Hand Sewing 101: basic stitches

Picking up where we left off a few months ago, we’ll learn an additional basic hand sewing stitch- the blanket stitch. This stitch can be applied to previous projects, for example, how to hem and how to sew a patch, and it is especially useful for finishing seams. Unless otherwise indicated, always tie a knot when beginning and ending a row of stitches. For right-handed sewers, most stitches move from right to left. It will be the opposite for left-handed sewers.

Tools required: Sewing needle, thread, fabric

Blanket stitch – usually used to finish off the raw edge of a piece of fabric, especially on the seams of a garment or a blanket (hence the name ‘blanket stitch). A variation of this stitch is also used to make hand bound buttonholes.


1) With the edge of the fabric facing up, start your stitch at the far right corner of the fabric. Guide the needle in an out of the fabric from right side to wrong side about ¼ inch away from the fabric raw edge. Pull the needle out from the wrong side, back to the right side and repeat the process in the same spot.


2) In the same spot, place the needle into the right side, and before pulling it through, wrap the excess thread around the head of the needle in a counterclockwise direction. Pull the needle through gently and ensure the thread lays directly on the edge of the fabric.


3) Move forward ¼ inch and insert the needle into the right side of the fabric and repeat step 2. Continue steps 2 and 3 until the entire edge of the fabric is covered.

Taking responsibility for our Environment

Dumb big moves undo many little smart moves.

The first Earth Day in 1970 awoke us to the many dangers of climate change such as extinction, smog, deforestation, water and soil pollution -which today no one denies.


This year is the 46th Earth Day and we should consider the risks of climate change again. The negative effects occurring on planet earth are not a risk worth taking and as ambassadors of the World we need to address how to inform, educate and reform ourselves.

Consider bitumen. It is a heavy tar-like substance that no one knows how to clean up.
It is pretty much worthless on world markets during an oil glut. And it is what Line 9 is pumping right through Downsview backyards. As a whole, Energy East would increase emissions by 32 million tons a year in CO2, undoing the vast good millions of us do every day.

We need another awakening. Efficiency saves money by replacing reliance on dangerous exports (asbestos, uranium, bitumen) that ultimately harm everyone. Green infrastructure which saves fuel and time is a better investment than pipelines.

This isn’t just economics, its morality. Our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be a part of the Vulnerable 20 (V-20) nations who demand justice for climate harms done to them. Earth Day should focus on goals bigger than our own country and longer than our own lives.

Yes, it’s depressing. So was nuclear standoff. We survived. We became better people. Now let’s become better again!

Whatever efficiency you pursue now, keep it up: LED lighting, sealing drafts, new appliances with better efficiency, gardening around foundations to hold in heat, ditching old fridges, electric cars etc.

Consider one new surprising transformative thought every week. A piece of advice from Stanford University’s Professor Marc Jacobson’s: renewable energy (with smart grid & conservation) already does compete on cost with fossil fuels even without charging for fossil’s ecological damage. What keeps us back? Ignorance. Influence. Inertia.

Don’t be shamed by what you don’t do, what we all do, or what failed Yes, we’ve all idled our cars to stay warm. Yes, we use much more than ‘our share’ of what the Earth can sustain. Not even great spiritual leaders live up to all their own ideals every day in every act or
comment. But doing nothing tomorrow because you didn’t do enough yesterday, is surrender.

Ever watch Mad Men? That’s how we behaved in the 1960s: casual sexism, drinking at work, drinking and driving, littering, smoking at work or in cars with children, and worse. Things didn’t get better all at once. We dropped one bad habit, then another, then another. We have a few more to drop. So consider Earth Day 2016 a funeral for those bad habits, a rebirth for yourself, and the day you finally ‘got it’.

By Constantine Kritsonis and Craig Hubley

Want to save some money and help the environment too?

You can do it by trading in your garbage container.

The entire system is designed to encourage you to pay less. After the great garbage debate of the 1980s, when our landfill site in Vaughn was filled up, Toronto Council searched long and hard for a place to put this city’s garbage. At one point we were shipping it to Michigan. When the city finally acquired its present site near London, Ontario, Toronto council realized that unless we could reduce the trash going to landfills we would very soon be looking for another dump and that was becoming increasingly harder and more expensive to do.
That’s when we switched the present user pay system.


Now the less garbage you generate the less money you pay on your utility bill. To make it easier the city has been slowly adding more and more materials to the re-cycling stream. The recycling (blue bin) is free; wet waste (green bin) is free; you only pay for trash (grey bin). The difference between an extra-large grey bin and the smallest bin is $332.97. Just trading down from a large bin to a medium one will save you $158.66.

How do you do it? Easy. Call 311; give them your name and address and within two weeks the city will deliver the new bin to your home, remove the old one and reduce your utility bill. Just one warning; trading to a smaller bin is free but if you try to trade back up to a larger bin not only do you pay the higher utility bill but you pay a trade up fee of $21.22.

Happy Recycling!