this morning

This is a picture of my cats this morning.

Our old fridge has sat in our living room since last Sunday.  The cats have slept on it, played on it, and were generally adorable rolling around on top of it.

There is a program in Montreal called Recyc-Frigo where (if you have a fridge that is at least 10 years old, that works, and that consumes too much electricity) they’ll come and pick up your fridge and recycle it.  They came today and took away the cats’ new favourite toy!  I’m so pleased to have my living room back, but the cats look heart-broken.  I think we’ll have to get them a new climbing device soon.

Thursday night was knit night at Ariadne Knits, and it was super fun.  I’m always blown away at how a skill like knitting can bring together so many diverse people, and how we can all get along so nicely.  After all, there are a myriad of reasons why someone might pick up the needles and knit, and it’s no requisite that all knitters be nice and respectful.  But (at Ariadne at least) everyone really makes sure that they’re not stepping on toes even when the conversation breaches topics that are a bit uncomfortable.  I really like that, and I don’t think it’s odd that knit night makes me like knitting all the more.

I was running rather severely short of yarn on my cabled hat, so jumped out of the river denial (see what I did there?) and bought a new skein of yarn from Ariadne.  This skein has more than twice the yardage of the previous skein, although it is a 50/50 combination of wool and superfine alpaca as opposed to 100% superfine alpaca.

super alpaca on the left; ultra wool on the right

I think it’s an upgrade, really.  Both yarns are from Estelle.  The first was their Super Alpaca, and the new one is their Ultra Wool.  The wool adds a delicious springiness to the yarn that I adore.  I showed the yarn to my partner, a new knitter, last night, and he described the difference perfectly.  He said that it was warm and soft, and less fluffy (but that’s not a bad thing at all) and weightless.

And what a deal!  The price was $20 for 280 meters for a pretty chunky yarn.  I have this problem where I’m a bit spendthrift and have trouble spending any kind of money on anything, but when I wound the skein into a ball, the ball winder actually got stuck because it was too big.

I went with a blue/purple shade and I just love it.  I don’t often wear anything, well, that isn’t grey or green, but it’s gorgeous.  I was wary of looking like a grey-green super heroine, you see.  I’m much more of a Jennifer Susan Walters than a Savage She-Hulk; never mind my behaviour when I can’t find my sewing needles.

But enough of that;  now I’m reading an article about Bangladeshi garment workers.

As someone who actually can’t remember not knowing how to ply at least some kind of needle to cloth, I have a hard time relating to the idea that all garments should be ready-made.  To me, ready-made clothes are for when you don’t have time to make something, or don’t have the equipment at the ready.  Other than that, there’s no reason to wander around colossal malls that aren’t interested in providing clothes with a good fit or with longevity.  Making clothes doesn’t feel so much of a privilege as common domestic labour.  I sweep the floor, I patch my pants, I wash the dishes, I knit my own mittens: it’s all the same to me.  And yes, it is luxurious to have pants that will last more than six months, but if you put the work in it’s not so much of a luxury as something to take pride in.  And I think that we should all take pride in taking care of the basics.

Reading this makes me so upset:

The calorific intake of ready made garment […] workers is deficient, causing stunted physical development. With income reduced by static wages and rising costs of basic foods, malnutrition has become so widespread that in 2008 some workers were reported to be hallucinating in a delirious state during long shifts.

It’s not right.  It’s not fair.  And it seems as though there’s no escape, because workers like these are the people who spin our thread and weave our textiles.  Why should they starve for our fourth pair of pants?  They’re so malnourished, their growth rates are stunted and they’re hallucinating.  I can’t fathom being that hungry.

Living sustainably seems so far away, and yet, I think it’s inevitable.  This recession has affected so many aspects of daily life that I think most people have started to scale back, but not enough.  I know that I still do things like shop at discount stores, even though I know the labourers that manufacture my socks and clothes hangers weren’t paid enough.  I hope that we can figure this out;  until then, I’m going to try to live as reasonably as possible and not buy ready made garments unless my current clothes are falling to shreds.

Excerpted from the article:

As a female garment worker explained;

‘You see, as women, one of our wings is broken. We don’t have the nerve that a man has, because we know we have a broken wing. A man can sleep anywhere, he can just lie down on the street and go to sleep. A woman cannot do that. She has to think about her body, about her security. So the garment factory owner prefers to hire women because men are smarter about their opportunities, you train them and they move on. Even when he compares a small boy and an older girl, he will think, “She’s only a girl, she can’t wander too far away.”‘

Naila Kabeer – The Power to Choose, taken from article.


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