Thursday, 18 September 2008

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

You may think that recycling is a recent concept. I'd like to share a little history on recycling from my younger days. This goes back a long way from back then.

My first recollection of recycling goes back to my childhood. What we have then was a man/woman that would go from house to house asking if there are any old stuff that we no longer need and would be happy to get rid off.

One would be a woman who would balance a big cloth sack on her head. She would stop at our house to ask my mother if there are any any old clothes for her. There are six of us children in the family and whatever clothes that we have were usually handed down to the next one until they are totally worn out and just turned into rags. So for this Recycler, we usually didn't have many things to give her, but she still came around and stopped during her regular visits. To this day I still wonder how she managed to balance the cloth bundle on her head hands-free!

Another would come around on his rickety old bicycle with one or two big gunny sack hanging from it. He would be looking either for old bottles, tin cans and any old metal parts. You can hear him coming because as he cycled, all the stuff in the gunny sack will be making loud clanging sound as the stuff inside knocked against each other. This Recycler usually spotted a beard and was scruffy-looking. So much so, he became a bogeyman to kids. Mothers would tell stories about him taking naughty children away in his gunny sacks to make sure the kids behave!

Yet another Recycler is the 'used-paper man' looking for newspapers, packing boxes, used note books and anything related to paper. And he usually rode a rickshaw or a motorcycle with a sidecab.

Nowadays, the recycling process is more organised. There are places where you can deposit anything that is recyclable. Some charity organisations will set up recycling drives to collect old toys, clothes and books. Some are willing too come to the house to pick up old furniture or bulky items.

But, among them still remain the used-paper men, except that they don't ride motorbikes anymore. Now they come in small lorries, playing pre-recorded tape announcing their arrival in the area. There are several of them going around each one with a unique signature tape. So naturally competition is intense among them. Before, when the papers used to be given away free, now they are paying for it, even though only for a small amount. But competition must be intense because the price that they are paying for old newspapers has gone up by two or three times what it was about 10 years ago.
If you manage to get this far reading the post, you'll be wondering what has this got to do with tatting.

For one, the mantra reduce, reuse, recycle doesn't work with tatting. Why?

Firstly, can you ever reduce this?

How many times have you felt like not having enough tatting thread and yet your stock is piling and the storage containers are bursting? And there is always the one more shuttle that you have to have, not counting the beads, sparkly thread and cobone ring and buttons .... and.... the list goes on. And how many sheets of paper have been used to print off the free patterns readily available online?

Secondly, reuse? Oh come on! How many times are you willing to unpick mistakes that you have made just to be able to reuse the thread. And what about the designers who make so many tries before getting the perfect design. And we all know that the thread will go all fuzzy after so many unpickings and will not be any good for tatting after that.

And finally, how do you recycle this?

That bits of thread left from the shuttle that is not quite enough to make a tiny butterfly, or the retries to get the design that you are aiming for, or the ones that didn't turn out right because the instruction was misread!

Well, that is my story and I am sticking to it!


  1. DIBBSSSSSSSSSSS!!! For the pile of bits I want to say I'll Take IT!!!!!!!! The perfect way to recycle those types of things is give them to a Crazy Quilter!!! We can use it! LOL
    Crazy Quilter AKA Recycler of old cloths/fabrics, bits and pieces of tatting or other lace, buttons, beads, and the list goes on!

  2. Very interesting post Jon, takes me back to the rag and bone men who used to come round collecting. They would take almost anything.
    Now we have to pay a recycling fee on anything that we buy new.

  3. ...and what a lovely story it was!!! That pile o'tatting bits is precisely why I want to learn Crazy Quilting and Silk Ribbon Embroidery, so I can use up those little "mistakes", LOL!

  4. I have not reached that high yet, but I'm getting there.

  5. ha ha ha. I was gonna say the same thing Melissa said being a crazy quilter but I see she had beat me to it. lol

  6. Melissa, I have always admired the beautiful ensemble that you show in your blog posts on crazy quilting.

    I might just join up with Tattinchic and start getting crazy myself, except that I don't know where to begin, he.... he... he....

  7. Here's a little tut I made for how I prefer to CQ! If you are interested!
    Also is a great resorce!
    Then again you could always send it all to ME!!! LOLLLLLL I can always hope eh? LOL

  8. I know exactly how to recycle the pile of tatted doofers and tiny bits of string... send it to me. Love your site. Eileene aka noiseynana

  9. Melissa, Eileene, you girls keep on hoping, LOL.
    Melissa, thanks for the link. I have just received my bundle of fabrics from Sue (HBT) for a kick-start on CQ and I don't know the heads or tails of it. But it should be exciting to try. I am looking for ward to it.


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