As a rug hooker I am always trying to find ways to use my linen waste. Linen backing fabric is expensive and being a very strong fiber has potential for reuse. Waste not want not. When was the last time you heard that saying? Perhaps it is time to dust off that old quote from yesteryear. It has come back into fashion as we now call it recycling or green crafting.
One idea that I have shared before but bears repeating is to use the threads themselves. When I have finished hooking a project, I then trim off the excess linen fabric before finishing the piece. If I have a leftover scrap that is pretty long, I will pull out the long threads and wind them onto a card or a spool. This tip also works with saving threads from other linen dress weight fabric. I love the way my hand-wound thread looks on a vintage spool or an embellished tag. I enjoy using my recycled thread as it is pre-cut and ready to sew or embroider with. Think of using it for wrapping packages and gifts, or using small bits for handwork like making a tiny nest for catkins.
This is not a new idea. Back in the day when fabric for garments were hand woven, every last scrap had value. Uses were found for every bit of new and old whether it be bits of string rolled into balls, or worn out fabric turned into quilts or used for stuffing pillows and toys and rags.
I even remember when I was a young child sitting by the window with my Italian Nonni, that a rag man would often walk through the streets of town. I think that the rag man was calling out for discarded rags to take, but now I am not sure of these details. I do remember that he was an old scruffy looking fellow. I think he carried a large rag bag on his back. And of course I was terrified of him. If we were naughty we might hear our grandmother threaten to give us to the rag man! To her defense, my Nonni needed these little bits of leverage because she could not run as fast as we could and I had a great place in her vestibule where she could not find me.
If you have wider pieces of linen to conserve, consider serging or zigzagging the edges of them to keep them from unravelling, sewing several of these strips together to make a piece large enough to stretch on your hooking frame.
Then you can hook something smaller such as my Owl Babies, Signs, Birdhouses, Rose Sewing Case, or Raggedy Ann Flowers patterns. I offer all of these as PDF instant downloadable patterns on my Etsy shop. Or make up your own flower or vegetable or critter to hook. You could even use your initials to make into a small design for a decorative pillow or mat.
Sometimes scrap crafting can bring out your creativity and give you ideas you wouldn’t have had otherwise. I love it when that happens.
Do you have a thrifty craft idea that you would like to share in a comment? Please do!
Thanks for stopping by to visit ~ Karen