the market place (photo: James Taylor)

It was the stall itself that attracted people, it was certainly the most brightly-coloured in the market place:

I sold lots of hats and fingerless mittens, plus almost all of my bird roosting pouches, but not a single bath puff, despite many discussions about them. The 1940s style turban hats all sold as did both the beanies made of recycled sari silk, so I really need to make some more of those. My old mirror was very popular and it was the only one around, so there was some traffic between my stall and another selling clothing. It was such a sociable thing to do that I spent much more time than I had anticipated on the stall and I had great fun. Plus, I was able to play ‘spot my hats’ throughout the event, as I looked out for people wearing them:

That's one of my hats right there!

That’s one of my hats right there talking to Matt!

And since I got home I’ve already had someone ask to buy an item they saw on the stall but didn’t purchase at the time, plus they’ve ordered four more roosting pouches. So, I’d better get my hook out again… What a success!


*He should have a web site soon

It’s not just me

Scrappy balls

Scrappy balls

Mr Snail and I spent a productive hour last night tying yarn scraps together and winding them into balls because, it turns out, I did have some more. I simply needed to look in a few more drawers to turn up several bags of yarn ends, collected to use for stuffing. The result is enough reconstituted yarn to make two or three more hats. This is good, because I’d sold the last one in less than 24 hours and I would like one to take to the International Permaculture Convergence (especially since several other people also expressed an interest in buying the last one). Anyway, I now have two gauges of yarn to work with and more surprising hats to come!

Recycled saris

Recycled saris

I’m not alone, however, in using scraps to create new and interesting yarn. As I wound my ball, I remembered the recycled sari silk yarn that I had tucked away. I’ve had this lovely yarn for ages. Mine is from a company called Mango Moon, and they describe it as follows: Gorgeous, glowing jewel-toned recycled silk, handspun in Nepal. Your purchase helps the Nepalese women who spin this beautiful yarn provide safe shelter, education, and health care for themselves and their children. No two skeins are alike. 

It is made from remnants of silk from weaving mills and from old silk saris. These are shredded and re-spun by hand. I really don’t think that the photos do its jewel-bright colours justice. Anyway, I’ve decided to share the loveliness and make some hats from this yarn too, thus helping to support the ladies who produce this gorgeousness.

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