Tag: Zero waste

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….

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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


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…

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