I was eco-friendly before eco-friendly was cool. LOL. I like that term a lot. I want to use it more so expect me to say it and post it. It is a friendly, happy, joyful word. It says you care about your surroundings, love beauty, love people, have good habits, you are probably a smiley happy person and it shows that you are making an effort to make things better.
So what can we do as eco-friendly yarn crafters? Common sense, my friends.
Stop buying unsustainable yarn.
Some people are going to freak out when I say that you should stop buying the acrylic yarn. Yep, this is not an environmentally friendly yarn. I like the colors, the price and the washablity. I totally understand. But all these synthetic yarns that are so popular are chemically made and they do not break down easily in landfills and the process affects our water, air and soil in a negative way. Use what you have and finish up projects but please say no to the acrylic. Going forward, please use yarns that are more sustainable.
Cut down on the stashing
A lot of vloggers on youtube like to show their stash in the background and people look at it as being impressive. I think it is ugly. It looks like clutter, it’s collecting dust and may even attract bugs. It shows people with a hoarding problem. I also see it as people trying to flaunt their wealth. Especially if they build elaborate shelves and do interior decorating to display it like someone who is actually selling it. I am more impressed with the person who has their whole stash in one bag or one box. Some people might say it makes them happy and some people may like seeing it. Well then do what you want. I am not going to force people into anything but to me it sure looks like a waste of space and money. You are going to end up not using it and it will just end up in a pile somewhere.
Buy less and better quality
Someone said this in a video podcast I just posted recently. She also suggested buying thinner yarn because it would take you longer to finish a project. It is such a good idea! For some of us it the enjoyment of the process and even though the yarns that are better for the environment are more expensive and harder to get, you won’t need a bunch of it if you are using less yarn and are more mindful of how you are using it. Your purchase activity will also influence the market. I remember when organic food was just starting and everyone had the few products available in their shopping carts and from there, more organic products started popping up because consumers have more power than they know. Bamboo yarn costs more than the acrylic yarn. Just buy less and less often. It is actually are more freeing process. Minimalism goes well with environmentalism. Less is more.
These are three things to think about perhaps to begin a change in the whole industry and it begins with you and me. Small decisions like these will make a big impact on our wallets, on our environment, our health, our future, the heritage we leave to our children and future generations.
As far as I know, I am the only one who believes what I do as far as sustainable yarn crafting goes. Please do not put me into any category because on this subject I am totally far from any political activism on this subject. I want to be far from political influence on this because what I have seen is a lot of alarmism and extremism. I am not for working on any legislation to ban anything even if it is for good because I think we should do this on our own apart from the government. We should self ban and make better choices on our own as individuals. My focus is inspiring and influencing the individual so we do it ourselves. Do it yourself. Let’s make it a grassroots movement.
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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:
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Do you want to help reduce your carbon footprint and support local and made in USA yarns? Here is a handy list for you to use before you go out and buy yarn. None are expensive. Consider checking out these yarns at http://www.craftsy.com or using a coupon at your local craft store to get really great prices.