18/10/2010

Recycling Yarn



I found a lilac cardigan in a charity shop that wasn't really my style - or my preferred shade of purple. It was just dull. Little sleeves with ribbing at the bottom, and more ribbing around the base of the body. The rest was garter stitch. I would have left it for somebody else, but it had a couple of marks on it, so was very low-priced, and when I looked at the label, I saw that it was a cashmere and silk blend. Ding! Yes please! So I took it home, washed it to get the musty smell it had out, and started to unravel it.

The best instructions that I could find come courtesy of Dawn at My Virtual Sanity. There are a number of different websites and blog posts about recycling yarn, but I found this post had the most helpful photographs and detailed information. The author actually recycles yarn for resale, so that was encouraging.

It took me a few days to get through the entire cardigan, because the repetitive winding movement made my hands ache after a little while and I had to keep resting. But I persevered, and was rewarded with several balls of luxury yarn at a low cost. I'm still not sure about the colour, I'm considering dying it Dylon's Burlesque Red, but I will wait until I knit it up into a new garment and see what it looks like. I'm not sure how dark the yarn will go when it dyes, as the Dylon website says silk and wool come out a lighter shade.

The yarn is light fingering weight (3 ply) so I'm reluctant to try knitting it into another cardigan as that would take ages and be quite repetitive, plus I'm not sure that I have enough yarn left for that. I had to lose quite a lot because the buttonholes had been cut into the fabric, and the cardigan only had short sleeves to begin with.

I searched Ravelry for appropriate patterns, and when I saw the Travelling Woman shawl I gasped. It's so pretty, and I think it would look lovely in red. Or purpleish pink, however the yarn turns out. I think I'll give that a go, unless anyone reading this has any suggestions?

15/10/2010

Blog Action Day 2010: Water


Blog Action Day 2010: Water from Blog Action Day on Vimeo.

Today is the fourth annual Blog Action Day. Each year on 0ctober 15th, bloggers from all over the internet post about the same issue, to raise awareness and promote discussion. I have been subscribed to the e-mail newsletter for a few years now, but this is the first time I have been organised enough to participate.

The issue this year is water. As I'm sure most people reading this will know, over 70% of the Earth's surface is covered in water, and that human bodies are at least 55% water.  Water is absolutely essential for life. Not only do we use it for drinking, cooking, and cleaning, but massive quantities are used to produce some of the things we use in everyday life.

If we just think about our clothes, cotton requires an awful lot of water to grow - about 1,514 litres per t-shirt, and over 7000 for a pair of jeans. Meanwhile, freshwater supplies are decreasing. Nearly one billion people are without access to clean water. Clean water was declared a human right earlier this year by the United Nations General Assembly, but we still have a long way to go. Almost 38,000 children under the age of 5 die every week because they don't have access to safe drinking water.

There are some small actions that you can take to conserve water, that I'm sure you will have heard about before. Buying new less often, turning off the tap whilst you brush your teeth, taking showers instead of baths when you can, collecting rain water to water plants rather than filling a can from the tap. There are numerous charities that work to build wells and install sanitation facilities for people in need, here is the Blog Action Day fundraising page, if you feel moved to donate. Improving access to water for people everywhere is a political issue, however. Please sign the petition for an International Water Treaty.

Statistics thanks to various links on the Blog Action Day homepage. If you would like to participate in Blog Action Day 2010, here is a list of suggested post ideas.
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