Guilt-Free Crafting

comments (0) August 26th, 2008     

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Cranky_Daphne Daphne Adair, contributor
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Cyclists locking up at Seattle Yarn in West Seattle.
Cotton yarn purchased at Seattle Yarn, as seen in my partners bike helmet.
Angora cardigan from the thrift store, modified to suit me.
Blue Skys Organic Cotton. Left to right: Dyed Organic Cotton (two
colors; the dye is not organic); Organic Cotton (undyed); Handspun
Organic Cotton (undyed). These are only a few of Blue Skys yarns and
Rowans Pure Life Organic Cotton and pattern book.
O-Wool Balance, an organic 50/50 cotton and wool blend yarn.
Wedding lap quilt.
Cyclists locking up at Seattle Yarn in West Seattle.

Cyclists locking up at Seattle Yarn in West Seattle.

Photo: Daphne Adair

Maybe it's your treks to the yarn shop that burn fossil fuels, or the dishes that go unwashed while you work just one more row. Whatever the problem, there's a solution—and it needn't involve giving up your crafty lifestyle. Here are a few ideas for changing your routine.

Petroleum hogging

Wherever you live, there's an alternative way to get to the yarn, quilt, or craft shop. Try carpooling with friends, taking the bus or other public transportation (bonus: added crafting time for on-the-go crafters), or walking or cycling there. The last is my favorite way to go. Last summer, I even went on a "Hilltops and Yarn Shops" bike ride around Seattle with a group of cyclists and knitters (not everyone was on both teams, so to speak). We had fun and found new yarns.

Even before this ride, I had a reputation—my friend Emily gave my partner a birthday card depicting us on bikes with me in the lead saying, "Come on, Seth, we're almost to the yarn shop!" (She was generous to me; I'm usually trailing behind.)

Budget busting

Aside from these craft-on-a-budget tips, you can also use your stitching skills to repair, reknit, and refashion. Granted, my mending pile has been in stasis for months, primarily because I already have a lot of new projects on the needles. However, I have two cardigans that came to me as pullovers that I wear all the time; I cut them up the front and installed a closure. My little red sweater (not pictured) zips up the front and I didn't bother hemming it. This fluffy angora-blend sweater was a few sizes too big, so I had room to fold over the fronts after another quick snip, then install pretty pearly snaps.

I don't remember where I originally got the idea to slice up my sweaters—both of these were from a thrift store, by the way—but I recently happened upon the how-to on repairing athletic shoes—just in time, as the heels of my bike shoes are shot. Now I can feel accomplished as a crafter, plus save a hundred bucks and space in the landfill—that's a lot of guilt assuaged.

Environment endangerment

Even if you don't believe in human-provoked climate change, the truth is that some manufacturing, farming, and dyeing processes are harsher on the earth than others. In response to the requests from crafters (and likely the new income stream savvy businesses jumped at), there are new organic and sustainable product lines in knitting and crochet yarns, commercial sewing cottons, quilt battings, and other craft products. Just keep in mind that the "organic" label doesn't always mean it's better for the earth; some research is always a good idea if your primary interest is preserving the environment. Some natural-source dyeing processes take more chemicals and water than acid dyes, for example.

Rowan's Pure Life Organic Cotton and pattern book.

O-Wool Balance, an organic 50/50 cotton and wool blend yarn.

Time consuming

Too much housework or homework to craft in the evenings? Always getting dragged off to some nature or entertainment activity on the weekends? Try some crafting on the bus, ferry, train or carpool to work, en route to the hike, river rafting adventure, mall, or antique store, or even knit through the weekend's blockbuster movies. Try some of these tips for crafting on the go.

Selfish sensation

Those around us crafters might think we're ignoring them for our craft, but their minds soon change when they're presented with a lovely pair of hand-knit socks, a fluffy, warm scarf, or a simple but sweet quilt. Two partners-in-crime and I recently made the quilt pictured above as a wedding present for our good friends.

And there are plenty of opportunities to turn your crafting compulsion toward those in need. Here's a very short list of donation possibilities:

There you have it—a whole slew of ways to craft happily and guilt-free. Craft away!

posted in: hilltop yarn, seattle yarn

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