Whether for function, decoration or personal gifting, the skillful hobbies of yarn arts such as knitting, quilting, weaving, stitching, sewing, crocheting and macramé are going strong. The difference these days is that doing it eco-responsibly is enhancing the process.
“More people are making and hand-dyeing their own yarn,” says blogger Ann Budd, of Boulder, Colorado, former editor of Interweave Knits magazine and author of Knitting Green. “The results are beautiful with different color combinations, and even striping.”
Also, more yarn is American-sourced. “Shearing and dyeing are done here to cut down on the overall carbon footprint,” explains Budd, who conducts workshops for shops and clubs, plus two annual learning retreats. This year’s are in Savannah, Georgia, from April 26 to 29, and in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, from September 20 to 23.
GreenAmerica.org suggests Green Mountain Spinnery as a U.S. source of certified organic, natural fiber yarns processed without toxic oils, chemicals or dyes; Ecobutterfly Organics, for vegan-friendly, fair trade and botanically dyed organic cotton yarns and fiber, recycled glass beads, buttons and kits; and Organic Cotton Plus, offering certified organic woven and knit fabrics, hemp and hemp-blended fabrics, threads, ribbons and vegetable-based dyes.
Interweave, a craft magazine publisher, provides video and online education. Learn how to avoid potential hand and arm pain from repetitive motions with the new book Knitting Comfortably: The Ergonomics of Handknitting by San Francisco physical therapist and needlework teacher Carson Demers.
For many needlework fans, charitable volunteering keeps their fingers flying. Members of the nonprofit Mittens for Detroit make mittens, gloves, hats and lapghans for children and adults in need. Donna Davis, of Roswell, New Mexico, has knitted hats for African newborns, wool items for Eastern European orphans and scarves for American artists. Learn more at KnittingForCharity.org.