Sunday, 9 May 2010

the put to good use swap

After the success of the tea towel swap we're doing it again people! The put it to good use swap is all about sharing our handmaking skills for the things we use on a regular basis. It's about getting away from mass production and consumption, excess packaging, unrecyclable materials and encouraging practicality, mindfulness, beauty and handmadeness in everyday useful things. If you sign up you make a bunch of things, send them to me and then I send you back a bunch of stuff from other swappers. Like Christmas!

Just like last time I want people to have a choice about their level of participation so you'll be able to sign up for 5 or 10 items. Your items don't need to be complicated or expensive but they need to be useful and practical, with at least a nod to green and sustainable credentials, and at least partially hand made. Over the next couple of weeks I'll be posting a bunch of links to ideas and tutorials (and asking you to share your ideas too please!) so people of all skill levels and with any budget should be able to find something to do. Anything that saves packaging, that encourages re-use or recycling, increases the uptake of sustainably produced materials or simply replaces shop bought with handmade gets the tick.

Here's a few ideas to start with:
  • re-useable produce or shopping bags. There's heaps of patterns and tutorials for lightweight sewn, knitted and crocheted produce and shopping bags.
  • I've heard about but not seen a 'double knitting' dish washer/scrubber cloth to replace non recyclable sponges using cotton yarn on one side and rough string on the other - I want this one!
  • lunch sacks and food wrappers - I've seen great ones made from oil cloth and wetsuit material. - Just a note to say wrappers designed to actually contact food (as opposed to sacks for carrying already boxed or wrapped food) need to be food safe. Many PVC coatings on oil cloth are not food safe so if you wanted to make wrappers you would need to verify food safety. Does anyone know how this can be done or where food safe wrap fabric can be bought?
  • hankies, serviettes, travel cutlery sets.
  • home made soap, massage oil, bath salts, air freshners
  • knit or crochet wash cloths
  • tea towels (although those of us who did the tea towel swap are probably tea toweled out!)
  • curry pastes, spice mixes, tea blends (although need to think about safe transport for food especially if there's an international and hence customs component)
The 'how to' fine print:
  1. You need to send your items to me, along with a self addressed pre paid post satchel (3kg size) so they arrive during the last week of June. That gives you 6 or 7 weeks to get your items made and sent. Don't send them earlier because I don't have the space to store stuff for ages and don't send them later because with this swap I will need to put aside the time to do the sort and distribution - if you miss the deadline your items will be returned to you. Which would be very sad! If the timing doesn't work for you but you are keen, please email me to see if we can sort something out before you sign up. I'll get them sent out pretty fast after I have them so you should get them in the first week of July or so.
  2. Your items need to be post safe - if they are fragile they need to be well packed to prevent breakage - and not too big and obviously not explosive. 10 of your items must be able to fit in a 3kg post satchel and weigh less than 3kg in total.
  3. Every item you send must be tagged in some way so it can be identified as coming from you (your name and/or online identity - a way for the recipient to be able to contact you to say thank you!). But remember that wrapping and tags add weight and size - so keep the packaging to a minimum.
  4. I am thinking of this as an Australian based swap - international swappers are welcome, though they need to contact me to sort out postage costs and need to ensure their packages arrive to me by the deadline.
  5. I will do my very best in the the sort and distribution process to get a good mix for everyone and accommodate any exclusion requests (like I'm allergic to cotton or the smell of lavender gives me a migraine) but I can only guarantee the overall number of items you will receive will be fair, not the nature of the items. I won't be wrapping or otherwise doing anything to items other than dividing them up between the bags.
  6. If you would like to sign up please send me an email by 30 May with the following information in the following format all on one line, separated by commas (ie, don't use the return key!)

    real name, name to be used publicly, email, blog address, number of items you wish to send and receive, any additional comments

    here's an example:

    suzie fry, sooz,,, 10, please avoid pink
I hope you'll join in and feel free to post on your blogs to let people know about it!


peskypixies said...

sounds good...
do you have to make 10 of the SAME items??

sooz said...

I don't think they need to be the same, though since they will all be going to different people you could save yourself some effort by making them all the same! Obviously you won't get all the same items back.

Tanya said...

Sounds great- just a query on oilcloth though, I understand it's not all food safe (bit plasticy toxic??) so people would want to be confident about materials used for lunch wraps etc.

Cass said...

This sounds very similar to a swap I did last year and am currently doing for Sew It Together so let me know if you want any info

eeloh said...

I made some muesli last week and it turned out great. Would that be ok? Hmmm, what to wrap it up in?

sooz said...

Tania - Excellent point! Wraps designed to actually contact food would need to have the materials pass a food safety standard - I'll add this in to the post.
Cass - Thank you - I'll be happy to get any tips from your experience!
Eeloh - I think this would be a great idea but would bust the sized/weight restrictions.

Magdalena, The Craft Revival said...

Yay, another one of Sooz's famous swaps. I'm in. Super excited.

Nycole said...

Will be my first ever swap - very excited!

Beke said...

this is a fanitastic idea!! I Love it. I am a crafter, but lately been very slack :( (aww the joys of motherhood) But this, along with my own push to create again, is a good idea to get back into using my mind to create :)

cassiescuddles said...

Sounds fun, count me in! I'll send you an email.

mrsbutters said...

The oilcloth addict blog has some information on using oilcloth and laminated cotton for food bags etc.

Michelle said...

I would love to join up, is it too late?

sooz said...

michelle, I will accept a late sign up if you get it to me asap!