22 Apr 2017

Thinking about the sea

It's Earth Day today, so perhaps it seems odd to be thinking about the sea. However, I was drawn to the problem of plastic in the sea just the other day.

We were walking on South Venice beach in FL and my husband Tim's photo shows the beautiful calm Gulf waters alongside us. The sun was shining in a clear blue sky, and at the horizon it just seemed to melt into the turquoise water. It just seemed so clear, so calm, so perfect.

But further down the coast there were three plastic bottles washed up on the sand dunes, and a plastic bag wrapped around a twig. We have all seen something similar but after that perfect vision of sea and sky, it just seemed so jarring.

The problem is that plastic is a brilliant material. It is light, flexible, can be formed into an endless variety of shapes and doesn't break easily. It would seem to be one of the best inventions in our modern world, but like many things there are some real downsides to this wonder material and it is the ocean that is suffering. 

We didn't even have plastics when I was young. You purchased milk or soft drinks in a glass bottle and returned the bottles to the shop for a refund. You took your own bags to the greengrocers or the corner store, and covered foods in the larder with a damp cloth. Now, it's all plastic. Cling-wrap to keep the food fresh, plastic bottles, plastic bags. And all of this is just a few decades.

However, I saw a statement the other day which struck a chord with me:

"Behind each and every piece of littered plastic debris there is a human face. At a critical decision point, someone, somewhere, mishandled it, either thoughtlessly or deliberately."

The water bottle someone left when they stopped to take a photo, the plastic bag that blew away as you were getting into the car, the fishing line you can see snagged around a rock. We've all made decisions about these things, haven't we. It's only one plastic bag after all and it's too hard to chase it, especially as the car is open and the baby's inside... It's depressingly easy to cause one more piece of plastic pollution.

Knitted Bags. Top  Left: Nokomis Beach Bag, Right: Sarasota Shopper,
Lower Left: BYOB Market Bag, Right: BYOB - Bring Your Own Bag!
However, I like to keep positive and see the pluses rather than the negatives with issues such as this. So the positive side of this issue is that we don't have to go back far in our history to see solutions! 

Take plastic bags, for example. My mother or grandmother would use a string bag or basket for all their shopping, so that's what we can do too! Not that this will sort out all the issues of past pollution, but it's a way of at least reducing some future problems.

So, here's a resolution for this year's Earth Day: "No plastic bags for me!"

Let's make this the year in which no single plastic bag comes home with us! Instead, we can delight in knitting or making bags to make our shopping trips plastic free.

The photo above shows just some of the many knitted bag patterns that are available to choose from. At the top left is Anna's Nokomis Beach Bag, a lovely pattern worked in Cascade 200 wool.

The photo at the top right is the Sarasota Shopper, a bright linen-lined bag — super strong and cute too! This pattern can either be purchased on its own or as part of the Southampton Collection, which includes three other styles.

Then the two lower bags are for all those light-weight or awkwardly shaped items that we need to carry home. On the right is the BYOB -Bring Your Own Bag! pattern, with four sizes of bag to choose from, and on the left is the BYOB Market Bag, a long-handled bag with a tutorial series that you can follow as you knit your bag.

Happy Plastic-free knitting!


Last Blogpost: Zen Knitting
Next Up: Of Castles and Kings (to be)

My Website: www.wyndlestrawdesigns.com
Anna's Website: www.kikuknits.com

Our Book: Reversible Knitting Stitches

Photo credits:
Top: Tim Ravenscroft, "Where the sky meets the sea"
Centre: Ferdi Rizkiyanto "What lies under"

. 23/12/18 W

11 Apr 2017

Zen knitting

There is something delightful about Spring. The long still evenings, the scent of flowers in the air, the quiet buzzing of insects and a gentle glow in the sky as the sun goes down at the end of a warm day. 

Even in Florida, where daffodils and tulips never appear (except in other people's Facebook photos), we have the same feeling of change. The oaks are greener and the palm trees are bedecked with heavy fronds of waxy yellow flowers. Bright orange butterflies flit past and the sun is noticeably further around before it finally fades away.

It's evenings like this that call for some Zen knitting. Something where your hands can do all the work while your mind is somewhere else. You can even let your hands be still for a moment and pick up the work again without forgetting where you are.

I was musing on this the other day as I sipped a perfectly chilled glass of wine, my knitting waiting patiently for me to resume. I had decided to knit another Kimpton Scarf in a beautifully soft cotton/bamboo yarn. A cool breeze suddenly blew into the courtyard where we were sitting and I wrapped the previous Kimpton Scarf around myself. Aha! Now I knew what I wanted to knit — a wrap!

I dived indoors and counted the number of balls of yarn I had left and calculated what I would need. Yes, I had enough — whew.

I returned outside and continued to cast on. The sun filtered through the palm fronds and it didn't take long for the zen feeling to resume. The breeze had settled down as fast as it had come and I relaxed, knowing that I now have enough knitting for a few more glorious Spring evenings.

I'll post some pictures here when I have a bit more done on this. In the meantime, here are some photos from the newly renamed Kimpton Scarf and Wrap pattern. I have updated the pattern already so if you'd like to knit a summer wrap, then please join me! 

Until then, enjoy your Zen Knitting!


Last Blogpost: Reversible Knitting Stitches - an update and a request

. 27/7/18 W


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