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Archive for April 16th, 2009

I don’t like waste, I really, really don’t. I’m not a big one for throwing away anything that might be useful (but on the rare occasions when I do throw away, boy, do I throw). In the “there are two kinds of people in the world” division between the pack rats and the minimalists, I am rather sorry to admit I know to which party I belong. In fairness though, I am better than many at actually getting round to using those useful-looking things. Here is a broken clothes airer:

clothes airer houseclothes airer house2Two things you should know about this: it still folds up like a regular airer, and it’s a HOUSE, not a tent. Thank you.

And maybe my best day last year was the day we got the compost bin. It was a gleeful, soothing thing to peel a family’s-worth of vegetables for a roast dinner and not fill the bin. Just – disappear it to the compost, and know that it was doing something good. It used to kill me: all those healthy peelings, just going into a black refuse bag. The day my local council introduced a food-waste collection scheme was pretty good too. Now they take away the things I’m not keen to feed my own compost, like meat bones and cheese rinds and the dead pasta that fell under the little ones’ chairs (“you could eat off out floor” says the Beloved darkly, and with regularity).

I am, after all, a person who has found a use for dryer lint. I’m not saying I keep it indefinitely, but I found it irksome to throw away something so glaringly useful-looking (but perhaps other people are not gnawed at by the ‘obvious’ utility of lint), and now I have found me a use. Turns out that dryer lint, if reasonably densely textured, is excellent for polishing stained glass. Outstanding at it. Assuming that the solder has no nasty spikes (which good solder lines shouldn’t have), it polishes up a treat. All the finger marks and residual flux grime come off beautifully, and then you throw your little wad of polishing lint into the compost (ha! ha!) and done, sorted. Solved.

So, when a knitting recipe says “place stitches in reserve on some waste yarn” my first instinct is to think something like “what mean they by this ‘waste yarn’ idea?” In exactly the way I have trouble throwing away any piece of glass more than about half an inch square (there’s no glass too small to use if you’re prepared to be patient as you can see here), that extra six inches of yarn left over from grafting the toe of those socks isn’t WASTE, it’s darning yarn in waiting.

eye of partridge heelBut I’ve decided that you can still use it like the proverbial waste yarn, even if you intend to keep it for later. Which is what I just did. I’m making a new, slightly more ambitious pair of socks. Firstly, they are patterned, secondly I tried the ‘eye of partridge heel’, and thirdly I’m sort of doing them both at once. That’s where taking the first one off the needles came in. I previously left all the other stitches on while I did the heel, and now I’ve counted my needles and contemplated the intruiging notion of ‘hot-needling’. If I work smart, I can use one set of dpn’s and still work on both socks simultaneously (leg on one, heel on the other; heel on the second, gusset on the first). I’m not sure about how working the yarn from both ends is going to pan out: it could be a real pain.

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