Monday April 21, 2014
I have been skeptical of arm knitting for a long time. Sure, it's great to be able to finish a project really fast, and it's good for stash busting because you're using three or more yarns at a time, but I'm not a huge fan of the look of the really bulky projects -- usually scarves and cowls -- that are made with this method.
An arm knitting project in progress. © Sarah E. White.
It looks to me a lot like knitting with size 50 US knitting needles, which I'd rather do, frankly, because it's easier to put down a project when it's on needles than when it's on your arms.
But I finally tried an arm knitting project, something smaller than the things you usually see, and I have to admit it was fun and I do like it. Even starting off not knowing how to do it at all, it took just a couple of minutes to figure out what I was doing and the whole project was done in less than half an hour. There's certainly something to be said for making an accessory that I can wear today (which I am).
If you're skeptical, too, check out my roundup of arm knitting resources, and stay tuned this week for some book reviews, patterns, tips and more.
Have you ever done arm knitting? What did you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Friday April 18, 2014
Need a little more inspiration for eco-friendly knitting? Check out these books.
by Ann Budd. Interweave Press.
Knitting Green by Ann Budd includes essays on things such as assumptions about green knitting, a shop owner's view of organic yarn choices and natural dyeing, among other issues. It also includes 20 patterns worked with eco-friendly fibers to get you started on your sustainable knitting journey.
Joanne Seiff's Knit Green covers a lot of different options a person concerned about the environment might think about when it comes to knitting, such as supporting biodiversity, vegan knitting, fair trade and recycling. This one also has 20 projects using yarn with the features described in the essays.
Sweater Renewal by Sharon Franco Rothschild is a fun one that isn't actually a knitting book. This one offers options for remaking old sweaters -- whether you knit them or bought them -- into home decor items and accessories.
And while "local" is relative, Knit Local by Tanis Gray encourages thinking about where your yarn comes from and how far it has to travel to get to you and highlights 28 yarn companies from the United States and Canada that use domestically sourced materials to lighten the ecological load and support in-country fiber production.
Thursday April 17, 2014
If you're not collecting plastic bags to make plarn, one of the simplest things you can do to help the environment in a small way is to stop using plastic shopping bags. It's pretty easy to get in the habit of bringing your own reusable bags when you go shopping, and it's all the more fun when you can use bags that you made yourself.
This market bag is a great choice for hauling items from the farmer's market, and it's really easy to knit. © Sarah E. White.
I love this Ribbed Lace Market Bag for trips to the farmer's market or other places where you just need a little bag. The mesh makes it light and easy to fold up and carry with you, while the bag itself is made out of linen, which is really strong and will allow it to last through lots of trips to the market.
Or try the fun Felted Market Bag by Eileen Casey, perfect for trips to the yarn store!
If you're looking for other ways to bag things up with knitting, check out my full collection of bag knitting patterns.
Wednesday April 16, 2014
One eco-friendly way of getting knitting supplies that we sort of touched on yesterday is by upcycling, or making yarn out of some other material that was already in existence as something else. T-shirt yarn is a common example. I have a whole box full of T-shirts that one day I really will make into a quilt, and many of them I've cut the bottoms off of to make into T-shirt yarn. It's a relatively easy process but it can be really hard on your hands to cut through all that material and to keep the "yarn" a somewhat consistent thickness.
I made this little bag for holding coupons out of plastic yarn. © Sarah E. White.
When you've made your yarn, you should know that it can be a little difficult to work with, but it's still a lot of fun for projects like this super-sturdy bag. I love this one for outdoor activities or even the beach because you can wash it in the washing machine.
Another kind of upcycled yarn is known as plarn or plastic yarn, which is made out of plastic shopping bags. This isn't as nice to work with as yarn made out of fabric, but it's still fun to try (and can give you a use for those bags that's not just using them as bags).