Some sparkle in my life

Earlier in the week I came across an attractive cotton yarn with a sparkly thread running through it. I thought that it would be lovely to make some glamorous string bags with this yarn, but the choice of colours was very limited and so I didn’t buy any, thinking I might be able to find a better range on-line. As it turned out the shop that I had seen it in had the entire range – navy, white, black, pink, turquoise and lilac was pretty much it, so I didn’t buy any hoping that the manufacturer might expand the choice later in the year.

Yesterday, however, a dear friend of mine gave me this:

An old chocolate box... what could be inside?

An old chocolate box… what could be inside?

She told me that it had belonged to her grandmother and that she’d had it for 15 years. She said she wanted this to go to someone who would make use of it. It’s exactly the sort of box I use for crafty treasures, so I suspected it would contain something lovely. And I wasn’t disappointed:

A box of all sorts of colours of shiny thread… ideal for combining with some plain cotton yarn to make glamorous string bags. What a fabulously generous gift! On my way home after receiving this treasure chest, I called in to my favourite yarn shop and bought some lovely colours of cotton so that I could start making a thank you:

Hook out straight away when I got home!

Hook out straight away when I got home!

The picture really doesn’t show up the sparkles very well, but in real life it will really add some shine to any shopping trip. I also got these colours:

I think these bags are going to be in demand!

I think these bags are going to be in demand!

So, west Wales is going to be full of lovely shopping bags – saving the environment and brightening up our lives.

… and sewing too…

Although sowing (actual and metaphorical) is an important part of being sustainable, I think that sewing is too…

I was mulling this over yesterday as I repaired the curtain (drape for my US friends) that covers our front door. I say ‘repaired’ but perhaps ‘reassembled’ might be more accurate

If only this was all she did with the mail!

If you don’t have terriers, you may not be aware of their propensity to eat the mail as if comes through the front door (yes, we have letter slots in our doors here in the UK, not those box things on posts that seem to be the norm in the US). Maxwell does not participate in this activity, but Samantha makes up for his lack by being particularly exuberant. This means that if the curtain is open, the mail is grabbed and shredded if no one is around, or simply grabbed if someone it there to yell at her. If, however, the curtain is closed, she grabs the mail through the fabric. This means that the weight of a fairly hefty terrier is taken by the curtain on a regular basis. The result being that the curtain fabric had become progressively detached from the rufflette tape (that’s the stuff that you draw up to make gathers at the top of a curtain).

The curtain is made from a very heavy fabric, selected for its insulating properties and its ability to take the weight of a dog. The thread used to stitch the components together, however, turned out to be less robust. I bought the curtain from a company who sell fabric made only from natural fibres, so it was a surprise to discover that it had been stitched together using nylon thread. The problem with nylon is that it’s slippy, so once it starts to come apart it tends not to stop. But, with my trusty sewing machine (a 16th birthday present, so it’s lasted well) I was able to reattach the tape and lining to the curtain. Each seam now has three rows of stitches, so I think that it should stay in one piece for some time.

A skill like sewing is, in my opinion, greatly undervalued. Too often these days sewing seems to be considered either too old-fashioned to bother with or to be a frivolous hobby… fit only for creating fancy items. I was taught to sew by my mother, my grandmother and an old family friend, but we also had classes at school. These days, media studies and computing seem to be deemed more useful… shame. Wouldn’t it be great if all our kids grew up learning how to create and mend real, not just virtual, things? I learnt to make clothes as well as to do embroidery, needlepoint, darning… you name it.

The ability to repair an item like a curtain provides a way to save money, but is also a valuable addition to our sustainability toolbox… in the same way that Mr Snail-of-happiness can repair electrical items such as my radio. You will often hear exponents of things green talk about the three Rs: reduce, reuse and recycle, but I think that we should add a fourth: repair. And, in our house at least, this is what we are trying to do… sewing the seams of sustainability, perhaps!

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