Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Practical crochet, Part I

I asked for timber floors.

More specifically:

Three to four months ago when I was about to begin searching for a home to rent, I made a list of attributes I would like said home to have. They ranged from "sensible" (safe neighbourhood) to "practical" (close to train station and/or bus routes) to "what are you doing asking for something so non-essential, especially in the price range where you're looking?" (timber floors).

I got what I wanted -- much more than I wanted -- and now, months later, still can't stop giving thanks for it. But the thing with wishes granted: you then have to look after them. Make sure they stay in good shape while under your care.

I had all this furniture, a combination of new and second hand but with the common denominator of potentially scratchy metal legs. That beautiful shiny floor needed protecting.

I did have an initial solution, but it was neither practical nor stylish.

And my toes were getting cold.

Enter my  not-yet-one-year-old crocheting abilities. Chair socks! I thought. The perfect plan: custom fitted, and more understated than mismatched adult human socks. A basic square, then a few more rows around the square, taper towards the top...

"Too much time, ah?" my sceptical (and also quite lovely -- they helped me move, unpack and assemble various articles) friends asked when they spotted the first sock in progress. "Wouldn't it be better if you just went and bought rubber feet from the hardware shop?"

And I did consider it, putting crochet hook and yarn aside while I went about finding more places for my various possessions.

But then the very same day I read my favourite crochet blog and lo, her latest post was all about how she'd gone about protecting her hardwood floors from chair scratches.

With chair socks.

So I plunged back in, and soon...

I was eager to test them out straight away, and was rather pleased with the result. Not because they look great; I don't think anyone would even notice them unless I pointed them out and got the person to bring their heads close to ground level for a good look.

I'd like my guests to return for subsequent visits, so I don't think I'll be doing that.

No, I think what I found most satisfying about this project was the small escape it provided from the lifestyle of assuming that everything must be bought ready made, that if you want something you go right out and plunk down money and get it right now.

There are times when I don't want to be instantly gratified.

And I also saved myself the cringe that inevitably comes when I open yet another non-recyclable package of mass produced something and generate more feed for the insatiable landfill.

(Yes, I do realise that I procured the yarn for this project by going to a shop and plunking down money for it, but it's still more sustainable than manufactured rubber feet because if my need for furniture socks ever winds down I can always unravel them and re-crochet them into something else. Rubber feet will always be rubber feet, until age takes over and they turn into rubber flakes. Also, the only packaging on the yarn was a recyclable cardboard band and, for what it's worth, this yarn is purportedly ecologically sound. Natural dyes, pesticide-free cotton or something. I take such claims with shovelfuls of salt.)

As if the square cross section did not provide me with challenge enough, I decided to also make a set of socks for my metal shelving unit. How to make right-angle corners?

Mitre them!

It worked, but the end result looks as though it stretched out into triangles unless you peer very, very closely. I repeat: I would like my guests to return, so don't say I made you do it. All in all, I'm pleased with the result.

I quite like how it feels to evade instant consumerism.


Stephanie said...

Hey Sharon! Great blog post :) I really enjoyed reading how this all unfolded! I still can't believe how perfect the timing was when I posted about the crochet socks! And I am very honoured to be your favourite crochet blog ;) Thanks for the shout-out! Your chair socks look so awesome and I'm happy that your floor is now protected!

Sharon Toh said...

Thanks Stephanie! :o)

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