Friday, July 29, 2011

Upcycling Book Review

Two of my latest reads:
"Sewing Green" would be a good one for people with a limited craft library.  It has a lot of projects in it that I already have plenty of patterns for (tote bags/market bags, napkins, and cushions and the ubiquitous pillowcase dress!)  There is a VERY cute baby hat and puppy softie that is definitely on my "to make" list and some recycled sweater slippers that I would like to try.  Unfortunately the author does have rather a thing for felting cashmere sweaters, and even more unfortunately, my local op shops don't often have an abundance of cheap cashmere sweaters.  The book has quite a few "Eco Innovator' profiles on different designers and eco-friendly project groups like Alabama Chanin and Mors Bags which were an interesting read.
All in all quite a pretty, inspirational book but I am just a jaded old bookworm who already has a lot of patterns for similar projects!

One lovely surprise has been Pip Lincolne's "Sew, La, Tea, Do" which I borrowed from my local library.  I have Pip's first book, and love it, but was reluctant to buy this one until I had first seen how many projects I liked in it.  Not because it isn't a lovely, quality book, but because I do find that Australian titles can be pretty expensive (and that is a reflection on our publishing industry not on the wonderful authors that get a pittance for their work!)  Once again, as with her first book, "Meet Me at Mikes" it has a lovely vintage, retro, nostalgic feel and quite a few simple reminds-me-of-childhood sewing patterns.  Very suitable for beginners.  It also has quite an "upcycled" feel to it as a lot of the projects use patchworky/scrappy bits and/or repurposed clothes.  I like the shirt front cushion covers and the cute kids clothes.  I like the simplicity and the unfussiness of this book, and I like Pip's learn and pass it on mentality.  I now have my local patchwork store ordering it in for me!

Have you been following the artsy ants upcycle week?  I liked their idea of lengthening t-shirts as I have quite a long torso and a flabby tummy and frequently tshirts seem just a bit too short to not show my flabby midriff!
I was thinking this morning about the amount of repurposing/upcycling my parents and grandparents did.  As one of four adventurous little country kids, my track suits often wore out on elbows and knees and my Mum's solution to this was to "patch" the holes with applique.  I remember a blue tracksuit with bunches of bright balloons on the knees, and one that had a kite with the kite string as little ribbon bows all down the leg.  I remember feeling very special wearing my designer trackies!

My grandmother's garden was, and still is, an upcycling fantasy.  She has planted into old boots, sinks, bathtubs, worn out teapots, and barrels from the inside of washing machines.  Inside the house, potplants grow out of recycled port or sherry bottles (and I remember my Mum had a macrame hanger with plants in green wine bottles too!)

I wonder why we have lost the ability to repurpose and make do along the way?  My dear friend brought me back a key ring from the Vic and Albert and it is a big metal button that says "Make Do and Mend"  I love its constant reminder.

On a totally unrelated topic, I am hoping to bind two quilts this weekend. Emma from has just finished quilting three tops for me (she has them up on her website)  Her work is just exquisite.  Hannah is very excited that her quilt is so close to being finished (finally!)
Have a great weekend,
Keep smiling,

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