Some fibrous thoughts

Among the things I do is try to peddle wares that benefit the environment. So far, I sell bibs and cotton pads, I am somewhat wary about biting off too much to chew.

And how do those two things benefit any environment? Do I make them out of organic cotton? No, I don’t. I make them out of towels that are discarded by a large, professional laundry firm. Towels come out of wash and drying, quality control discovers a hole, and the whole thing is dumped, off to an incenerator. Even though some 80 % or more is still in good condition.

Cotton yields an average of 3 metric tons to a hectare, which breaks down to 300 grams to one square meter. But that is the “raw” harvest including leaves, seeds, dirt, stones, et c. Sorting that from the usable fibres leaves about 100 grams of ready-for-further-processing cotton to one square meter.

So why do we threw cotton in the bin after using it only once? Habit is probably the likeliest answer. I weighed 10 disposable cotton pads – the small round ones you use for cleansing your face in the evening – and my scales said 5 grams. A bit of calculus ends up with this: Use one every day, and you use 1,5 square metres of arable land a year to prevent clogged pores.

So that’s where the benefit comes into the picture. I take a cotton product, already used x number of times, and rescue the not-a-hole parts, cut them out in neat rounds, edge them and sell them. And my customers use them, wash them, use them … repeat till threadbare. Mine have so far gone through 50+ washes and work just as new.

Does it save our planet? Not alone. But every bit helps.

Timelapse

Who stole my time?!

Know the feeling of life slipping through your hands because it’s … well, life? I do. I just realised my last posting here was last year, and it’s June, swelteringly hot (in Danish terms … ), my to-do-list is full of up-cycling. writing to possible buyers, storyboarding a video, grappling with how to get the right shade of blue for a teaching material, how to convert files from one format to another, the frustrations when it doesn’t work, putting together mailing lists and doing my damnedest to get it right just when to spend money I do not have on printed matter. Apart of course from having to buy provisions, cook, clean, do laundry, keep the worst of the garden weeds at bay et c. This is before going to the work I still have.

I still think it fair to say that the ordinary chores of life do not steal my time. Trying to juggle too many hobbies is probably the likelier culprit.

And now, where did I put my third cross-stitch project in the making?!

No, yours will not look like this

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This turned out rather neatly even if I do say so myself. After making a sudoku in patchwork (see earlier post), I decided i’d try to do it in cross stitches. One driving factor was a comment on it from a follower who suggested I do one with sixteen different numbers + letters. I handsew patchwork and decided against the idea.

Doing it in crosses was much less daunting. I tried at first to make a pattern as small as possible. Already on paper it looked blurred and nothing else. This size works. The pattern is for sale on this site should you care to make your own.

But though I do believe there is a finite number of possible ways to make a sudoku that number is very high. With the pattern comes a finished sudoku for you to use as your own guide.

So many cross stitch patterns only has you copy someone else’s work. How about getting something unique?

Hearty appetite

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It hardly comes as any surprise that anything we eat has an impact on the environment. Nor that said impact is invariably negative, and that the best thing to do would possible be to stop eating at all.

Following such advice counters survival. So instead we compromise: Eat less meat, especially red meat. Go vegetarian or indeed vegan all the way. Eat only organic foods. Or indeed a combination of, say, organic and vegan.

And of course we want the best for our children. So we give them organic food at home and see to it that their daycare does too.

But what about the bib? Children are messy eaters and use bibs. Less washing is a good idea. Growing cotton and turning it into bibs (among so many other things!) is … well, less good. Even organically grown cotton comes with soil, water, and a lot of energy in the processes on its way to clothes. Including bibs.

So why not give your textiles a second life? This bib has a history: It was a towel in a hospital until it ripped from wear. Via sewing machine, the un-ripped parts became bibs. And 40 of them are on their way to a daycare. Ready for a new life with new stains, more washing and wear.

That’s in good tune with their organic food.

We are sailing

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I know full well I won’t get very far in these boats. They are easy to make, though, and would do equally well in a beach house, summer cottage or on a boat. All triangles, all the same size, all sides the same length. Rather neat even if I say so myself.

And the best part is they are absolutely still and don’t rock, roll, and heave. I get seasick sometimes. Never with these!

Lock, stock and … drill

The day began with fetching the morning paper as usual. Less than usual I did not have to unlock the door today because I was unable to do so yesterday evening.

So this morning I tried oil. The weather here in Denmark is a drought currently but in winter I did see dew on the inside of the lock and thought it may be rust.

Oil and time, even more oil and more time did not help. So I tried rust remover. To no avail. Gave in and found a locksmith. Thankfully this trade shares a feature with ER and midwives: A lot of their work is unplanned calls to people who need their help NOW.

The half hour or so was fine, I was not in labour and did not desperately need to leave the house together with my grown daughter. Told him (a rather handsome, youngish man!) what the problem was and what I did.

He then knew exactly what was wrong: The door had a fault from the factory that had allowed too little extra room for the protruding bit of metal to fit into the frame of the door. Apparently all doors sink a little over time. My door had sunk too low by a fraction to give enough room.

Hence the drill: He simply drilled away a bit of the metal. And now it works again!

And the stock bit? I just stocked a couple of items for sale onto my site.

Exasperating!

Oh, man! Know the feeling of this loooong list of things you have to do and too little time? That’s the kind of day this is.

And it doesn’t make anything better to find out that the really important point you spent so long time on has a deadline in … August.

But never mind, on to the next job on the list which to some extent was battling Google. In other words a lost cause. I was trying to get a copy of a saved scan into a document and could not see how. Thankfully my daughter had a simple suggestion, just use the “insert”, and it worked. I called her a genius, got another glass of water and set to work all happy. Only to find out that of all the 10 scans only one – 1! – was any good. The others were upside down or not complete.

In little more than half an hour I have to get to work. This is my newly upgraded website, and it still looks awful.

Strange how a day that in some respects seems long because of frustrations turns out to be far from long enough.