Plastic Free July

Knitting isn't going well these days. Actually I think I can safely say I've got knitters block. I was working on my son's Funky vest when I noticed a serious mistake about 55 rows further down. Oh no! I thought I could sort it out without opening everything up again, but realised very late that that isn't the case. It so depresses me that I have to open up that much again that I put the whole thing aside. I know the feeling will go away and until such time - and the warm weather isn't an incentive for knitting for colder days anyway - I do other things.


I pledged to do Plastic Free July because Siobhan, my lovely colleague and friend, partners in crime (in a positive sense of course) on the Department of Sociology Green Team, practically coerced me into it by forwarding me the confirmation email from the Australian Marine Conservation for her own pledge. Just to make my life that much more difficult after having given up eating free sugar. But what is giving up things in my life against the oceans getting dirtier and dirtier, which would ultimately kill me and the rest of the Planet?

When it comes to using plastic I'm not a saint. I do use a fabric bag for shopping and transporting my lunch to work. Indeed, wherever I go it goes with me, just in case I need a bag. I dom't use plastic bottles for drinking water. And I only very rarely buy tea and coffee on the go (those paper mugs have a thin plastic lining on the inside). But otherwise it looks pretty bad.

I make at home and bring in my lunches most times but sometimes I either run out of time in the morning or have forgotten to go shopping. In these cases I tended to buy ready-made salads in plastic bowls from the supermarket. Well, not anymore. That takes a bit of organisation and preparing food the evening before when I know I won’t have much time in the morning, but it has turned out not to be too difficult. I have found I quite enjoy pottering about in the kitchen in the evening preparing my lunch. It takes out the hurry of the morning.

I also try to buy more stuff without plastic packaging. It’s relatively easy to do for fruit and veg, but other things are simply not available without plastic packaging, and if they are available without plastic packaging it has a very detrimental effect on my budget… and life in Cambridge isn't cheap. A realisation that has knocked me a bit. An unpackaged shop in Cambridge would be nice but we do not have one, well, not that I know of (if anyone in Cambridge is looking for a business idea, this is it). So, for this month I aim for a reduction in plastic packaging and see how that goes and what is possible in the future.

But I don’t want to end on a not so positive note. Two weeks ago a friend of mine gave me a fabric bag from Kyrgyztan (above). It’s very spacious, but it didn’t have an inside zipable pocket so I inserted one. I now use it as my handbag, but it would also serve well as a shopping bag.



Machine broken

I have no new pictures because my sewing machine broke last week. I was so unhappy about it I cried when it happened. The pedal was suddenly not working anymore. Actually the machine is running without me moving the pedal which I've learned is a serious problem that needs repair by experts. Now there are a few problems here: I don't have a car and the machine is so dead heavy that I can't transport it by bike to a repair shop. The machine was getting on my nerves anyway because it doesn't have a reverse stitch, for example, and there are other things that I don't like.  So I thought a bit about it and am now resolved to buy a new one. Which also means that I'm a much happier bunny.

Colour combinations

Funky is not going well. I'm doing the back in plain green and somewhere I must have dropped a stitch or not increased one, one stitch is missing and I can't make out where and it's driving me bananas, because I'm such an idiotic pedantic when it comes to knitting. I wanted to do the back in just one colour but it's hard for me to do the increases without the hounds tooth pattern, which turns out to be a great help figuring out where I am and how many stitches there should be. And I don't seem to be able to knit much else other than the jumper I made for my mum's birthday which I forgot to photograph her in so that I can't even show you that and I now got all distracted by making bags. I got completely hooked by the multitudes of possibilities making a recycled bag that I can't think of much else. So, finally, I have given in and although this blog is supposed to be about knitting I will explore the bag making a bit more (erm, I don't like knitted bags). After all it's also about recycling and you have to follow your heart, don't you?

recycled messenger bag colour green RK

So here three sets of possible combinations of materials for more bags. From left to right an old green woolen skirt, a shrunk turquoise angora jumper, some lining fabric and a pair of old linen trousers garnished with a collection of zips I could use.

recycled messenger bag colour purple RK

Here a purple combination consisting of two woolen jumpers that I felted in the washing machine for a different project that never took off and parts of a sari with a flowery pattern and two zips.

recycled messenger bag colour grey RK

And the last one a muted colour scheme of old pin stripe trousers, a glitter angora jumper (trust me it's glittery) that I once tried to unravel but that doesn't lend itself to unraveling (such jumpers exist), a leather belt and a zip.

Not sure which one I will do first. It depends a bit on the interfacing I will need and I don't have a lot of choice. Which colour combination do you like best?