I’ve had the loveliest evening, listening to a favourite band with interesting lyrics, while making miniature bunting/ yarn tags/ fibre art tags.

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Now, I’m using tags in the graffiti sense, a street artist leaving art that has a strong flavour /signature/ handle that others recognise. These are the first pieces of dozens, maybe hundreds I will be making for an event next month in London.

However, they are very easy and pleasing to do, and you can adapt the technique to make your own festive bunting/ tree decorations/ or even tags for gifts to crafty friends. The best thing is, they CAN be made entirely from leftovers, in fact, they are richer and more interesting if they are! Just like a patchwork quilt where you can look back and see a favourite shirt, summer dress, band Tshirt…twice the happiness!

How do I acquire all these snippets? Basically, whenever I make anything, instead of sweeping the snips and trimmings into the bin, I save them in a clear plastic bag. At a sew or knit event, I’ve been known to sweep up everyone’s snips! Some ofΒ  Truly Hooked’s yarn trimmings are in this batch, I am not a great one for pink πŸ˜‰

Then, when I need a variety of materials and really don’t want to cut into a block of fabric, out come the bags. Seeing what I have available, pulling out particularly appealing pieces and mixing and matching makes the wheels start turning, and then I might seek out some larger remnants or a particular yarn…It’s a really great way to gently ease back into making if you’re unsure what to do next or feeling blocked or downhearted, the variety of colours and textures is like a salve to bruised feelings πŸ˜‰

DSC_0012-001So, what have we here? Chopped off bits of felting, leftover machine cords, trimming edges on something in yellow gingham (I am sooo drawing a blank on what THAT was!!) a couple of inches of rust ribbon, a bit of rainbow chiffon with automatic stitch patterns to embellish…hmmm….

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Punchinello (the plastic foil sequins are punched out of) can be torn in half, if you start at a corner and work slowly, and then it’s much more bendy, which helps. You can see a seam edge from a charity shop blouse lovely Robyn gifted me, mmm, patterned kingfisher/ teal shiny satin! by cutting very close to the seam I got the most remnant for use, but also created an interesting ‘string’. There is a theory of proportions, called the Golden Mean, the human eye likes things to be divided by thirds, so because the white stitching makes a third of the strip, it looks very pleasing. Otherwise I could make it work by having one third and two thirds of a piece of fabric either side of an interesting line of stitching. Sometimes you can make something jump out by breaking this rule, it snags the eye, it all depends what effect you want whether it’s ‘right’ or not!

Because I have lots of interesting snippets, I can work quite fast, the trouble I have is not getting out everything in the studio πŸ˜‰Β  oh, i have a button somewhere that would be just right, or where is that ladder yarn I was using the other day? Staaaaaaaaaaap! Challenging myself to work as much as possible from the one bag really helps πŸ˜‰

DSC_0028Making a series is good, I get quicker and quicker and then I can string them together by stitching them onto a machine cord or a piece of braid or a ribbon and voila! I have bunting πŸ™‚ Well worth a try, and good fun to do when you are going on holiday and can’t take much with you. Coming to a tree or a railing near you soon, yours or mine?

Complex cloth is good for using up leftover scraps or strips of fabric and ribbon. I used Thorntons choccie wrappers, they are plastic/foil and I need to make some waterproof embellishers too. Cut a 6″ or 20cm square of backing cloth, I used umbrella fabric someone gave me. Pin the wrappers along the fold line so you can stitch anchors in the strong sections – put the needle down first, then sew slowly, with strong thread, using a wider zigzag so the strain is spread across the fragile plastic/foil. Unpin everything, and pick a pattern stitch you like and can curve with, in a contrasting colour. Again, needle down first, start slowly and set the pattern stitch to be wider than usual. Draw lines of stitch to please you, but also anchor your scraps. This is easy for quilters, but just keep it simple and slow, and even beginners can get it right πŸ™‚

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Now cut out the shape of your bunting – draw on the back if it helps – and save the scraps! This is a double winning technique!

Here are my hearts, and you can see a pile of scraps to the side – they can be used in the tags or as dolly bunting or as spacers between bigger bunting shapes πŸ™‚

Again, very simple, very pleasing, and a great way to make something fromwhat would otherwise go in the bin, to landfill. Zero waste rocks!

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