As I inch towards minimalism which is interesting, liberating and scary, I constantly rethink my yarn craft needs, wants and necessities. I have a knitting bag that I am constantly trying to make small and efficient. The funny thing is that I know I am just one of many people going through the same eco-friendly minimalistic adventure and I know there are others going through the same thing or have already begun this years ago and there will be people going through this years in the future.
Honestly, I hate reading blogs. Lots of the word “I”. I know. I know. I will keep the rant short and go straight into the knitty gritty.
Here is a list of things that you should learn to make either by sewing, crochet or knit or loom or whatever yarn crafting media you choose. Use natural materials and stick to colors that will match everything. Everything should last for years. Patch up the items neatly if they are just for use around the home.:
- Winter hat for you and your family. Rib is a good choice for kids that are growing. Headband, scrunchie or kerchief for the summer to keep your hair out of your face.
- Winter Mittens. Use 1 or 2 needle sizes smaller than what the ball band recommends. Line them or use liners for cold climates. Fingerless are nice to have for Spring or Fall.
- Sweaters, Vests, Tops, Tanks, Cardigans and Hoodies – Learn to make easy sweaters for gifts and for warmth. This is making garments for your wardrobe for real. Functional is key. Don’t waste all that yarn on something that will not be wearable for years.
- Neck accessories. A scarf, cowl, shawlette or bandana.
- Knit Socks – Winter and Summer. Switch out your store bought socks for handmade. For athletic socks, go ahead and buy functional pairs that have a ton of properties that you can’t get…..yet. Certain shoes are perfect for handmade socks so think about that when you are shoe shopping.
- Market Bags. I still use mine after years and there are no holes. I wash them often so make sure they are a strong washable yarn and are big enough to fit items you buy from the supermarket. I might make some produce and rice bags but they are just temporary storage to get to the house. Bugs go wherever there is food so I prefer glass jars with tight lids for storage in the pantry.
- Towels, Washcloths and Dishcloths. Somehow this has been fun for me to do lately. I’ve been testing them out, too. Loose big stitches dry faster. The items for the bath get very heavy in cotton when wet. Loose lace or loose mesh in a small square or rectangle is best if it is something that gets wet often. Spa mitts and dense poofs didn’t do well in cotton. I prefer a fast dry.
- Blanket – Everyone needs blankets. Even babies and dogs. This is perfect for getting rid of stash acrylics since you are switching over to more sustainable yarns.
- Storage Bags, Baskets and purses – OK well I started off by learning to make bags and now I have too many. My advice is not to make too many of course. Learn to line them and make pockets if you can. I have those kind of shoulders that bags will slip off of too easily. My favorites still after years are hands-free types like backpacks and cross bodies. I plop them around everywhere and things keep spilling out so consider a zipper or drawstring or any hardware to keep it closed well.
- Pillow Covers – I still think pillow covers are great for putting winter blankets inside to store them.
- Baby and Children’s clothes and supplies. Bibs, Pacifier Holders, teethers and toys are great for kids. Keep them safe without plastic parts. Hats and Clothes are always nice. Try DK or Sport Weight. They make great gifts. Remember that babies grow fast!
- Dog Sweaters, Toys and Blankets. Cats, need stuff, too! They are our fur babies!
Things I don’t recommend but people still make them all the time:
Slippers! Just make knit or loom knit socks or bed socks. I learned the hard way that crochet socks are annoying because I feel the stitches. They look great but it’s just for show in my opinion.
Lace Weight Shawls! Why? They serve no real purpose and they take forever to make. The holes of the lace still allow cold air in. They are pretty and it might look nice for a special occasion such as a wedding, but as far as function, not so much.
Leg Warmers. My toes are uncomfortably cold in the winter. Don’t wear short skirts in the winter!
Wrist warmers. My wrists don’t get cold. Wear long sleeves, a coat and mittens instead if it is super cold. Wristers, fingerless gloves or fingerless mitts should cover part of your fingers including the thumb or it’s just for show.
Mug cozies – They look great but it’s not functional enough for me. After you get a wide mouthed double-walled steel container or mug with a lid and realize how well they work, you won’t want to make mug cozies. I have a cup warmer for my few favorite mugs.
But what about charity items? This is a good thing to do if you can. Have a clean environment to work in and follow instructions and tips from the charity. There might be a lot of rules. I like doing charity yarn crafting causes but don’t go overboard because the shipping fees are a pain and storing them can take a lot of space. Have a plan and select one or a few of your favorite charities. Make a certain month of the year to do them and not year round because they can drain your life and keep you from your daily chores and tasks if you overwhelm yourself with too many other priorities.
As for my knitting a crochet tools, I have everything I don’t use daily in a cinch sak bag but my smaller bag that I use everyday is a nice looking men’s toiletry bag that fits my knitting needles and crochet hooks, my embroidery scissors, a calculator, a notebook, a pen, my DPNs and a measuring tape. I pared everything down to have the things I need, Figure out what are your favorite yarns and pick out a few yarn weights. I don’t like fingering or bulky weights so that makes fewer supplies. I prefer bamboo, wood and vintage plastic tools because they are very light weight. Keep the yarn stash at a minimum. Keeping them in a storage box with a lid has been nice to keep dust and bugs away. Keep everything small, organized and tidy and clean. Keep the projects at a minimum. See if you can have no more than 2 project bags. One is a small one that can travel anywhere and a larger one to keep at home. No more yarn hoarding. Make this year the year that you get rid of your yarn stash. Sell and give yarn and supplies away for the things you don’t use.
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