|My little Pileated Woodpecker on his first Halloween!|
Using what we have, mending, wearing out. It is so easy not to do these things in modern society. In fact, many companies have made these practices near impossible: Our cars are full of little plastic bits and computer chips, requiring us to bring them in to the shop, rather than fixing them in our driveways. Small machine/small engine repair is near non-existant. If your blender breaks, good luck getting it repaired. It is easier, cheaper, often necessary to go to Wal-Mart and buy a new one. When it comes to our clothes, we have a bit more control, it just requires some adjusting of skill and expectation. Still, much of the clothing that can be bought nowadays is so flimsy that mending is near impossible. This same clothing is what now saturates our thrift stores, meaning that buying second hand often means you are only saving clothing from the garbage for a few extra months, rather than adding long term fixtures to your wardrobe.
There are times to make or buy new things and, when it is time to do that, I really desire to make and buy things that will last a long time. This means I want to feel good in them and look good in them. I means I want them to be made with materials that will last. Ideally, these materials would be produced in a sustainable way, or recycle something, thus keeping it out of a landfill. And so, I have options: use fabric from my stash or buy recycled or sustainably sourced materials. As a birthday treat/SFO splurge, I've made two recent purchases: First, the 3 yards of linen from Jessica that I mentioned before. Second, 1200 yards of this lovely yarn from a small farm in West Virginia. It is a blend of Bluefaced Leicester, Romney, Coopworth, and a touch of Merino. It was a splurge, but it was also a steal. Honestly, it was less than the Quince and Co. Lark or Elsawool worsted that I had been resisting the temptation to buy, but it originated much closer to home and came from the sweetest ladies at our local Fiber Fair. A worthy splurge.
Buying beautiful stuff from producers I like is always fun and inspiring, but is buying ethically produced material really more ethical than using the stuff I already have in front of me? I don't think so (though my inner consumerist wants it to be). I am making an early New Years Resolution to make-down my stash, hopefully, until it's pretty much gone.This will be much easier for my knitting than it will for my sewing.
The thing is, about my stash, is that it isn't serving me. I own a lot of fabric, mostly cottons in lovely prints, but most of it is not stuff that serves me and my wardrobe. I would buy a yard or two of fabric I like, which amounts to a lot of money spent, a lot of space used, and not a lot of garments for me. So, what do I do with all of this fabric? Well, that brings me to my other big decision: I am going to turn it into things to sell.
For many years, I have dreamed of starting my own line of children's clothes. I want to combine my picky taste with my love for pint sized clothing and commitment to sustainable materials and I want to share the results. But, honestly, now is not the time. I don't have the time to design and sew an entire line of clothing, nor do I have the resources to start such an endeavor. Maybe someday. What I do have is an entire collection of lovely snippets of fabric and the time to design and make small things: accessories and, perhaps some toys. In an effort to kick the Hoarding Habit and support my family, I can offer people beautiful handmade items that are made with careful craftmanship. I can also promise that no extra materials (save some thread) were purchased to make these, which means that, without the cost of organic certification or sustainable labor, I can promise you aren't supporting the creation of new materials at a cost to the environment or human welfare.
I'm starting with bonnets, as the weather is cooling and babies need some warming. I will expand from there, as I am able. I would be so honored if you would support me in this endeavor.