What they think of us: Indian women on the West

Unravel. How India Recasts the Clothes the West Throws Away.

There is a trend these days for Western knitters to use recycled yarn. One of those things that makes them feel good about themselves. Take a long haul trip somewhere and make it ok by knitting a ball of recycled yarn along the way.

I’d never really thought about the source of that yarn, which is, of course, us. We discard perfectly good clothing all the time and it ends up in India to be recycled into yarn we use to make…perfectly good clothes.

This is a short film made about the women who do that work of fixing the good clothes we don’t want into yarn we can use to make more clothes…we probably don’t really want either. But we’ll feel good using all that recycled yarn, right?

The movie is about what the Indian women who do this work for us, think of us. Great for anybody who would simply like to know how the yarn is made, as well as for anybody who wants to know more about the carbon footprint of throwing away clothes in order to get yarn to make more clothes.

And however deeply embarrassing it must be for us in the West, it is nonetheless charming.

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Extreme sport. Knitting.

So, I’m reading a test on the classification of cause of death and it’s not so much that questions 20 is this:

‘What is the external cause code for accidental perforation of eardrum by knitting needle?’,

which is code W44.0, by the way, should you be so careless as to need to know this, but the fact that it actually reads:

‘What is the external cause code for accidental perforation of eardrum by knitting needle (at home)?’

In other words there are many places where eardrums are perforated accidentally by knitting needles and home is just one of them. The dangers of knitting.

It brought to mind for me, the time I somewhat fell onto a bus seat in Adelaide and was stabbed in the process by my own knitting needle, stabbed in the thigh – hard enough to puncture the flesh and draw blood, though certainly not seriously. Use those rubber thingies on the end of your sticks, I thought to myself as I mopped up. Really REALLY good idea, which I am yet to implement, it being only 4 years down the track.

But it can be really serious. There is the story of the girl in NY who fell over on her way to a knitting group and discovered when she picked herself up that the reason she didn’t feel great was because she had a knitting needle stuck in her heart. Here is one link to the story.

I’m wearing my helmet next time I knit. Maybe a knitting needle proof vest. Hey….I wonder if you can KNIT one of those?

Food and Yarn in Manchester.

Well, Didsbury, to be exact.

While I’m away I’m basing myself in Manchester, with the odd dash to other parts of the UK and Europe. My friends whose spare bedroom I’ve taken over are in Didsbury and I discovered quickly enough that I have a nice yarn shop a few minutes’ walk away: Sew-In of Marple and Didsbury

The yarn choice is conservative, but nice, with some excellent specials. For Australians, I guess the most attractive thing about it is that Rowan seems such a bargain. Oh, and exciting news: Summer Tweed is now being marketed in balls, not hanks. I don’t know how long it’ll be before that development makes an impact in Australia. There was also some Sirdar that I hadn’t seen before. It hadn’t occurred to me but of course Noro is an import yarn and therefore no cheaper in the UK than in Australia. The selection of pattern books and needles is far less interesting, unfortunately. I really needed to buy some needles, but had to wait until I got to K1 in Edinburgh to do so.

As Sarah-Lou commented on my blog post yesterday, it is funny to see how superior Northern Englanders think their diet is compared with the Scots. For a start the breakfast is pretty much identical (at the risk of offending all parties) and green vegetables are an endangered species no less in Manchester than in Edinburgh.

Still, I’ve found some nice places to eat in Didsbury. The Art of Tea is a place to hang out and operates as a bar at night. Food not great from my couple of times there, but that is only comparing it with the standard I’d expect of such a place in Melbourne. Even here, even with this name, tea is in a teabag. I’d swear that’s how the tea comes out of cows here, all neatly banged up in a little square paper sachet. One of the best things about this place is out the back is a really nice, reasonably priced secondhand bookshop.

Now, No. 4 I’m practically addicted to. I’ve been there half a dozen times. Their house-baked bread, soup, risotto, fish and chips with mushy peas…I haven’t had a bad thing there. The cheese plate is not bad either. For Australians at the moment, the good exchange rate makes this excellent value. I’d be happy to go there every day for lunch and work my way through the menu or start again at the beginning.

Also in the Didsbury shopping strip is The Cheese Hamlet. As a consequence I’ve been trying all sorts of English cheeses I’ve never experienced before. Lancashire in various permutations, older and more mature, younger, softer and more bland. Their own prize-winning Gruyere is worth trying and….lots and lots. Nice bread, all sorts of other things that go with cheese. Irresistible.

Do not read until the children are in bed.

Aaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh. Death and destruction to my latest knitting. Hacksaw. Hobnailed boots. Little dolls wearing a copy of it and being killed in black magic ways.

I hate knitting. Hate. Hate. Hate.

Here I was, I’ve done the back. The front has only a row or two to go. That’s it. Summer, so no sleeves. And.

And I haven’t done the neck shaping for the front. Now, that doesn’t matter, does it? Just unpick a few inches, right? But the whole thing is knitted sideways, so it has to be unpicked to the very start.

Let me just say that again. I hate knitting.

Sorting out hoodies once and for all.

There are SO many hoodies out there in pattern land that I’ve gotten to a point where my head swims every time I think about which one to go for. This is to sort out my own thoughts….if it helps anybody else, great!

When Wanderlust Hoodie first came out in Interweave Knits, lust pretty much summed up how I felt about it. I love cable patterns that don’t look contrived, I love its cozy chunky look, I imagined I would live it in, reluctantly taking it off to shower each day. Imagined is the operative word. There was no actual meeting of knitting needles on this…or on any others mentioned in this post.

Wanderlust Hoodie
Wanderlust Hoodie

This is the one – Central Park Hoodie – that everybody’s had a go at.

Central Park Hoodie
Central Park Hoodie

I guess it’s for sporty people – is that it? Sorry, I don’t understand the fad with this one. All the others in this post I’d by happy to try, but not this one. Maybe I’m too old to like it.

Probably the most famous internet patterns for hoodies being knitted at the moment are from Twist Collective. Ysolda is responsible for Vivien, which some say is fiendishly difficult:

Vivian by Ysolda
Vivian by Ysolda

Who didn’t put this straight onto their must-be-done list? Ysolda actually managed to make cables look sexy. How DOES she do it? And yet, however gorgeous it is, I’m not sure that I wouldn’t feel more comfortable lounging about in Shirley Paden’s Wanderlust Hoodie. You’d get dressed in Vivan. You’d live in Wanderlust. Well, I would!

Vivian, a sexy hoodie? How's that?
Vivian, a sexy hoodie? How's that?

Twist Collective could have rested right there with the hoodie of the year, but oh no. They had to obfuscate the situation with ANOTHER hoodie of the year, in the SAME issue. Yes, I’m talking about Sylvi

Sylvi by Marie Muinonen
Sylvi by Marie Muinonen

And yes, plain but darn cute from the front:

Sylvi front view. Hmmm. Do I have the right boots?
Sylvi front view. Hmmm. Do I have the right boots?

I’m a tad nervous about this one: is it going to be too heavy? And if done in a light yarn, would that mean some sort of alpaca/mohair based yarn which would obscure the lovely detail?

Getting back to something a bit less extravagant, what about this:

hoodie-sweater-with-hood-by-stylecraft

You can get this as a .pdf download from Patternfish. I am really taken with this. Cables and bobbles not overdone, but it seems to me more stylish than the Central Park Hoodie. Maybe it’s more adult. Speaking of which….

I rather like this, too, for simple and stylish, also a download from Patternfish:

Grown-up Hoodie by Kira Dulaney
Grown-up Hoodie by Kira Dulaney

I adore this one:

Hooded Pullover by Deborah Newton
Hooded Pullover by Deborah Newton

From a recent Vogue issue, it is also available as a download here. Adore it maybe, but I’m also scared of it. What is it going to look like on a grown-up short person who needs bust darts? Disaster?

I could go on. I haven’t even mentioned the sleeveless hoodies, some of which are rather nice too. But that’s enough confusion for one post.

LynAdell – the wondrous designs of Lynette Harvey.

How stunning is Candy:

Candy by Lynette Harvey
Candy by Lynette Harvey

To quote the designer:

Soft beige Mohair is used to create a romantic and dreamy edge to warm the coldest of winter days. Featuring hand-made buttons and soft tapering to the body provides an elegant swirl, and makes Candy drape and swing, a feature that gives it it’s outstanding look.

Candy by Lynette Harvey
Candy by Lynette Harvey
Candy by Lynette Harvey
Candy by Lynette Harvey
Candy by Lynette Harvey
Candy by Lynette Harvey

For more of her breathtakingly beautiful designs, visit her site: LynAdell

The really exciting news is that Lynette, A New Zealand designer, is getting a book ready and some of her patterns will be available in .pdf form later this year. I know already this will be the highlight of my knitting year. Can’t wait.

What to do if a ball of yarn does THIS to you.

Keen knitter Helen Horwitz spotted in Canberra last week.
Keen knitter Helen Horwitz spotted in Canberra last week.

Yes, folks. That is a ball of Debbie Bliss cashmerino aran. Oh dear, oh dear. When I have this problem I sit at home for hours cursing as I sort it out. Helen’s idea is much better. Sit at a bridge tournament. This is what happens….

Sue Grenside lends a hand.
Sue Grenside lends a hand.

And then:

My photographer gets into the act.
My photographer gets into the act.

helen-horwitz-5

Bridge players know how to work in pairs.
Bridge players know how to work in pairs.

And, a short time later order was restored and we left Helen with a neat ball of yarn.