Tidying Up My Corner of the World

I am at it again, thinking that is…

It is tough to look around the world and see so much to do to “fix” things. I believe that the laws of the living are more about trajectories and the journey than solutions and the destination. In that vein, I want my “living with nature not against it” trajectory to be better today than it was yesterday. Years ago, I turned to look at what our home “produces” and how I can make that better. From gardens, to dyeing, from soaps making to crafts, from furnishing to dinner- I seek to make things healthier, better quality, sustainable and appropriate. When my kids left the house mostly for good, I went through cupboards of craft items and thought WOW we really accumulated a lot. I was not proud. I was able to hand down a great deal of what was left to families nearby with children and I found this fantastic shop in Cleveland called Upcycle Parts Shop that receives usable craft supplies for resale to a variety of outlets including providing resources for teacher. Check out their website. Please be mindful, like thrift stores, they only accept true usable stuff. In fact, they limit what individuals can bring in, not because they want to make it inconvenient, but because we as a society have not quite figured out how to donate items that will be used and separate that from trash that we need to learn to part with (or not buy in the first place). I may sound sanctimonious here, but I am talking to myself as much as anyone! Anyway, enough preachin’ more knittin’.

The big Rs come into play when we knit or crochet as much as anywhere in life. As you are choosing your next project, keep this in mind.

Reduce

  • Knit with intention. We feel pressure from social media to constantly turn out new bigger, better, brighter projects. STOP. Slow down. Thankfully knitting today does not require us to create every article of clothing needed by everyone in our family. Instead, we get to choose what items get our time. Choose wisely. Choose good quality ethically sourced yarn and spend the time on each project that it deserves. Choose a yarn that will be successful for your project with guidance from your local yarn store. Think carefully about where each project will end up, how it will be used. Care about the work you do. Care about where your supplies come from and of what they are made.

Reuse

  • This is harder with yarn crafts. But you can do it in places. I use leather salvaged from an old chair for the soles of my knitted slippers. I have used the good sections of an old duvet cover to attach to the wrong side of a stranded baby blanket to keep little fingers and toes from snagging floats. I have made t-shirt yarn for baskets. I can imagine a number of uses for yarn made from strips of fabric- rugs, place mats… Finally, look in your stash and see what you have to use. It pains me to say that, as I sell yarn, but don’t let those gorgeous skeins you bought 5 years ago stay tucked away out of sight in bins. Visit them periodically and be inspired to use them.

Recycle

  • When we think of recycling we usually think of plastic. Plastic has its place, just not everywhere. Ask about yarn made from recycled wool, cotton and plastic. There are a lot of great options that keep waste out of the landfill and oceans. Learn which yarns contain plastic (acrylics, Superwash yarns) and when you use them, learn how to wash these yarns to reduce the amount of microplastics shedding. Other ideas to “recycle” -Share unused yarn with friends. Your trash may be someone else’s treasure. Take that wool sweater you felted by accident and cut it into squares and felt it some more, it makes a great trivet or potholder! Compost- if your wool yarn is NOT Superwash, it can be composted. 100% cotton can as well. This usually applies to large projects that have lots of scraps, but you can also compost that Shetland wool sweater you made years ago and shoved in the back of the drawer, you know the one with one arm longer than the other and the waistline that just doesn’t come down far enough.

Maybe there is not a great deal of room to save the environment in the world of knitting. But living with intention in one place can change your trajectory in other places too.

Knit Naturally- Christine

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