Thursday, April 23, 2009

I'm a Fan of the Environment

Swiffer cloth

Pattern: Swiffer Re-Usable Cloth
Author: Birdy Evans
Source: Birdy's Knits
Yarn: Lily Sugar'n Cream Ombres & Prints
Needles: Knit Picks Options, size 7
Started: April 10, 2009
Finished: April 11, 2009
Modifications: none
Ravel It!

Swiffer clothWe go through a lot of Swiffer cloths in our house. In fact, my mother-in-law dropped off a giant box of them from Costco a few weeks ago. I finally decided that we needed a better solution.

I landed on this pattern because it was a) free, b) used needle sizes I had and c) is reversible. You can't see it in the pictures, but there are bobbles that you poke into the retaining tabs on the sweeper to hold it in place. You only need to push the bobble through to the other side and turn the whole piece inside out.

I gave it a quick push around (that's why it looks dirty in the photo - it is!) and it seemed to pick up the dust and dog hair nicely. I plan to knit several more of these and hopefully it can cut down on our waste.

Everlasting Bag Stopper #1

Pattern: Everlasting Bag Stopper
Author: Amy R Singer
Yarn: Lily Sugar'n Cream Solid
Needles: Knit Picks Options, size 5 & 10.5
Started: April 11, 2009
Finished: April 18, 2009
Modifications: knitted handle, left off toggle
Ravel It!

Another shot at helping the environment, this bag took about a week to make. We already choose paper bags at the store whenever possible since they can be recycled and reused, but they also take up space in the kitchen and I hate putting them away. I thought a fun, totally reusable bag would make shopping more fun and environmentally friendly.

I originally thought two skeins would be enough, but as I knit I realized it would be way smaller than I wanted if I only used that much. I picked up a third skein at the store, but soon saw my mistake. The new yarn was a different dye lot and the difference was quite noticeable. I wanted to use as much of the three skeins as possible, but the dye lot difference meant a transition in the middle of the bag would not be pretty. So, I knit as far as I could on two skeins, then switched to the third for the garter top and handles. If you look closely at the photo, you can see the difference.

For the top and handles I knit 8 rounds (4 ridges) then bound off 20 stitches centered on either side. On the next round I cast on 35 stitches and reattached on the other side. I knit another 8 rounds or so and bound off loosely. The extra stitches cast on for the handles make them a little longer and easier to hold. Next time I may bind off more stitches to move the 'ends' of the handles closer to the short sides of the bag. That should also allow it to fit over a shoulder.

Unfortunately my first attempt to use my new shopping bag was met with resistance. I tried to use the self check out station at the grocery store and my approximately 180 gram cotton bag threw the scale off. It kept asking me to remove my last item and scan it again. To add insult to injury, I had to use plastic bags for that shopping trip since they don't supply paper at the self check stations.

These knits were my first foray into knitting with cotton yarn and it wasn't bad. I've read a lot of comments saying it hurt people's hands or wrists. My wrists did end up hurting after knitting the bag, but I don't know if that was from the cotton yarn or because I was doing a lot of knitting.


DreamSlave said...

A trick I use at the self-check is to just stack my items on the weigh station and then bag everything after I'm done. That way my I don't have to put my reusable bags on the scales.

susanc said...

I love the knitted Swiffer cover. We go through too many of those at our house too. I like this idea much better. I think I'll knit up a few to always have a clean one ready to go! Thanks for the link.

Mike said...

Great ideas! Anything we can do to help save the environment is a good thing in my book. And get to have some fun making them too.

Woo hoo!

James~ClosetCreature said...

Thanks for he great write up about the swiffer cover! It works great wet as well. We clean our tile with a solution of vinegar, salt and water with our covers! With the seed stitch it gives it a bit of scrubbing power!

--James, Birdy's Husband