waste not, want not

Through my crafting years, I've gotten to be quite the expert in re-purposing things, particularly of the yarn-y variety.

It stems from 1. hating waste and 2. being budget conscious, but this focus on

A perfect example is this wall hanging. I love how it's turned out, it adds real dimension to my guest room, has a great mix of textures

In itself, it's a great finished product, but if we unpack it a little bit, you'll be able to see exactly what I mean about my frugal nature...

1. The Stick:
I like to take walks, it works for me better than meditation ever could. On one of these walks I found this stick, and thought it's the perfect size and hardiness for a tapestry. I carried it for about 2 miles from a wooded path through my local city centre, generating many odd looks along the way.

2. The accent beads:
My first job was at a bead store. I made a simple bracelet with these wooden and metal beads to practice my techniques. This is circa 2006. The metal beads used to be gold, the bracelet faded with age, and yet I still moved it across an ocean because "I might use it for something". And now they add an awesome eye-catching touch to a large-scale artwork. Win, win.

3. The shiny reddish yarn:
Leftover from my recent Shawl-in-a-Ball adventures. Literally not enough to make anything with, but I held onto it regardless. And I love how it ties into the colour story and the metal accent beads of the recycled bracelet.

4. The cotton accent yarn:
Same old story. I have a (admittedly dwindling) hoard of scrap yarn I inherited from my mother-in-law. She picked up two full garbage bags worth of yarn when I first moved to the UK so that I had supplies to start out with. This cotton yarn was from that haul, not enough for a washcloth, but with a really nice texture that deserved to be something. And now it's a hero of this piece.

5. All that duck-egg blue:
So this is my crafting personality in a nutshell. This blue yarn has quite the backstory. It's a Bernat yarn, part of their Waverly colours collection, and I got it back when I first got engaged (note: more than 6 years ago now).

I'd received quite a few home accessories from Waverly as engagement gifts, and the yarn was a fun way of coordinating with/celebrating those. And I made a wonderful pillow from it, which decorated my apartment in NYC, and moved with me to England. It got a lot of use, and there came a day where I looked at it, and the pillow just looked sad. The yarn was dull, and pilled. It was the shabby half of shabby-chic, without the chic twist.

But there were 3 balls of yarn in that pillowcase! And I couldn't bring myself to waste all that potential, even though the yarn had certainly seen better days. So what did I do but unpick the whole thing, and whack that sad old yarn in my scrap basket? It stayed there for a few years, and I really did question my sanity to keep it a few times.

When it came to this tapestry though, I was so pleased that I had decided to let it take up all that space in my home. Its crimpy texture, the pills and wear lines, all worked together in the tapestry to create a really beautiful layered look. It completely changed from looking ragged to modern.

 So what's the moral of the story here?

I'm not sure. I'm not an advocate of hoarding, but also, a bit of creativity and some long-game thinking has lead me several times through the years to a really beautiful end product.

I suppose, if anything, my desire to waste less in terms of both money and materials, has helped to fuel an appreciation for craft in general, and the potential in the things we have around us in our homes and gardens.

Making is a wonderful thing!
Happy stitching,
Molly x


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