Saturday, 19 October 2013

Presents From Nothing - except for a Yarndale purchase

Hello webby world!

I hope you're all well and happy today. I am struggling to feel upbeat in the face of grim, dark skies and a chilling fog. However, I do have a metaphorical ray of sunshine to brighten my morning - I've made a birthday present for Miss B out of stuff we were throwing away.

Yes, I am the zeitgeist-y-est woman imaginable today. Hand made stuff, upcycling, money saving etc etc. The only way I could be more On Trend (hideous phrase) would be if I was wearing a knitted moustache and humming What Does The Fox Say as I type.*

Miss B and I were tackling her overstuffed wardrobe the other weekend, pulling out the things that no longer fit and adding the latest hand me down batch that are the right size for her. Amongst the many items were heaps of T-shirts and long sleeved jersey tops that were a bit grubby, stained or faded. I didn't think they were the sort of thing anyone else would be particularly grateful for. The charity shops at the end of our road have big bins of slightly scruffy T-shirts and baby-grows at 25p each, so it wasn't likely they'd be too interested in the tops either.

I decided to have a go at something I've long fancied doing - making a rag rug.

At Yarndale I'd bought enormous knitting needles, some yarn made from old cotton sheets and a giant crochet hook. I knitted the yarn up into a blue and white bath mat - entirely unnecessary but splendid fun to do.Look at those great broom handles! Aren't they ridiculous?  I don't have a bathroom that has blue in it; the finished product clashes hopelessly. But I did enjoy doing it, despite them being a bit awkward to hold.
I thought I could cut up B's T-shirts into continuous strips and crochet them into an oval bedside rug for her room. She loves nice things for her room, so it could be part of her birthday present.

I won't lie to you, it was a labour of love.  The crocheting was fantastically quick and easy, but cutting the shirts up took about 10 hours across 3 days.  By the time I reached the end of the shirt stash my thumb was numb where the scissors pressed in and I had pins and needles in my hand. Mostly I did it in front of the TV of an evening. However, I did spend 2 hours chatting on a park bench with my friend Julie, her holding the T-shirt taut for me as I zipped along it with the scissors. We got some pretty funny looks, I admit.

 I got pretty good at it, almost no wastage at all except for the odd bits of trim or buttons. I cut in a spiral around the body of the T, then zigzagged back and forth to use up the sleeve fabric too. I got a good few metres from each shirt - not bad when you think they were a child's size 6.

As I went along I joined many of the strips together to make gigantic balls of jersey yarn. In retrospect that was a mistake, although their ridiculous oversized appearance did amuse me. I should have kept them separate so I could chose which colour to work in next as the rug progressed. The photo of the partially completed rug below shows the problem.  See that dark purple? It unbalances the rug, doesn't it. I didn't notice so much while I was working on it but once it was on the floor that dark strip really stood out as being out of place.

By that time I'd done another six rows of crochet and had thought the rug complete.  But no, that dark strip bothered me.  I put the rug away for a few days to look at it with fresh eyes.

Yep, still annoying.

So this week I unravelled it back past the purple and changed colours a bit.This was mostly to correct the colours but a tiny bit so I could play with the GIGANTIC crochet hook a little longer. My next project is going to take me weeks and be much harder, so I think I'm trying to extend my easy project a little. Like rearranging your sock drawer when an essay is due, only in gift-making terms.

I can't avoid the tricky project any longer so today I've promised myself I will complete the last couple of rows of the rug and move on.

I'm also baking up a storm today and need to clean the place up before one of my very best mates comes to stay, so finishing off the rug will probably be done in little snatches every time I sit down for a cuppa. I'll show you a picture as soon as it's done. So far I am delighted with it. I hope you'll like it too.

Happy Saturday!
J x

* After typing "What Does The Fox Say" I got the tune stuck in my head. so now I am humming it. Drat.

1 comment:

  1. Not so sure about the bath mat but I love the rug! Not worried about the purply bit at all.