Dog Sweater and Food Inc

An example of the finished object

The most recent project: Need for Tweed Dog Sweater. Even though the weather is getting warmer, the Dog Mother in me needs to knit something for our puppy Jabba. He’s a seven month old Pug, which means it’s going to be a small project. That means easy, right? Well…I initially thought so. However, I set several challenges for this particular project. The first challenge – busting the stash.

The goal was to get rid of some of my stashed Homespun – it was great as a beginner yarn when I was relying on the varied coloring to do all the work for me, but since I’ve picked up more skills, this yarn simply doesn’t interest me as much as it once did. Especially since it “hides” so much of the knitting craft with it’s plumps and rolls. Boo.

It took awhile to piece together exactly how I wanted to approach this project – because the plain garter stitch seemed too drab after my success at the owl hat. I decided early on that I wanted to add cables, but I’m still not quite experienced enough with modifications to free-hand them. After much deliberation – I settled on the Kaya Cable scarf pattern to style the top half of the sweater after.

Unfortunately, I was still using the size 13 needles from the original pattern. After the first set of cables – I realized it was too loose and the cable stitch would not show up attractively (especially with the Homespun).

Swiss cheese or a dog scarf? You decide.

Sooo – late last night (while watching Food Inc) I ripped the whole thing out and started from scratch with size 10 needles. And it was smooth sailing from there on out.

For the most part. Until this afternoon during the Superbowl when I started moving from the cabling (3 sets of cables – roughly seven inches) to the decreased neck. I switched from the cable pattern to regular garter again…that’s when things got ugly. Homespun has the nastiest looking decreases, and it was simply boring to look at as well.

Ripped it back down to where the cabling stopped, and started adding a k2p2 rib around the neck (about four inches, so it now totals 11 inches). Success! I finished the top half of the sweater up this evening, and couldn’t be happier with the results. I’ll hopefully knit up the bottom portion tomorrow and seam it together, to proudly display the finished product.

Half-way done. Notice how the Homespun really doesn't allow the stitching to shine?

And now onto the review…

Food Inc was a completely distressing film. After already watching the documentary The Future of Food, I was really not looking forward to hearing or seeing anymore upsetting facts about how our food is produced. The treatment of cows, chickens and pigs raised for slaughter is cruel. Just how much corn we consume (High Fructose Corn syrup, to be more precise) and how much of our food is genetically modified is enough to make you swear off anything pre-packaged forever.

But I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. And it was truly a pleasant surprise to have the health and environmental factors, as well as corporate control (Monsanto’s seed patents destroying true crop diversity) of our edibles explored in such a compelling and factual way. Sure, there was emotional manipulation aplenty, but so much of it was in FAVOR of food, and not in a way that shamed or shunned meat eaters. I’ve never quite seen a food documentary that made me horrified and hungry all at once.

It was hopeful for our future as well, which was a turn that I was not anticipating, and frankly, sorely needed after being pummeled with ugly facts for over an hour. It certainly echoed An Inconvenient Truth with it’s ending credits displaying all the small and meaningful ways we can impact the future of our food sources. For my family, we’ve already started that process through planting our own small vegetable gardens, buying free-range animal meat from farmers, and avoiding products made with High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Although I had already pegged Food Inc to win an Oscar without even seeing it – I am now more certain than ever that it needs to win. Because like the important social documentaries that have come before it – it has something meaningful to say to the American people. Something we need to hear, but steadfastly ignore out of frustration, fear and a feeling of futility.

This documentary is constructed for an audience that is most likely on the fence about eating local. It was made for middle and upper middle class individuals, there is no doubt about it. But this is the social class that has the ability to effect the most change, because they have more financial choice. They can “vote” with their dollars more readily than a family subsisting at poverty level. And this form of voting (as well as actual life style changes, and educating those around them through word of mouth) is the start of progress towards a more sustainable food system.

My hope is that this film will win and it will gain the notoriety it needs to spread the message that food safety and sustainability are not only important to our environment, but important to our health and survival as a human species.

I strongly encourage everyone to see this film, and make up their own mind. But I’m definitely going to make the lifestyle changes I can afford to make, and might even check out The Omnivore’s Dilemma as some reading material in the future.


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About tinyheroes

Mindy Crouchley is a 33 year old woman with a degree in English and Technical Writing from Portland State University. She has accumulated three+ years experience in the Marketing and Communications field - with an emphasis on creating digital media content. She has been reading comic books since she was 10 years old. She currently lives in outer southeast Portland with her spouse Dan Robertson, her baby girl, and their dog - Jabba the pug. She spends her free time devouring books, crafting cosplay, video gaming, attending comic cons, writing stories/screenplays, attending book to film adaptation club meetings, volunteering, and watching copious amounts of TV and movies.

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