Sustainable Yarncrafting

I’ve been interested in sustainable living for a long time. Even before I was interested in crocheting and knitting.  Last night I had a dream about conservation in New Zealand. I dreamed that I convinced a small portion of New Zealand to allow a small part of their island dedicated to a cultural center for conserving the environment and the native people’s way of life.  Which is kind of interesting in itself because I am not even in New Zealand. But I like how my thinking does not go with the flow of most people and it makes my imagination flow on ideas .  To make things short and to skip the dream details….let’s just say I see it as a new opportunity to dig into the subject again and with new vigor and with new prospects.

 

OK, well I saw this interesting video about a month ago….Rob Greenfield. Have you ever seen his videos? Pretty interesting. His smile and enthusiasm are enough to keep me watching his videos. Anyway, I have been learning a lot. I have so many things I want to say about his influence and all my interests that have seemed to be unrelated but they are all coming together in my head and I praise the Lord just for the interesting ideas coming my way because they all make me happy, giddy and smiling.

Here are some interesting stores on Etsy I just saw today and I really didn’t even know these things existed but perhaps you will dig into the links which will lead to other links and get your mind moving in this direction and see how you can apply it to you! Yes real life. This is not like fictional TV shows where you can’t participate. You can do something.

 

Five Interesting Sustainable Etsy Stores To Check Out:

1) CraftReuseRepeat –  Premium Eco-friendly Yarns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3) DiVintageBlessings –   Vintage Jewelry Craft Supplies and Collectibles

Ace Vintage Aluminum Crochet Hooks from the UK – $5.50 

 

 

 

 

 

4) Kinked and Twisted – Hand Dyed Yarn

 

 

 

 

 

5)  WalnutFarmDesigns – Dyed and Undyed Spinning Fibers, Drop spindles and Yarn

 

 

 

 

 

 

Something you can do:

Reduce:

Don’t fill up your room with yarn that you don’t use. It seems like a lot of people are hoarding yarn and using them as back drops and fill wall to wall shelves. Buy yarn and supplies you need, not that you want.  Keep enough that will fit into one bag or box.  Insects and rodents love your yarn more than you do and it is easy to get out of control.

Think about using only natural and upcycled yarns that will break up easier and faster in landfills. Also look into using local textile companies. If you buy yarn from China and you are in the USA, it had to be shipped or flown thousands of miles using so much fuel to get here. It might be cheaper and from Walmart but think about why it is so cheap. It is likely made in a pollution producing factory from low paid workers who make slave labor wages. How else can it be so cheap even having to go through international custom inspections?

There is something called Fair Trade which means it benefits people in other countries such as poor women in Africa, India, Malaysia or Peru who want to make money for their families and get a fair amount of money to help them thrive and be involved in entrepreneurship in a small company setting in a village somewhere.   Buying local or using items from Fair Trade is ideal. All these things are more expensive but might help keep you from buying so much and making things you don’t need. Gifts will be more unique. There will be a story in each item you make.

Reuse:

People might go to the Salvation Army store and take a part a sweater to remake something else using the yarn you pull out.  I got most of my knitting needles from garage sales. People have grandmas who can’t knit anymore.   I even have

Vintage Hooks
BOYE Brand, Made in USA, Hooks Repackaged $7.00+ DaVintage Blessings

some needles that are the same size but 2 different colors because I matched them up when one was missing from the pair. I have some vintage crochet hooks. I only have a few sizes that I don’t have but it helps that most of the yarn I use are about the same weight and I don’t need so many sizes of needles or hooks anyways. I refuse to buy a set of anything. I am a pain in the neck anyways and will find something wrong with the most expensive set. It helps me to have an appreciation of vintage things so I don’t get frustrated that I don’t have an expensive set of needles or hooks. You can also get yarn from local garage sales, too.

Recycle:

I have no idea how they make recycled yarns but I think it is cool they can make yarn with a pair of old jeans. If you buy in the country and state or district or even the town you are in, you help someone’s small business and don’t have to worry about all that fossil fuel it took for that item to get to your country. It takes some time to research but I think it is fun to search for things online.

A Darn Good Yarn – Eco-Friendly Yarns and Accessories

DARN GOOD YARN OF THE MONTH  $10.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

4-14-19 Update

I was thinking about this when I thought of more to add to the typical Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Maybe they can be added to the famous 3, but I wanted to list out some of the many possibilities.

Reverence – God is first in all you do. Pray about everything even if your day seems average. Everyday can be a day to help others, to learn from God and to make God your first love.

Resist – Resist buying anything new. Especially if that item comes from far away. There is a movement called zero waste. People try to reduce their carbon footprint and reduce their trash amount so that they are not filling up their trash cans every week. I think this is important and I now understand how important that bulk food section of the supermarket that everyone passes is. Instead of buying that set of bamboo cutlery so you won’t use a plastic cutlery at food places near you, just use what you have. I have a foldable fork that I saved from when I bought a ramen soup from a convenience store. I have a spoon that is shorter than average still in the plastic it came from from another ramen soup I bought.  I put them in my purse . I should have never bought the bamboo cutlery set. I have a plastic camp fork that I had for years. It is a fork on one side, a spoon on the other and there is a side on the fork that you can use as a knife. It came in 2 other colors but the navy one I have is best because it doesn’t show red or green sauce stains that are hard to remove.

Repair – I was thinking about my shopping bags the other day because I have too many but they all have cute prints that make me want to keep buying them. I love the cotton ones because they are easy to toss in the wash and dry. They did shrink but they are very durable. I like the light weight nylon ones I have but I feel guilty that they are made in China and it is more slave labor and had to go on a ship for days to get here. I think that buying locally sourced goods from local places is the best because it took less energy to get to you and you are helping small businesses around you. Especially if someone made something in town to sell. You are also supporting their handiwork.  If I rip a bag, instead of buying a new one, I do know how to hand sew. I am not looking forward to it but I shouldn’t be lazy and just buy a new one.

Redistribute – I would say this is like sharing and giving. I have so many purses. On top of the bags I already mentioned! Some people buy a lot of one particular thing like shoes. I buy a lot of handbags. I make them and I buy them used too. I love having them but I recently about a year ago tried to stop buying them. My mom still buys me them sometimes when she goes to garage sales for fun. (She’s in her 70s, so that is like super fun for her. LOL) I bought 2 project bags this year. I know I am still obsessed but I am really trying to stop. I need to make the big move and give my purses away.  At least most of them.

Regional – This is about things that are around you. The fruits and vegetable that you can grow instead of getting from other countries. Our world is going haywire over this. In California we used to grow oranges. Orange County California got that name because there were orange groves. Just like 5 years ago all the avocados we used to buy had a sticker that said “California grown” on them. We can grown all sorts of crops here if we wanted. California really does have good weather. Mexico has good farmland as well. Why did we change? I have no idea. I really haven’t researched this. This goes for yarn also. There are indie dyers in my state! I bet we can help support local farmers and local small businesses this way. Think about how it gets to you. You might be buying recycled yarn but you had to ship it from another country. Does that make sense? Would it be more savvy and less damaging to the environment to instead use the wool from local sheep? Or buy locally grown cotton yarn? I just want to say that it isn’t necessarily better to fly something from one side of the state to another. Las Vegas is closer to me than San Francisco. So If I buy something from Southern Nevada or Northern Mexico, that is still less of a trip to get here than Northern California.

I bet there are ‘R’ words you can think of that I didn’t mention. Let me know.

 

 

Check out my Pinterest Board on Sustainable Yarncrafting for some ideas and helping you think of ways to help get this going so that it is not a short lived fad.

Knitting and Crocheting with Chopsticks

knitted hat on DPN

I started my hat using chopsticks. It is taking forever and is not perfect but I think I am doing pretty good!  I made my double pointed needles using 5 bamboo chopsticks from Daiso and sticking them in a hand crank pencil sharpener. I used a sandpaper block to smooth them. They are pretty smooth and working out well.  One end is narrchopsticks into DPNower than the other and I use the thicker to knit in my right hand and the other end is narrow so easy to pick up stitches and slip them off. Working with cotton is a pleasure too because there is no splitting of the yarn to worry about. The square shape is nice to hold and keeps the yarn on without slipping off.

While I was cleaning yesterday, I found a balsam wood set of chopsticks and they were longer than the bamboo ones so I sharpened and sanded the pointy ends. It didn’t work because the ends were narrow and the loops wouldn’t go on the thicker part. So then I put them in the pencil sharpener until I grinded off about 1-2″ of the narrow part and it was more even. I sanded them again and they worked. I first tried using acrylic yarn but it was weird becausknit sample on chopstickse the balsam wood is not very slick and the yarn didn’t want to slide easily.  Well now I know why knitting needles are never made of balsam wood. I sanded them again using my nail file because it is a finer grain than the sandpaper block I have. I used my wood dusting spray to see if the polish would make it slicker and it did a little. They sure smell good now. I knitted a little sample to show that it does work. I used a hair elastic to use as a stopper so the yarn never slips off.

Then I had acarved hook from chop sticknother idea! The balsam wood is very soft. I thought I might try to make a crochet hook on one of the knitting needle ends! I got my pocket knife and I made a dent about 3/8″ from the end of the chopstick on a corner. The I was able to keep slicing a thin flat piece off to that point from about 1″ down from the nick. I was able to shape the top and under the hook area with the sanding block and my nail file. It came out better than I thought! I went to my son and said, “Your Mom is awesome! Look what I made!”. Of course he wasn’t as excited but he saw that I made a hook. Actually the hook was easier to use on acrylic than the needle ends and is about as big as a J or K hook. This might be handy to fix the dropped stitches. I get how to keep looping the dropped stitch up to the knitting needle. I guess if you start off as a crocheter, some things click easier like that.  I can’t wait to make something with my new hook!

 

Are We Using Toxic Yarn?

kintted rib

I started off this website talking about natural yarns and then I got caught up in lots of acrylic yarn trying to do a lot of charity work and they DO ask for acrylic yarn. But somehow just recently I came across some articles and websites that make me want to stop using acrylic yarn or use it with caution.

Acrylic yarns are popular because of their affordability. But these petroleum-based products are usually made from vinyl acetate or methyl acrylate, both known carcinogens that can cause nausea, nose, throat, eye and skin irritation. The chemical process to create synthetic yarns also uses the solvent NN-dimethylformamide, a chemical linked to liver damage. More chemicals are used to wash, stretch, twist and dye the yarns. – greenlivingonline.com

 

The chemicals in many synthetic yarns are harmful to people. We use this yarn a lot for cancer patients and for babies but could we be doing more harm than good? I don’t know but since I am taking a month off from charity-work because my funds are low and I need to concentrate on my family responsibilities more… I am going to take some time to re-think about ever buying acrylic. I think I will switch to natural fibers as much as possible. I  don’t want to contribute to more suffering but to help suffering.  I know it is a little shocking but we need to face this.

A Canadian study found that women who work with some common synthetic materials could treble their risk of developing breast cancer after menopause.  The data included  women working in textile factories which produce acrylic fabrics   –  those women have seven times the risk of developing breast cancer than the normal population, while those working with nylon fibers had double the risk. – oecotextiles.wordpress.com

 

Here are some links I am looking at now:

acrylic yarnAre Your Clothes Making You Sick?

Chemical Clothing: Which Toxins Are You Wearing?

Should Clothing Have Toxic Warning Labels?

The Health Risks Of Toxic Fibers and Fabrics

Best Type of Yarn To Use For Chemo Caps

6 Synthetic Fabrics You Want To Avoid And Why

How Safe Is My Yarn?

Is Acrylic Yarn Safe?

Knitting with Organic Yarn

 

 

Yarns You May Want To Try That Won’t Break The Bank:

Universal Bamboo Pop YarnNiabi Studios Yarn

Lion Brand LB Collection Cotton Bamboo Yarn

Knit Picks Simply Organic Sport Yarn

Hemptique Hemp Yarn

Himalaya Deluxe Bamboo Yarn

Vinnis Colours Bamboo Yarn

 

 

Scrappy Hats

loom scrappy hats

I finally decided to learn how to do a loom hat. It is pretty easy. I tried to do it with one layer of yarn and I didn’t like the way it looked meshy so I used a double strand. I had a lot of extra khaki because I like that color for myself so I had that color in different brands of yarn. I used the khaki and other small little left over balls of yarn and it came out kind of nice. Keep the knots on the inside of hat as you loom knit. It is the Boye Loom Set and this was the largest round size but it looks and fits like a teen size and not a women’s size. I crocheted the bottom part with front and back post half double crochet. I will include the video I used to learn how to decrease at the top of the head. I am also including another video that is really cute and artsy.

Make Your Own Clothes

The funny thing is I used to love going to Target or Ross to buy my clothes but once you start to make your own clothes and accessories, you will look at things a whole different way. You will think it is ridiculous to buy goods from China and you will see that the quality stinks because it looks very manufactured.

I went with my mother to the Joann Craft Store the other day and she wanted to look at fabrics and pattern books. I haven’t seen pattern books for about 20 years! The last time I looked at them was to practice my fashion illustration skills. I actually have a fashion degree and learned how to use a sewing machine but I never liked it and never pursued it. I prefered telling sewers what to do.

I saw a new name on the pattern books called New Look and decided to see if I could find a similar skirt to the ones I like wearing. A-line long skirt with a drawstring but unfortunately made in China. I found one and found some nice fabric. Both together cost me less than $15.

Another way to avoid the made in China clothing is stop shopping at Walmart and Target and places that sell mostly China goods. It is slave labor taking away jobs from Americans. China is doing well while we are deteriorating. Try to use friends and Etsy and places where you can get clothes made from American citizens trying to make some money in an honest way.

If you are in England or another country, support your country and the citizens from that country and buy locally made clothing or make your own. Second hand shops are fun too. If you don’t know how to upcycle yet, that is fun to learn too. It is all fun and helps this broken economy.

New Look Skirthttp://www.simplicity.com/p-6125-misses-skirts.aspx#t-0

 

Pretty Plarn Purses

Plarn is basically used grocery bags cut up into strips and looped together to make a ball of plastic yarn. I’m saving my bags to make a plarn purse. The grocery store that still gives out bags here in California uses brown colored bags. Some shops I go to use white so those are the only 2 colors I have. Once in a while some shops will carry different colors so save them when you get them. This is a trash to treasure project.

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I chose purses that look pretty doable for beginner and intermediate crocheters to do. I have more on Pinterest if you want to see them. https://www.pinterest.com/DeeAnn517/upcycled-and-recycled/

 

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One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia (Millbrook Picture Books) [Kindle Edition]

Plastic bags are cheap and easy to use. But what happens when a bag breaks or is no longer needed? In Njau, Gambia, people simply dropped the bags and went on their way. One plastic bag became two. Then ten. Then a hundred.

The bags accumulated in ugly heaps alongside roads. Water pooled in them, bringing mosquitoes and disease. Some bags were burned, leaving behind a terrible smell. Some were buried, but they strangled gardens. They killed livestock that tried to eat them. Something had to change.

Isatou Ceesay was that change. She found a way to recycle the bags and transform her community. This inspirational true story shows how one person’s actions really can make a difference in our world.

 

Read this book for free.

Buy the fair trade purses from Gambia

Give Up Jeans for Skirts and Upcycle


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upcycled denim skirt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Give up your pants and look like a modest woman. Here is a fun project to get rid of your jeans. Add fabric and make a long skirt.  Be careful when you get fabric from the store, make sure it is not too stiff that it doesn’t drape well.  Christian women are to look different than the world. We don’t want to be sexy. Stop trying to look sexy. Some Christian women don’t want to give up worldly influences. You dont have to look like your going to church but make your look feminine and able to do any task. Are you able to to walk the dog in it or go to the Farmer’s market in it?  Wear it with flats or boots or sandals for an everyday look. You will get used to it and love wearing skirts after about 2 months when you stop wearing pants. You will feel uncomfortable and butch in pants soon. Hehehehe.

1 Timothy 2:9   In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;

  1 Timothy 2:10   But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.