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….. Making pretty things
….. Simple living
….. Growing a family

Three children (17, 15, 13)*** Two parents *** one dog *** Country loving *** Cottage dwelling in the South-West of the UK. That’s us!

We’ve been blogging since January 2010, about everyday happenings that bring us joy.

Just a thought….

“A moment spent in wonder is worth a lifetime spent in awe.”

 

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wool

Eco crafting

I’m very much still on my eco friendly living journey. Little changes where I can, with my eye on the bigger ones I can make at some point. Every now and again, I give myself a review, to see how it’s going and what I can do. A nudge.

One area that I know I need to look at closer is my crafting area. I’ve cut out buying any more man-made materials. Partly to cut down on the micro fibres I might be adding to the environment. With other natural textiles, I use what I have, before I buy anything new.  I source second hand. Sustainable when I can. Even then, I know I could do better. I worry about the production of the materials I use. Polluting dyes, toxic fumes, pesticides and water grabbing practises.

It’s not pretty.

Giving up?

Crafting is my therapy. The repetitive act of small sewing stitches, knitting rows or spinning fibres, grounds me. Concentration overriding all. I’m sure my breathing must change and chemicals are released. Wrongs are righted. In my head at least. I can cope. The world is a better place when I craft.

I will not be giving up crafting, anytime soon. So, that is not an option.

Source

I’d like to delve more into its source.

For instance, I love when I buy wool and the name of the sheep is printed on the label. I have a fleece, at the moment, waiting to be spun, grown by a sheep called Nicola from Hampshire. I like that. I imagine her skipping off after being shorn, feeling lighter and ready to munch more grass. No dye involved.

Packaging

Another area that I have been looking at is the packaging. It is cheaper and less polluting if I buy on line. I like to buy in real shops or straight from the producer, but I don’t often get the chance, living in the country (unless it is a sheep’s fleece, of course). Plus, searching for the right yarn or material could lead me to several shops which are usually in different towns. If I buy on line, the postman brings it, cutting out any journey I would make. He was delivering my letters anyway. I can shop around for the best price too.

The only downside is that my house is inundated with packaging. Most yarn or fabric is sent in a plastic bag. I understand. I get it. Who wants to receive potentially wet or otherwise damaged fabric through the post? I re-use the bags as I can, but I’d prefer not to. I’d prefer not to receive them.

The thing is, I remember parcels before they were sent in plastic bags. Brown paper, knotted string and sealing wax. Hugely exciting, as a child, when a parcel like that was waiting for you after school. With your name on it! Yes, some did get damaged, but my childhood was not blighted by the memory, so I’m guessing it didn’t happen often.

What’s more, Amazon seem to be managing quite fine to send books and so on, in cardboard. They send out millions of boxes and doing quite well for themselves. So, why can’t others?

I’ve started to check the delivery details on line, before I order. How it will be packaged. This is not an ad, but a heads up for anyone else who buys yarn on line. I’ve had two deliveries now from The Knitting Network. Each time they have arrived in a cardboard box (shown in first and last photo), with brown paper inside to pad it out. No damage. No plastic. Yarn is perfect.

Question now is, which other companies are doing the same? Please let me know if you’ve had any craft materials delivered in eco friendly packaging. Also, have you any other eco friendly crafting tips? I’d really love to know.

Solar dyeing

I’ve wanted to try solar dyeing for a while. Using the heat of the sun to force the fibre to take up the dye. Yesterday was perfect. I had fleece and dye, plus it was warm. Even warmer in the greenhouse.  A good day to experiment.

I have a few packets of Kool Aid to use up. Opening up the packet, yesterday, took me straight back to hot summers of my childhood. A jug of Kool Aid was always a treat and refreshing. Having read about the ingredients, I am now much happier to use it for dye rather than as a drink. It makes a good dye, which kind of makes me wonder what it did to my insides, all those years ago.

Anyway, back to yesterday’s project. I started by soaking the fibre in cold water. I was using the white from a Jacobs sheep fleece. While it soaked for half an hour, I set up two large jars with warm water and a sachet of lime/lemon Kool Aid. I forgot to add vinegar at the stage, but did add it later.

I split the fleece in half and squeezed the excess water out carefully, before putting it into the jars.I put the jars in the greenhouse. I was surprised at how well this worked. The water rose in temperature during the afternoon. It was warm enough to bathe in. (Just not in a greenhouse. Obviously.)

The alternative to using solar power is to simmer it on the stove top.

The water should run clear once it’s ready. I washed the fleece gently in cool water and it is now drying. I am happy with the results. For a stronger colour, I should have used more than one packet and I wonder if the packet was too old. Best before date was three years earlier. Also, it might have helped if I’d put the vinegar in earlier.

Still, I now have green fleece ready for a felting project, I’m working up to. I also proved that solar dyeing works for me and it has inspired me to try something similar using the greenhouse and the sun’s power.

I see lots of summer projects and experiments ahead of me.

Bath and West Show 2017

We go to the Bath & West show most years. Each year, I test the waters to see if the children want to go. Should we go? Each year, there is a resounding “Yes”, with no groans in the midst. That is 100% agreement then. A golden moment in parenting terms.
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Photos

There have been cases when people lifted my photos and words, and used them without credit to me or asking permission first. Using them for their own commercial gain. I have now added a level of security to deter people from doing this. Apologies to people who do play nicely. If you would like to use any of my photos, please contact me.

Copyright notice:

All my words and photos are copyrighted to me. They cannot be used for commercial benefit by anyone else. If you would like to use any of them, then please ask me first and don’t just take. Written permission only. Don’t pass my words, photos or ideas off as your own. It’s not nice.

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