This is the first of a series of posts to support our club theme for 2011 – re-use and recycle. One of the easiest ways to reduce the environmental impact of your crafting habit – as well as keep your stash of leftover bits and pieces under control – is to think of projects which use what you already have. There are hundreds of ways to do this: our recycled cards workshop showcased just one. Here are some other ideas from projects I have on the go at the moment.
Crochet flowers: these were inspired by some I saw at a craft fair which I thought were priced a bit ambitiously. I adapted a pattern I found on the internet (google crochet flowers – there are lots of different ones!), and they were so easy I was instantly hooked (please forgive the pun). The flowers can be different sizes depending on the length of the original crochet chain, and I soon started experimenting with different types of wool and with changing the colour part-way through. Plus the decoration in the middle of each flower is an excellent way to use up buttons or bits of felt. I sewed a little oval of felt onto the back of each flower as a mount for the pin, and bought some proper brooch pins since the first ones I made were gifts. I’m going to experiment with using safety pins for the next ones though – of which I have hundreds in my stash 🙂
Scrappy patchwork: many patchwork patterns were created specifically to use up fabric scraps so it’s a great way to reduce your stash and make something beautiful at the same time. This is a variant on the log cabin pattern in which you sew strips at regular intervals around a central square (see also Zoe’s patchwork cushion post here). I sewed mine at random angles to make it look even scrappier. I like to do this by hand in the evenings but it would be even quicker with a machine. I’m not sure what this is going to be yet – either a cushion cover or a wall hanging.
Crochet baby blanket: This is a super-easy project which is great for using up lots of bits of wool. Just make a foundation chain the length you want your blanket to be (mine is going to be a gift for a new baby so I chained about 110). Then work back and forth using whatever stitch you like (this is half treble using a 5mm hook), changing colour every row or two. This is the easiest way to change colour since you don’t need to worry about weaving the ends in mid-row (though I’m going to have a heck of a lot of ends to weave in when I finish!). You could make a knitted version of this as well – just cast on as many stitches as you like – though remember that the first row will lengthen out as you start knitting. Then knit (garter stitch), knit and purl in alternate rows (stocking stitch), or knit two purl two (rib) as you like.
So what projects have you created to use up things you already have? Do send us details or upload pictures to the flickr pool!