Carpet slippers

December 2015 This post has been edited because the company that I bought the yarn from has gone out of business.

My final post for Zero Waste Week just has to be craft related…. well, I can’t go a week without writing a post about knitting or crochet can I?

In order to reduce waste, it’s a great idea to buy good quality items that won’t wear out quickly. Yesterday, fellow blogger westywrites posted about her attempt to avoid buying new clothes for a year and the fact that her socks are wearing very thin- a particular problem because she doesn’t wear slippers round the house. She has been inspired by yours truly to attempt to knit her own socks for added durability (they do last well if you use genuine sock wool and are easier to mend, in my experience, than bought ones). However, round our house we do wear slippers because I make those too… and they certainly protect your socks.

New slippers in Black and yellow Axminster rug yarn

New slippers in Black and yellow Axminster rug yarn (with hand-knitted socks underneath)

I have been experimenting with different chunky yarns for slipper-making and my latest creations are true carpet slippers because they are made of Axminster rug yarn (80% wool, 20% nylon)! I reckon that if this yarn is sufficiently hard-wearing to make carpets from, it should be good for the slippers that walk on them. The pair I’ve just finished is for Mr Snail – now he has a different home during the week, he needed a second pair of slippers to save him remembering to take one pair back and forth each week. I asked him to choose a colour and he responded that he wanted black and yellow to match the cover of his novel (I know not why). In fact the yellow that I ordered was rather more orange than it looked in the picture on the Texere website (sadly this company has now gone out of business), but it was the only yellow they had and he still seemed pleased with the end result. I made them to match part 2 of the Kindle edition of the novel, because the paperback edition is mainly yellow and white and that would have shown the dirt!

Lovely natural shades of Berber wool

Lovely natural shades of Berber wool

I was also delighted to discover that Texere [used to] sell Berber yarn (another one used for carpet-making, but pure wool this time), so I’ve bought some of that too to have a go with. If you want to make some slippers like the ones shown, the pattern can be found here and it’s free to download. It’s a bit hard on the hands if you use a really robust yarn like I did, but the resulting slippers are very warm and comfy… and they will not only save your socks, but may also help to reduce your fuel bills!

So that’s the end of my posts for Zero Waste Week – I hope you have been inspired somewhere along the line.

Plastic tea update

Some further research has revealed (thank you Linda) that one sort of teabags in Britain may be plastic-free. According to Gardening Which? Jacksons of Piccadilly make tea bags that are free of polypropylene.

So, I’m just off to write them an e-mail…

The strange world of blogging… and why I’m here

The portal to the blogoshpere

My portal to the blogosphere

I started writing this blog about a year and a half ago as a way to harvest my thoughts and research about sustainability and living a more sustainable life. I wanted to share my ideas and tell other people what I had found out. I wanted to show that we can make relatively small changes in our lives that can have a big impact, especially if we all work together. I also thought that it might be a good way to publicise the courses I teach and the crafts I make. I chose to blog with WordPress quite at random – I had seen someone else’s site, liked it and didn’t have much desire to spend too much time researching the options.

So, I chose a theme (quite an unusual one it turns out… don’t see many other bloggers using it… it’s called ‘Comet’ in case you are interested) and set to with the writing. I soon decided that I wanted to steer away from the very personal style of blogging… I didn’t want to share my inner feelings, whinge about the bus driver or get therapy from my blog readers. I wanted to share ideas and information about practical aspects of my life and making it more sustainable… and that’s the sort of blog I like to read too. That’s not to say that blogging doesn’t feel like therapy sometimes and it certainly helps me to get ideas straight in my head simply by writing them down and receiving feedback.

There have been some unexpected yields… I never expected to form friendships via my blog and to feel such strong connections to people all over the world, most of whom I will never meet. I never expected that my readers would engage so enthusiastically about some of my posts. Who’d have thought that a post on bartering would generate so much interest or one on how to deal with human remains? I also didn’t expect so many people who I know personally to read my blog and to feel that it was a good way to know what I’m up to. Perhaps the strangest thing is to go to events and have people exclaim “so you’re The Snail of Happiness” (my real name is Jan, by-the-way, for those of you who don’t know).

The Leibster award

The Leibster award

This is my 20th month of blogging and I’m celebrating it by participating in NaBloPoMo – a month of blogging every day. Here we are then, on day 11 and since this is a blog post about blogging it doesn’t feel too out of place to mention that I have received a blogging award from my fellow blogger The Belmont Rooster. They are funny old things, blogging awards… really a bit like a chain letter – you get an award and you get to pass it on to some other bloggers. So I have been nominated by Mr Rooster and I get to nominate some other folks. I don’t usually participate in this sort of thing, but I decided to make an exception this time; first because Mr Rooster asked me so nicely (thank you so much), second because it gives me an excuse to direct you, my readers, to a few blogs that am really enjoying at the moment and that you might enjoy too (they are my nominees below) and third because NaBloPoMo is making me completely blog-obsessed at the moment!

So, here are my nominations and recommendations for some good reading:

free food for rats is written by the lovely Anja, She describes delicious seasonal cooking as well as activities with her young family.

Permapeach: One person’s urban permaculture story documents Rachel’s permaculture adventures in an urban setting, with descriptions of community gardening, her allotment and her business, all based around permaculture ethics and principles.

westywrites may be my favourite blog right now as she describes her attempts to eliminate single-use plastics from her life.

gettin’ fresh is (and I quote) ‘not only about gardening but also about getting all that delicious produce to the table in a form that will tempt even the pickiest of eaters’.

and finally

Ecology is not a dirty word has some thought-provoking pieces and is written by another ecologist… always worth a read.

Hopefully these five bloggers will make their own recommendations and lead us all on to new discoveries. Meanwhile, for me that’s another blog post written in November and I’ve manage to accept my blogging award in a slightly unconventional way*.

-oOo-

* There was a set of questions to answer, most of which I have in the text of this article… you can find them here if you are interested.

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