Bulgarian Ways - Make don't Buy

Things you see, hear and experience here in Bulgaria just go on educating you all the time. This was another instance where an absolute resistance to spending hard earned cash for something that was needed could quite easily be avoided by recycling. Baba Mama shows the way to prudence but there has never been any other way for her.......

After a hard day of work I returned to my Yambol home one afternoon and there was our Baba Mama 83 and still a spritely woman for her age sitting on her donated office swivel chair. The hard plastic wheels had fractured many years ago from an office somewhere once. Baba was smiling as she saw me come through the squeaking metal garden gate. Sitting there under the warm Yambol sunshine she was holding a very gray coloured crocheted dress on her lap. The dress was old having seen countless decades of none wear. It was a hand made dress and had come in an out of fashion many times since first being crafted together with skilled female hands.

I didn't think much of it at the time, I thought she was repairing the garment but did wonder why this thickly crocheted garment was being repaired now when we have many more months of hot weather and no need for such clothing! And why was it being taken out now after all those years of non wearing

An hour or so later she was still there tinkering with the dress as I see lots of wool thrown around the yard being collected and stored in the cracks in the concrete by the ants on the ground. Now it looked like she was taking the dress to pieces and my curiosity now was triggered as to why.

She said she was going got make a crocheted table cloth as we needed one for the dining room table to protect the table top from hot dishes. I still just didn't get it at that point thinking that she was taking a seam out of the dress and perhaps alter the shape somehow to form a circle or rectangle table cloth.

It was now, after nearly two hours of plucking out the seams that held the garment together, it was put through the process of being un-crotcheted, by which I mean that the wool was being unraveled and turned into a ball of wool. It was at this point that i realizes this was going to be crocheted again from scratch into the needed table cloth. - A full four hours elapsed un-weaving the dress and the result was a very large, almost football sized ball of wool that any giant cat would have loved to play with. Here was tablecloth material ready for crotchet action and it had taken half a day to get to this stage..

The very next day, after work I sat at the table to find that the tablecloth crocheting had been started by Baba Mama and it would be some time before the completion of the job, perhaps a couple of weeks or so. As with all Bulgarian time is the least important factor here. It might take up to a month or more to get the table cloth with countless hours of work involved but that's how it has always been.

It is a fact that this recycling go on without even thinking about it by Bulgarians. Certainly the thought that I needed a table cloth would instantly draw up a plan of a trip to the shops to buy one! But not here, we need something we'll make it form something else.

Somehow it reminded me of the comedian Jack Dee where when as a kid he wanted a train set for Christmas but money was scarce at the time so his Grandma knitted him one! It had me in 'stitches' at the time but now there is also a certain reality about it in Bulgaria

By the way all the plucked out cotton and wool was collected from the yard placed in a big metal paint pot, which has been salvaged many years ago.. This had other easily ignited material in as tinder for the winter petchka. - Buying firelighters or for that matter a metal bucket to store firelighting material in has never entered her head in all her 83 years.