Making (the most of) what you’ve got

One of the sad things about being restricted and having to stay at home has been the not being able to go into a real live shop and make a purchase (other than for food). This applies especially to materials for crafting and, in my case, especially to yarn. However, what it has done is made me look at the yarn I already have and consider how I would like to use it. Over the past year I have made various things out of yarn in my stash and using scraps left over from other projects:

As time has gone on, the amount of yarn I have has reduced and I have been looking at some that sits firmly in the “?” category. One such yarn was some 5-ply gansey wool that I won a few years ago in a raffle. There was plenty to make an actual gansey, but the more it sat there, the more I realised that I didn’t actually want one. So, after the success of the Southern Pines sweater (made from wool that I did get new this year), I thought I’d have another go at the pattern and tweak it a bit. Being the wrong gauge of yarn compared to the pattern I had to slightly adjust the sizing, plus I decided to make it longer and slightly A-line in shape. It turned out to be a relatively quick make and I managed to remember to wear it for an outdoor photo-op with the hounds:

It’s not a colour that I would normally have chosen, but actually I think it’s going to be quite versatile and the wool will certainly be hard wearing. Now I’m rummaging though my remaining yarn and trying to think of even more creative makes with what I have available.

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.

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