The hats for my stall at the International Permaculture Convergence are coming along nicely… they are made of all sorts of ethical yarn: some organic, some frogged from old garments, some from Freecycle, some recycled, some new British wool… you get the picture:
However, it struck me that I should make a hat representing the permaculture principles. And so I did:
It’s made entirely from scraps of yarn left over from other projects, apart from the brim which is yarn from a frogged cardigan; and it’s reversible.
In case you are wondering, the twelve principles, as outlined by David Holmgren, are used to help design resilient human systems or objects that are sustainable and kind to the earth. They are as follows, with my hat as an example;
- Observe and interact: I observed that I had been collecting yarn scraps for the past few years and decided to make creative use of those long enough to tie together. In addition, observation of the hat as I made it allowed me to create the shape without following a pattern.
- Catch and store energy: Wearing a hat is a good way to stop heat (energy) loss and with its tufts, this hat provides good insulation by trapping a nice layer of insulating air. In addition, the energy embodied in this scrap yarn is being captured because it’s being used rather than discarded.
- Obtain a yield: A hat where none existed before, plus the satisfaction of creating something from (almost) nothing.
- Apply self-regulation and accept feedback: As with anything made without a pattern, this hat ‘evolved’ as I made it – I increased the number of stitches until it seemed to be the right size and decreased to get a nice snug brim. Whatever yarn you are working with, you have to respond to its characteristics.
- Use and value renewable resources and services: As long as there are people using yarn, there will be left-over scraps; this provides a way to convert them into a useful and unique object.
- Produce no waste: It’s all too easy to throw away left-over yarn, but this demonstrates that it can be put to good use. There were lots of scraps that were too small to tie together for this project, but those will be used in the future for stuffing. No Yarn was wasted in this hat, because the ends that in other projects get trimmed off have been retained as a feature of the hat.
- Design from patterns to details: The overall plan (pattern) was to create a hat with yarn scraps. The details came as I tied the pieces together – varying the colours and lengths to create a unique pattern. The plan also involved making the hat reversible, so different details appear according to the side that is exposed to the world.
- Integrate rather than segregate: It’s a whole mish-mash… integrating colours, textures, fibres.
- Use small and slow solutions: I’ve been collecting the scraps for several years, so I won’t be able to make another with this gauge of yarn for some time yet, although I’m planning a chunky version because I probably have enough thick scraps to do that. Despite using ‘waste’ yarn, it took a longer time to make than a ‘normal’ hat because so many pieces of yarn had to be tied together.
- Use and value diversity: I have rarely seen a more diverse hat!
- Use edges and value the marginal: The end of each piece of yarn is an important feature of the hat – providing decoration and insulation. I think it may also be pretty ‘edgy’ as far as fashion goes!!
- Creatively use and respond to change: The changes in colour and texture were used to create the ‘look’ of this hat… there will never be another one like it.
So, there you have it, a quick lesson in permaculture and a rather mad hat… It will be for sale at the IPC in September unless I get a better offer before then!
NEWSFLASH: IT HAS BEEN SOLD! SORTING OUT MORE SCRAPS FOR MORE HATS NOW.