Sunday, March 14, 2010

Crochet Your Way to Free Food!

Knowing how to make fractal technology like this....

Will enable you to make high tech agricultural technology such as this....
(skills: basic crochet / investment: 10 euros / employment requirements: 3 hours / strategic placement: window)

Which will enable you to branch out into financially profitable ventures such as this....
(financial investment: 0 euros)

Leading to revolutionary culinary experiences such as this....

Be Mad about Crochet . . . !!!

Growing Micro-greens Salad, Photos Step by Step

Growing sprouts, step by step photos

Here are the latest creations in my mission to never go into a clothes shop again.

I did it all without any patterns or any ability to read patterns for that matter . . . it's all very simple to do once you know the basic body and sleeve shapes/measurements of a standard jumper that fits you. This can be copied from a favorite jumper you already have.

I will publish the instructions for making the simplest of clothes in my permaculture section at some point, including how to hand sew a pair of tropical baggy (casual chinese) trousers for free - and from bed sheets! I wore mine all summer for keeping cool, and as pyjamas in winter. One sheet provided me with three pairs!

Anyway, back to crochet . . .

Here is a warm winter cotton jumper in seed stitch . . .

Below is a sample of seed stitch which is no more than the two beginner stitches - 'double' + 'treble' crochet (UK) - alternated. These beginner stitches can be learned on youtube short videos in half an hour. By alternating them you get this kind of psychedelic effect.

I prefer to use the French terms because they are more visual, less mathematical and far less confusing than the hundred year battle going on between the English and American ladies with their contradictory numerical terms! In French it's simply 'tight' stitch + 'braid' stitch alternated, with shell lace edging (itself just a sequence of braid, tight and chain stitch) .

The reason a lot of people don't understand patterns and therefore never learn the invaluable art of crochet is because they are visual learners needing images, rather than linear numerical learners. We can blame the British and Americans for holding up the crochet revolution as a result.

The best way of all to learn is via the diagramatic Japanese stitch chart system (examples below) which gives each of the basic crochet stitches a symbol - for example tight stitch (UK double crochet, US single crochet) is a plus sign.

Below is the stitch chart for the shell lace edging.

chain stitch = ovals
tight stitch (UK double crochet, US single crochet) = crosses
braid (UK treble crochet, US double crochet) = crossed Ts

Here (again) is my crocheted salad hanger I made from that chart in two hours, with string, so as to have free, organic and nutritious microgreen salads hanging aestheticly in my kitchen all year round:

And for staying warm . . . Blue cotton jumper, Shell + V stitches alternated . . .

Here is a sample of this robust lace which is Shell + V stitch alternated.
Shells and Vs are also composed of simple combinations of the beginner 'tight', 'braid' and 'chain' stitches (UK: 'double cr', 'treble cr' and 'chain')

Lacey indoor gloves for busy ladies who can't afford a lot of heating in the winter . . . one pair can be made in two hours with a two euro ball of wool or cotton . . .

Grey version . . .

Manly ninja gloves for reading and typing in chilly rooms . . .

...a girly fan lace jumper for Spring ...

here, the traditional granny doily, but this time the fancy lace version, joined together, mysteriously, as only grannies know how to do . . .

Free Wool from Floor Fluff !

all you need is one slightly hairy human and two hairy cats ... harvest your floor for precious fluff bunnies, card it (traditional wool brushing/cleaning method) tease it, clean it, dye it, spin it ... then crochet socks for your mum ... and stripey legginz for winter ... well ... i may exaggerate slightly in my enthusiasm, the human hair might be a bit scratchy, but i do know that jumpers can be made of cat hair, in my case the cats in question are short haired so my own added to the mix will hold the fibers more easily together when i get round to experimenting with this wool ... watch this space

if by any chance you thought my floor fluff is filthy ... filthier than sheep's wool? ... think again ... have you seen a sheep's bottom?

below is an example of hand spun and home dyed wool i did at Finmere primary school when i was about 7 or 8 ... it was in those days a friendly little country school where we actually learnt very useful skills, including how to spin wool...we learnt all about bees ... and birds...we also learnt how to make dusters and bind books ...

spin like a viking! tutorial 

very useful duster that my mother used for years, made from a wire coat hanger and wool loop-attatched all round

drop spindle tutorial 

another experimental fiber i've been working with is nettle stalks rolled flat with a rolling pin and sun dried ... this thick fiber has remained in a damp corner for years and has never rotted ... it's naturally sterile ... potentially it could be spun into string or chord ... more delicate fibers can apparently be obtained by using a similar method as for nettle slurry (fertilizer...incidentally, that was banned for a while in france, land of the free) ... i have heard that if one leaves the nettles in water for 24 hours so it starts to ferment, then rinsing, adding new water every 24 hours and so on, eventually the fibres become softer and more malleable so as to use them for textiles ... but i haven't got round to trying yet...

meanwhile here are some crochet socks that can be done in an afternoon ... using a 5mm hook with medium thick wool makes for very rapid progress ... crochet offers more airation, is a good thick cushion for the sole of the foot, whilst the regular bobbly texture gives a slight massage to the feet, stimulating them much as those slippers with nobbles on do ... this type of sock, if done in a tighter stitch (eg: +) can have a rubber sole stuck to it and be used as a slipper or shoe ... using this DiY footwear has considerably reduced my foot pain

jumpers below with recycled wool ... 

and before i get more hand-baggin and ear-bashin from Emissaries of the Church of Academia for praisin a skool whilst sayin Deskool ... Education izn't exclusiv property of clas$room ... ie: grassroots workshops, local ressources, library parties, bike mendin in woods (wiv book for leisure break) etc etc...

FURTHER READING: how to be free of the corporations with DiY Crochet Undies, shoes and more . . . 

And now, for those of you who have read this far, that is, those who have a genuine curiosity about the wonders of crochet, here is the Queen of Roumania, one hundred years ago, on the subject of the ladies' arts of tatting, crochet and knitting, there is much in this subject we have overlooked . . .

By H.M. The Queen of Roumainia

‘Woman’s work’ has become nowadays a word with such a very different meaning than in former days, that one is nearly obliged to explain what one means. When I say woman’s work, I don’t mean man’s work done by women; I don’t mean either the Amazons or the Beehives, as both are unsexed. I mean the work of women who can afford to stay at home, to have ten or twelve children, and be happy in bringing them up to be good, and clever, and useful. For the woman at home this book is written.

The Amazon-woman, the bee-woman, the man-woman need not even open it. But the solitary woman, who has time for reading and thinking – and there are many – may find pleasure in imitating some of our inventions and in adding some inventions in her turn.

To the solitary woman this book does go with the wish to become a companion. Here is pretty work to do during reading – much prettier than knitting. Nowadays work has become a great luxury, as everything useful and necessary is done by machines. Then let the luxury be as beautiful as we can make it. We offer here a kind of lace that long years of constant work have brought us to. It is such quick work – pretty to look at, and ceturies won’t destroy it. It is quick work for clver fingers, just as the lacemaker’s fingers seem to fly, but it takes a great deal of quick working to arrive at making a large piece of lace stuff. But once one is clever enough to read and to work at the same time, it is pleasant indeed.

I have known and loved a solitary woman, Miss Fanny Lavater, who used to embroider, as one did in the last century, in petit-point – scenes that look like water-colour painting. And whilst she did that fairy-work she always had a book open before her that she learnt by heart. It was delicious when she spoke about authors : how she could say by heart what they had written.

Nowadays nobody has time to do that, and learning by heart is disdained. My great-aunt, the Princess Louise of Wied, who never married, and who was the great friend of the Queen Adelaide of England, used to learn by heart every day, in order to keep her memory fresh. She wrote poems in English at the age of eighty-six – one very sweet one, ‘My little room’. I don’t know if the Amazon and bee-ladies would write a poem about their solitary little room nowadays; the silence of it would become oppressive, as they would not hear the voices of their dear ones talking to them, as my aunt used to do. She sometimes talked to them quite loud.

I have often pitied men – in the first place because they can’t know motherhood, in the second, because they are bereft of our greatest comfort – needlework. Our needlework is so much better than their smoking; it is so unobtrusive. Our quiet needle or shuttle, or whateer the instrument may be with which we can produce our modest kind of art, is a true friend, a safe companion, very busy and very discreet. The needle and the shuttle have never betrayed us; the spinning-wheel and the weaving-loom are a little louder, but oh! what a peasant noise! Even knitting and crochet are a comfort, as it occupies the hands when we feel restless.

What a help when in coversation we not wish to contradict; we seem to grow silent over some intricate bit of work, and none can guess the little volcano that is covered with the lava of our work.

Some men don’t like when the ladies work. It is a mistake. Atavistically we can scarcely help ourselves, as our great-great-grandmothers did nothing else. We get into a kind of fever with doing nothing. A very wise country clergyman allowed the women to knit during his sermons; never had a preacher more attentive listeners: not one of them dropped asleep, as overworked women are apt to do when they for once sit down. They grow drowsy and can’t keep their eyes open. Allow them to knit or to tat and they will be able to tell you almost every word they have heard.

How much care and sorrow, how much deep anxiety, what profound sorrow and sadness is put into silent woman’s work. One ought always to look at it with awe and reverence, not only on account of the patience it teaches, but much more for the silently borne pain it has to hide. Many a woman can say: ‘What a blessing that my work cannot speak! It would be very startling if it were to lift its voice and begin to reveal the thoughts under whose wing it was hatched.’

Luxury – perhaps! But so much more comfort than luxury, so much more rest than the harassing fatigue of bread-winning!

Tatting has the charm of lacemaking and weaving combined. It is the same shuttle as in the weaving-loom, only that the loom is our fingers and the shuttle obeys our thoughts and the invention of the moment. The joy when a new stitch is found is very great. I don’t know if Madame Curie felt much happier when she found the Radium! Of course our work is small and modest and will never shake the world. A woman may shake the world once in many centuries, but she can find things in the quiet of her little room that give her complete and intense satisfaction.

Don’t despise our needle and our shuttle, don’t think that our thoughts need be small for all that! The mothers of very great men could only knit or spin. The weaving of Penelope has become symbolical.

I am atavistically mediaeval in my tastes. I love the ‘chatelaine dans son donjon’ looking out over the lands and working with a lot of laughing and singing maidens weaving and embroidering around her. The minstrel must not be wanting, and the solitude need not be oppressive.

Woman is mostly solitary, even in her household, even doing man’s work. Only when she is made into the part of a machine does she stop being a woman.

Is there a prettier picture than a Roumanian peasant girl with her red or orange skirt, a yellow kerchief over her black locks, with dark-fringed large luminous eyes, the green pitcher on her head, walking through the fields and spinning, or the Roumanian woman, draped in the splendid folds of her white or yellow veil, sitting and weaving before her loom?

A woman’s hand is never so graceful as when working some lovely piece of art.

Open our book, dear solitary, lonely, worried or content woman, who is not condemned to earn a hard bread with hard work, and think of the peaceful hours it may bring you, and you will feel that we loved you well in publishing the result of our own loneliness.

Carmen Sylva.

Coming soon: how to make your own thread by using thigh-rolled nettle stalks . . . with or without pain . . .

for more articles on permaculture and free living click here

Crochet: Reclaim a Traditional Survival Art and Halt the Clothes Industry Slave Trade

more crochet here:

Crochet Revolution

(above cheeky collage by a certain san fran artist who shall remain nameless)