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.

Open for business

It’s been a hectic few weeks, hence the lack of posts, but I just wanted to let you know that we are now open.

ORIAU AGOR ~ OPENING HOURS

Dydd LlunMonday
Dydd MawrthTuesday
Dydd Mercher10.30 – 3.30Wednesday
Dydd Iau10.00 – 3.30Thursday
Dydd Gwener10.00 – 3.30Friday
Dydd Sadwrn10.00 – 3.30Saturday
Dydd SulSunday

Do come and say hello if you are visiting Lampeter, we are at 10 College Street, SA48 7DY.

Mend-It Monday #28

After the departure into needle felting last week, this time I’m afraid we’re returning to darning. I guess having so many garments that I have knitted or crocheted, it’s inevitable that lots of my mending will involve this technique.

I have quite a few pairs of fingerless mittens to wear for dog walking – you’d think one pair would be enough, but they get wet and they get dirty and often there’s a pair or two hanging up to dry. Because of holding a dog lead, they also wear in particular places and thus need mending. The subject of this week’s mend did have one of the pair repaired with a speedweve darn in November, but the repaired one needed some more work in a different place and the other had also worn through. So, two thumb holes have been reinforced and one area at the base of the index finger has been repaired and reinforced. Unlike the last time, I decided to make these mends visible and found an oddment of heather-coloured wool, which I think looks rather nice.

Mend-It Monday #27

As you know, one of my favourite raw materials to work with is wool, and usually I knit it or crochet it, but I sometimes do a bit of felting too, which can be very useful for making substantial objects. So, when I got a new phone last year, I got out my felting supplies and made a case, to protect it when I’m out and about. I used lots of layers of wool and wet felted them to achieve the desired thickness. Looking back through my posts, I realise that I didn’t write about it at the time, and looking back through my photographs I don’t even seem to have taken any pictures of either the process or the finished object.

Anyway, this post isn’t about making the case, it’s about repairing it. Because it turns out that Sammy is rather fond of woolly things… balls of wool, sheepskin rugs, Woolcool insulation and – you guessed it – felted mobile phone cases. Now we know, we are teaching him to leave them alone and trying to avoid temptation, but for a couple of weeks after he arrived we weren’t so careful and one day he pinched my pone case (sans phone) and was happily nibbling it when Mr Snail discovered the naughtiness in progress. The result was a piece removed (which I photographed) from the top and a little nibbled hole on one side (which I failed to photograph).

One of the joyous things about felt, however, is that it’s relatively easy to repair. Admittedly, it does require the use of a barbed felting needle and I do always managed to stab myself at least once, but as long as you have some wool tops in an appropriate colour or colours, holes can be filled, pieces reattached and mends achieved without any sewing or sticking. Simply needle felt the hole full of wool or reattach the separated piece using a little extra wool for reinforcement.

I’m pleased to say, that I did only stab myself once and that the resulting mends are pretty sturdy, so now I just need to keep it away from the hound and all should be well. In fact, If I hadn’t told you about the hole in the side (its location indicated by the arrow) I bet you wouldn’t have guessed it had been there.

Mend-It Monday #26

I’m afraid that we are back to darning this week, but not socks for a change. Some years ago we came across some excellent oven gloves – glove shaped and made of some magic, knitted insulated stuff, the name of which completely escapes me. Anyway, over the years we have had several pairs and eventually they stop being so well insulated and have to be retired. However, the latest pair, which is constructed of two layers, started to wear out. There were holes in the thin outer fabric of two fingers and one thumb and this reduced the insulating capacity noticeably, although it’s the inner layer that provides most of the insulation.

I think the original outer is cotton with silicone grips, but I decided that wool would be a better fibre for the mend. I found some left-over pure wool in a natural grey colour – I think it might be Jacob wool – that was sufficiently thick for the job. Wool burns at 570-600°C, so there’s no chance of igniting it with the temperature a domestic oven reaches. I darned the holes with quite a dense weave, being careful not to stich into the inner layer, which could potentially provide a route to conduct heat.

Time will tell how long this particular mend will last, but I am quite hopeful that it will significantly extend the life of these very useful gloves.

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.

A New Chapter

A while ago I hinted that we were hatching new plans and finally I can reveal a little of what we have been up to for the past few months. Basically, this:

The Shop of Happiness

Back in May this year, as I was on my way to Knit Night, I noticed a shop for sale in Lampeter. It made me start thinking… and what I thought was “I’d like to run a shop… something crafty”. I came home and mentioned it to Mr Snail, who said “Let’s go and look at it”. Unfortunately, when he called the estate agent he was told that an offer had already been accepted on this particular shop. However, I kept thinking about it. A bit of discussion and we decided that we’d go and look at some other commercial properties. We viewed several, but none was quite right. Every week I passed the original shop that had got me thinking and every week it still had a For Sale sign in the window. Then one Knit Night, someone looked it up on the internet and discovered that it was actually still on the market. The following morning I contacted the estate agent, was told that the original purchaser had pulled out, and arranged a viewing. The next day we put in an offer. Today, we got the keys and it is ours.

Over the months we have refined our ideas about what we are going to do and I’m delighted to announce that in 2022 The Snail of Happiness Shop will open it’s doors to sell mending supplies and pre-loved craft materials, tools and equipment. We’ll also be running courses on making and mending in our Have-a-bashery. Eventually we hope to have a purpose-built workshop out the back for running the courses, but in the meantime they will be held in the room above the shop.

Many, many people accumulate craft supplies that they never use, which is bad for the planet. In addition, many people inherit someone else’s stash and aren’t sure what to do with it. Charity shops often have no idea of the value (or even purpose) of craft materials and so donating them means that they won’t necessarily be valued and may even be disposed of. What we want to do is make sure that unwanted, good quality materials and tools find their way to people who will use them. In addition, we also want to encourage a culture of mending, so the shop will sell mending equipment: things like needles, darning wool, Sugru, glues… I’ve got a big list!

It’s going to take a few months to get things sorted, but hopefully we’ll be up and running by the Spring Equinox. So, if you are in the UK and having a destash, or have crafting supplies that you no longer want, or are dealing with an inherited stash, do get in touch. We will consider buying any craft supplies, although we won’t be able to give you the price you originally paid for them.

Shop Dogs

Watch this space for more news.

Mend-It Monday #23

There seem to have been rather a lot of things with holes in recently. So far I’ve managed to repair three of them. First, a fingerless mitten worn through by so many walks holding on to a dog lead. Second, yet another couple of repairs to a slipper that may be one of my most-mended possessions. And, finally, a repair of some tiny holes in a jersey fabric fitted sheet.

The mitten was mended using a Speedweve, but the slipper darns were done by hand and I think they are pretty neat. I’m hoping that the roughness of the stitching on the sheet doesn’t make it too uncomfortable, but if there is a problem, I will consider how to use a soft, thin and stretchy patch.

I still have several socks to darn too, but that’s enough for now.

Mend-It Monday #21

Today I thought I’d show off a couple of mends using my Speedweve – the heel of one sock and the ball of the foot of another. In both cases the sock was not completely worn through, but it’s always better to catch a garment before the hole has appeared than after.

For the under-foot mend I just used plain grey sock yarn, but the one on the heel has plain grey warp and patterned sock yarn weft. Next time I mend something in a more visible area I’m going to have a go at using more colours and trying to achieve a tartan effect, but there didn’t seem much point for mends that are not going to be visible.

I like the fact that the Speedweve gives a very even and smooth mend, a feature particularly important with socks, as you don’t want them to rub. As with all skills, it’s getting easier (and more even) with practice, but to be honest the Speedweve is a very well-designed gadget that is pretty simple to use one you understand the technique.

Mend-It Monday #20

In a fit of exuberance yesterday, I managed to pull one of the freezer drawers out onto the floor. Fortunately I narrowly missed my toes, as its contents were rather heavy. Unfortunately, the weight resulted in the front cracking. Since it didn’t completely fall to pieces, I decided that a very simple mend was possible – duct tape to the rescue.

I was so efficient with my mend that I forgot to photograph it broken, but you can see the cracks from the inside even after the mend. If necessary, I will glue some rigid plastic inside to provide extra strength, but I am hopeful that what I have done so far will be sufficient.

It’s a quick way to mend something, but does highlight what’s possible with strong tape.

%d bloggers like this: