Thrift: putting it to work

Sometimes I think I must’ve been born thrifty - I just can’t help myself.  And there are times when I wish I wasn’t, because it would save me a hell of a lot of time and effort.  

Food - Don't Waste It British Poster from Imperial War Museum

On the whole though, practising thrift does bring much satisfaction, providing everything turns out right.

So far I’ve enjoyed being resourceful with two charity squares.  The first square was knitted from a yarn that refused to co-operate. 

I was given some stash yarn “it’s pure wool but it’s no good:  look how easily it breaks!”  I thought I had nothing to lose by trying to get a square out of it.  I happily got some of the way when it started thinning out, so that the slightest tension would cause it to break.  Then I came to breaks in the yarn every 10-20cm.   I had to unpick to put the breaks at the beginning of a row so I could avoid knots.

Well I was determined that I would get a square out of this naughty yarn, I wasn’t going to see it wasted in the worm farm!  So persist I did.  And there were times when I was calmed by just enjoying the harmonious colours of the yarn resting on the needles.

It was worth it in the end because now I have one more charity square to donate.

The second troublesome thrifty square was crafted from the extra glove that didn’t work out.  How could I turn this into a 25cm square?  It was too small and rectangular, with wobbly edges and uneven tension.  I had made it worse by randomly crocheting on rows to use up leftover yarn, and to try and get it to size. 

 I could not switch off my thrifty mind which insisted on getting a use out of it.

So I decided to crochet around the outside till it grew to the right size.  (Later, I discovered that this is a common approach known as edging!)

I figured out I could gather up the ‘ease’ on the floppy side by decreasing the stitches, and decided to predetermine the same number of stitches per side by eyeballing with safety pins. 

 This didn’t work at all because the edge just didn’t fit, and it went all curly. 

It meant I had to unpick, and re-mark which stitches to work.  The safety pins were more time consuming than I thought, so instead I tacked around before taking the pins out.  In the end it didn’t work either, still too few stitches for a flat edging.

So my third idea was to use a smaller hook, do many more stitches, and this time COUNT!  The first round went ok, and I realised the importance of counting consistent stitches.  I used the safety pins again, but decided 4 stitches should go between each marker.  This way it could take up slack but with enough detail to go unnoticed.

What I forgot to do was the correct number round the corners.  So there was more unpicking and a fourth attempt.  It’s true that it would’ve been quicker to frog the whole thing and start again.  But I was gonna get a square out of this, dammit!
The square got done with much relief and satisfaction and I could say that in the end, I even liked the bastard.


I’m slowly enjoying every morsel of my new book.  I’m starting to look at things with a new perspective and it’s very refreshing.

I found India’s Flint's sewing circle, Found Stitched Dyed and began to glean images in my head.

I spotted a hole and suddenly my mouth started watering.  I could not wait to get my hands on it!

I had darned before in the past but it was improvised and I didn’t know I was actually darning.  Interestingly, it was just common sense and I had done it correctly.

Some years ago during the Keep Calm and Carry On craze, I’d bought this book.  Now at last I could revel in some good old-fashioned instruction and apply some traditional methods.

I first sewed the vertical warp.  There was also an instruction point about covering a wider area which made good sense.

Then I sewed in the weft.  What I didn’t know was that knitted fabrics should have a diagonal weft.  My scant knowledge of fibre behaviour means I don’t yet understand why this is.  So if you know, I’d love to be enlightened!

On closer inspection, I found little holes and quickly gobbled them up.  Usually with one or two cross-like stitches.

Now this jumper has several more years’ wear.  Mending it has provided a feeling of great satisfaction.