Monday, January 9, 2012

The New Hand-Made World We Live In

This is a knitted coffee sleeve, designed to protect your hand from the heat of your paper-cupped beverage while being environmentally-friendly and not using one of those little cardboard ones from a coffee shop.  I hand-knit these and have a fairly large inventory of already-made coffee cozies ready to be purchased for the low price of $10 apiece! 
I would describe myself very much as a Beginner knitter, but I am slowly acquiring more skills and becoming more willing to challenge myself and learn new stitches & styles.  I am also thinking about adding cute embellishments like buttons or small pockets (for tea & sugar packets) to the coffee sleeves to set them apart even more. 
I recently knitted my niece a floppy, hot pink winter hat, which turned out wonderfully, and only took me about 2 days of knitting off & on (about 8 hours total), which means I am getting faster and more consistent with the stitches. 
But I forgot to take pictures of the hat, which is such a bummer, because it really was my best work to date.  Maybe I'll have my sis-in-law send me a picture with my niece wearing it, so I can post it here.
Making the hat was a revelation for me, because I had made something that was not only functional (to keep the baby's head warm), but also cute, girly, and stylish, with a bit of creative flair.  I had actually made something worthwhile, that will get used & worn.  How cool is that?  Of course, I (and a select few family members) have been using my knitted coffee sleeves for awhile now, but this hat was different.

Do any of you make hand-made items?  Do you feel the same pride and satisfaction seeing your family use & wear these items like I do?
Knitting is one of those "lost arts" of the good old days,  that are now making a comeback due to a few reasons:  the economic downturn is making folks realize that perhaps they can save money by making things that they used to buy from a store, and the "going green/sustainability" movement that has been spreading across the country in the last few year.  More and more people want to live "off the grid" as much as they can, using less resources, downsizing their homes, consuming less, contributing to landfills less, and growing their own food for health & money sake. 
This generation has re-claimed the slogan "Reduce, Reuse, & Recycle" and lots of people have made a lifestyle out of it.  A similar word, "Upcycle", has taken the internet by storm as well, referring to re-purposing and re-using a used object by giving it another purpose & look as it had in its previous life.  For example, I've seen lots of "how-to" articles on Pinterest lately about how to DIY upcycle a used wine bottle by using a method involving heat and a string, to cut the top off of the bottle, turning it into a unique drinking glass.  There are many things you can do to reduce, reuse, and recycle; and all you need is your imagination!  And maybe the internet.  And some string. 

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