By now, you’ve probably heard the term “handmade is better” or “handmade is best.” I agree! But handmade used to be a way of life – everyone’s way of life. It wasn’t “better”, it was “if you want pants, you’re wearing what I make you.” Well that’s not the case any longer. Gone are the days of hand-making everything from clothes to curtains. Nowadays, if you hand-make, you’re doing it by choice, not out of necessity. And with that choice, you also have the luxury of being able to make the INTENTIONAL choice to be more eco-friendly and sustainable. Want to know why and how? Consider this your guide to eco-friendly & sustainable crochet.
It might sound daunting, but I’ve decided to break this topic up into a 6-part series.
Because it’s that important.
There’s just too much surrounding this vital topic that I cannot leave things unsaid. It is a passion of mine and it is why I started crocheting in the first place.
What we’ll talk about in this 6-part series:
- Sustainable crochet: what is it and why do it?
- The nemesis of sustainable crochet: yarn
- The cotton conundrum: organic vs. conventional cotton
- The slow yarn movement: an overview
- 10 tips to more sustainable crochet
- My top 10 under $10 sustainable yarns
What we’ll talk about in this article (part 1 of 6):
- What is sustainability?
- What is sustainable crochet?
- Why go sustainable?
What is sustainability?
So let’s define what we’re talking about here since understanding exactly what our definition of sustainability is builds the foundation of this entire 6-part series on sustainable crochet.
Sustainable: able to be maintained indefinitely
Eco-friendly: not harmful to the environment
Eco-conscious: environmentally aware; sensitive to environmental impact
Crochet: a handicraft in which yarn is made up into a patterned fabric by looping yarn with a hooked needle
Eco-friendly and eco-conscious refer specifically to the direct effects of something on our planet and the environment. The ethos of sustainability is much more broad and is all about meeting our needs now without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs; which fully encompasses the ideas of eco-friendly and eco-conscious. Given this, moving forward, I will use varying forms of the term “sustainable”, with the understanding that eco-friendly & eco-conscious are therein implicit.
What is sustainable crochet?
By now you might be thinking, “duh, I know what sustainability is… but what does crochet have to do with it?”
Chances are, if you’re reading this article, you are a crafter. And in it’s own way, crafting is a form of being more eco-conscious by hand-making versus buying new. But there’s more to the story. Crochet. Yarn. Environmental resources maintained indefinitely…
Can you see where we’re going with this?
The textile yarn market is a subgroup of the global textile market which is fraught – and I mean FRAUGHT – with horrific problems, all of which directly threaten the reality of sustainability. I talk a lot more about this in part 2 of this series.
Aside from understanding the sad realities and statistics regarding the global textile industry, we have the power to make conscious decisions surrounding how we make our crochet and what we make it with. The materials we choose are CENTRAL to this discussion but it moves even further than that. We will also be talking about how to use our craft to make things that help us and those around us live a more sustainable lifestyle.
It’s important for me to help you understand that going sustainable in your crochet hobby or business choices is 100% do-able. I do not want to ignore the fact that there is this mindset that many people would be priced-out of the art of crochet if they didn’t buy dirt cheap acrylic and synthetic yarns. I challenge that head-on. And I would love the opportunity to show you that it can be done. It not only can be done, it should be done.
Why go sustainable?
Sustainability. Eco-friendly. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, you’ve heard about the importance of these things. The point is, not all of the resources we use on a daily basis are sustainable and over-using them is about to make things suck for us here on earth.
The cold hard truth is that the decisions we are making today will affect those in the future. And like I said before, this is the ethos of sustainability. We have to face it. We as humans are causing problems. Big problems. So, believe it or not, we as humans are the only ones who are going to be able to do anything about it. Why go sustainable? Because that’s your way of doing something about it. I think that’s all we need to say about that.
There are a myriad of ways to make your crochet more sustainable and I talk about 10 of them in part 5 of the series, so I don’t mean to leave you hanging here (or do I?) 😉
So if you take anything from this article, know this: going sustainable in our crochet is critical and achievable. And if you stick with me for this entire 6 part series, I’ll be shocked if at the end of it you disagree.
Please join the discussion and let me know what you think in the comments! This is such an important topic and I’m open to ALL perspectives. I’d love to have a welcoming and peaceful conversation with ya’ll about it, so chime in!