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I’m not sure if it’s a result of the influence of my thrifty upbringing, or whether I just hate waste, or if it is just the joy of making ‘treasures’ from ‘trash’, but I get a sense of achievement from creating something that is pleasing from something that others may deem useless.

There are 3 main areas of crafting that I enjoy – embroidery, beading and wool crafts (knitting, crochet, and spinning), so consequently have many leftovers! As well as leftovers, I like to utilise any unusual packaging or components

As this article is for the fibre enthusiasts among us, I will deal with yarn leftovers first. Of course there are many small projects that use up small amounts of yarn; but we are serious crafters who have lots of leftovers aren’t we??? Please say you do. I can’t be the only one!! Therefore we need projects that make a serious dent in that stash (so we have a clear conscience when we want to buy more). I recently found a pattern for a crocheted basket on the web (Pattern a Day I think) I loved the fact that she said it could be used to use all your really ugly yarn. We all have some of that right? It’s a very basic flat dc base and sides and can be made as large as you like. Take as many strands of yarn as you can manage (I used 3 x stranded cotton - I have cones of the stuff – and 3 strands of 5ply, but I think it would have been better with more thickness. Use a crochet hook that suits. When one strand runs out, replace with another. Knotting is OK as they go to the inside. The Entrelac bag was also made from scraps. The Scrappy Gnome Hat (also an internet find) is made in the same way – two strands knitted together and join in a new yarn when one runs out.

Many years ago, I met Prudence Mapstone who is a truly creative genius in the field of free form knitting and crochet. I have completed one project (a bag) and have another bag on the go, and a garment planned. If you have a variety of fibres with different textures this is a wonderful and creative way to use them up. If you’re not familiar with her work, please check her out. She also hosts a great fb page called ‘Not just knitting free form Friday’. Lots of inspiration there!

For those of you who know me, it’s no surprise to learn that beading (preferably with tiny beads) is my other favourite craft and I own up to having an even bigger stash of beads than wool, some of them pretty ugly. Again, free form is the best way to use up small quantities or beads unsuitable for ‘proper’ projects. I love being able to transform and upcycle ordinary objects. Pictures below show variety of things done this way. The first is a pretty necklace made with crystal beads alternated with beaded beads made by covering the small tube that comes inside a reel of beading thread. The second necklace is made by covering cut straws with felt, thread and seed beads.The vase is a covered juice bottle and uses up many ugly beads. The bowl is a covered op shop find and looks great with a tea light inside. The mint tin needlecase speaks for itself as do the Christmas decorations – beaded over the tubes my beads are shipped in.

So hopefully this little ramble of mine, might encourage you to look at things differently, before consigning them to the rubbish bin!

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