Synthetic fibres (a pledge and a WIP)

Today I was reading a post by Fadanista, who was making a more environmentally-friendly alternative to a fleece jacket from a vintage pattern.

In it she mentions the issue of man-made (i.e. synthetic materials like fleece, nylon, acrylic, etc.) and the negative impact these can have on the environment (as well as on the people wearing them). Apart from the production of such materials, which come from oil basically, one of the key issues is the tiny particles and lints that such garments release in the waterways while being washed and treated. In her post, she mentions some interesting articles and sources (like this one from the Guardian – please visit her blog for more links).

These particles ending up in our waters and oceans, are ultimately contaminating water, as well as are being swallowed by fish and so ending up in the food chain (= on our tables).

I now feel really bad because I know that I have some synthetic yarn and fabric in my stash (not much, but still). There is no good way of dealing with it:

  • if I pass it on, it will still end up in the water
  • if I consign it to the bin, it will end up in landfills where it won’t break down (unlike natural fibres)
  • if I burn it, it will still release polluting fumes (like all oil products)

As she suggested, the only good option may be to “leave it alone” at the bottom of the stash.

Still, I think it’s a good time to have a conversation in the crafting communities about man-made fibres and their ill effects on health and environment. I think of the inexpensive craft packs that are being used in large quantities – the end product may look pretty, but it has a hidden nasty side effect: it pollutes our environment.

So, today I pledge to try and avoid using synthetic fibres as much as possible. I hope others will join in!

~ ~ ~

On the bright side, I had just decided to bring some order to my UFOs queue. There aren’t too many items in there (about five, I think)… still it’s worth dealing with them – do something with them or reuse the yarn.

The first I picked up, is this summer top: Sea top (Ravelry project). It’s made of aran silk and based on Simple Irresistible, a free pattern that I slightly tweaked.

I looked at it again: after measuring the part I had so far (about 1/3) it looks that I casted on too many stitches and is now too large for my size M (even allowing some positive ease for a more flowing line). Despite that, I decided to carry on, because:

  • so I can actually have a better idea of how to alter it the next time around
  • it’s a quick knit, so it’s ok to do extra rows, even if I frog it in the end
  • I’m curious to see how it is in its current version

I’m still expecting to most probably ending up at the frog pond!

A few shots of the top short before it was put on hold… I’ve now added more rows to it and started a new skein. The yarn is an aran silk in Seaweed (one-off stock), it’s soft, drapey and shiny.

There are many other things I wanted to share, but I will leave them for the next posts… one will be about some vintage lace gloves and how they went to some period dances in grand halls.

Until then, take good care x

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

woollens

Until now I have done very little season shopping: I don’t think there is much that I really need and in general I love buying presents that will have some practical use.

On Sunday I visited the Old Spitalfields market with the idea of finding some presents… Sadly, I failed to find anything suitable. The market itself was nice to visit, but I was a bit disappointed that many stalls didn’t sell items of own production.

There were a few stalls with woollens and I didn’t resist the sheepy temptation for long! I went home with a woolly booty:

as well as some soap bars by All Natural Soap Co (handcrafted soaps, 100% palm oil free, made with olive oil and wild shea butter).

And this is a hand-knitted present (a self-aid charity put my commission through to a skilled knitter who made it). My friend will have a beautiful neck warmer and a knitter will have had work. The (free) pattern is Braidheart by Rose Anne.

After the failed attempt at the market, I resorted to the net, where I found some useful presents:

Fire Log Carrier Bag

A fire log carrier bag

gooseberry-large

Kneeler cushion for gardening

GYO-PLAB-Seed-Labels-LARGE

Seedling labels

GSC_TWINE50_lg

Striped twine assortment

GYO_TWGREEN-large

Twine in a tin

GHV_BOUQ-large

reusable muslin bags

(all but the first one were purchased from Burgon and Ball, an old British company based in Sheffield, England)

[disclaimer: as usual, I have no agreement and receive no compensation for mentioning items or brands]

And then there were the draught stoppers

Today I came across an old post about the Feline Draught Stopper, then WIP.. It took a while to complete, but last year it was finally done, and in use. Tadah!

ex Feline Draught Stopper

Here above it is, washed, stuffed and ready to be put in action again after the summer.

IMG_6395

I omitted the original feline head and tail, so it’s fair to say that cat is no more. I had to leave them out because they were going to be in the way when put in place on the window.

To make it I have (re)used materials that I had already in store. The outer shell was made with assorted wool rests, while the inner filling was done reusing bubble wrap from deliveries – just gathered together and rolled as a sausage.

IMG_6397

Above, on the right, you can see another draught stopper sewed by a friend of mine. It is made with fabric rests and vintage snap fasteners to close the side opening.

And here it is in use: preventing the cold draught coming in from the sash window, and also saving heating fuel. Good for the environment and for the purse!

IMG_6403

Finally, just a few ideas I saw in a shop window nearby. Maybe someone good at sewing could make these…

IMG_5858_1024 IMG_5859_1024

Christmas Special by Jean Greenhowe (give-away)

In this part of the world the days are becoming shorter and cooler – so I had the first thoughts about the next season.

I know that some knitters have already been working on their Christmas presents and decorations, which made me think of this cute booklet by Jean Greenhowe: Christmas Special.

I am giving away an unused copy – it’s very simple to participate: just leave a comment on this post by Saturday 30th August! The winner will be randomly selected. 

Christmas Special contains many knitted patterns for the Christmas season (but not only). Below is a gallery of images covering some of the patterns.

Christmas Special - cover

Christmas Special – cover

Mrs Claus

Mrs Claus

Christmas Stockings

Christmas Stockings

Tea Cosies

Tea Cosies

Christmas Decorations

Christmas Decorations

Christmas decorations

Christmas decorations

Robin on a log

Robin on a log

Robin Christmas decoration

Robin Christmas decoration

Cinderella - inside-out

Cinderella – inside-out

Snowpeople

Snowpeople

Best Friends

Best Friends

Which one is your favourite? Mine are Mrs Claus, the robin and the tea cosies.

Thank you for taking part and good luck!

 

WIPs and other things

Quick recap – some little progress on a couple of projects and a few more WIPs that need to come out of their hibernation state.

The Holiday Vest got s bunch of rows added and a snap pic of the current state of the back part:

IMG_5780 IMG_5781 

Not long ago I started a stash-busting mindless project: the 44^2 Blanket. It’s just made out of squares in a Native Americans colour theme (which I’m probably the only one to see!) – it’s reached its 25% mark thus far:

IMG_5775

Two further projects that need to be brought back to life are the Kingfisher Old Shale Shawl and the Thistle Lace Scarf. And perhaps the Feline Draught Stopper… with the new season approaching we’re all very busy, so this step may not happen yet!

I also bought some more yarn – it was truly a one-off opportunity… auctions ending on a sunday with hardly any bidders! So, on that front I’m well into the BLE mark. I also had fun swatching some green Shetland wool. Photos below…

angora+wool 1ply lambswool 1.5ply lambswool 1.5ply lambswool 1.5ply lambswool+cashmere fine 1ply wool 1.5ply wool 3plyIMG_5771

Finally, I ‘ve poking around tech stuff – which is a separate matter, so I won’t bother you with the details 🙂

Enjoy the weekend!

(a long one for those based in England)

On holiday without yarn

With cabin luggage only, there was no space to bring yarny stuff. 

But then I wanted to knit, so the easy solution was to get some yarn locally: I chose Avantgarde from Adriafil, because it’s locally made pure wool and can be machine-washed. I liked the pale blue shade with bits of colour.

I made up a simple pattern for a vest – nothing very special, just a simple project. 

After coming back from the holiday, things became quite hectic: I graduated and started interviewing.

Today I finally resumed work on the back part of the vest and, despite the 4ply yarn, the progress is visible – better, it would have been visible if I had taken recent pictures!

The project is ravelled as Holiday Vest. Some old pictures – apologies for the rather poor quality:

Holiday Vest - front

Holiday Vest, the front

Holiday Vest - waist

Holiday Vest, waist part

I fully appreciate that photos from the holiday sightseeings would have constituted a far more interesting post content!