Monday, 14 April 2008

FO: Rainbow socks & baby hats

Finally, here are my lovely rainbow socks, knit with yarn from Natalie at the Yarnyard. They are just ordinary, plain jane top-down socks. I knit them quite short in the leg because I like them that way (and in the hope I might make my skein stretch to two pairs). Given the loveliness of the yarn I didnt think I needed to choose a fancy pattern. I love the mini rainbows that appeared magically underneath each heel.

I've also been busy in a frenzy of baby knitting. So frenzied that I sent two items without taking any photographs. One was a pair of 'tranquil' bootees from the Rowan babies book, sent to Australia to celebrate the birth of Charlotte. Congratulations to mum and dad, Angela and Damien. The other item was a small hat destined for baby Elizabeth, born on Good Friday, to Susan and Simon. Mum Susan deserves an extra special congratulatory mention for managing to avoid a c-section by persuading her midwives to let her have one last push. Well done you.

Inspired by the smallness and quickness of those items, I motored on with a couple more baby hats for my gift stash. We know of at least 3 more babies due this year to friends (and countless others to work colleagues and friends of friends). Another hat is on the needles.

This is just a made up baby beanie pattern, which can be knit flat or in the round. The stripey version was made following grumperina's instructions for stripey socks, and worked fabulously as a means of using up some oddments from my stash of baby 4 ply. I started with three colours - green, white and very pale green (it's very, very pale). Just as I got to the shaping for the top, the very pale green ran out, which is why the stripes change here.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

accepting the challenge

There are more FOs to blog, but today is about something rather more serious. Before Easter, I was at a conference in Belfast. One of the keynote speakers was Jonathan Porritt. He was an engaging speaker, and someone I have set a lot of store by over the years. The main thrust of his message was this - the implication of the recent IPCC (inter governmental panel on climate change) report is this: in order to limit climate change to a rise of 2 degrees celsius, we need to shift to a low-carbon economy within 15 years or so. You'd have to be quite old for that timescale to seem beyond your years. 15 years is soon. Really soon.

I've been reflecting on Jonathan Porritt's words since then. What does a low-carbon economy look like? What can I do in my personal and professional life to help bring it about? Can I shift my life to a low carbon existence?

Leaving aside my professional contribution, I am thinking about the other choices I make. Knitting and crafting can fit well into a low-carbon life, as they offer the opportunity to make bespoke garments (more likely to be used, looked after and given a long-life), to mend and repair existing garments/items; to recycle and reuse yarn and fabric. There are some other choices to be made for a low-carbon world - using natural rather than synthetic fibres (wool, cotton and other animal/vegetable fibres are intrinsically low carbon compared to synthetic yarns which originate from petrochemical sources); local and organic yarns where available (local just to reduce yarn miles and organic because this system does not rely on petrochemical inputs such as inorganic fertilisers and pesticides). Oh yes, and using up the stash. I think there is a lot to be said for that - making do with what we already have. I'm sure there are other things too.

What would you add?