Monday, November 19, 2007

Rants about teflon

Unfortunately there was no yarn store outing this weekend. It was raining, and I'm afraid we've been spoiled by the up-to-now dry weather. Hopefully this isn't the start of the 100 days straight rainy season. Instead of wandering about in the rain we stayed home, Jessamy worked on her homework and I curled up on the couch with a book about climate change, ya know, some light reading. I won't get into the details of the book as we've all heard the gist of it before (it was the No-nonsense Guide to Climate Change, if you're interested), but I will rant about my arch-nemesis: Teflon.

I understand that non-stick coating isn't dangerous until it gets 500 degrees, and that unless you're stir frying the contents of the pan, you should be fine, and really it's just me be being paranoid again, but still, the stuff's scary. For goodness sakes, the EPA, who only bans really horrible chemicals as opposed to just mildly carcinogenic ones, has called for a complete ban on PFOA, one of the chemicals in Teflon, by 2015. I had heard about this ban last year, and of course heard for years about pet birds being poisoned, so when it came time to find a cookie sheet (for scones, soon to be a topic of another post) on Friday I had already made up my mind to not buy a non-stick pan. But it appears the world isn't as paranoid as I am. My first stop was Wilkinson's, as their prices are always really good. They had about 15 metal pans and sheets to choose from, all of them, as in 15 out of 15, were non-stick. So I went to another store, they also had about 15 metal dishes to choose from, 13 of which were non-stick. I was left with 1 thin roasting pan and a sheet with raised grooves to choose from. It was getting late, so I went with the roasting pan.

Less than 24 hours later I came across a list of six major gases as listed by the Kyoto Protocal. One of them, Hydrofluorocarbons, is a replacement for ozone-depleting substances, but are ironically 12,000 more powerful as a greenhouse gas than CO2. Among other things, Hydrofluorocarbons are used to manufacture the plastic PTFE, more commonly known as Teflon.

Have I already mentioned that about half of the laundry detergents here contain 15-30% Phosphates, aka fishy killer. We were actually running out of detergent because we didn't know what to do, but fortunately we found out that if you can't pay 5 pounds more for detergent you'll always have about 5% Phosponates, and should look for ones with 15 - 30% zeolites.

Perhaps laundry detergent will be another thing on my increasingly long list of things I should bring back from the US (including cranberries and marshmallows (we have a grill, and I really want some smores, but of course there'll be the question of how to be ecological when you're sending ashed into the air))

This turned out to be a longer post than I thought. Next time I'll post some pictures on the scones, assuming of course I manage to remember to buy batteries.

Pattern Suggestion

Interested in trying your hands at socks? Feel like felting? In love with Brown Sheep? How about some Felted Slippers!

These may be from the Winter 02 issue, but I've noticed felted slippers cropping up more and more on blogs and yahoo groups lately.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Lego knitting machine

What more could you want in an invention - it's made of legos, and it involves knitting.

Yarn list updated on our website

Our list of yarn manufacturers has been updated with a few more links to help you with your special order requests.

As far as news from this side fo the pond, I'm currently at the computer lab at Jessamy's university, trying to concentrate. Trying being the key word. Since I grew up with five siblings I can usually ignore noise. But there is a point where sounds take on a life of their own and what ever I am trying to accomplish becomes less interesting than the prospect of well placed glares. There are exactly 20 people in this computer section including me, I just counted them, and I'm the only female. Aren't women supposed to be the noisy chatty ones, or am I mixing up my gender stereotypes? Now that I'm looking around at the other computer islands, guys outnumber gals 10 to 1. What does it all mean? I don't know. At least when cell phones are ringing it's the theme song to "The Good the Bad and the Ugly" instead of Spice Girls. Oh, never mind, another girl has sat down opposite to me... and now she's decided to sing some no-doubt popular but uninteresting pop song just loud enough to annoy me. Hmmm, I'll take it as my cue to visit the mobile library (always fun) and check out some books.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

All right?

The most common form of greeting around here is "you all right?" The first time I heard it I was at a temp agency. Up until that moment I was fine, but I was soon making a mental list of why I was not 'all right'. I think I managed to mutter 'ok thanks' though he had already had his back towards me at that point, which I thought was just rude, but I've since learned it's not always meant to be answered. The second time was again from another temp agency, and I responded 'fine thank you, how are you.' Her response suggested that was not the correct thing to say on my part. At that point I had figured out that it was a greeting, and that I shouldn't freak out when asked if I'm "aayt". But I had forgotten that lesson at a day-temp job which was truly stressfull, and I became increasingly more stressed as people repeatedly came in asking if I was allright. What do they say when they are trully interested? I have no idea. I had suggested to Jessamy that she ask a classmate how to resond, but she's forgotten, and I've been to shy to ask the grocery clerk.

Thanks goodness for the internet.
One site suggested that you say absolutely nothing, another said that 'ok' was also not a good response.
Here's the most comprehensive answer so far:
A contraction of "All right": a (usually friendly) British informal greeting, not always accompanied by the word "mate". It can be used (and this is not an exhaustive list) on its own, followed by the word "mate", or followed by a name: this latter usage is usually more friendly than the others, as it implies that you know that person well enough to use their first name in a cheerful and informal greeting.

It can also be used when questioning the wellbeing of another. However, this will almost always be preceeded by a word denoting that it is a question, e.g. "you".

N.B. If someone passes you and says "Alright", do not respond "Yes". There are a number of accepted responses, such as a simple "Alright", often followed by the person in question's name, the phrase normally spoken in a more assertive tone, as it is a response, not a question.

1. Alright mate
2. Alright Alex
3. Alright
4. You alright?
All right.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Brown Sheep is here!


Famous for it's wide range of colors and feltability, Brown Sheep Co. is the largest producer of natural fiber knitting yarns in the United States.

Here's their list of yarns and colors, if we don't have it in stock we'd be happy to order it for you!


Had a good job interview yesterday, despite the fact that I was getting over a cold. The second cold in fact that I've gotten since coming here. I made the mistake on Thursday of going out to see a movie that ended at 10 pm and was ten minutes away from a metro stop. I like to think I'm slowly learning - right now I'm wearing four layers of clothes, had to take my jacket off since it's warm in here.
In yarnee news I'm hoping to go to a real yarn store over the weekend - it's been too long since I've knit some socks. I'm getting absolutely nowhere with my sweater, I keep changing my mind and frogging parts of it.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Sock knitalong

Socks! That's right, you know you have always wanted
to try knitting socks...knitting socks on 2 circular needles...
knitting socks on one circular needle...knitting socks from
the toe on up! We all have our own unique way of knitting
a sock, or we are trying to find it. So come share your
techniques and learn someone else's.
Saturdays at 3:00