Wednesday, 5 September 2007

The Crafters' Way 26

Each week I write a craft column for a local paper, I share it here for bloggers.

Everything that we read today seems to urge us to recycle. Crafters have always been avid recylers. We always think twice before throwing out any scraps of fabric or left over wool. When we finally make the hard decision that we won’t personally use it the local kindergarten or op shop benefits from a donation. In the past recyling was borne out of necessity rather than any desire to reduce waste.Many of our favourite crafts began their history in this way.

Candelwicking is a form of embroidery that traditionally is worked with unbleached cotton thread on a piece of unbleached calico. When America was being settled the women travelling in wagons reduced their belongings to the minimum. There was no room for anything frivolous such as embroidery. As the Flour bags became empty the women started creating their own form of embroidery reusing the thread that had held the bags together.

With our recent fascination with Japanese Crafts continuing, Sashiko is being rediscovered. While this craft is largely decorative today, it too was primarily a method of recyling fabric to last that little bit longer. Initially used to repair worn patches it was also used as form of quilting. Multiple layes of fabric were stitched together using the unique stitch. Sashiko means little stabs,, Sashiko however the running stitch effect is actually acquired using a rocking motion necesaary to stitch through the layers of fabric.

Go to any quilt show and you will see amazing examples of recyled craft. Crazy Patchwork quilts embellished with decorative stitches are indicative of harsher times. Again early settlers can be credited with this now popular art form. As blankets and clothes began to wear out , the worn pieces were discarded and the remainder was patched together. Stitching was added to seams to strengthen further. Over time this stitching became more decorative than functional and the everlasting Crazy Patchwork Style had begun.

Old Woollen Jumpers are being given a new lease of life thanks to recyling. Jumpers are being washed in extremely hot water to delibrately felt them. At this stage they are cut and resewn into bags, soft toys and throws. Visit or for ideas.

So the next time you find yourself having to justify your crafting passion just say that you are doing your bit to reduce waste. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle!

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