It appears that I was a whirlwind of crafting creativity and energy this past year. Not only did I create over 20 knit and crochet projects and hand sew and hand quilt 3 complex quilts I also got carried away with a host of ‘other’ crafty activities In 2020.
I made luxurious cold processed soaps for my local NHS workers as soon as the implications of COVID-19 became clear. These were gifted to receptionists, Nurses, Drs and others supporting the front line. Not forgetting the obligatory face mask production for NHS receptionists, friends and family.
Re-Upholstering the Dining room set
I got a little carried away with this one.... I'd had an end of roll of upholstery fabric which I bought for seven quid several years ago. I'm not sure what I had in mind when I purchased it - it was a pretty looking fabric, all vines and leafy.
To say that our dining room chairs were looking a little tired was being kind. The old fashioned green seats were wearing scarily thin and you could see the padding through what was left of the fabric.
I hadn't done anything with them, other than rotating their use to try and save the fabric for as long as possible. Oh I'd talked about re-covering the seats but never found the time to do it.
Then lockdown hit and I began to go stir crazy. Plus of course we were all (adults and kids) in the house and the chairs were getting even more use than ever before. So I jumped into action and stripped down the first chair before I really had time to think.
I ended up completely refurbishing all of the chair, unscrewing every piece, sanding down and re-staining the wood, not just removing and replacing the fabric on the cushions. Luckily the padding was usable, I simply needed to cut new templates from the original fabric. Another reason you want to re-upholster sooner than later, you can use the original to create pattern pieces as long as they are not shredded themselves.
There was liberal use of a staple gun, to replace the staples tensioning the fabric after I had removed the originals with pliars. My fingers were very sore for a while after this project. Although there was a fab theraputic quality to ripping out the original staples.
Seeing the finished chairs each day is still several months on very satisfying.
Making rugs for the kitchen
This was an earlier project. I realised in mid January that we still had a Christmas Robin circular rug in the kitchen. I wondered how we had overlooked this, our deccys go back in the loft in swift order on 1st January each year.
Once the rug had been removed safely into storage I realised very swiftly why the it had remained. My feet were freezing on the kitchen slabs, jogging while washing up at the sink may be good for the figure but it gets tiring very quickly.
So I decided to upcycle some of my old duvet sets into a couple of Amish style rag rugs.
I snipped and ripped a double sized duvet and its pillow covers into 2 inch strips, which I separated into lighter and darker colours. Knotting and weaving them into a simple stripe pattern was very satisfying.
The purple striped circle worked up really easily and evenly, however my experiment with an oval rug does have a rather unfortunate bulge on one side. It's OK as I hide it squished away under kitchen the unit. The oval rug was made from 1" strips, making a thinner rug, but I got more strips of fabric from the double duvet this time around. It's worth experimenting to find your preferred weight/width of fabric strips to work with. If making another rug I'd definately opt for 2" strips for a thicker rug.
The bonus is that these rugs can regularly be run through the washing machine to keep the lights bright, as dirty feet are often traipsed through the kitchen, not to mention food spillages!
Milk and Honey Soap
This was a make with a difference. I wanted something special, to play with cold process soap making. IT went a little wrong, I mistook quantities and used way more honey than I should have done, I also didn't melt the bees wax enough. What I got as a result was a wonderful exfoliant bar!
Creamy lather with a slight roughness (the unmelted tiny wax pellets). This was gifted to afamiy fairly quickly and I Was asked to make a second batch midway through the year. My first ever repeat make following my own design rather than a new experiment.
Rainbow Luxury Soap
This was made to gift to all the NHS workers I knew. Receptionists, Nurses Drs etc were desperate for some hand care after the harsh astringents they were using in the beginning of lockdown.
My second repeat design. If I couldn't do much else for friends and family at least I could keep them stocked with soap in 2020.
It has been a year of strange and unusual makes, experimentation and a lot of heart has gone into my making activities. What unexpected DIY projects did you take on this year?