I think Susan left a comment last time after I'd mentioned PG Tips (as they have free monkeys with boxes of tea at the moment, and yes, I did weaken and get one. So Monkey now has two baby monkeys to cope with.) Something to do with switching to the new blogger, but at the moment I'm not getting any email addresses through with comments (which is what used to happen) so haven't replied to most of them!
Anyway, I thought I'd explain (or try to) what Fair Trade is. Fair Trade means making sure that the producers of goods (tea, coffee, sugar, chocolate, cotton etc etc), often in developing countries, get a fair price paid. A lot of these producers fall victim to low prices and unfair competition (often caused by subsidies in rich countries, like American cotton). You can read more about fair trade here. I think that fair trade is quite "big" in the UK, we have about 2000 certified fair trade goods available here, and it's becoming much easier to get the products at local shops/supermarkets. I suspect the certification process isn't as advanced in other countries. Fairtrade Fortnight starts tomorrow, so it seemed opportune to blog about it! The stuff I buy that's fairly traded tends to be - bananas, sugar, tea, coffee, chocolate, breakfast cereal, jam/marmalade, rice and wine (I'm lucky, as my local shop is a Co-op, which is a strong supporter of Fair Trade as it fits in well with the Co-op's other ethical standpoints.). I'm trying to buy more fairly traded cotton, and I'm attempting to switch to only clothes that are organic cotton (because cotton uses a scary amount of pesticide in production, which is bad news both for cotton producers and the planet). But these are more expensive and, until recently, not available very widely (there are some links to some in my sidebar, under "Ethical Shopping"). It's quite hard to apply this to craft stuff. You can get Fairly Traded yarn, such as the recycled sari silk, or from companies such as Artesano and I would love to be able to switch to organic cotton, but haven't found much available (and much of it is from overseas, which means shipping, which has an environmental impact). I think it's also important to support local, British, producers, and am trying to concentrate more on locally produced yarns, when I do buy yarn (still on a diet!).
Incidentally, did anyone hear the World at One on either Thursday or Friday last week? There was a rather scarey interview with an American woman who'd wanted to recycle her Christmas cards, couldn't find anywhere in the US to do it, and ended up sending them to the Isle of Wight! Surely there must be somewhere in the US that recycles paper and card?!
And onto what I've been up to in the last few weeks...
I bought some fabric remnants from a shop called "Textures" in Penrith last year, and finally got round to making them into covers for the seat pads of my dining room chairs:
Hmm, colours don't come out well at this time of year!
My February skein from the Fyberspates sock club arrived:
and it's a gorgeous mixture of 90% merino and 10% nylon, hand-dyed in Wales (see, local production!)
And I had a bit of a sock disaster with the sideways sock pattern my godmother brought back from Harrogate for me. I did get gauge, and was making the adult size 5-6, but they've come out really tight across the heel and leg and at least an inch too long! They're not really wearable so I had to frog...
and found the Bakerloo pattern on Magknits, which you actually make to fit your foot measurements! = a much happier foot and sock! The yarn is the Austermann step with aloe vera in it.