When I was a child, my family would travel to India frequently. One of the things I remember from those trips is how small the garbage cans were. The average kitchen garbage can was about the size of a small bathroom can here. Compared to the U.S., where the average garbage can is the size of a small child, this was surprising. At the time, there wasn’t the same disposable culture that we had in the U.S. and far less packaged goods. The packaging we brought with us didn’t fit into the cans! (Of course, sanitation services were not the greatest, so the dumpster at the corner was always overflowing, but that’s another story.) You’d buy your vegetables from the walla who would roam the streets, pushing around eggplants, beans, tomatoes and the like on a flat wooden wheelbarrow. As he walked along he would shout out the names of the vegetables on his cart and I remember my grandmother yelling out the balcony for him to stop so she could come down and haggle.
Milk arrived daily in thick plastic bags, fresh from a water buffalo. These bags were not thrown out but carefully washed, dried, and saved. The day or two before we would leave to come back to the States, my grandfather would fill these bags with chakli, bakarwadi, and various pickles that my grandmother and aunts had prepared. To seal them, he would fold them over, pass the folded edge quickly through a candle flame and press the melted plastic down to create a seal. He’d repeat this and then you’d have an airtight package ready for travel. I tried doing this a few times and burnt my fingers and overmelted, creating holes.
Cut to today, where I’ve started a new knitting project where I’m basically knitting with thread. See?
I’m knitting with the center two yarns–the “normal” sized yarn and twist tie are there for comparison.
I’m at the part of the pattern where you knit with two of them held together, and they were forever getting twisted and tangled. I thought about just putting them into a plastic bag but figured that they would still just get knotted up in the bag. What I needed was something to keep them apart. Then, I remembered my grandfather carefully melting plastic bags to seal them, and I thought I might be able to do that with a Ziploc bag to create a partition. So I found a birthday candle, lit it on the counter, folded a bag in half, and gently passed it through the flame and squeezed the melted plastic.
It worked!! Now I can keep each cone of yarn separate but still work with them together. This technique could work for other stuff, too, like if you wanted to divide a bag to take separate snacks, or storage–one side for nuts, one side for bolts. Martha Stewart, are you listening?
The project itself is the Kusha Kusha shawl, and you knit it with one strand of the merino wool and one strand of the silk stainless–a fine stainless steel core wrapped in silk give the scarf a tactility and memory. Here’s how it looks so far–see how it stands up by itself?
Since this project will take, oh, forever, I’m also working on a cute summer tank top made out of a thicker yarn, post to come later.