Day 6: Zero Waste Week 2014


This is a little mantra that I used very many years ago when I learned to knit.  I’m not sure how much more I remember about my knitting experiences, other than I used to enjoy it.  I couldn’t knit anything impressive, but I did lovingly create sleeping bags for my Care Bear figurines (remember those?!), made from knitted rectangles with the top portion folded over, stitched and stuffed with cotton wool!

I don’t know if I ever imagined that I’d teach my own children to knit – it’s not the first thing that occurs to you when the line on the pregnancy test turns blue! – but one of them is crazy about craft and is super-keen to learn.

Cool, I thought when the request was first made, and I popped out and picked up those cute little needles and a ball of wool. I smuggled them into the house and got them out when everyone was in bed, checking to see how far my ‘in over out’ mantra would get me.

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Not that far, it seemed.  I managed to cast-on but I think I’d done it the wrong way round – if that’s possible – and I couldn’t get started with the actual knitting. So I bought a book – a kids’ book, but it’s actually for me!

It came from Hive (a site that allows you to support your local independent book shop).  I love it as it has really simple instructions, as well as clear illustrations to help you master the craft.

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So, while sitting writing this post, I paused and opened the book, grabbed the knitting needles and got started.

Ahh, the slip knot – I’d forgotten about that.  No wonder my first attempt at knitting failed earlier.  Casting on was easy and the pictures in the book allowed me to ensure that the way I was holding and looping the wool was exactly right.  For things like this, I really appreciate fail-proof, step-by-step instructions!

Knitting a plain stitch came right back to me, but I’d forgotten how slippery the needles can be, and that you need to be careful not to split the wool, making two stitches out of the different strands… I did feel clumsy (and the few rows I knitted are definitely not the best!) but by the last one I felt like I was getting into the swing of it.

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I’ll definitely need to practise but I think I’ll enjoy knitting, and my book is full of little projects I can try out with my small child – knitted bunting anyone? 🙂

Ok, so all of this is very lovely, but how does it become Zero Waste Week’s ‘One More Thing’ to help me reduce what I send to landfill? Well, it terms of my children, I hope that knitting might, at least for a while, divert them away from less sustainable crafts like hama beads and the dreaded loom bands.

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If I can brush up on my knitting skills, then perhaps one day I can knit my own socks (I’m keeping my ambitions fairly low.) This was inspired by The Snail of Happiness who left me a comment in response to my sock-mending post, telling me that she knits socks – she really has a great blog, full much sustainable lovliness, do check it out!

Making socks appeals to me. My favourite socks have always been big thick woollen ones and I love the idea of making my own in my chosen colours with the most sustainable wool I can find.  It would also allow me to save those plastic hooks and labels, that come on shop-bought socks, from landfill.

Happy knitting!
Click here for National Zero Waste week 2014


13 thoughts on “Day 6: Zero Waste Week 2014

  1. Ah, thank you! Just keep practising. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be away. One of the joys of sock-knitting is that you just knit round and round most of the time, – none of those pesky purls required apart from for the rib at the top.

  2. As an avid knitter, all I can say is stick with it, for yourself and your little one. My mum taught me to knit with kiddy needles and I think she’d be amazed at how significant that skill has become in my life. For years I have focussed on cardigans but in recent years I’ve fallen in love with smaller items (socks, gloves, hats, scarves, vests even) that free me from a lot of shopping – unlike a lot of Brits, I can think of a 101 more enjoyable things than tramping round shops! And in this age of socks that don’t last six months, there is something supremely satisfying about knitting your own and then darning them after three years so they last another three!

  3. Hama beads and loom bands!!

    Last Christmas’s hama bead set has hardly been touched but through playscheme we have piles of unusable plastic pictures all over the house. As for loom band bracelets…… Good luck with your various knitting projects.

    • Thank you! I have to confess that hama beads are very popular in this house. I make the finished products into cards and coasters to give away so that they stay out of landfill for as long as possible. The loom bands were a present but I won’t be topping them up should our supply run dry. I’m not a fan….

  4. Pingback: Carpet slippers | The Snail of Happiness

  5. Pingback: Kicking off the knitting adventure | westywrites

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