Using waste materials to create new and bespoke products such as soft toys and felted material
By keeping hold of every off-cut, every snippet of yarn, and every last drop of dye, new products can be brought to life. The first port of call is to collect all the larger pieces of fabrics that haven’t been used. These pieces of fabric are taken and made into small children’s toys.
Each toy is based upon an original drawing/design, and although they may take on a similar shape, they are all completely unique. Yarns are recycled to create details through embroidery or needle felting techniques, while smaller pieces of fabric are appliquéd. By using up leftover fabrics, everything remains 100% natural and chemical-free, which is why a natural Kapok fibre was chosen for stuffing. Further scraps are made during the process of pattern cutting, but these are still collected up to be patched together to make a larger piece of cloth. When pieces get so small that they can no longer be sewn back together, they are mixed in with stuffing or added to a collection of small scraps and other odd ends.
The final means of recycling takes place in the form of felting. Wet felting is used to create bespoke pieces of material that are randomly patterned with snippets of previous makings. The base is made up of British wool fibre, but sometimes combines other fibres that are not regularly used, such as soybean. To keep everything natural, soaps and detergents are carefully selected. I use the most natural/plant-based products I can find including Method Laundry, Ecover, Soak Wash and a handmade natural wool soap by Hey Mama Wolf Yarns. This natural soap bar contains lanolin and citronella that cares for wool, your skin and keeps moths away. After the wet felting process, fly away pieces are needle felted in place to create a sturdy piece of fabric. Usually the felt becomes quite thick and heavy, but each piece will vary both in weight and in size. When finished, each piece is sold as a bespoke piece of material. While not all fibres can be wet felted, any leftovers are used for needle felting or are included in the stuffing of soft toys.