What’s so happy about scraps?
Scraps are just unwanted leftovers, right?
Not so fast, my friends!
For a substantial group of people scraps are the source of great happiness. Blogger Kate, from Tall Tales from Chiconia, has provided a space for happy scrappy crafters to showcase the ways they make beautiful things from bits and pieces that others might consider trash.
Why do scraps make us so happy?
Some of us are frugal and scraps used represent money saved.
Some of us are committed to sustainability and limiting our use of raw materials to make new when we can make do.
For some of us, scrappy is a preferred aesthetic. We like the look of a casual, unpredictable mix of colors and patterns, nothing too matchy-matchy and fussy for us.
And sometimes, using scraps solves a practical problem.
My scrappy project, a set of kitchen towels I am weaving, could be said to fall into all of these categories but it is primarily motivated by the last.
Weavers deal with warp and weft threads. The warp is composed of long threads that are attached to the loom and the weft is made up of the horizontal threads that are interwoven into the warp. This interweaving is done with bobbins of thread placed in a shuttle. Each color thread uses a bobbin.
The amount of thread on the bobbin does not always run out at the same time the warp thread does.
We have dozens of bobbins here but, with two weavers weaving and leaving leftover thread on bobbins for nearly four years now, all the bobbins were used up!
I could either buy more bobbins or free up some of the ones I had by using up the scraps.
My towels are made up of those scraps. Each warp stripe is 6 threads wide and I used scraps of colors interspersed with scraps of neutrals. All the threads are cotton or linen or a blend of the two.
Each warp thread is over 7 yards long and there are about 450 warp threads so my project used a lot of scrap!
And I freed up a lot of bobbins and even a few cones.
I should be able to weave 4-5 towels from this warp but may make a table runner with part of it. I’m doing the second towel now.
I quite love the look! I’ve learned that I must lean toward fairly subdued colors that are sort of “grayed”—my scraps contained very few clear bright colors and very few pastels. I have a lot of scraps of neutrals but more were unbleached or natural than pure white.
I dressed them loom with a very simple twill structure and I can change the look of each towel a little by the way I press the treadles. The towels will be first cousins, not identical twins!
I will admit, I love getting a big box of new weaving yarn in the mail. I like planning a project and then purchasing the colors especially for that project.
But as happy scrappers the world over know, there is something even more satisfying, and just as lovely, that comes from using what we have.
Are you, too, a happy scrapper? You might want to contact Kate and get in on the fun of sharing your creations!
From Kate: 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 scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join us on the 15th of each month? Either email me at the address on my Contact Me page, or leave a comment below. 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).