Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"As Good as Store Bought"

As with so much in my life, I'm learning again from my knitting. Well-meaning people sometimes say, in admiration of a hand-knit garment, "It looks as good as store-bought." Certainly, all knitters appreciate the intention of the compliment. And we all know to what they are referring -the hand-knit garment we all fear. Check this out: You Knit WHAT?

However, accomplished knitters aim for so much more than "as good as store bought," and our sly little secret is that it's not all that hard to achieve. The techniques aren't difficult, and we're assisted by the sad truth that most ready to wear garments are very poorly made. However, no one knits all his or her clothes. There has to be a limit, right?

I'm aiming for some unknown balance between hand-crafted and wonderful, on the one hand, and store-bought and convenient, on the other hand. A corresponding balance between frugal (a word I hate) and extravagance would be nice, too. In the (to me) clearly out-of-the-question department, we have people who only flush the toilet when, ummm, it's essential. Seriously? No. And there are people who want to use those disposable cleaning wipes, but find them to be too expensive for comfort. So there are websites offering recipes for making your own -recipes that require an electric knife and chemicals and heaven knows what else. Ummm???? A mop and a few cleaning rags?

I tried to make my own dishwasher soap. The story is, equal parts of Borax and baking soda will do it. But no, even though the formula is quite green, it didn't get the dishes clean. That's a no, in my world. On the other hand, I tried the comparatively expensive, convenient, and green laundry soap made by Ecover. When the laundry didn't get clean, I tried a simple stain test; plain water worked better. Another no.

When we clean our homes, of course we want effective. I also want green, not needlessly expensive, and I'm prepared to make my own if it makes sense. In the end, we're going for at least as good as store bought. How do you clean your house with these constraints? Thoughts?

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