As I have said before, I think there can be a lot of focus on new organic and better produced but if you are going to really try and live more sustainable buying new/second-hand and produced from recycled materials or what ever slogan that is popular at the moment is still in impact. Buying new or new for you still makes an impact and I think that the focus should be to use what you have instead, even if it isn’t organic. The damage is already done in producing it. So to only buy when needed and then choose the better alternative is in my mind the more sustainable way. If is difficult for most of us, the lure of a new thing that you “really need” can be incredibly tempting but it gets a little easier with time. It is a constant fight however, not to do as everybody else and redecorate the living room every other year.
One hot topic here at the moment is plastic. But to throw out all your food storage and kitchen things over night and buy new in glass, wood and metal… The plastic didn’t become bad for you overnight just because you found out. Sending all your, still functional, old containers to landfill or energy recycling isn’t sustainable at all. I don’t want our home filled with plastic, but we are trying to substitute one item at the time as they go bad or break. You can always re-use jam jars as a lunch box, they’re sort of free and recyclable and leak proof as there used to be jam in them.
What I’m trying to say is: see what you have before getting anything new, even if you’re shopping second-hand.
For sustainable Friday this week I have two versions of a simple washcloth that still looks nice, you could use them to do dishes or wash yourself. I always keep one in the kitchen, one in the shower and one by the sink where I wash my face in the evenings, they are perfect. This design has most likely been used by thousands of knitters before me, so this is most likely to reinvent the wheel but I have given it my own twist to make them as decorative as functional. Both of these versions also have the advantage of knitting until you have the desired size so there is no guessing of how many stitches you need to cast on to get a reasonable size.
Size: What is a good size is something of a personal preference but after trying a few different sizes I think that 20 cm by 20 cm is the most useful size.
Yarn: Use a fingering to sport weight linen, cotton, hemp, or mix of plant fibre. A heavier yarn won’t be able to dry between uses and drying quickly is what keeps it fresh between washes. Thrift stores usually have lots of forgotten crochet cotton.
Gauge: You don’t want it to be bullet-proof since you want it to dry quickly but not to loose either.
- Cast on 2 stitches.
- Make a yarn over (yo) and knit all stitches, repeat this row until you reached desired width.
- Yo, slip one stitch as if to knit, knit 2 stitches together (k2tog), pass over the previous stitch over the 2 together, knit all stitches. Knit this row until only 4 stitches remain.
- Yo, slip one stitch as if to knit, knit one stitch, k2tog, pass over the slipped stitch over the 2tog, pass over the next stitch over the 2tog, pass over the remaining first stitch on the needle then yo over the 2tog.
- Crochet or knot a loop using the last loop on the needle.
- Cast on 3 stitches.
- Knit 1, yo, place a marker, knit 1, yo, knit 1.
- Knit all stitches
- knit to marker, yo, knit 1, yo, knit to end.
- Repeat the last two rows until you reached desired size and end with a row without increases, bind off the stitches until you reach the marker, remove the marker and bind off the center stitch, crochet a loop using chain crochet and ending with a slip crochet in the first chain stitch. Continue to bind off the rest of the stitches.
Good luck making your everyday objects reusable and more sustainable.
How is making everything myself any better then buying commercially in a sustainable aspect?
Well it’s not. It might even be worse, commercial production have optimised everything so that as much of the material as possible are used and to be efficient. The aspect you can compete with by making your own is to only make what you actually need and to do that well only you have the opportunity to make garments form your own measurements that fit your body. Think through exactly what you need and make it perfect, ensure that the fit is perfect for your shape, that the colour suites you and is something you will like for a long time. Think long term, don’t stock up a big stash, your taste will most likely change.
I’m not saying that I’m perfect and only make the perfect items, that I love and cherish for years and years, but I would like to be.
I think that the knitting and absolutely the sewing community have taken on the fast fashion trend. I hope that this can be a wake up call for someone more then me, just to stop and think. Choose one project and make it really well. Do that hand stitching and take your time with one project instead of making several in the same amount of time.
Making things is essential for me. It is what makes me happy, calm, excited and more, so to stop making things isn’t an option, but trying to be aware and take it slow to take my time when sourcing materials is.
I have planned a series of posts where I go through how to curate a wardrobe or rather how I attempt to curate my wardrobe.
Please share you toughs in the comments or a link, I’d love to here what you think.
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