Don't worry, I didn't disappear for too long! I apologize for not getting a post in last week. If you follow us on social media, you'll have seen that my car got shot up. Literally! No one was injured and we were not actually present when the damaged occurred. A random act and the end result is that person in jail and my car being totaled by the insurance company. It was a crazy week and as always unexpected. I couldn't quite get my thoughts in order. But I'm back this week and ready!
In the craziness of the week one thing did stay normal and that was my knitting and spinning. In fact I turned to them more than ever during the week as a way to settle my mind and body. While making I've was thinking a lot about sustainability in our lives and even in our crafts. Losing our car seemed to play right into the theme. How do we simplify our lives a bit (and maybe our finances too) and start to make better choices about the items we purchase.
Lately I've become overwhelmed by all the things. The endless amount of items and belongings we have of which so many we do not need. But since I work with and write a lot about fiber, I'll narrow in a bit and talk about my clothes. I used to go into Target, American Eagle or the like and grab items. Inexpensive cute tee's, shorts, pants, etc. Most of the time I would get them home, wash them once and they would become misshapen. Super frustrating. So about a year ago I said that's it. No more cheap "fast fashion" clothes that are being made in China, India or elsewhere and where we know the workers are getting severely underpaid. Since then I have been striving to be more aware of where I purchase my clothes. Knowing about the company, who owns it and what their manufacturing values are. Of course this comes with a price tag, which means I haven't bought a lot of clothes this year. Ha! But that's ok. I already had a fair amount of clothes and the reality is, how many clothes do I really need? The few items I did purchase, I love!
So of course this attempt at changing my patterns in clothes trickled into my knitting. I have already made a pretty big shift out of superwash and commercial yarns. I also don't just buy yarn to enhance my stash. I think this circles back into sustainability and how much do we really need? I strive to know my yarns - whether I have spun them myself or they come from a farm or yarn shop that supports local farms. But the real shift has come in what I am making. I wanted to make a concerted effort not to just knit shawls and hats but to contribute to my wardrobe in a bigger way. Sweaters! Now don't get me wrong, I still knit hats and shawls, and I use and love them. But at the same time I am trying to always be working on spinning or knitting for a sweater. I pick out sweater patterns that will be timeless and that I can imagine wearing on a regular basis. Then I pick out fiber that I will love to spin, because as you know or can figure out, there is a lot of spinning that goes into a sweater. And then I enjoy the process. No rushing. No pressure. Making not only for the sake of making (which is a good enough reason!) but making in a sustainable way. The very definition of "Slow Fashion."
"Slow fashion, is a concept describing the opposite to fast fashion and part of the 'slow movement', which advocates for manufacturing in respect to people, environment and animals. As such, contrary to industrial fashion practices, slow fashion involves local artisans and the use of eco-friendly materials, with the goal of preserving crafts and the environment and, ultimately, provide value to both consumers and producers." - Wikipedia
I first wrote about this topic back in March of 2019 as I had just embarked on my first handspun knitted sweater project. I finished that sweater, a second sweater and just last week my third sweater is off the needles. To add to the fun, these are all fiber from my own animals.
So I am curious to hear about how you all are feeling about the Slow Fashion and sustainability movements. Has it impacted how you shop and craft? If so, who are some of your favorite companies to buy from in light of you making shifts?
As always, thank you for sharing and commenting!!! Stay healthy.
I am Kim Biegler, the owner and operator of Ewethful Fiber Farm & Mill. I create hand spinning fibers from locally sourced wool and teach others online how to hand spin their own yarn.