DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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2 May 2013

Knitting and EcoYarns

Knitting is, by far, my favourite pastime, although maybe I shouldn't call it a pastime because that implies I do it only for pleasure. Knitting is a pleasure for me but I do it for necessity - to provide clothing, warmth, household cloths and gifts for my family and friends. Knitting is one of my household chores. I have written about this subject before because I could see women online blogging about taking a lot of time with their "crafts" and often feeling guilty about it. I see craft work as part of a simple home. If you want handmade dish or face cloths, organic cloths for baby, tea towels, tablecloths, jug covers, various muslins for straining, napkins, curtains, homemade nappies/diapers and clothes, then you, or someone in your home, will be making them. Those items are not made for pleasure then, although there certainly is a lot of pleasure in the hours spent making them, they are made for the purpose of self-reliance and frugality.


When I knit I always use the best quality cotton or wool I can find. I am so fortunate to have EcoYarns as one of my sponsors and I know that without doubt, Vivian always sends me yarns that are an absolute pleasure to work with. If you're looking to stock up on winter wools, alpaca yarn, organic cotton or wool, Vivian is having a sale at the moment so you can take advantage of that and stock up on the finest quality for  a good price. One of my favourite products of hers is the organic 100% cotton (above and below). Vivian tells us on her site:  By buying EcoOrganic Cotton, you are helping to revive ancestral techniques of hand spinning and hand dyeing of the Peruvian dyers, especially of the Paracas Culture. You are also contributing to the welfare of the women (and their families) who work to bring you this yarn. The women often come from the poorest localities in Lima. They are given Fair Trade conditions and a litre of milk per day that they work. The money that they make helps their children obtain an education.


When you buy the eco cotton it's in a loose coil called a skein. You'll need two arms to hold it for you while you roll it into  ball, which is much easier to knit with. Or you can use a swift, like mine below. I found this one in a local antique shop.



 These red skeins are super fine, machine-washable merino.
 Baby alpaca.

I've knitted quite a few baby garments with this cotton and all of them knitted up beautifully. I could give those gifts absolutely sure they would be safe on a baby's skin. You can't always say that about wool or cotton because quite often harsh chemicals are used in the processing of them. Vivian has reduced the cotton by 50 percent, it's now only $7.50 a skein.

 The tall cone of yarn in the middle is the Qoperfina.

When you have a spare 15 minutes, pop over to Vivian's site and have a good look around. You may find something you like. There is a fine selection of fleece, fine wools and cottons and yarns you won't find elsewhere else. At the moment Vivian has a 2ply Qoperfina which is 50% alpaca, 48% cotton, 2% copper. She sent me some to try but I haven't decided what I should use it on yet. Any suggestions?  It's 2 ply.

You know what I really love about knitting with Vivian's yarns? It's knowing I will spend all that time finding a pattern and knitting it up and that will result in a quality garment that I'm proud to give away or use myself. Before I found EcoYarns, I knitted up wool that looked worn out when I finished knitting it and a year later looked five years old. I want the time I put into my knitting to produce something that I can happily use for many years. I want quality. I recommend EcoYarns to you, I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

I finished it!

And now I'm going to, hopefully, finish off a cotton shawl/scarf I've been working on for a few weeks. I wanted one similar to these but I didn't want to tie it and I didn't want a pointed back, so I just made the pattern up as I went. I want to use it at home to keep my neck warm on cold winter mornings. I was half way through this shawl when up popped Kate at Purple Pear with hers, almost the same as what I was knitting (great minds). Mine is made using the steel grey EcoCotton and when I wrap it around my neck it's so soft and comfortable, I feel like I'm wrapped in a bunny rug. I hope I can finish it before I post this tomorrow morning so you can see what it looks like.

I've got this on my to do list.
Beautiful patterns

Happy knitting everyone!

21 comments:

  1. Just the inspiration I needed to finish off the jacket I started knitting for my latest niece before she was born (she's now 8 months). You've put your finger on what I'd been feeling - that sitting knitting is a luxury whereas gardening or cooking is legitimate, necessary work. Now I've read this blog post I shall enjoy knitting all the more - guilt free!

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  2. I love to knit too - my grandma was a great knitter and got me started. My mum actually started knitting again because I was knitting so much so it is good to see that there are yarn sellers out there with the environment and ethics in mind.
    Re the 2 ply - my nan knits socks with 2ply wool so possibly a pair of socks?
    Happy knitting :)

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    1. Three generations of knitters, that's great. I'm not great on socks. I finish one then I don't want to do the same thing again.

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    2. Have you seen the books on knitting two socks at a time? I want to try it, as I have the same issue you do with socks. XXOO

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  3. Hi Rhonda, I like the look of the shawl, could you please tell how many skiens it took, as I have 1 of "Pride" and will get more to make something similar.
    The 2 ply would make up into a nice scarf/wrap in some sort of lacey, open pattern that could be squashed into your handbag for when you are out and about, we all know how quickly the weather can change .
    I do enjoy knitting so much, but it becomes a tad challenging when sock knitting with 4 small needles and "Princess Burmese" has her little butt on my lap amd her head and front paws stretched up on my chest, desperate for smooching time !

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    1. It would look lovely in Pride. I used just over two skeins - say 2¼. It was really easy knitting that I didn't have to look at all the time. Thanks for your suggestion of the lacy scarf, that might be the way to go.

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  4. I can knit how ever I do prefer to crochet I will definitely look on the Ecoyarn site as I have lots of winter crocheting to do - we are taking the children to the snow and they all have very imaginative ideas for the hats they would like me to make them!! I do feel guilty sometimes sitting down and crocheting because it brings me so much joy unlike putting the washing away!! Thanks for sharing Rhonda the shawl looks great :)

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  5. I sometimes wrestle with how much time I spend on my "hobbies" of sewing and knitting. This is a whole new and wonderful perspective. It is productivity for my household AND amusement for me. How wonderful those things can be one and the same. The shawl looks wonderful. I've seen those tie in back kind and always thought that is would be perfect for me and the busy life I lead as it would stay on so well. I may have to try to make one myself.

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  6. After months of on-and-off knitting I finished a vest for my toddler - he now refuses to wear it because it is 'mummy's knitting'. While I did want him to see and value handcrafts being done, this might be taking it a bit too far...

    I don't have a swift, but when I wind skeins into balls I've found that placing it around the backs of two chairs is enough to hold it in place and make it a one-person job.

    Karen

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  7. good morning rhonda!
    lovely knitting there & beautiful yarns too but i use the bendigo woollen mills yarn as i like to try to support my own country wherever possible & have found your ecoyarns a bit more expensive though the special looks good thanx for sharing it with us
    a great post as always
    hope you have a great day :))

    selina from kilkivan qld

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    1. morning selina! I few of the readers here use the Bendigo Mills yarns and being wholesale you certainly get a good price. However, I prefer organic yarns, especially for baby knits and for myself. Bendigo have no organic products. As usual though, there is room enough for all tastes and opinions. The weather is beautiful today, I hope you're enjoying it too.

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  8. That's a nice shawl indeed, just perfect for those cooler mornings and evenings. I don't think the Ecoyarns are available here in Canada, and shipping/taxes to order from Australia would make them too pricey, but I'll look for something similar here. Some of the shawls at your links are beautiful too - probably beyond my limited knitting skills, though I never give up learning, so perhaps one day! Thanks for the thoughtful comments about how such "crafts" are far more than that - I've come to realize that my own passion for stitching samplers and similar designs (as well as surface embroidery on tablecloths, etc.) has added to the uniqueness of our home, as well as opening up extensive areas of history for further study. Keeps the mind active!

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  9. Hi Rhonda! The Ecoyarns do look beautiful and I bet they are stunning to work with. Unfortunately, I don't seem to have inherited my mum's brilliant knitting skills - so far only scarfs and hats for me but hopefully with time I will improve :-) My mum does knit the most amazing socks and I swear you can feel the love she knitted into them when I wear them. The beauty of homemade, I reckon! Have a lovely evening, Kirsten x

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  10. Gah...I am one of those people who just *can't* knit. I can crochet though, so I really ought to find more uses for that...I'm using spare minutes here and there crocheting cute little flowers at the moment - I think they're going to become a scarf.....

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  11. I stopped in to see why I was getting so much traffic to my blog! Your shawl is lovely! Your post was the kick I needed so I posted pictures of the shawl on me today: http://maidenjane.blogspot.com/2013/05/i-did-knit-something-this-winter-jane.html

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  12. I am interested in how to get sponsorship? Can you give me some help or info?

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    1. Click the 'Sponsor' button above for more information.

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  13. Hi Rhonda! I'm also a keen knitter - in fact I'm also going to crochet classes and learning to spin wool from the Spinners and Weavers group.
    So many times I have people comment on how I "must have a lot of time on my hands". Well, no, I haven't got time on my hands because my knitting is going to clothe both my husband and myself. My crochet will make bolster covers and other household items. I look on knitting and crochet as my work! It's my job to keep us in clothes. I make my own jam and sauces and preserve fruits too. So I don't have time on my hands! Some people may think being at home means having nothing to do and being bored - far from it! There's always so much to do I never get bored!
    I do love this blog! It makes me feel validated in a time when being at home is made to seem somehow less. Anyhow... happy knitting everyone!

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  14. In the Netherlands there was a saying: a horses mouth and a womans hand shall never be at rest, in other words, a horse needs to eat almost constantly and a woman was considered lazy when she did not knit, repair socks or handsew at times, which we now consider free time. In the 50'and 60's you could order wool from a catalogue,(like now from internet) real wool and cotton and order also a patternbook, mostly at low cost with your wool, also needles etc. were available from the same firm. There was also a sheepfarmers association that had a van for showing and delivering wool at your door. That was the time most women were knitting and you were up with the newest fashion, but wool must be carefully washed or it shrink and cotton could grow bigger. There was no superwash yet. Then came the manmade yarns and they sold like crazy. But it was the end of the homedelivery of fantastic wools and cottons, I have only found one specific yarn that was great, I wore that shirt for fifteen years and it was still as new, so a smaller sized niece accepted it with many thanks. I now think manmade yarns were almost the death of home/handknitting, it is often squeeky and you can buy the same low quality clothes at the same price without spending hours of knittingtime. But, real wool is coming back and even young people see that knitting an item themselves delivers hours of satisfaction at lower cost then a handknitted woolen item in the shop costs, the quality being the same high standard. However, there is a form of knitting where the knitter takes the thread between thumb and forefinger while English knitting, which is time consuming. Whenever I see a video like this I want to take an airflight to teach them ow to knit holding the thread over that same forefinger, it is much healthier for the wrists and quicker. But, however one knits (or crochets) go for it, simple garterstitch dishclothes can be knit watching any soap on TV or reading recipes or blogs on your PC or laptop, I am sure women in the 50"s would have loved watching those while knitting and serving coffee to the men in their household. So, in those years knitting was not considered a timeloss but a asset to a woman. WE7

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  15. Hi Rhonda, what yarn are you using these days for your dishcloths?

    You inspired me to resume knitting with your posts on dishcloths and I'm sure glad I did!! I do prefer 4ply as that makes a nice light cloth. I've used Bendigo Cotton which is easy to knit, but the cloth does shed strands all over my dishes, so not thrilled with that side of it.

    Just wondering if you use any of the Ecoyarns for your dishcloths now, and which one? Seems most of them are hand wash only??

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  16. Hi Jane, I'm really pleased you're knitting your dishcloths. I still have a few balls of Lions 100% that I'm slowly getting through but, like you, I like a finer ply that 8. I've knitted a few with the ends of ecoyarns organic cotton (in the first photo) and I like them a lot. I think it's 5 ply, it makes up a very soft but strong cloth and there is no shedding.

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