Thursday, January 29, 2009

Save Handmade from the CPSIA!

Save Handmade! BuyHandmade.orgHave you heard about the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, or CPSIA for short? No? Well, our government has really done it this time!

The CPSIA is a new requirement for all items intended for babies and children. Its aim is good: keep kids safe from lead. But it's insane! Under its provisions, handmade items, especially one-of-a-kind handmade toys and clothes, are no longer feasible to make and sell.

In a nutshell, it requires that every single item intended for children and babies be tested for lead and the like, and have a tag permanently affixed to it. That may sound reasonable, right?

Think about it. If your neighbor is a seamstress who makes custom christening gowns for babies, she now has to make TWO IDENTICAL DRESSES and send one off to be tested (which destroys it). The remaining dress must have a permanent tag affixed to it, stating that it is safe.

If a handmade item is sold in a store, the store must display a certificate for that item, and for every other children's item! How does that work?

It's insane! For more information, see Craftzine's excellent post on the topic.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Pink! It Burns!

Back in November I made a wavy hat for my mom, using Patons SWS (Natural Raisin and Natural Indigo from the Soy Wool Solids). It was the second chemo cap I made for her. Unfortunately for me, my sister saw it, and she wants one. And sadly, my sister likes pink.

So I'm crocheting with pink. Blech. I hate pink. In fact, I hate pink even more than orange…and I detest orange. One facet of pink that drives me nuts is the assumption that women want pink. Manufacturers look at their product and say, "Oh, we need to target the female market segment. Um, make it pink. What's next on the agenda?" It's insulting, really.

But that's a different rant. Back to the fiber-y goodness!

I decided that if I was going to crochet with pink, it was going to be good pink. This cap has one saving grace in my book: it's Malabrigo. Malabrigo Merino Worsted in 021 Cactus Flower, to be exact. And it is simply one of the most divine yarns on this planet. It's wonderfully soft, and the colors are gorgeous. It's kettle-dyed by a women's coop in Uruguay, and if you've never tried it you should run straight to your local yarn store and buy a skein or five.

Did I mention the wonderful colorways? The traditional Malabrigo–Merino Worsted, the one that made them famous–is available in true solids and semi-solids as well as variegated. All the colors are sublime. The dark colors are deep and rich with real dimension; the brights are clear and clean; the pastels are pure and soft. There are colors that I don't particularly care for (like pink), but there are no bad colors.

Oh, right, I'm making a hat. Back to the wavy hat.

If you like crocheted ripple afghans and you enjoy a little whimsy, you'll like this hat. It's from One-Skein Wonders by Judith Durant, and it uses the traditional ripple construction (grouped increases alternating with grouped decreases) to create the same type of points.

The top is very fun: each point is stitched together, so it creates a star shape when seen from above. In the book, it's stitched with a contrasting color, and a couple of dangling tassels are attached. This is my third wavy cap, and I haven't actually used the tassels yet. I do, however, use the contrasting stitching.

All in all, it's very quick to make; I started this one yesterday, and it should be finished tomorrow. That's only three days of rather limited crochet time.

It's a good thing I love my sister, because this pink overload may kill me!

Update: As you can see, I finished the hat. Trust me–it looks WAY better on my sister!