Posts tagged ‘yarn’

What are we going to wear to the apocalypse?

This has been sitting in my drafts folder for months.

I’ve been reading loads about peak oil lately, with the Transition Handbook and various other avenues it’s prompted me to explore, and it’s great that people are writing about the stuff we need to actually do: much great stuff out there about relocalising food, growing our own veg, building houses from local, sustainable materials, walking instead of driving and bringing our lives back within walking distance so it doesn’t seem like such a wrench….

But, with the notable exception of Sharon Astyk, who says we should all be knitting socks, all peak oil writers seem to be neatly sidestepping the problem that once we all start farming and building houses and doing a lot more physical, outdoor work, we’re going to need suitable clothes. Blimmin’ men. 😉 Most people in the West today work indoors, usually in air-conditioned offices or shops, and we can get away with wearing flimsy acrylic jumpers or (in some mind-boggling cases) T-shirts in January. We aren’t really equipped, as a society, to get out there and dig. We don’t have warm enough trousers, jumpers and coats, we don’t have proper boots, and some day we won’t just be able to buy a new pair of socks every time ours get holes in, like we do now. We won’t be able to grow or import so much cheap, fossil-fuel-intensive cotton, and we’re probably going to be wearing out our clothes a lot faster.

Speaking purely from personal anecdotal experience, during the coldest parts of this year, I was wearing my two woollen jumpers and my one (beautiful, utterly decadent) cashmere jumper on a constant rotation. My dad had always sworn by natural fibres, but my parents’ central heating was so efficient I never really realised it until we moved here. Hmm. Rising fuel costs, anyone???

This should be on the agenda too! The tone of what most of what I’ve read implies that clothes are a symbol of our cheap, disposable culture, and should go the way of these pesky electronics and allow us to get back to the real stuff we need to worry about; but relocalising textiles and fabrics and creating durable, repairable items of clothing is, I grant you, not as important as growing vegetables, but easily of equal importance as building durable, repairable houses and furniture.

Objectively speaking, our unsustainable obsession with fashion extends beyond simply clothes to the Changing Rooms-esque regularity with which we are all supposed to replace our kitchens and bathrooms or the furnishings and decor of our rooms, and from both of these we can extract a sustainable alternative (I say ‘alternative’ as if that’s the weird option… you know what I mean…) based on the knowledge that having something to live in and something to wear are of more or less equal usefulness. And yet the gruff, rugged masculine option is the one that gets all the attention…

September 11, 2008 at 3:05 pm 2 comments

Alpacas

I want an alpaca, and I defy anyone to fondle my sock yarn and not agree with me.

Aww, look at that face. Don’t you want one too? 😉

I also have nice hair. Finally. It feels like my hair always used to feel when I used normal shampoo. Hurrah. I achieved this by actually rubbing the shampoo bar on my hair instead of trying to lather it up in my hands and using a weaker vinegar rinse. I don’t know which was responsible (bad science alert!) but it works and I’m soooo glad – everything else I’ve done to be greener has actually made me happier or healthier or in some way improved my life, but I have felt for a long time like a dirty hippy with greasy hair and like I am suffering in the name of some naive idealism. Yet the sheer efficiency of the Clairol (when I went back to using it) frightened me.

But now I have nice hair and nice food (and nice skin and 2/3 of a nice sock).

June 3, 2008 at 7:07 am 3 comments


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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."