Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day - wot I did today.

I was told about Blog Action Day by one of the moderators of Bolton Freecycle and as I have already blogged about using plastic bags to knit with, I thought I would help this global environmental effort by ruminating on how I help the environment.

I have knitted with recycled materials - the aforementioned plastic bags and also video and audiotape. I hope to do more of this in the future.

Also, my stash is so enormous I am working through it and only knitting with yarn from my stash. This will taker me about 5 years to use up so I haven't bought any new yarn for about 6 months - this has had a lot to do with me being broke as well though!

I am also a member of my local Freecycle group and so try to stop household goods and other things going to landfill.

The other great thing about being involved in Freecycle is that I have made loads of new friends in the Bolton area; some of whom are quite creative types. Having lived in Bolton since 1989, I can safely say I have met the most interesting people within this last year through Freecycle.

I am also a keen bookcrosser, which means that I sometimes buy new books but those that I do buy I pass onto to others through bookcrossing. That's the theory anyway - I now have so many books in my house I can't see the floor in some rooms; at least I am saving money on carpet and floorcoverings...

If I can't pass books on or they are too old and battered to be read anymore, I recycle them through the wastepaper collection run through the local council.

It is "bin day" tommorrow so I have sorted out my plastic, tin and bottles ready to go into the green crate, which is collected every fortnight. I also have a bulging bag of wastepaper. (This is collected every week by a company called Paperchase, who raise money for Bolton Hospice I think).

I also demanded a huge green wheelie bin from the council when they came available. They were understandably reluctant as my house isn't big enough and posh enough to earrant a big bin all of my very own. They have been proved right, unfortunately - I only have a small back yard and an even smaller front garden but I still should be filling it to the brim every fortnight. However, usually I only manage a few pathetic onion and potato peelings which lie sadly at the bottom of the bin.

So I should try harder at that really.

I also help the environment by not driving a car - this is more because I am too poor to afford one and also most importantly, I am useless at driving! I have the attention span of a flea, get easily distracted by Lloyd Loom chairs outside shops and the like while driving with an instructor and cannot grasp the concept of clutch control. So I have never managed to pass a test.

I should be a green bike rider and pedal everywhere but I am useless at that as well. I do toy with the idea of buying an adult trike every so often and enjoy dreaming about cycling to the shops like Catweazle. In reality, I would probably show the same road sense demonstrated when driving and thus be a danger to small children, old people and animals of all description.

The other thing I do daily to help the environment is being a VEGAN. People try and make me feel guilty about the rainforests being burnt in order to grow soya but I take no notice - that soya is being grown for cattle feed, not my milk, so there. (I have no idea if this is true).

So I am a bit of a flawed eco-warrior really but I probably do more than most people, maybe.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Under the Hoodie

In the last month or so I've been busy knitting, rather than blogging which is the way it should be really I suppose!

Having owned the wonderful Stich n' Bitch Handbook for years I thought it was about time I attempted to make something from it rather than just looking at the pictures.

I have lots of Sheena Anne acrylic mohair look yarn which I have accumulated over the years (I think it used to be sold in Poundstretcher) and I thought two patterns in particular would give me the ideal opportunity to use some of these up and reduce my enormous stash.

Having made some gloves and a stripy beanie (which doesn't suit me) from some dark and pale green Sheena Anne I thought the Under the Hoodie project would be ideal to use up the rest of the balls I have.

I also incorporated a trim made from some bright green Sirdar Valentino that Bev passed onto me when I started knitting again.

It didn't take me long to knit at all; about 3 weeks and I am particularly proud of getting the pocket in the right place.

Here it is in progress:

And here it is more or less completed. I just have the sleeves to sew on now so should be done within the next five years.

Of course I have no idea if it will fit my enormous bulk...

The second project is Pin Up Queen by Annie Modesitt. I doubt I shall look like a pin up queen in it once finished, but a girl can dream.

I am using six balls of white Sheena Anne that I got from a charity shop and the gauge seems about right. I have decided to do the neck and front "busty bit" in a mixture of Jaeger Siena cotton in a pale coffee colour and some white Patons Cotton Splash I picked up somewhere or other. This is because I thought a mohair-ish neckline might be a bit itchy and also a bit of texture over my bosoms might be a good idea.

I started it last weekend, just before the latest meeting of Bolton Knitting Noras and I have completed the back already.

Marvellous what you can get done when off work with a sore throat.

Friday, October 05, 2007

How to cut up a placky bag...

Further to massive public demand (well, one request!) I will dedicate this post to instructions on how to cut up a plastic bag into strips suitable for knitting.

These instructions are my take on those given in Simply Knitting (October issue I think) .

First take a plastic bag:

Cut off the handles (top part) and the bottom (seamed part)

You will now have a big plastic tube.

Now fold the plastic tube up so that there is about 2cms showing at the top.

Cut into the rolled up part of the bag so that there are strips of about 2cm wide. Do not cut up to the top of the bag (if you do, it isn't the end of the world but you will have short strips and you will have to tie the strips together).

You should then have a piece of plastic with plastic strips hanging down.

Cut into the top part of the strip diagonally to the left so that you get a continual strip (like orange peel).

If you cut too enthusiastically or too straight and get shorter strips, don't worry, you can tie them together.

Then roll the strip into a ball and repeat with more carrier bags, knotting the strips together as you go.

Presto! A ball of plastic strips...