Rag rugs, Trivia, disposable chopsticks

As if it wasn’t bad enough that I took up knitting. (I went to the library for my second session and learnt how to purl. Apparently knit and purl are the two foundation stitches on which every other type of knitting is based on.)

Now I’ve taken up hooking rag rugs.

When I found the Pico Iyer and Pam Chun books at the Sunnyvale library the other week, they also had a display for “National Craft Month”, featuring books of various crafts like knitting, quilting and hooking rag rugs. I picked up the rag rug book, and found it very appealing.

It requires no particular skill or experience. The materials are mostly recycled: burlap sacks (which I can get an endless supply from my local cafe that roasts their own coffee beans), a frame (thrift store) to stretch the sack onto using binder clips (office supplies), and any fabric scraps (holey T-shirts, old clothes, pantyhose with runs). The only specialty equipment is the hook (Bought online for $4.50).

In fact, hooking rag rugs is a practical folk art, just like quilting: poeple used available old clothes to recycle them into rugs to put on the floor, instead of quilts to put on the bed.

The only thing is when you cut strips of T-shirts and hook them in/out of the burlap sack, they shed crumbs of cloth everywhere, so I’ll have to vacuum more often.

But I got very ambitious. I bought a lovely book of designs when I was in Canada last year called “Learning By Design: Pacific Northwest Coast Native Indian Art” and based my rug design on a “contemporary Kuksilah Chum Salmon” in that book. The rug will measure about 50″ X 35″. I hook very slowly, so we’ll see how long it will take me to finish it, since I can only cover a dozen square inches in a couple of hours. It’s in black and white (so if you have any old black or white T-shirts you’re looking to throw out, I’ll take them off your hands!)

Our team did pretty well at the OASES Trivia bee on Saturday night coming in 8th overall out of 21 teams. (We came in 4th in Rounds 2 and 3). Our prize: free piccolo (small) gelato coupons from Gelateria Naia in Berkeley(yummmy!)

Talking about reuse/recycle: I always feel bad about using the disposable wooden chopsticks (you break apart) in Asian restaurants (I keep forgetting to bring my own.) Given that many people in the world are dependant on burning coal or dung or biomass to cook their food, wouldn’t it be great if all these used disposable chopsticks could be collected and shipped to people who would use them to burn for cooking fuel, instead of merely ending up in landfills? But the logistics and costs are probably not practical.

I’ll just have to do my part and not be a consumer of disposable chopsticks to begin with. . .


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