Scrappy Happy Hippy Dippy

You may have heard that we’ve been having a little cold snap in Europe lately. As in OMIGOD IT’S FREAKIN’ COLD!

Oh, good. More snow.

Not as bad here as some places, of course. (Not that I would crazy enough to live in those places, anyway.) But it’s definitely been a good couple of weeks for lots of online videos and indoor projects.

I have a lot of craft supplies. Really a lot. Now that they are all stacked up on open shelves in my craft room I can see that I’m pretty much maxed out here. There’s no way it will all fit in our little NoVA house when we go home. So, I’m on a mission to find ways to use what I have.

I have a ton of fabric from Latin American and Africa. I’ve been keeping it for years, feeling like I needed to have a Good Reason to use it.

Handwoven ikats from Bolivia and Guatemala.

Well, I’ve decided that just using it is a good reason to use it. And my living room pillows are wearing out. So, I set about making new covers for them. It was strangely liberating to just slash away at the stack. Since none of the fabrics really go together, I came up with some crazy-pieced pillow covers. I’ll probably embellish them with a bit more embroidery and then finish the slipcovers with recycled jeans on the back sides. They will certainly be durable–these fabrics were made to be beaten on a rock in the river, after all.

Hippy-dippy pillows.
Closer up.

These are perhaps not to everyone’s taste. In fact, they would have looked right at home in my parents’ old VW bus–the one with no back seat, batik window curtains and the glass doorknob for a gearshift. But that could also be why I like them so much!  🙂

Now, what to do with stacks of African batiks? I have already made some into wall quilts but a person only has so much wall. I have always been a little fascinated with rag rugs. So, inspired by my friend Valerie’s scrappy baskets, I started cutting strips and messing around with them. I came up with this basket.

Rag basket.

I don’t think I made it in the most efficient way, but I like the way it turned out. It’s a nice little knitting basket that keeps the yarn from rolling around while I am knitting.

I have more of the strips, and I’m working on another basket in a different shape that is coming out out faster, flatter and smoother. I think this technique has a lot of potential for a variety of projects–baskets, purses, placemats, and so on. Maybe even an actual rug, but I don’t think I’d use batiks for that. Maybe old jeans?

Finally, a couple of weeks ago I finished my first pair of gloves. They weren’t as difficult as I thought they would be. They even have flaps for texting! Unfortunately, they are a little on large side for me, but could make a nice gift. I’m going to try the pattern again with one size smaller needles.

So, that’s one way I am staying busy and warm during what is definitely my least favorite time of year! When life gives you lemons…


  1. I love those gloves. Especially the flaps. You can send them here! Though we are having a bit of a heat wave now… it is 35 degrees out. Will probably be back in the single digits tonight.


    • Just in case you didn’t get it, I am always amazed at your craft work. I wish I had the patience.


    • Baskets are interesting. If you can get a lot of sap free (winter) willow and other small branches, and soak them for w while, then you can just look at a basic basket to get a form and start weaving. I have made a number of freeform baskets this way. I local artist does some incredible ones.


  2. Those are fantastic projects! Love the bright colors, they just make you smile! And as far as the cold snap – I am jealous. We are in summer and it is stinky, muggy Africa hot, wanting to rain but just won’t. I can’t wait for being in real winter again!


  3. I remember the time we repainted the bus. With housepaint. I think we climbed on top to paint the roof.


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