Monday, 30 January 2012

Rags and stuff and Rug Aid

An owl with a heart and a pocket though its hard to see it lol
Thats it, thats my Valentine 'make' ....!

Its true that some charity shops over here have become more selective in what they take in, but they have to pay to dump the unsaleable stuff now, so maybe that has something to do with them turning more stuff down.
They cant accept suites for example, unless the foam is labelled fire retardent and theyd have to pay to dump it in landfill if they took it in.

Your right Jeannie 'green' has become a buzz word..........not unlike a fashionable version of the 'mend and make do' of my grandparents day lol
In the 1960s we knitted and crocheted and mended with floral patches and it was as much a fashion statement as it was the need to spend limited cash carefully.
I still floral patch jeans or now though at 62 it may not look that cool any more  .... but my last patch was a 'boro' patch!
It is a good thing that folks are no longer embarrassed to buy and wear 2nd hand, all be it they prefer to call it 'retro'! It saves on landfill, its reusing items that still have useable life in them and its respecting the products weve acquired and produced.
Its shameful that we so carelessly turf things out that could be passed on, not valuing them or the others that might want or need them. 

We have bags left at the door and they are from 'organisations', not charities, and they take whats put in the bag and sell it in the third world, asking high prices for items we've discarded.
They dont use the contents to make mop heads any longer!
I never fill those bags lol

Rug-Aid is charity operating in the Gambia, set up by the internationally renowned rag rugger Heather Ritchie.
Its aim is to teach the blind there to make a living for themselves.
The blind are looked down on by Gambian society, they are 'maimed' and can only beg for money to eat, not work.
But she's taught many to make rag rugs..............clippy rugs, which they are able to sell (for a pittance really ) to tourists.
Amazingly its given many of them a confidence, a little cash to eat with, a sense of purpose and is raising their status ( to human!) amongst the society they live in.
Heather says she goes to the markets over there and buys the cotton tshirts from the stalls that sell the cast offs from our western world.
She then cuts them up into strips so they can be used to make rag rugs.

The Gambians were appalled at first, that she would cut up what they considered to be, still wearable and relatively expensive clothing!
They couldnt afford to buy them to wear but having raised funds, she could go buy them, so the blind might make rugs and earn a living!
It does sound daft doesnt it lol

Rug Aid is a heart warming story of a womans insight and the fact that rugs are made from our cast off clothing, is perhaps the only glimmer of justice in the sale of our 2nd hand clothing, to the third world in that area.
There the value of 'rags' has a value way beyond the financial.
Pop over to the website and read the reports Heather has put together after her visits............its humbling and interesting.

My daughter with her nephew........chuckling at the owl and the pussycat
its heart warming this one if youve a cat...or owl!

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Rag prices rise..../

I think the price of rags must have gone up appreciably.........
there's a shop opened up locally now, where you can take your bags of clothes/textiles and get paid for them by weight...
I think the manager said that they pay 50p a kg.
 He said that one bright spark took his clothing in all soaking wet ( theyd weigh heavier wet of course lol) but was told they wouldnt accept them chummy dumped them outside the shop in disgust!

Its another alternative to giving clothing to charity shops, car booting your cast offs or passing them onto folks free, via a freecycle group.
In fact recently charities have reported that they are stopping their door step collections, because so many bags are being collected, or rather stolen, by others before the charity has had chance to collect them!
Like the increase in lead thefts, seems textiles now have a profitable weight value too.

This should make us rethink our use of textiles/clothing shouldnt it?
That we casually and indiscriminantly cast them away, without due thought to the gathering of the products, the making of the fabrics and the true 'cost' of them to our lives and world.
That we don't mend anymore, we dont darn or patch as we used to do, we so easily now throw clothing/things away.......or worse....replace them with a more fashionable colour at a whim.
But most in our western society wont think twice, some of us will and do already, but most won't.
Although maybe some might since the ecconomic downturn has altered so many lives for the worse?

We used to do jumble sales using the large amount of donations given to us, to fund raise for our cat rescue group.
At the end of them we had a 'rag man' come take what was left and give us a cash in hand amount, dependant on how much  we had to give him.

It was about £120 a ton hed give to us when we started.... a good 20 some years back and although he would berate us for saddling him with bric a brac, books, shoes  and other 'junk' at the end.......he would take the sundry leftovers too for us.
He was adament he would just go to the tip with all that but we knew, and he knew we knew (lol), that he would box the dross and stick it in at the local auctions where he might get a £1 or more for a box of bits.
Am sure shoes would go to the third world somehow and there, folks would pay for them, well worn though most would be.
Metal would have been stockplied in his yard no doubt for he had his contacts.
But by the time we stopped doing the jumble sales, the rag prices had dropped and I can recall him giving us only £25 on one occasion for almost a ton and £5 of that was a 'donation' to the cause he said.....because he liked cats lol and that amount was all but wrung out of him!

We always sorted through what had been donated to us before and again at jumbles, pulling out anything we thought we might get abit more for on our weekly car boot stall.
So by the end what was left was not necessarily that great, but when the rag prices dropped, we tried to seperate afew bags of clothes and saleable items for whichever was the closest charity shop, so they might get a bit for what we passed onto them too, one way or another.

The manager of this new 'recycling' shop says he is opening 2 more shops here abouts yes, the rag prices must have risen alot!

I am reshuffling my work room again, offloading alot and taking it to scrapstore, finding things Id forgotten Id bought dont let me go to another show for at least a year!
If I mention going ............PLEASE remind me about the 2 large bags of unopened new stuff that I have still to play with! lol

Now Im aware I promised a giveaway, I havent forgotten and am gathering a pile of goodies to offer, so I will be telling you about it shortly...I promise.
an interesting site for us stitchers, with english, french and german fabrics to buy

and I love the name of this firm lol

I tried to find out online how much you can get for a ton weight and was gobsmacked to read this!

xStatistics: Price of textiles fetched by second-hand textiles fluctuates (in a similar way to other commodities such as oil and wheat). As at December 2011, virgin clothes (see definition below) were fetching around £1,000 per tonne. This was three times the price of five years before.
This rise has caused an increase in the number of commercial collectors in the UK (including misleading and bogus 'charitable' collectors). It's also led to an increase in the theft of bags left out for house-to-house collections.
'Virgin clothes' means they're as-donated, unsorted. However, once they've been picked over by charity shops (and the best items removed), the remaining items fetch a lower price.

 Obtained from

Maybe I should weigh in all my textiles!

Thursday, 19 January 2012

What not to do with a lottery ticket.....

Sometimes I have to just knit.......but seem to avoid starting big items lol so yet another head hugger.

Another successful trip to scrapstore.......torn in places but made of lovely old cotton, a nightdress....great for dyeing at some point.

Now a warning...........any idea what this below is?

                   I scrunched up the wrong lottery ticket, one I hadnt checked....
so thought Id iron it so it would go through the stores lottery machine for checking .............
Though I ironed on the back side of the ticket, the printed numbers side...........turned black with the heat! How or why Ive no idea lol
I just hope it wasnt a winning ticket! lol

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Cute Ethiopian jumpers and books Im thrilled with

 Well I made another two jumpers with the lovely blue marl wool on the left here. And two folks at work knitted the other three. It is such a nice little pattern.

Ive been meaning to mention some books I bought a while back.... Laura Wasilowski has an interesting fun blog and her applique pieces are beautiful, colourful and show her lively look at life.
The Fuse and Tell Journal Quilts book is choc full of hints and how to's. Im hoping it will help me achieve some fun effects of my own for my grandson. I love her vibrant hangings.
Fanciful Stitches Colorful Quilts is a rich and informative book with lots of ideas to use as inspiration...............its just yummy.

The lush Sew Wild by Alisa Burke which has a dvd with it........which I've yet to a great book for inspiring you to trial out techniques. Its joy is that Alisa uses simple, everyday things..........rather than buying in shed loads of named this, that or the other fancy stuff.
Its a nicely laid out, no fuss book which covers all manner of ideas.

I couldn't resist the Steampunk Softies book............I doubt Ill make any for me but Im SO hoping someone else needs some, so I get to make them anyway lolol Mini art dolls with attitude.........fabulous !
The Love Stitching book by Jan Constantine was a christmas gift, along with pieces of felt and a feather cushion pad.
Her style is very English and some of it quite retro...........Id never heard of her before, but her website shows her style of work which Im sure some of you may find interesting to look at. It is a pageant of British identity.
eg.Psychedelic Psychedelic Fab Love eh!

Then the Fabulous Surfaces book by Lynda Monk...........which covers all manner of ways to use various tissue papers to achieve scrumptious turquoise, copper and rusty looks.
This is published by d4daisy Books Ltd and there are additional workshops online at their website which you can access as a bonus.

Then I popped into the central library and found these .......which are now on my wish list lol

Layered Textiles by Kim Thittichai is a must have book, I must have it ! Again all about techniques and encouraging us to experiment and understand the techniques so we can use them successfully.

Now this book is delicious 'folk quilt applique' by Clare Kingslake. Her style is exquisitely pretty without being frothy....I need this book too now....sigh

I lifted the pic below off her blog - naughty of me - but its distinctly her style so please go and have a look for yourself at her site and blog.......I love her use of light, fresh colours and the books' cover hangings are simply delightful.

And this last book above by Helene Martin is sheer joy with pencil drawn animals and patterns for the stylised applique animals and people. 
Its very reminiscent of Janet Bolton but with an individual twist.
I havent managed to find a website for her as a stitcher, though there is a french journalist and it appears it may be her.

Gosh there are such gifted folks out there and how great we get to read books about them and what they do!
Enjoyyyyy :)