Have you seen Slate’s Green Challenge? It’s a fun way to measure your carbon footprint and it helps you figure out how you can reduce it even more. This week’s portion of the quiz is about what you wear–and there’s a cute little graphic of a woman knitting directly from a sheep (no mention of knitting in the quiz itself, tho’).

The introduction to the quiz talks about buying clothes with fibers that eco-friendly. Obviously, you can apply all of their clothing tips to your yarn buying.

Coincidentally, just before this week’s quiz arrived in my inbox, we put our clothesline back up. When we took down the clothesline in the fall, James covered the hole with a little grass to the kids wouldn’t get hurt… this spring, it was a bit of a challenge to find the hole, but after the metal detector failed to find it, (Or, as James said, found it, and every other small bit of metal buried in the yard), he took to poking around with a pitch fork. That did the trick. We celebrated by washing the couch cushion covers and pillow covers from the playroom.

Folks in my family, for some reason, particularly like line-drying clothes. My dad manages the clothesline most of the time at my parent’s house. I can’t help but think he likes the process of dragging the wet clothes out, hanging them one-by-one, then collecting them after they’ve magically dried. I like that you can fold as you take them off–it saves a step later. Of course, I remember, as a kid, running out to frantically grab clothes off the line when a summer storm would come up suddenly, and hearing my mom running around closing all of the old windows in our house that had a distinct wooden thud.

Grabbing a freshly line-dried towel is not the same as getting a fluffy warm one out of the dryer. You certainly have to develop a feel for the crunchy clothes and towels. But nothing sucks up water like a line-dried towel, and your jeans can stand up on their own.

I recently started washing almost all my laundry in cold water. I figured I’d switch back to hot if things didn’t seem as clean, but I haven’t noticed a difference. I knew that cold uses less energy than hot, but I didn’t know how much. Slate says the average American uses about 850 pounds of CO2 in taking care of their clothes. My baseline score on the quiz, factoring in cold water washing and line drying, was 205 pounds. That’s a big difference!

OK, enough talk of laundry. I have my middle school crochet and knitting class to teach this afternoon, and I can’t wait to see what they’ve been up to since the last meeting.

Primary Colors

6 thoughts on “Primary Colors

  • May 9, 2007 at 9:27 am
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    I always use cold water to wash and my husband hates line dried clothes and doesn’t want a line up. He doesn’t like all the pollen and such that can get on the clothes. I am trying to sway him.

  • May 9, 2007 at 3:48 pm
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    I’d love to line-dry but two things deter me: (a) I live in an apartment, although I could do one in the bathtub, but with a familyi of 5 this is just not practical, and (b) my daughter has allergies and the allergist told me that line-drying for her is an absolute no-no due to mold allergy.

    I don’t know who to believe, but when I get a house, someday, I want to have a clothesline. Especially for the linens.

  • May 9, 2007 at 8:40 pm
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    The pollen is a big thing–I don’t think mold would be an issue–sun actually kills mildew and mold, but pollen does land on your clothes, so if you’re sensitive, I suppose the dryer (or an inside clothesline) is best.

  • May 10, 2007 at 9:54 am
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    Hmmm, I may have to get one of those clotheslines.

  • May 12, 2007 at 12:16 pm
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    I hang most of my clothes to dry – inside. My problem with line drying outside is all the dust we have in our air.

    Have you heard about no impact man yet? He is trying to reduce his impact to as close to zero as he can.

  • May 18, 2007 at 10:44 am
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    We don’t even own a dryer, I love line-dried towels, they’re exfoliating!

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