Tag Archives: dish rag tag

Dish Cloths

How do y’all feel about log cabin style knitting?

Kindergarten starts tomorrow. I should have more time to talk then.

PS I missed my 10th blogaversary at the beginning of August. I always miss my blogaversaries, so this is nothing new. The part about TEN YEARS worth of my thoughts out in the ether is really making me feel old though.

Mindful Fiber: August is Cotton and Dish Cloths

Some of my favorite yarns are made from cotton.

cotton

All the cotton pictures are courtesy of my darling sister, Anna Elizabeth McCloud. I’ve reserved her rights.

This isn’t even a little surprising: cotton fulfills about half of the world’s fiber needs. It is also one of the most chemically dependent crops since 16-25% (depending on who is doing the reporting) of the world’s insecticides -more than any other major crop- are used in production. As much as 1/4 of a pound of chemicals are used to produce enough cotton fiber to create a single t-shirt. That’s hard on the environment, rough for the farm workers and not especially healthy for the wearer of the t-shirt.

SO MUCH COTTON

all rights reserved by Anna Elizabeth McCloud

In response to consumer concerns, the conventional cotton industry claims to have spent the past 50 years making a concerted effort to improve sustainability and increase crop yield without destroying the environment*. According to mainstream industry publications, research and technology has made it possible to reduce the amount of pesticide use by as much as 50% while increasing yield by the same percentage. As biodiversity and modern farming techniques (contour plowing, planting trees to prevent soil erosion, soil profiles) become more widespread, the carbon footprint of cotton crops will be reduced.

cottons!"

all rights reserved by Anna Elizabeth McCloud

But what does that really mean? The 50% reduction in pesticide use only refers to the amount of chemicals used on the plants themselves. It does not speak to the toxicity of the chemicals or whether the farms have reduced the amount on the fields because they practice ‘area-wide’ pest control. If the increase in yield is thanks to growing 75% of the world’s cotton from genetically modified* seeds, is that really helping anything in the long run? Happily, there is another choice: organic cotton is grown without the use of toxic or persistent pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. This means that organic production depends on its ability to replenish and maintain soil fertility as well as build biologically diverse agriculture. Federal regulation prohibits the use of genetically engineered seed for organic farming. All cotton sold as organic in the United States must meet federal regulations regarding how the cotton is grown.

more cotton

all rights reserved by Anna Elizabeth McCloud

Whether organic or not, cotton fiber is processed with the same basic steps: harvest, clean, spin, do something with the yarn (I’m sure you’ve all heard about Eli Whitney and the cotton gin, and have a basic understanding of how fiber is spun into yarn.). The difference is that organic cotton is not bleached or chemically treated during processing and, if you pick a color-grown shade, it’s not even dyed. With conventional cotton, only the spinning process is devoid of chemicals. Formaldehyde, chlorine, and assorted anti-wrinkling agents are just a few of the things avoided when organic cotton is purchased. Organic cotton does have a premium price tag in most cases. Some of that is due to trend, but there is a higher cost in production that must be weighed against the long-term cost that conventional farming has on the environment when selecting a yarn.

But wait, there is another option that is both planet and pocket friendly! Recycled Cotton!

pretties

Featured Yarn: 2nd Time Cotton from K1C2

Cotton is recycled by collecting the waste, scraps and excess yarn that is left over during clothing production. The bits and pieces are shredded down to fibers, sorted by color and then spun into ‘new’ yarn. The recycled cotton fibers are often plied with another fiber for added strength. In my experience this secondary fiber is typically acrylic, but that is often derived from recycled sources as well. Recycling takes less time and money and avoids a large chunk of the environmentally harmful aspects of cotton by skipping over growing and dyeing. Recycled cotton is used as polishing and wiper cloths in industry and has been made into paper – the fibers are used as stuffing for cushions! But who cares about that? We’re knitters. We like yarn.

For August, I’ve got a pattern for everyone and yarn for a few.

That’s Hiatus, the dish rag for while you are waiting for the Return of Dish Rag Tag. It’s not designed for speed. It’s designed for pretty. And relaxation. A delightful change. Hiatus is available as a freebie on Ravelry and will be on my free patterns page as soon as I remember how to make that happen. As for the yarn, I’ve got a skein of 2nd Time Cotton (see above) from Knit 1 Crochet Too for two winners drawn at random from the comments AND for the first two people to knit through the Hiatus pattern and send me notes! Congratulations to C.C. and Jenipurr, the first two knitters through the pattern! That was so fast you made my head spin! As near as I can tell, a skein of 2nd Time Cotton is enough for three dish cloths – or a larger project of your choosing. It’s actually got a real nice hand. I’m not usually a fan of acrylic content, but in this application it makes a nice addition. Also? Made in the U.S.A. You don’t get that often in a yarn.

Get to commenting! Get to knitting! This giveaway will be closed on August 28, so leave a comment on this post before then for your chance to win. If you can’t wait to order some cotton of your own, Green Sheep Shop is offering 20% off on all cotton and cotton-blend yarns for August. Coincidence is a crazy thing.

*Interestingly, until about 50 years ago, the majority of the world’s cotton crops were still produced with sustainable, traditional farming practices. Practices that already included crop rotation, natural fertilizers and satisfaction with the plant’s built in ability to withstand drought and tolerance of less than pure water.
**It’s not that I have a problem with better living through science. It’s that I have a problem with Monsanto. I have a problem any company that has a choke-hold on congress and wants to hold the world’s food supply hostage with lawsuits.

Dish Rag Tag: On Hiatus

a new one

Contemplative knitting.

By now, I am sure most of you have realized that there won’t be a Dish Rag Tag this year. There are two big reasons for this. Reason 1: The ap really needs to be rewritten. Apparently software (like everything else) gets old. Michael asked what would happen if the ap just stopped working in the middle of the race and I had to go lie down. Reason 2: There is way too much going on.

I’m working on a little something (see illustration above) to tide you over during the break. In related news: there will be a new Mindful Fiber next week.

I am very sorry for this, I know that many of you will be disappointed. I’m disappointed. But think about what would happen if the ap stopped working in the middle of the race.

If you have to go lie down, I understand.

Take Two

It’s the first day of preschool! Jump for joy!

jumping in striped legs

Check out those stripes!

You thought we already did that? She spent a total of eight days at the old place. The third Friday morning, she told me she would rather stay home and clean the house with me than go to school and have birthday cupcakes with her class. We were already REALLY unhappy with the place (our choices are few) but sticking with it as long as she seemed to be enjoying herself. We called the Montessori place a couple towns south (it’s a drive or she would have been there already). They said “Sure we have room, but if you aren’t in a hurry, we’re opening a new school down the road from you!” We weren’t in a hurry and school started today.

And she was not shy.

The Official Pattern of Dish Rag Tag V: V is for Victory is up and ready for download on Ravelry and in my Free Patterns (it’s at the very bottom). Incidentally, the Free Patterns page has been spruced up a bit and now has pictures.

If you’ll excuse me, I need to get started on Ellie’s Halloween costume! I am so glad school opened this week – I had no idea when I was going to find the time to get that done.

7/11 + Finale

The final box of Revenge of Dish Rag Tag arrived yesterday. But the mail was late. And then it rained for about twelve hours. So you had to wait until tonight to hear about the 7/11 +1 Grand Finale:

oooh

ooooooooh

And this (the box was only singed a little bitty bit):

aaaaaaah

aaaaaaaah

And these terrible pictures in tungsten lighting of the contents of the box:

dish cloth and mamie

The gum is mint. Mamie likes mint.

The last leg and denim blue (in case you can’t tell in the horrid lighting) dish cloth are by Marie! Thank you so much – I haven’t had Starburst in forever! Team Captain Tracey and the rest of the 7/11 + 1 also sent postcards!

postcards

Photographs too!

We love postcards! I’ve put them at Ellie’s place so we can look them over at breakfast before we put them in her book. I’ve got all kinds ideas for what to do with our post card collection – I’ll share a few when Ellie is old enough to do more than look. Thanks you so much and congratulations to the entire team for finishing the race!

This is the second Dish Rag Tag with a 100% completion rate! The first was the original race. I didn’t send a single replacement box. We didn’t have a single alternate knitter. Every participant knit for their team and every team achieved Dish Rag Tag Glory. I can’t tell you how happy this makes me! I am Over the Moon. Thank you so much to each and everyone of you for making this race a success. I hope you all join me next year for

The Return of Dish Rag Tag

Revenge of Dish Rag Tag Final Standings
Doggone Dishrag Addicts 10/15/2010
Five Alarm Fire 10/18/2010
Faster Than Ewe 10/19/2010
X-treme Rag Taggers 10/20/2010
Cable 4 in Front 10/23/2010
Alterknits 10/25/2010
Dishrag Divas 10/25/2010
Purl Power 10/27/2010
Ragtime Knitters 10/30/2010
The DRTy Knitters 11/1/2010
7/11 + 1 11/3/2010

Tenth is DRTy

The tenth box to finish the race belongs to

in the mail box

The DRTy Knitters!

Hi, Renna! How was your first Dish Rag Tag? You must have been perfecting your technique while you were on the sidelines – the dish cloth is lovely! And SO PINK!

pink

I might have to fight my Mom for this one.

Renna also crammed the box with thing to eat and things to use and things to make lips taste like a sweet tart (we love sweet tarts and “yip bom”)?

raisins!

I’ve never seen a Peanut Rounder. I’ll eat that first!

Incidentally, if you don’t have a Needle Nest, you should take steps. There is a magnet in there that keeps your needles and pins from going all over the place! I’ll put it in the car and when I find all the needles that I’ve dropped in the seats, it will be full to the brim!

Thank you so much, Renna! And congratulations to The DRTy Knitters and Team Captain Susan on a completed race and Dish Rag Tag Glory.

Revenge of Dish Rag Tag Final Standings
Doggone Dishrag Addicts 10/15/2010
Five Alarm Fire 10/18/2010
Faster Than Ewe 10/19/2010
X-treme Rag Taggers 10/20/2010
Cable 4 in Front 10/23/2010
Alterknits 10/25/2010
Dishrag Divas 10/25/2010
Purl Power 10/27/2010
Ragtime Knitters 10/30/2010
The DRTy Knitters 11/1/2010

Ragtime at Nine

The ninth box to complete the race for Glory arrived today!

in the mail box

Ragtime Knitters!

The last leg of the race, knit by Lila, resulted in a great stripey dish rag! As well as a bunch of Tootsie Rolls! I love tootsie rolls.

on the coffee table

Stripes!

There’s another little treat that fit perfectly into the box: a Sugar’n Cream pattern booklet! How appropriate is that? It has patterns for non-dish cloth kitchen things! How cute is this basket?

book image

The title is “Eco-Kitchen.” You know you want a basket.

You should see the little round baskets and leaf scrubbies! Thanks so much, Lila, I know what to do with my enormous stash of Sugar’n Cream!

Ragtime Knitters and Team Captain Deb, congratulations on your Dish Rag Tag Glory!

Two teams to go – and both have tagged me! Will the race have a photo finish this year? I don’t think that has ever happened.

Revenge of Dish Rag Tag Final Standings
Doggone Dishrag Addicts 10/15/2010
Five Alarm Fire 10/18/2010
Faster Than Ewe 10/19/2010
X-treme Rag Taggers 10/20/2010
Cable 4 in Front 10/23/2010
Alterknits 10/25/2010
Dishrag Divas 10/25/2010
Purl Power 10/27/2010
Ragtime Knitters 10/30/2010