Cheap and Cheerful

Brightly coloured acrylic yarn

The other day I was faffing about in Instagram when someone posted a picture of a bulk pack of lime green acrylic yarn from Spotlight (Spotlight is a chain here in Australia selling craft stuff and homewares). “Ew!” said the comments. “Gross!”. Not so much the colour, apparently, as the fact it was cheap acrylic. “Oh do fuck off” I said to myself, and unfollowed the yarn snob.

A considerable portion of my yarn stash is, sorry yarnsnobs, cheap acrylic. Sometimes I buy it because I like the colour, sometimes I buy it because it’s cheap. Sometimes I buy it because there’s a big bag of it and I think “I.. I need that”.  As much as I’d like to be able to use hand spun hand dyed terribly expensive yarn all the time, I can’t afford to. Nor can I justify a hand spun purchase for making the small and usually pointless objects I make. The yarn above is a novelty yarn from Spotlight and the colours just bliss me right out. It’s acrylic, mostly. It’s going to look mad and fabulous once it’s worked up into a vest. I shall wear it with joy, assuming I can upsize the pattern sizing. Stay tuned.

Quick aside, but acrylic these days is a long way from the acrylics of old. There’s a ball of yarn around here somewhere from years ago which is stiff and scratchy. These days acrylics can be soft and warm and lovely – we’ve come a long way, baby. Even the $1 a ball stuff I’ve got crammed in a basket is pretty nice to handle. Sure, it’s not pure wool nice or hand spun nice, but it’s not making me weep with sadness to use it. This big range of soft, quality acrylics means a bigger range for people with wool allergy or vegan principles. Hooray!

I’m a big, big believer in crafting being completely and fully accessible to anyone who wants to have a go. Despite what the Martha Stewarts of the world want you to think, there’s no need to spend half your wages on supplies. Currently, I’m gathering the bits together to make a cape for Winter. The outer fabric will be cut from a blanket I got at the op-shop for $10. My plan for the lining is a doona cover I .. well I got it at the op-shop for $4.  Add the pattern into the pricing and you’re looking at around $30 total. Possibly some swearing and whatnot also as it’s quite a complicated pattern. Even so, buying this fabric off the bolt would probably be $30 without the lining or pattern.

If you want to spend the money on the higher end of the supplies market, by all means go for it. It’s your money and your crafting time. The supplies are there for you to buy, but it’s a great thing that price points are so varied for supplies.  It’s lovely to use the high quality stuff, I get that.

Supplies Snobbery isn’t a thing I can get behind. Use what you love, even if it’s a second hand sheet or a bulk pack of cheap yarn. If it makes you happy, and making a thing makes you happy, then grab it and love it I say. I have, as you know, the last word on this subject.

FP: Dragonfly Brooch

Today I finished the Dragonfly Brooch I was working on a while ago. I would have finished it earlier but I put my back out last week while walking the dogs. Having spotted a rabbit, I ran them towards it for a look and fell over a stick. Well done, me. Would have been alright if either dog had then seen the rabbit, but they do have a habit of pretending they haven’t seen things they might be expected to do something about. Anyway, here are the wings in their finished state:


They sort of remind me of those macro photos you see of insects who’ve been covered with dew in the night. Sort of shiny and .. well beady I guess.

Cutting these out is something I do not like. I used to do a bit of shaped plastic canvas work and the cutting out part always made me a bit grumpy. I have not, it has to be said, done the finest job here, but it looks alright.

Dragonfly Brooch

Here is a picture of the finished brooch in some ivy, because I am arty like that. You can see the not so great cutting out, I’m way paranoid I’ll go “Snip” and then find threads and beads scattered everywhere as I’ve cut through a vital part of cardboard. Also the middle section – eyes, head and body, are not strung quite tightly enough, however they are tight enough to hold shape which I suppose is the main thing.

Now I can move on to my secret project – oooOOOoooOOOOO- why secret? Present, it’s a present for someone. It’s exciting not only because I like to give presents, but because I’ll get to break out my latest eBay purchase, a set of delicious embroidery hoops.


Vintage embroidery hoops, thank you so much for asking. Sturdy, proper hoops. I do have a collection of new ones I’ve bought recently, but I tend to snap them. I guess I don’t know my own strength. Or they’re rubbish and cheap. These are lovely and strong with a nice smooth tightening screw on each of them. The smallest there is 3 inches. Exciting!