Saturday, February 23, 2008

My Tank Tops

Tank tops are such basic garments; who doesn't have at least ten or more? I couldn't live without them in summer, but in winter they are comfortable under warmer tops or blouses and can add a colourful touch to your outfit. They are timeless and therefore don't need to be of top designers quality. At least not for me. As longs as the fabric and seams are good I don't care what brand name I find on the label. So I really don't understand why people would throw them away before they're worn out, unless it was maybe a size problem.
I chose to show these orange ones because I love the colours. They always do add colour to my otherwise mainly black outfits. This stripy one was in the trash heap right by my front door. It came with some more cute black T-shirts and a skirt.
This one is a H&M by the way, so no complaints about the quality! It was actually a Queensday find: once a year I pick up left behind goods from the flea market on the celebration of the birthday of our queen. You can read more about that here.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Clothing And Textiles (Introduction)

Where I get my new clothes can't be any surprise for my regular readers: from the curb, of course. But maybe you're thinking, that poor woman, she's missing out? Hell, no! Or maybe you thought I'm the type of girl who doesn't care about pretty garments and lives in shabby jeans and sweaters all the time? Absolutely not true. Ok, I don't care much about what fashion dictates, but I create my own style and I'm not free of the hormones that make us want to always renew our wardrobe or at least add to it regularly. I'm a girl after all. As for so many things I own now, here also counts that I have better quality stuff now than when I still shopped for clothing. I really don't find rags! People are just too lazy to even bring their clothes to goodwill. To prove it, I will start showing them off every now and then from here on. I may also sometimes add pictures to existing posts if I find new stuff that fits the category of that post.

What I find really goes from socks (last week I found a pair of Pierre Cardin socks) to coats, but you also won't believe the amount of curtains, towels, bed sheets, pillow covers, duvet covers and blankets I have curb found! I brought home tons of T-shirts for the BF and even a brand new black jeans jacket. It's really to much to show all at once, so I'm writing this introduction first because I want to create some awareness and provide you with tips on what you can do too, without having to follow my example and pick trash (so I don't have to repeat this every time):

I just read that the total clothing industry's contribution to the world's CO2 emissions is about 8 percent. That includes production, distribution and processing of old products. I don't know if that's just clothing or if it includes all textiles, but even, 8 percent? That's a lot! In the same newspaper I saw something about polluting cotton production. Simply because in those poor cotton producing countries a lot of pesticides and weed killers are still being used. It's good to know there's a lot going on already if it comes to sustainable and organic production, as you can read in this blog of a fellow countryman of mine who lives in Berlin.
But in the meantime still tons of textiles are being discarded daily worldwide. I don't know exactly how much, but the amount must be beyond imagination. So maybe could you try second hand sometimes to fulfill your craving? Or swap clothes with your friends from time to time. There are even organized clothes swaps. Keep your things a bit longer if they're not worn out. Fashion is always revolving and these days you don't even have to wait ten years before something comes back.

I'm sure these shoes will be hot again this summer. I've already seen some thicker soles in fashion magazines lately. I found them two years ago but they must be from around 2001 or 2002. Or sometimes just digging up something from your wardrobe you haven't worn in a while can give you a taste for wearing it again. Even if you were totally fed up with it back then. Try some new combinations. You'll be surprised. And if you're a bit handy with the sewing machine you can try reconstructing your clothes to make new things. Read my friend Krista's blog here for some ideas. What she does with her kid's clothes is equally applicable to adult's.

So think about this the next time you open your wardrobe and you don't know what to wear. Or at least buy organic and then keep that as long as you can. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

More About Recycling Yarn

After last week's post about unraveling knitwear I got some interesting questions from readers at the HGTV Knitting & Crochet forum. Though I answered those there, I thought they might be helpful to more people, so I'll review them here.

First there was a question about washing the creases out of the yarn, how and if is it's really necessary. The trick is to roll the yarn in hanks, but here's another link that also explains that. I had that link, but I'd forgotten they also (other than the one I gave last week) explain about the washing bit.

If it's necessary depends on what you're planning to do. For crochet most of the times not! Crochet, especially single crochet is thicker, tighter than knitting and the creases just disappear in the new work, so save yourself the trouble, although you may consider it for a loose double crochet (but I don't) or a net stitch. It becomes a different story when you want a smooth purl knit. But sometimes I even prefer the effect the creases give!!! I did a sweater years ago completely in garter stitch that got an interesting 'messy' effect because of the creases, where otherwise it would have been pretty dull. So it's really up to you, play with it, make swatches, find out what you like.

One lady had actually started unravelling, but the yarn broke of all the time and she couldn't get started. The knit was probably a pure wool and had felted lightly, sticking the stitches together. The trick is to jerk the knit a bit, pulling at it and stretching gently so the stitches will loosen up.

Thanks for the input, ladies. If you want you can read the whole thread here.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Free Yarn

Here's just a selection of sweaters that I found curb side quite recently that I keep stored currently in one box. Believe me I have two more!! If you think unravelling old sweaters to get free yarn is a great idea too, here's a link to a guide that may be helpful.

The choice of the colour is Hennes &Mauritz. They seem to have a preference for loose knits, but these models always sag after three times washing and so people throw them out (see also this old post). It's the third one or so that I found. I don't know why people still buy them. I think it will become a nice lush scarf in a brioche stitch. It's a bit fuzzy, but that will go away when I rework the yarn.

I'm not a big fan of too contrasting colours in a blended yarn, but this may come out nice as a worked in detail in a black or white project.

A hand knit. Beautiful shiny material. Very thin yarn, for the finer projects. Unfortunately I have no label to tell me what the material is, but it feels like a cotton/man made mix.

Very thick wool. I've no idea what to do with it yet. The patches are crocheted and stitched on with big stitches so they will come off easily.

Pure, thick cotton. Great for kitchenware, potholders and the like. Only too bad I will have all these loose ends to work in, but I have my tricks for that.

But before I start working these into scarves or tea cozies I have two more big boxes full of leftover yarns, given to me or small parties that I bought for next to nothing from private persons. Most of it is not enough or too fine to work into larger projects. But if I don't use it up soon it will start to decay, so I've come up with these lilttle cuties.

They're only a bit over 1.5'' or 4 cm and will surely brighten up anything from jackets to bags or purses. One lady even told me she put (my former, still larger model) on a pair of casual shoes!

And now I can only hope they will become my big Etsy hit and sell like hot cakes. Well it can't be the price: for only $2.50 they're yours. Click here to go to my shop.