October?! How did we get here so fast!

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And I thought 2016 was bad…

Beginning of October – how did we get here? I guess that everyone is feeling the same. 2020 has not exactly gone as planned for the world at the moment. I had so many plans this year for Scatty Knits. Three craft fairs were booked in for March, I intended to apply for the magnificent Make and Mend in the Grainger market and was eyeing up the best options for summer and winter plans. 

The mural was created by graffiti artist Steve Nesbit at a home in Woolsington Source: The Chronicle online

And then of course covid-19. I’ve been a shielder for the initial lockdown, but this is not a post to complain. I have been very lucky, a partner who took on everything that he needed to, a job that I did from home and my ever present WIPs to keep me occupied. 

But of course it has set back my plans for the business, but all told I’ve been able to keep going so I feel like I’m pretty much winning 2020. All things considered. 

Zero waste, charity shops & #secondhandseptember 

I have missed my charity shop rummages, though, I love love love charity shops – the quirkiness and the random nature of the findings are fabulous. it always amazes me the items I can walk away with. Perfect jeans, t shirts, silk skirts, designer shoes. But I have to admit my greatest delight is the crockery and home items. I will acknowledge that I don’t buy much as generally it would be a want not a need but I could quite happily bring a chair, tea and a sandwich and browse for hours.

Vintage stone hot water bottle
Seriously, you could not put this in a child’s bed today!

There are always so many memories that surface as often the crockery is the same as the priced possessions that my grandmother kept in her china cabinet. My fave discovery was an old stoneware hot water bottle exactly like the one that I was tucked into bed with in the early 70s. I will say that I am in search of the perfect 70s fondue set so if you see one in a charity give me a shout. 

Of course, charity shops are now also one of my suppliers for Scatty Knits. It is astounding the excellent quality and unblemished stock that they cannot sell or even the stock with one or two holes that could easily be mended to extend its life. The lockdown and the new restrictions have made it more difficult for me to gain fabric, especially for my mittens so I was delight to catch a listing on the Oxfam site which solved one shortage.  

My Oxfam haul

I do have special place in my heart for Oxfam charity shops as I was a volunteer when I was at university. Every Saturday (hangover or not) I pitched up at 9.00 a.m. to work the shop floor or sort donations in the back. Us students were marshalled by a formidable team of older ladies whose capacity for hard work and ‘cracking on’ was only exceeded by their capacity for tea and biscuits. Not long arrived in the Midlands I loved that they all called me ‘me duck’.

But I digress…

Fab stuff, Oxfam!

So I discovered that Oxfam sells cashmere rejects for the bargain price of £20. You get 5 items where you can requests colours but not sizes or types of garments. To say that I’ve been impressed with the quality of the garments received is an understatement. Firstly, while there are some holes it does not ruin the garment and the rejects are will worth the money. Nice one, Oxfam!   

Cashmere goodies – I see mittens in their future…

You can check out the order process here, if you are interested

My contrado order 

I also spotted on my research for zero waste fabric sources that Contrado was offering their cutting room floor waste for free as long as you paid for the postage. Well, tickle me pick and colour me happy. I’d ordered before I even had time to think about it. I went for the 2kg mixed bag as I love a bit of fabric experimentation. They do however do a 100% cotton bag as well. Another success as it really does tie in with my goals of zero waste production. It also helps with a personal challenge I have set myself to explore the possibilities of the fabric that I have and use it in as many different ways as possible. 

All of the fabric provided were white or cream. It wasn’t just scraps some excellent lengths were provided. So expected some unusual makes in the lead up to Christmas. Get your creative juices flowing and help reduce textile waste by ordering from Contrado here.

FULL DISCLOSURE: These are not ads but my genuine experiences of ordering and paying for my own order. Neither Oxfam or Contrado asked me to write this post. In fact I am pretty sure that they are unaware of it as I think the only people reading my blog are my brother, sister-in-law, my partner (and they are contractually obligated as they are family).  

Moving into Autumn and winter 

I think we can all agree that Autumn is here. I’m already seeing an increasing demand for the sweater mittens and fingerless mittens. So I’ll be adding more as October goes on. Remember all of my products are complete one – offs and are reliant on the fabric sources from charity shops and industry off-cuts. So if you see something you like – buy it because it will never appear again.

  • Bright blue recycled sweater mittens
  • Baby mittens with purple merino liner
  • Toddler pink and brown striped mittens

Recycling discount 

As mentioned I am finding it difficult to access my usual sources of woollens in particular this year. So if you are in the position of wanting to recycled some woollens with stains or holes or even some felted disaster, please pass them along. In return you will get a special Scatty Recycler 10% discount. I need specifically 100% wool (not hand knitted), if you are not sure email me with a pic of the knit and the label and I’ll get back to you ASAP. It’s also a great opportunity to get that special pairs of mittens made for yourself or a loved one from a treasured sweater.  

Shop updates 

This Autumn and winter all shop updates will be rolling out at 7 p.m. every Friday night.  But if you would like priority access to new makes and the chance to go dibs on new makes then sign up for my new weekly newsletter which will be send out on Thursday.

Right, I best go – those mittens aren’t going to cut themselves….

Scatty knits’ zero waste manufacturing (ZWM)

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AKA It’s more fun than it sounds

There is no Planet B

A sneak into the Scatty process…

There is no doubt that in the last few years there has been a huge rise in information about sustainability. Bloggers, upcycling influencers, zero waste websites and articles. You look for advice and resources ending up with 30 different ideas and directions to go. But also with the sounds of ‘green washing’ ringing in your ears. I am particularly uncomfortable with some brands waving the organic and sustainable flag and still exploiting workers.   

Fashion Revolution's Who Made my clothes' campaign
Check out the outstanding campaign by Fashion Revolution

What’s a Scatty to do?

The impact of all of this that when I focused on the idea of zero waste production as one of Scatty’s goals, I had to pin down how this would work in practice. I had a very literal interpretation of a term, so I presumed that ‘zero waste’ meant zero i.e. no waste. While the term zero waste actually means 

The conservation of all resources by means of responsible production, consumption, reuse, and recovery of products, packaging, and materials without burning and with no discharges to land, water, or air that threaten the environment or human health.

Source: Zero waste International Alliance

http://zwia.org/zero-waste-definition/

So, obviously a little more complex than I had thought! Over the month of August I’m going to take time to explore the concepts of zero waste and the practicalities of aiming for this in my making process. As well as sharing some of the fascinating work of zero waste designers in the fashion industry that I’ve found in my ‘research’ (endless surfing for understanding) 

Spoiler Alert

I’m definitely no expert and this is mostly a record of my journey – warts and all. False steps, missteps and arse over tits steps. 

I think, therefore I’m Scatty…

This week I want lay out the somewhat muddled (dare I say Scatty) thinking that led to the #UseEveryScrap. 

Let’s do the time warp…

SO lets go back to the heady days of 2017 when I wasn’t under lock down and spoke face to face with actual people. I had been working for the magnificent Woolly Pedlar (Sue) producing sweater mittens. Adults, children and babies, but no matter how clever I was with my cutting layouts, I was still left with unused felted wool. 

Recycled baby mittens
Bright pink baby mittens to add oomph to any chilly little handsies

Aha!, said the creative Sue, make garlands from the scraps. And so the Christmas reusable, upcycled and almost zero waste garlands arrived. I say almost zero waste because I still had scraps left – too small to make anything with. However, being the hoarder that I am I couldn’t bare to throw them out so began my scrappy wool mountain collection.

Recycled wool garlands
Festive garlands – have an eco friendly celebration!

I never made that, but how hard can it be…

But then my neighbour (Hi Eleanor!) asked for a custom make of a draught excluder and so the scraps became stuffing. Suddenly there were no heavy wool scraps left behind. I liked this very very much. It was like a huge win. No scraps left + new makes that I had had no intention to make at the beginning + the discovery of bits of the floor in my sewing room that I had not seen in months. 

My lightbulb moment

The fabric from charity shops and textile waste had driven the products instead of virgin fabric being produced at huge environmental costs for freshly designed products.

SO that’s Scatty in a nutshell, I don’t set out to make a particular consistent one product. Instead the fabric available drives what I make. I buy fabric from from charity shops (the items that can’t be sold), or the waste from the cutting room floor from commercial production and I attempt to use it all. 

Hasta la vista baby bin

My only ‘waste’ should be thread trimmings. As soon as I figure out how to use those effectively, its game over for my little waste bin. 

Not waste bin
My not waste bin – scraps for stuffing

Never in the world…

On the micro scale I’m attempting a zero waste production model. It’s not sophisticated but it is effective. As a curious little soul this of course got me thinking if I’m doing it there much be other people doing the same thing but hopefully on a bigger scale and so began the zero waste manufacturing research (search for tips on how to do it better). I was really down the rabbit hole now as I discovered zero waste design as a part of the manufacturing process. Now this delighted my tidy little soul as the design process was intending to tackle the astounding fact that 

About 15% of fabric intended for clothing ends up on the cutting room floor. This  waste rate has been tolerated industry-wide for decades.Timo Rissanen

upcycled lambswool messenger bag
Messenger bag produced from cutting room floor waste

But that’s a blog post for another week…

#memademay – my so called lockdown life

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Slow fashion plans…

Lockdown life

It would be a bit remiss of me if i didn’t mention the current situation on the blog. After all these are unprecedented times – anyone else beginning to hate that word? Like many all over the UK I’m under lockdown – well, I’m actually being shielded so I’ve only left the house twice in the last 10 weeks (and that was to go to hospital). Luckily as an card carrying introvert I’ve been training for lockdown my whole life. I understand that so many people are finding it really difficult but as I work from home its pretty much business as usual for me.

During lockdown, you can’t complain if this is the view 👍

Cost per wear

Except that it’s given me the impetus to put into place my long held clothes sewing plans. My clothes consumption is pretty modest, in fact I’m struggling to remember the last time I bought something – I think it was about three years ago. As I work from home – it’s t-shirt and comfy yoga style pants, jeans if I go out with knitted tops and shirts. I also have to admit that I tend to wear clothes into the ground and refuse to let them go until I have rung every last wear out of them, which may be why I am currently wearing a t shirt I bought in 2005 in Vancouver. It still looks good so I’m hoping for another 15 years at least. 😂 I think working on a cost per wear the company is currently paying me! I haven’t always been frugal in my consumption but the older I get the more I’m aware that I don’t need to buy even an 1/4 of what I once did.

One in, one out

I now operate on a ‘one in, one out, recycled or deadstock material, charity shop find’ policy. As always I’ve got ambitious plans for someone who has made exactly one dress, one skirt and one top. I’ve been regularly stalking independent pattern sites to draw up a list of possible makes. You can check out the full list on my pinterest board here. Clearly I know I’ll probably not make all of them but the patterns were too pretty not to save. I’m a pretty casual person so the patterns need to fit in my that style as well as the lifestyle that I lead. If I ever get out of lockdown I’m a shirt and jeans type of person. The standing joke in my family has always been that if I ever get married it would have to be in jeans (and they’re not wrong).

The makes

1. Tonic tee by SBCC patterns

A definite wardrobe essential

I love the simplicity and inclusivity of the pattern and I’m hoping that this will be a go to make. The pattern was free when you signed up the newsletter. I got the original copy many years ago but they have just released an update. Unbelievably generous for a free pattern. So there is now a long sleeved version as well. I’m starting with the short sleeve. The pdf pattern pieces are assembled, fabric chosen (two recycled grey cotton t shirts which I can salvage enough fabric from). I just have to make it now!

2. Sorbetto by Colette patterns

I’m thinking in purple….

Next up is another free pattern which I gained access to by signing up for the newsletter. It is simple sleeveless top that is almost identical to one of my favourite pieces EVER! This is still in my wardrobe (it’s only 8 years old so it’s practically a baby) but it is a delicate little piece so I keep it for special occasions even though I would happily wear it everyday. I’ve some paisley lightweight cotton which should just have enough yardage (fingers crossed)

3. Yoga pants from Craftsy

Many years ago I signed for Craftsy which is now bluprint. I loved the variety of the classes and the excellent videos. But I found (and I can’t believe I’m typing this) that I would watch the entire class (as I didn’t want there to be any surprises/techniques I didn’t know) and then I wouldn’t make the item as I was so daunted! However, I watched the class on the yoga pants and have the pattern so I’m going to give that one a go.

4. Plaintain t shirt by Deer and Doe

Another free pattern when you sign up for the newsletter (are you seeing a pattern here?). I thought this long sleeved t shirt would be great for autumn and winter. I’ve got some great recycled jersey fabric but this will be a bit patchwork so will need careful planning.

So that’s the initial set up at the moment. Suffice it to say these are slow makes, so don’t be expecting them next week. I’ll be concentrating on sewing for the business first, making scrubs for the NHS next and personal makes after that.

Of course there is always the knitting… I was working on Lang Ayre, a gorgeous hap in the Book of Haps. But it’s currently in ‘time out’ for being naughty – which basically means that the maths illiterate me got the stitch count wrong again. So I switched to Hancock which is being much better behaved. Being a nice tweedy yellow it’s a rather mindless and thoughly enjoyable knit.

On a side note, if you are looking for a lovely little film to watch (possibly while knitting) I’d recommend The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. No, you’re crying…

Categories: Uncategorized

Don’t worry, it’s in the bag…

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This week it’s been all about bags on the making front. As always I have to admit that my making started from a ‘selfish’ place. I wanted some nice project bags for my ever growing WIPs collection – Slow fashion makes 2020. And also as 2020 is also the year that I wanted to be even more conscious in my consumption, if I wanted them I was going to have to make them – and from recycled fabric from the stash.

The creative process

Once again no creative process with Scatty Knits is ever a straightforward A to B journey. Generally I go all round the houses distracting myself but knowing that I will eventually get there, but possibly not with the outcome I intended. I’m happy with that state of affairs but I suspect it drives others nuts. 

Actually I’ve just realised that the project bags were not the start of the bag making escapade. Originally I started thinking about messenger bags and made a few prototypes but dithered about style and size as well as construction material and fastenings. (Scatty remember!) So that went on the back burner and I made dog walking bags instead. But this now meant that I had left over cut out fabric from the messenger bags so that brings us to the project bags. 

To explain what happened next it’s worthwhile to remember that one of the central purposes of Scatty Knits was to aim for zero waste production. I had no real idea how I would achieve that but as usual I presumed a way would present itself as I got stuck in. Faint heart and all that…

But then what began as I must ‘make some project bags’ became ‘but what will I do with the scraps’ so then the notions pouches were made to use up the squares cut when I was boxing the bottoms of the bags. That, of course, then sent me down the rabbit hole of raiding my scrap stash to see if could cut some more squares which led to the ‘patchwork tote’, cutesy small and functional medium. 

By this point I was now fully committed (or is it that I should be committed – never sure on that one). I’d made coin purses before so what about matching coin and card wallets? Bear with me now because that somehow made me realise that I wanted to make two styles of messenger bags – one of a classic minimalist style, the other a bit modern with a zip!  So that sorted that problem. 

So what’s been the creative journey takeaways this week. I don’t think any of these will be ground breaking but they might be of use if you would to delve into bag making. (I highly recommend it)

Bag making essential reading

Luckily I have a very generous brother and sister in law and for 50th birthday, they got me ‘The Bag making Bible’ by Lisa Lam. It’s a treasure trove of techniques to get the creative juices flowing. Of course the internet is also a great place to see video tutorials as well but generally I’ve found that often the technique is described in the context of a specific pattern. Whereas the book while it contains patterns setting the techniques apart so that they are more easily transferable to your own designs. Everything from the basics to edging and trimmings are covered. I’ve referred to it daily and it’s got me out of a lot of tough spots.

It’s also worth noting that Pinterest is great at providing a great array of style ideas and also free patterns. I’ve created a Pinterest board – Sewing projects which has specific sections for different bag styles that you can follow.

You can also check out my progress in makes in my Etsy shop.

Cutting table double as photo studio…

Bag making workspace set up

I have been sewing seriously for over two years now and I am almost (but not quite there) with my workspace. I am fortunate that I have a good size room to house my industrial machine – Jack the Juki, my trusty Toyota workhorse and Beast the overlocker. But here’s the thing sewing is not just about sewing, its the cutting and the dreaded pressing that need to be accommodated as well. At first I was up and down to my cutting table and table top ironing board like a fiddler’s elbow. But after this weeks making I think i might have cracked it. I using the kitchen triangle approach – so there’s Jack on one side, table top ironing board along side and small cutting station behind for the on the go cuts with my recycled wheelie chair to scoot about on. Main and large scale cutting still takes place on the fab Ikea hack that Ian produced.

I love my Juki…

Must dos – cutting and pressing 

To my great annoyance probably two of the most important things about having a professional finish are the accuracy of fabric cutting and amount of ‘overpressing’ that you complete.

Despite coming from a family where my mum and gran would iron everything except for tights, I am possibly iron phobic. I firmly place myself in the ‘you look like a crinkly chip’ category or best case scenario I’ll iron the front and wear a cardigan. I firmly place the blame for this state of affairs on my gran. A rather formidable lady to say the least she felt one of the best ways to keep me out of mischief was to teach me to iron or smooth as they say in Northern Ireland correctly.

I don’t know what I’d done, but I’d done something…

Bear in mind I was six at this point and couldn’t reach the ironing board, so she made me stand on a stool. For the first few weeks she went easy on me and I was allowed to do the straight things – towels, tea towels and handkerchiefs. However, she soon realised the possibilities of this health and safety child labour nightmare as my grandfather wore dress shirts for his work as a chauffeur. And so began my apprenticeship in the correct procedure in ironing a shirt (my gran pressed shirts for living before she retired and believe me she was a stickler for doing it precisely.) I could probably still iron a shirt with my eyes closed but as I am now an adult (I use that term loosely) I do it my way (quickly, sloppily and wrongly) and hope that my gran is too busy bossing God around to see what I’m doing.

Right I might have digressed there – back to the point – yes there was one. Over pressing is essential for a professional finish – I’m getting in the habit (in a really grumpy way) of ironing every time I sew a seam. It makes hemming a breeze. 

As for accurate cutting I’m going to write a separate post later on that one as it is the bane of my life and I still feel like I’ve got lots more learning to do.

Useful tools

The usual suspects…

Usually a bone folder is used to crease paper edges smoothly but I use it for firmer finger pressing and poking poking out corners without poking through the seam.

The seam allowance guide is constantly used to check and recheck my seam allowance. I discovered very early on that ‘ah, that looks about right’ is not a viable strategy 🤦🏻‍♀️.

Washi tape is fab when used as a seam guide on the machine sewing plate. I use a nice bright neon one particularly if I am using a different seam allowance to my usual.

So what about you? Are you a bag maker too? Any tips to share? 😊

Slow fashion – 2020 WIPs and FOs

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My name’s Bev and I’m a ‘startalcoholic’. In the interests of full disclosure I want to state clearly that I’m not unhappy with this condition.  As a matter of fact, I genuinely think that life is too short not to cast on that shiny new project or yarn or to delve into sewing a bag or hat or anything else that floats your boat. 

When I first started knitting seriously, I thought that i was definitely an ‘end product’ type of knitter. I wanted to finish that sweater, cardigan, scarf or hat as I really really wanted to wear it. But then I met Ravelry. I am not saying that its been a bad influence, but it opened my eyes to thousands of patterns, yarns I’d never heard, designers who were using fascinating techniques. I’d thought I was hooked before but now I wanted to KNIT ALL THE THINGS NOW. 

And so begin my odyssey of starting all the things and in that process I realised that I just liked to knit and not necessarily finish. I liked the rhythm, the wool fondling as I knitted and getting my head wrapped around new techniques. I also found that I view wool as the ultimate reusable creative material. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve completed a blanket, sweater or shawl and then thought ‘oh, you would be so much better as …’ so off I go to frog and reknit that yarn.

It’s lucky that poor old Drops Andes is a robust little number as it’s been an eleventh hour blanket, Jong and now it’s a Carbeth. I’m not promising that that will be its final resting place though.  

The originals knit of Drops Andes, which became…
Round or square buttons 🤔

Because you know, new patterns and techniques are always shiny. 

Full disclosure: I currently have 15 WIPs on the needles. I’m not saying its only 15 but that’s all i can remember right now… 

If you are interested to see the current state of play, then check out my pinterest board of Slow fashion makes 2020.

Do you know I thought I might feel a little bit embarrassed about the number, but in reality I’m sitting thinking I could probably cast on another 15 and still think that that was a reasonable amount.  

That said at the start of this year I thought that I needed to strike a happy balance. While I’m not promising that I won’t cast on something new I am using 2020 as the year of finishing my WIPs. 

2020 FOs so far

This year I’ve already finished Cookie (it’s like wearing a big hug, and is getting loads of wear as I’m doing my best to self isolate at home. Cookie is from Rowan magazine 60 and the yarn was Rowan Brushed Fleece which the lovely Ian bought me as a pressie a few years ago. Like a lot of my clothes I went with the purple shade Hollow. It is a nice yarn to knit with and lovely and squishy to wear but it doesn’t half pill. So it will be getting some careful grooming to keep it looking good. Like all rowan patterns it was well written and I even got into a rhythm with the bobbles. Even though I was initially hampered by my inability to count to five consistently. Honestly if I’d know that maths was going to play such a big part in knitting I probably would have tried harder at it in school.  But, and this is just a personal bug bear about patterns, it contained my two least favourite things – a small chart (make them bigger folks!) and the dreaded instruction …and at the same time which is half way down the page when I’ve been merrily knitting and not reading ahead. 

(I know that is my own fault…) 

Carbeth is mostly finished as well – just needs the buttons but as always I’m dithering over round or square wooden buttons from our homemade button range. I’ve knitted a few of Kate Davies patterns and totally love them. Interesting to knit and the end product is always attractive. 

Back view Of Carbeth

Another almost FO is the magnificent Persian Dreams blanket.  This beauty was started right back in 2016 (it is officially my slowest make… but the Saxifrage socks are snapping at its heels!). After reading all the notes on Ravelry about the construction I kind of reversed the knitting – deciding to knit from the outside in rather that the inside out of the hexagon. Mainly because I wanted to pick up stitches and join each hexagon as I went along to save some grafting at the end. It worked a treat it did mean that it was an ‘at home’ knitting project as it was too bulky to transport. On the upside it made for a toasty lap warmer while knitting. I also changed the border to an applied i-cord, simply because I like knitting them.

It’s still at the almost FO stage as I’ve got a billion ends to weave in, have to figure out how to block it and decide if I want to have a sew-on backing. These dilemmas don’t look like they would delay the finishing of this blanket but trust me I’m not called scatty for no reason. I bounce between ‘block it, its easy” and ‘who needs blocking?!’ as well as ‘back it, be professional!’ and ‘if you back it, thats less knitting time?! I probably change my mind about 30 times a day, but eventually a course will be decided on. I’ll keep you updated…

I’m ready for my close up…

While it was finished at the tail end of last year, I am going to include Affection in this round -up. This was another yarn which I love especially the chainette construction and the way it feels so fluffy. Originally I’d knitted this yarn as Mystery cardigan by Kim Hargreaves but wore it rarely as it felt a bit too floppy for that pattern. (The suggested yarn was Rowan felted tweed which would of course be a better fit – maybe these designers know a thing or two!) But it is suited to the style of the Affection sweater. Its is the recommended yarn (see note above about designers) I did worry that the yarn would be too dark (of course it’s purple – Guatemala) to really show off the cable pattern but I love it. Its cosy, just the right length for me and it is my current going out for special occasions wear. It is pairs so well with my favourite jewellery piece – waterfall necklace (another birthday pressie) 

BTW if you wondering why purple, check out the fabulous ‘When I am an old woman’ poem by Jenny Joseph…

So what about you what are your knitting plans this year? Are you upping your knitting output during the lockdown? How many WIPs have you got? Please, please tell me, its not just me!?

If you are interested in any of my FOs or WIPs you can check them out on Ravelry or on my pinterest board.  

Categories: Uncategorized

Anti fast fashion – #Second hand September

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I can’t say how much I love charity shops! They are a mainstay of many high streets and essential in the ‘fast fashion’ consumer society. I must admit i was stunned to read that the average garment only gets worn 4 times! Mr SK (I’m sure he that he won’t mind me tell you!) had the same pair of swimming shorts for 28 years. It was like the passing of a treasured friend when they finally gave up the ghost! And I still have clothes I bought in my 20s which is a long long time ago.

Source: Oxfam GB

I fully admit that i used to be a bit of shopacoholic many years ago. But my consumption patterns have changed completely. My last clothing purchase was from Scope (a mental health charity) – a rather pristine pair of jeans.

As a student I was lucky to able to be able to volunteer in Oxfam. It was a total blast, and I even ended up with friends in the local paper modelled the vintage finds from the shop. If I recall correctly I wearing a rather fetching pillar box hat with veil and a matching skirt suit! 

So I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Oxfam. And as I was browsing their vintage shop (check it out if you haven’t already) I found details of the #SecondhandSeptember pledge. Of course, I sign up straightaway. 

There are some fantastic articles on the site about the impact of fast fashion as well as details about the prize draw for sharing your charity finds on social media.

 

I can feel a good rummage of all the charity shops in my area coming up! 

If you’ve signed the pledge, Happy Hunting! 

Newcastle food – Thali Tray Ouseburn

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Arch 2 Brewery and Thali tray

Full disclosure: All food and drink was paid for by us. No influencers were harmed in the writing of this post. The photography reflect my need to eat the food not take pictures so frequent bite marks will appear. If Newcastle food doesn’t look Instagram worthy that is a reflection of my appetite not the kitchen.

The variety in Newcastle food is amazing at the moment. Lots of openings as well as the tried and tested favourites. I’m not saying that Mr SK and I have eaten everywhere but we are giving it a good go. 😁

We took a run out to Arch 2 Brewery in Ouseburn after we have visited the fabulous flea market in Shieldfield. I had wanted to go on my birthday, mainly to sample the Thali Tray but unfortunately I’ve mistimed it as they only served until 3 pm. So last Saturday was an opportunity to go back and see what we had missed.

It was a lovely sunny day and the Arch 2 courtyard looked fantastic. I loved the serious amounts of potted plants and the space had a great relaxed feel.

Arch 2 Brewery

We were the only ones there as we had pitched up at 12 on the dot but I bet at night time the courtyard is jumping and looks fabulous. Probably a right hipster hangout – not complaining, just thinking that I might be a tad too old 🤷🏻‍♀️.

Thali tray’s menu is simple which I think it’s probably for the best otherwise Mr SK takes ages to decide on a dish!. We agreed to have the Keralan curry selection with the blooming onion bhaji. Mr SK is an onion bhaji aficionado – it’s always his Indian starter of choice. This one measured up to his high standards. It wasn’t the traditional onion bhaji you’d expect but the blooming onion deconstructed take was excellent. Highly spiced and served with a simple raita.

Blooming onion bhaji – sorry munched already!

The keralan curries were also excellent. I preferred the beef as it was a medium curry whereas the chicken was medium hot. The sides of cardamon turmeric rice and onion seed naan bread were the perfect compliment

Mr SK had a pint of barberry blonde which I sampled as well. It went perfectly with the curry and at 3.8% was very quaffable indeed. We did have a moments pause at the £4.30 pricetag but that probably because we are old fogeys who aren’t used to town prices. That said we shared a curry and starter so the food bill was a reasonable £12.50.

Contact: Arch 2 brewery

Thali Tray

Dog Snood me STAT! Baby, it’s cold outside!

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One of my biggest joys of being a dog sitter has been the wide variety of breeds that I’ve been able to share my home with. From border collies to ex racer greyhounds and of course the magnificent otterhound.

It’s not going to be s surprise that they are all fabulous. Any dog owner knows that each dog has their own distinct peronsality and quirks. Cuddly, laid back, cheeky, mischievous, tenacious, and playful, they are all adorable. 

But two things they all have in common is that they deserve to well loved and well cared for. Luckily every dog owner I’ve met adores their pet and it’s probably no concidence that the people I count as friends adore dogs too. So I was delighted when expert dog walker Irene approached me to make a dog snood for one her regulars – Billy the greyhound. 

Obviously greyhounds have very low body fat and so feel the cold. Billy had been wearing a chunky hand knit dog snood but unfortunately it was unravelling and so Billy was due a new one. So out came the heavy knits so that I could get the structure and fit that would work for a greyhound.

On the cutting table – starting to custom make the gentle funnel shaping
Doesn’t he look dapper!

I loved making the snood and a quick search through my leftover fabric stash uncovered lots of merino and cashmere.

Next step the Tiny carbon pawprint range of dog snoods. Each snood has been made in either merino or cashmere wool for that cosy and luxury feel for your fur baby.

Check out my Etsy shop for sizes and colours. Remember all scatty knits’ makes are made from recycled wool and cannot be repeated.

Textile upcycling – So, what’s it all about, Scatty?

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Scatty knits started out of the wonderful textile upcycling and recycling businesses that I was lucky enough to come in contact with during 2017. I said at the start that it usually starts with a dog. In this case the marvellous Vera led to Bev aka Veloculture ( fab upcycled products from bicycle inner tubes – genius) which led to Sue aka the Woolly pedlar.  The Woolly Pedlar upcycled fabulous kat wise style coats, ponchos and gorgeous waterfall scarves from felted knitwear.

Vera – Velocuture

Their businesses planted a seed, I starting making dog snoods and bandanas. But realised that I didn’t want to make just one or two types of products. This had the potential to create the very thing I wanted to avoid – textile waste. So the “use every scrap” adventure was started. It’s like the eco friendly version of the army – no scrap gets left behind. 🤦🏻‍♀️

The aim is to produce as little waste as possible and be creative in product design and production. Scatty knits is a one person business but that doesn’t mean that I don’t dream big!

I’m no expert on textile waste, sustainability and the impact of fast fashion on the economy and the climate. But in its own little way I want scatty knits to reflect the big concepts of a circular economy and circular fashion. 

This journey is a huge learning curve, in terms of making, marketing and running my own business. As well as understanding the concerns, issues and solutions of the fashion industry and textile waste. I’d always thought I was a pretty savvy recycler but it turns out I’ve not even scratched the surface of knowing what I should.

So I’ll be learning every day and posting my musings as I go. 

Fancy coming along on the textile upcycling adventure?

Categories: Textile upcycling

Zero waste wooden buttons

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Well if you can find the exact buttons you want, make them…

As well as being a budding seamstress, I am an avid knitter. All credit for this going to my mum. I like to think that I’m reasonably proficient but I’ll never have her skill. She was fabulous at cabling and her aran sweaters and cardigans were works of art. Many of my early childhood memories are of  her sitting In her chair, watching tv with a cable needle stuck behind her ear as she produced a complex cable WITHOUT LOOKING AT THE PATTERN! That astounds me even today I need to stare at the knitting, copy the pattern and even then my inability to count to ten consistently and accurately can lead to interesting results.

I won’t embarrass myself by saying how many WIPs I have but it is definitely double figures. Currently Carbeth by Kate Davies is on the needles. It’s a lovely relaxing knit and Kate’s patterns are always so well written.

Carbeth by Kate Davies

I originally thought I’d go for a black one but swapped to Isome lovely bright orange wool in my stash. This has been repurposed from a blanket, which I then reknitted as a different cardigan. I decided this didn’t suit me so now it’s on the way to be a Carbeth. I’ve started calling it ‘Doctor’ as it keeps regenerating 🤣 . Sorry I couldn’t help myself!

I will admit that I am a bit fussy about buttons. I always think to myself that I’ve spend all this time knitting something so I don’t put just any button on. (This is why I still have a cardigan from last year with no buttons 😳). Carbeth needs some thing nice and chunky so when we were doing some gardening Mr SK had the bright idea to make some from the branches and also from some discarded hardwood furniture. So zero waste wooden buttons were born and I couldn’t be more chuffed. I can’t wait to finish Carbeth and get some handmade buttons on!

Soft wood large button 😍

I love the tactile nature of the large wooden buttons. We’ve finished them with beeswax to enhance the natural grain of the wood.

Check out my Etsy shop to see my extra large and large zero waste wooden buttons.