Sunday, April 23, 2017

Earth day

I'm late but happy earth day!

Locally,  earth day is about cleaning up the streams and abandoned areas and volunteering at non profit organizations and charities.   As most of us know,  it all started back in the early 70s when Americans were guzzling petroleum products and just starting to be concerned with the state of our land and waterways.   We've come far but there's still a lot we can do.

"How can we tie knitting and crocheting with earth day" you ask.   Let's start with the easy stuff of the mantra reduce, re-use, recyle, make do or do without.

1.  Use reusable shopping bags.   Then we don't have to have so many of those cheap grocery bags.  These are being made to disintegrate in the landfills.  If they don't get used quick enough from date of manufacturing they start falling apart in the boxes and that spells trouble for shoppers. Have you had a bag split in the parking lot dropping something breakable?  This  is annoying and expensive.   You can purchase reusable shopping bags or you can make them.

Some would have you use those plastic bags to make something more permanent and sturdier.   I encourage you not to do this.   Kitchen cotton such as sugar and creme peaches and cream are fabulous.  Acrylic yarns can do a great job, possibly better than the cottons.

However,  in the reduce, re-use and recycle vein, what about tarn?  Have you heard about this?  Recycle your old t-shirts.  I have a bunch that have seen better days. Over the years,  tiny holes open in the fabric.  These shirts then make it to my ok for cleaning or other dirty activity wardrobe. But eventually even that part of the closet becomes overflowing and something must be done. So I make tarn. 

Here is a quick run-through of my process.
     1. Lay shirt flat on a solid surface. Smooth wrinkles.
     2. With a scissor or rotary cutter (think pizza wheel for fabric) cut across shirt from under arm seam to under arm seam.  Remove the neck/sleeve portion.
     3.  Using a yardstick,  cut across the body in even and straight strips,  ending 2 inches from the fold.
     4.  Pick up the fabric.  Using scissors,  cut, angling up from one cut to the very next one.  Taper ends if desired.  This will give you a continuous strip. 
     5.  Stretch to cause curling as you wrap into a ball or wrap in a ball and stretch as you knit or crochet with it.

Patterns abound for shopping bag and market bags.  Choose from flat to those with a more boxlike shape to string bags.

Oh and don't toss those bits not used.  They are great for dirty jobs instead of buying paper towels.

2.  I've talked before about frogging sweaters to get a luxury fiber that is either out of my budget or just not available to me.  But, have you changed shape? Kids grown?   Usually our wardrobes are centered around a few colors that mix and match.   If you've shrunk, first congratulations on your weight loss.  Second consider donating the clothes outgrown so others can utilize.  Third, frog appropriate garments that work well together and rework into a garment that will fit your new body.

3.  Make due with what you have.  This is a harder one.   Are some of your clothes and soft home furnishings looking i bit faded?  Maybe you can't stand the dated colors but can't afford new.  Or perhaps you can't see spending  $$ when there's nothing wrong with the things except for the color.   Here's where dye can be a huge help.

Any natural fibers can be dyed.  Synthetic fibers are a mixed bag.   Some will take dye, some won't.   Rit dyes found in most grocery stores and craft stores are readily available. They work well with natural fibers.  They even say that synthetic fibers will work with their dye.  The few times I tried synthetics, i didn't have success.  Light colors can go darker. Dark colors can go darker. Plant fibers can be bleached out with rit color remover.  Animal fibers will be damaged by the color remover process. Synthetics have the color in the structure of the thread and is part of the processing. These can't have the color removed.