Mission mitten!

One of my hobbies is knitting. I’ve always loved crafts, and I began knitting as an adult when I found that my fingers were cold at work. I wanted a pair of fingerless mittens, but I despaired at the made-in-a-sweatshop things on offer in the shops, which I knew had no real warmth in them. So I embarked upon knitting in the round for the first time. For extra ethical kudos, I bought some undyed wool and I produced these:

hand knitted, hand embroidered mittens, lying on grass. Embroidery is of a butterfly.
fingerless mitts

Well, technically these were my second pair for a friend. And knitters amongst you will spot the flaw: my 2×2 rib was not properly calculated for knitting in the round, and I have 4 purl stitches in a row. Never mind, I just embroidered over that! I added a little colour at the top in stockinette, too, but I don’t recommend that embellishment if you want the mittens for typing at work: the curled over edges get in the way! You can find a great pattern for similar mittens on Knitty.com. I went on to knit tens of pairs of mittens, for all my friends. Probably my favourite pattern is also from Knitty.com, called “Fetching“: these have a little tube for your thumb, as well as a classy cable design. I went on to improvise some for myself, which are knit “upside down”, from the fingers up the arms, so that I could increase as necessary for the width of my arm, and make them long enough to compensate for a 3/4 sleeve jacket, on a cold day:

blue wrist/arm warmer, with a single wide plaited cable across the top.
arm warmer!

I blogged before about my handmade socks: I graduated into knitting these, because there are only so many fingerless mittens that I can wear, gift or indeed, bear to knit!


Plastic is everywhere

I came across a guide to products like scrubs and shower gels, even sun creams, which have plastic in them, published in February 2017, and I wanted to share it here. The guide is in the German language but full of easy to understand tables. Many of the products are available across Europe and have names in English, so are they recognisable even if you don’t speak German. It was apparently authored by Friends of the Earth Germany, and I found it eye opening. It’s a pdf file and called “Mikroplastik: die unsichtbare Gefahr” which translates as “Microplastic: the invisible danger”. You can also read about the background of the microplastics problem in English, on the National Geographic blog.

I was surprised to find products from the Body Shop and LUSH on the list (I had expected better from them), and of course there are some more expected big name companies. But I still like the solid deodorant from LUSH, which I bought plastic-free in their store in Berlin.

Anyway, if you’re not a German speaker but are planning on exploring the German language list on the grounds that most is understandable anyway, then you might like to know that, in German:

  • Peeling = scrub (not a facemask that you peel off, as I first thought!)
  • Kunststoff = plastic (you also see “plastik” quite frequently)
  • Hersteller = manufacturer
  • Firma = company
  • Gesicht(pflege) = face (care)
  • Duschgel = shower gel

Well, that’s enough to get you started on exploring their tables… go look!

picture of a bottle of sunscreen
One of the products that I won’t be using in future…