The Hamster Wheel

January 4, 2008 at 11:11 am 2 comments

It works! It works! It works!

My beautiful, beautiful treadle sewing machine which I have lovingly nursed back to health has finally reached the stage where I can pedal away, and the little wheel goes round and moves the needle up and down. I’ve been happily making lines on bits of paper to practise controlling it for a few days now. Not v neat yet….

Have sent off application for dressmaking course, but not heard anything back yet. It’s supposed to start on Tuesday, so I hope I hear something soon!

Can’t read patterns though. It’s like a foreign language, and all the books on curtains that I got out of the library are all about fancy stitches, matching colours and making pelmets – not bunging any old thing on the windows just to keep your house warm.

My SSish Secret Santa present arrived this morning too – I think the postman was a bit confused to deliver a second parcel address to ‘Hamster’. Anyway, I got some seeds, all of which look like they can be grown in containers (whoever it was did their research!), a big cloth shopping bag and some things to put on my phone.

I’ve also snapped up 4 old coffee jars in Oxfam, which I sterilised (like for jam) and now keep my tea in them – I’ve been given so much stuff this Christmas I’ve had to reorganise all my cupboards, and putting tea in jars means I can stack them on the wee thing my dad scavenged for me from my grandma’s house.

Should be getting three demijohns delivered by someone from Freecycle, later, too. I offered to collect them (one by one, on foot) and she very kindly said she’d drop them round on her way to Waitrose instead! People really are lovely.

This post is largely about the acquisition of stuff, which makes my next thought rather hypocritical, but it struck me when I was in Oxfam before Christmas. Now, a lot of the gifty type things they have in Oxfam are really lovely – I wish everywhere sold only Fairtrade chocolate, or recycled paper pads, or hemp shopping bags, or things made from recycled (as opposed to just recyclable) materials. I was just slightly troubled by the pressure to ‘buy an ethical gift this Christmas’, when all the ethical gifts took up the space that the rest of the year had been occupied by second-hand things. Surely the most ethical thing would be to rehome a used item, or not buy so much crap that ends up in charity shops in the first place? Where are the clothes and kitchen items that used to be in the shop going? Landfill? Dumped on the third world?

We can’t buy our way out of this mess, people!

We can knit our way out of it instead! Here are the mittens I made my mum for Christmas:


Entry filed under: charity shops, consumerism, freecycle, sewing machine.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mara Luna  |  January 8, 2008 at 10:57 am

    I would so love a treadle sewing machine! Lucky lucky you. 🙂

    I am a bit bemused by all this “ethical consumer” type thing. It still means consuming! Alan got a rough guide to ethical consumering (or whatever it is) out of the library and it made me a little sick that the consuming part is being pushed so much. People need to STOP! the world is a giant rubbish tip already.

    LOL, yes, let’s knit and sew our way…


    (I am mara from the creative living and INEBG forums btw, I just tootled along here via compostwoman’s blog. 🙂

  • 2. Hamster  |  January 8, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    Hi Mara! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Always nice to be reminded I’m not the only one who thinks the world has gone mad. =) At least he got the book out of the library, eh?!

    I think I saw a treadle machine on Wokingham freecycle the other day…..


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Most recent ramblings

January 2008
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The Heritage Crafts Network

Rob Hopkins, Transition Handbook

“Environmentalists have often been guilty of presenting people with a mental image of the world’s least desirable holiday destination – some seedy bed and breakfast near Torquay, with nylon sheets, cold tea and soggy toast – and expecting them to get excited about the prospect of NOT going there. The logic and the psychology are all wrong.”

Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

"Food is that rare moral arena in which the ethical choice is generally the one more likely to make you groan with pleasure."

Carlo Petrini

"A gastronome who is not also an environmentalist is an idiot. An environmentalist who is not also a gastronome is, well, sad."

Sharon Astyk

"I am, of course, firmly opposed to consumerism and corporatism in all its forms, and I believe that we are deeply confused about material needs and wants. Now let me explain how books and yarn are totally different than the material things that other people want ;-)…."

Raj Patel, at Slow Food Nation

"Biofuels, which is the preposterous policy that we should grow food not to eat it but to set it on fire."

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