As part of our Christmas and New Year special, we reached out to local Tyneside makers and sellers who are transforming used materials into something special. This edition features Scatty Knits, creator of fantastic recycled hand knitted mittens, beanies as well as dog snoods and coats.
Scatty Knits - how did it all begin?
"I was lucky to meet and work with two inspiring eco makers in 2017. I loved the way they were making amazing creations from what everyone else would throw away. That laid the idea that maybe I could do that too! So Scatty Knits was born. The aim was to be zero waste and use every scrap to produce anything and everything."
Why is upcycling and recycling materials important to you?
"As will.i.am said ‘its only waste if we waste it’. I think we all know that the disposable consumer culture we live in is so damaging to the environment. Our resources are not infinite and a definite change is needed in how we consume these resources. The fabrics and other material I use are unsold clothes from charity shops (which would be shipped to landfill abroad) or cutting room floor waste."
How do you feel about Christmas shopping?
"It’s not a lie when I say that when someone buys from Scatty Knits that I do a little happy dance. Think Snoopy from the Peanuts cartoon! I then text my partner and my family as they always want to know what has sold.
"I hope my customers know every purchase rescues fabric from landfill rather using newly manufactured material. I think that while the large chains are beginning to understand the environmental as well as the social issues involved in production, there is still a huge gap in the transparency of how much they pay their workers and also whether their sustainability policies amount to little more than greenwashing.
"The ‘shop small, shop local’ is always a good rule of thumb when shopping."
Tell us about your favourite items
"I’ve got go for two fav items – definitely my best sellers are the sweater mittens. I love that I’m able to take damaged knitwear and make a functional and fun production. Particularly satisfying is making custom mittens for special requests like extra liners or a specific size.
"But on a personal note the one I’m most proud of is the kintsugi snood. Scatty is all about the ‘no scrap left behind’ – it’s like my zero waste code. So I don’t throw any fabric away, if it can be pieced together it is or if not it becomes stuffing in draught excluders."
"The kintsugi snood is a celebration of all the leftover cashmere scrap, highlighted with golden thread to focus on the patchwork that makes the recycle part of the story of the new product."
Tell us something random!
"Did you know that in Babooshka Kate Bush is singing ‘All yours’ Babooshka not Aiya as I sang for years…
"I appeared on stage for a year as a camel in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreams in the Arts Theatre, Belfast. ( I was also singing not just always in a camel suit!)"