Scrap Happy June 2022

It’s the 15th of the month so time to join Kate, Gun and the crew for Scrap Happy, a collection of posts where we show things we have made from scrap, any kind of scrap but, at the moment, mainly textiles.

My makes this month are chair covers for 3, 4, and 5 for Mrs Snail’s shop (see the link to Jan below).

Number 3 used the squares I wove on the pin loom and showed you last month. I wish I had had brighter colours but these were the scrap I had.

Number 4 is crazy patch – the quickest of all of them to do.

Looking at the photo I can see I misjudged the size (or placed it wrongly on the chair) and there are a couple of raw edges showing. Maybe I will retrieve it next time I visit and correct that. They are made oversize and stapled to the underside so taking them off is not a huge job.

And finally for this post Number 5 is Paper Pieced Hexies.

I’m not sure how well this one will wear as the hexies are light weight cotton. If it falls apart or become holey I will replace it. Now that I only have Roo I took her with me and she enjoyed meeting up with Daisy again and exploring the shop. She was, however, determined to supervise me as I fixed the covers on in the stockroom upstairs!

One more cover to go! Actually I have come up with so many more ideas I may have to persuade Jan she will need more chairs!

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at).

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys,
ClaireJeanJon, DawnJuleGwen,
Bekki, Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue LVera,
NanetteAnn, Dawn 2, Bear, Carol,
Preeti, EdithDebbierose and Viv

Scrap Happy May 2022

Not a chair cover this time – as you may have realised I have been rather busy lately! But I have not stopped working on the chairs. I have been exploring the possibilities of the peg loom I bought for the third yarn based cover.

Following the instructions that came with it I used Aran weight yarn and diagonal weaving but thought the fabric was not dense enough to make seat cover which would last.

So then I used the yarn doubled which gave a better result but was quite tough on the fingers. I will probably use these.

Now I am experimenting with what my book calls ‘flat weaving’ which is much more fun because I can play around with stripes, checks, different weaves, even possibly ‘tapestry’ type stuff. Again the weave is quite loose so maybe I still need to use heavier yarn (not much left in my scrap box now!) or double it. More experimenting to be done.

Scrap Happy is a collection of posts curated by Kate and Gun (see their links below) to celebrate making things entirely from scrap. Not everyone posts every month but all are inspiring.

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys,
ClaireJeanJon, DawnJuleGwen,
Bekki, Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue LVera,
NanetteAnn, Dawn 2, Bear, Carol,
Preeti, EdithDebbierose and Viv

Scrap Happy April 2022

My Scrap offering this month is the second cover for a chair seat for Mrs Snail (see the link to Jan below) for her new shop. This one was knitted using a base colour of oatmeal with flashes of green, lilac and brown, stripes of a novelty purple yarn – think tinsel in red green and blue with lots of soft purple strands mixed in – and several small balls of other plummy colours.

Newly knitted
Attached to it’s backing (part of an ols curtain) and stapled to one of the chairs in the shop. On its left is the first one I did in crochet.

Scrap Happy is curated by Kate and Gun (links below) on the 15th of each month – a glorious collection of posts about making things from all kinds of scrap. Do have a look – inspiration may strike!

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys,
ClaireJeanJon, DawnJuleGwen,
Bekki, Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue LVera,
NanetteAnn, Dawn 2, Bear, Carol,
Preeti, EdithDebbierose and Viv

Scrap Happy March 2022

It’s 15th of the month, time to link up with

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys,
ClaireJeanJon, DawnJuleGwen,
Bekki, Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue LVera,
NanetteAnn, Dawn 2, Bear, Carol,
Preeti, EdithDebbierose

and show what we have made from scraps. 

When I visited Mrs Snail (Use the link for Jan to find her blog) in her new shop she showed me a set of 6 dining chairs which had been left by the previous occupants. They are perfectly good chairs and she will need some in the shop especially when she starts to run courses, but the seat covers are very boring and rather stained.

So I offered to make new covers for them. And as the shop will be all about mending and using scrap I have set myself the challenge of doing all the covers entirely from scrap but each using a different technique. You may be rather tired of these chairs by the time I have finished!

I have finished the top for the first one using granny squares made entirely from bits of yarn from my stash. The piece needs to be attached to a backing of furnishing fabric big enough to go over the edges and be stapled to the underside. I have some old curtains given me by a neighbour which should do the trick.

The next one is begun but you will have to wait until April to see that!

Scrap Happy February 2022

It’s 15th of the month, time to link up with

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys,
ClaireJeanJon, DawnJuleGwen,
Bekki, Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue LVera,
NanetteAnn, Dawn 2, Bear, Carol,
Preeti, EdithDebbierose

and show what we have made from scraps. 

Some of you will know that Mrs Snail (The Snail of Happiness) is opening a shop which will specialise in mending supplies and pre-loved craft materials and equipment. In a recent post she requested colourful items made from scrap to decorate the shop and show what could be done with left over materials. So before I went to see her and help her get the shop ready I quickly finished a small blanket I have been working on for ages so I could take it with me as a gift for her new adventure. A collection of orphan blocks, ‘have a go at a new pattern’ squares and other such odd bits of crochet all made using the small balls of yarn left from bigger projects. I deliberately made it super random trying to do each round in a different colour!

Scrap Happy October

Tidying up my workshop and woodshed I discovered that I had accumulated, for who knows where, 3, yes 3 kitchen sinks! Actually the one in the shed on the veg patch is never used so make that 4. If I put another kitchen / utility room in anywhere am I really going to use a shabby old sink? No!

The inspiration struck. Sinks are intended to hold water and I need more small ponds in my garden to attract wildlife. A small hole, some scrap wood to build up the sides a bit, a new pond liner (the scrap I was going to use was too small and had got torn) and here it is.

It obviously needs more pebbles on the draining board. Nice round seashore pebbles not the rough ones from around the garden or out of the stream. I persuaded my friend Lindy (It wasn’t hard!) to take a trip to the seaside to have a walk on the beach and collect some. Just after this photo was taken a rogue wave came in and I got water in one wellie! Walking on the beach with one wellie sloshing and my pockets weighed down with pebbles had us both in stitches. It is going to take a few more trips to get enough to finish this job – a hard job but someone has to do it!

Scrap Happy is curated by Kate and Gun on the 15th of each month. The links below are to the amazingly creative contributors who make interesting things out of scraps that most people would throw away.

Kate (me!)Gun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys,
KerryClaireJeanJon, HayleyDawn,
Gwen, Bekki, Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin,
Vera, NanetteAnn, NancyDawn 2, Noreen,
Bear, Carol, Preeti and Edith

Scrap Happy August 2021

A bumper bundle of very varied scrappy happy projects this month.

First, and simplest, I needed a mat next to the hob to put hot pans on. This is half a slate left over from when our roof was replaced many years ago. There were several – some full size and some half – stacked in a shed. A run through the dishwasher to ensure it was clean and a rub over with Olive Oil and it works a treat.

Second is a new sawhorse made by Laura with my help. It was made entirely by hand from wood cut for the fire. Because her cabin is heated entirely by the woodstove and I have a fire in my sitting room we get through a lot of firewood. All of it is cut up on these simple horses which eventually start to fall apart. At that point a new one is made and the old one returned to the firewood pile!

The third is a complete contrast – much finer, more delicate and girly! Inspired by Sandra who blogs as Wild Daffodil (https://daffodilwild.wordpress.com/2021/08/12/marquee-mandalas/) I made some crochet mandalas / doilies out of part balls of crochet cotton. Sandra mounted hers on plastic coated wire rings in order to hang them up but I am following a suggestion on one of the patterns and have soaked them in wood glue which should both stiffen them and make them water resistant. I have some crocheted snowflakes which I stiffened with strong starch and which I have used for many Christmases so here’s hoping the glue works

And finally I wanted a padded board to pin knitted or crocheted pieces out to shape and to use as a small temporary ironing table when sewing. I wrapped my father’s old drawing board in a used-but-nearly-new towel given to me by a friend when her Mum went into a home and secured it on the back with duct tape. To avoid the glue sticking the circles to the towel I put a bin liner between them but that is a ‘one off’ extra!

Curated by Kate and Gun Scrap Happy is a collection of posts on the 15th of each month featuring things made entirely from scrap by the contributors listed below. Follow the links to get inspired to use up your left over fabric, yarn or other stuff! Not everyone posts every month but all the blogs are well worth looking at.

Kate Gun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys,
KerryClaireJeanJon, HayleyDawn,
Gwen, Bekki, Sue L (me!) Sunny, Kjerstin,
Vera, NanetteAnn, Dawn 2, Bear,
Carol, Preeti, Edith and Debbierose

Scrap Happy July

Two really simple makes this month, both in wood.

I have been teaching Laura to make things out of the wood we cut from the garden and woodland last winter. With my help she has made and hung this gate.

I made another table for the garden from half an old door, some offcuts of shelving and some sawn down studding – all scrap from the new utility room.

ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything – no new materials. It can be a quilt block, pincushion, bag or hat, socks or a sculpture. Anything made of genuine scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful or useful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join us on the 15th of each month? Email Kate at the address on her contact page http://talltalesfromchiconia.wordpress.com/contact-me . You can also contact Gun via her blog to join. We welcome new members. You don’t have to worry about making a long term commitment or even join in every month, just let either of us know a day or so in advance if you’re new and you’ll have something to show, so we can add your link. Regular contributors will receive an email reminder three days before the event.

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at).

Kate Gun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys,
KerryClaireJeanJon, HayleyDawn,
Gwen, Bekki, Sue L (me!) Sunny, Kjerstin,
Vera, NanetteAnn, Dawn 2, Bear,
Carol, Preeti, Edith and Debbierose

Ker-ching! A Penny drops!

There were some lovely comments on my last post about the blanket I was making to use up those little balls of wool that every knitter accumulates. The ‘granny squares’ are not all the same size necessitating strips and stripes and extra rounds to make them fit together and the colours are multiple and varied – yet the effect is cheerful and lively and most of you loved it as do I. Why?

Looking around my home and at the assorted handmade blankets in my cupboard I realised that the pieces I like best are the scrappy ones – the patchworks (usually fairly random) and the multicoloured. Partly this is because they will fit in with any colour scheme, adding both pattern and a hit of colour to the space. So in that sense they are very practical – change the decor? No problem!

Musing during a dog walk (as you do!) two memories from childhood came into my head.

The first concerned my childhood heroine; the woman I wanted to be like when I grew up. My Mum’s eldest, and much older, sister Aunty Nan. Nan and her husband Francis were childless (not by choice – as she said ‘In our day if it didn’t happen it didn’t happen and there was nothing you could do about it’) which meant that she had not given up work to raise her family. By the time I was old enough to remember them they were both lecturers at Alsager Teacher Training College near Newcastle-under-Lyme and lived in half a very long Nissen hut on the campus left over from World War 2. Francis headed up Rural Studies and Nan taught Craft. I found Francis slightly intimidating and when we visited he and my Dad would talk bees which they both kept. Nan would always find something crafty for me to do so that she and Mum could cook and talk. Later they bought 3 adjoining building plots where a new estate was being developed and had a bungalow built. Nan was furious that the architect would only talk to Francis even though she was the more artistic and better at design! She was even sidelined during the discussion of the kitchen! It was a beautiful home, very up to date in its furnishings and, of course, with Francis being an expert gardener, set in a fabulous garden. But what I really loved was their very early VW Dormobile.

Francis’s passion for bees meant he was not content with keeping a few hives of honey bees. He was really a thwarted academic and one of his good friends was Alan Gemmell (If you are old enough and live in the UK you may remember Professor Alan Gemmell of Keele University from Gardener’s Question Time. Prof’s passion was potatoes). So every summer he and Nan would spend the long vacation travelling Europe so he could collect wild bees and identify them. He had a cabinet of shallow drawers in his study with serried ranks of bees filed according to their latin name.

To make these expeditions easier, especially when he had exhausted Western Europe and started exploring behind the Iron Curtain, they got the Dormobile. To me it was a playhouse on wheels! And in it were blankets made by Nan on those journeys. She would take a pair of double pointed knitting needles – the short ones used for socks – and odd balls of wool so that she had some knitting to do in the evenings or while she was sitting in a field somewhere half watching Francis stalk his prey. Squares were easy to carry around or store in the van. Some were plain but lots were stripey or half and half. Sometimes the wool was thinner than she would have liked so she would use 2 colours together making a tweedy effect. Those blankets were part of the magic of the van for me. So very different from the contents of her house or of any of the other houses I knew.

The second memory was of a couple whose names I cannot remember but they were members of the Manchester and District Beekeepers Association, of which my Dad was Treasurer. The Association met once a month for most of the year. In the winter they rented a room somewhere for an evening and had ‘talks’ about bees and related subjects. But in the summer there were ‘Apiary visits’. One member would host the rest for an afternoon wherever they kept their bees. One of the more experienced members, often my father, would go through the hives explaining what they were doing, what they were looking for and why. If the bees needed extra space or a super full of honey needed to be taken away then that would be done. So winter was for theory and summer for practical. And on Apiary visits families were invited along too. There were a couple of single women who kept bees, a couple who did it jointly but most of the keepers were men. So the families consisted of wives and a few children who would sit around on deckchairs as far away from the hives as possible and chat. Everyone would take a picnic tea and once the hives were safely put back together again the beekeepers would join us and the host (or more usually the host’s wife!) would make cups of tea. It was a nice way to spend a summer afternoon and most of the gardens were delightful.

My Dad when he was young with his bees

The couple I am thinking of hosted a visit every year but not in their garden – I never knew where they lived in winter. Every summer they would decamp to a field where he kept his bees and where they had 2 old railway wagons. One was where he stored all his bee equipment and extracted his honey – a dim space which I always tried to get into at some point to enjoy its scent of wood, wax and honey. The other was where they lived with two single beds arranged in an L shape at the end furthest from the door, each covered with a multicoloured, home made blanket, a small table and 2 hard chairs and a rudimentary kitchen with a camping stove. Outside was a compost toilet and another table with a washing up bowl on it and a tap on a post behind it. The field was on a hill and there was an amazing view over the valley. I knew of no-one else who lived like that – it was like being in a story!

One huge granny square!

I suppose that from those 2 experiences I came to associate blankets like the one I am working on with a simple life, being unconventional, having adventures but also with being cosy and self-sufficient. No wonder I like them so much – by making them I am constructing my very own magic carpet of the imagination, opening up possibilities of adventures and new ways of living!

Scrap Happy May

At the start of lockdown I looked at what materials I had and discovered a box of very small balls of knitting yarn. In some cases I had more than one ball of the same and some were bigger than others but none were big enough for even a small project on their own. So I started making granny squares using multiple colours in each. I tried various small patterns just to see how they came out. Then I started to join them together adding extra rounds or just rows to get them to fit. Thankfully I have been dealing with the ends as I go. As you can see I still have some squares to attach and the box is not empty yet so I will go on adding more. I have no idea what size it will end up but at least those scraps are now being used up and turned into something useful!

ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything – no new materials. It can be a quilt block, pincushion, bag or hat, socks or a sculpture. Anything made of genuine scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful or useful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join us on the 15th of each month? Contact Kate or Gun via their blogs using the links below. .

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at).

Kate Gun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys,
KerryClaireJeanJon, HayleyDawn,
Gwen, Bekki, Sue L (me!), Sunny, Kjerstin,
Vera, NanetteAnn, Dawn 2, Noreen,
Bear, Carol, Preeti and Edith